Monday, August 25, 2008

This Is A Warrantee?

I've learned some valuable lessons on data preservation and external hard drives.

I bought a Western Digital external hard drive, so that I could free up my computer hard drive. I would store three things on my external: Hockey video clips, digital photos, and music files. It gave me 500 gig of storage, which seemed like it should last me a while.

A few months ago, the external hard drive died. It was less than a year old, so it was under warrantee. I called WD and arranged not only for the replacement of my drive, but for the recovery of my data. It was a little complicated, but we made the arrangements. I shipped my stuff, they shipped theirs.

The data recovery company called a few weeks later to advise that everything was lost. All data completely gone. I almost threw up. The poor lady on the other end, from some call center, going on with the expected, "Is there anything else I can help you with?" futility that comes at the end of all of these calls.

So, time passes. I still haven't even used the new drive, because I'm not ready to use it unless and until I get a backup drive for it. Lesson learned.

Well, today I got my Visa bill, and there was a charge from Western Digital in the amount of $340.00. If my hands weren't such a mess, I'd go do 15 minutes on the heavy bag. (It's awful, not ever being able to really vent intense anger in satisfying ways, leaving it just to burn a hole in the gut instead, heh, or blogging.) So, I fumed until I calmed down and found my paperwork for the device, all meticulously saved.

I got on the line to India and the Western Digital call center. The man explained to me that I never sent the original, worthless, defective hunk of crap back to them, so they charged me full price, $340, for a new one.

Well, what the fuck kind of warrantee is that? I sent the defective thing to their preferred Data Recovery outfit, who issued a nice report saying how utterly ruined the goddamned thing was. Ain't that enough? I'm not scamming for a hard drive. The old one is W-O-R-T-H-L-E-S-S. Into the trash!

Honestly, the thing was deemed worthless by all involved, so I threw it in the trash.

Of course, this makes the warrantee null and void. It never even occurred to me that people might make bogus warrantee claims, so distraught was I over the loss of 5 years worth of irreplaceable digital pictures (Isabel's birth, trips to Europe to visit Alex, etc, &c). In retrospect, it makes sense, but how was I to divine this instruction? Might a nice piece of paper or an email telling me what to do next have been too much to ask?

So, the valuable lesson here really is to back everything up copiously and obsessively. I'll be buying a second hard drive soon- to back up the other hard drive- and put it in another place, in case there is damage to our home. What a pain in the ass.

The next drive is sure as fuck not going to be a Western Digital. Lesson learned there, too. A company that can't be bothered to make a product that lasts even nine months can go pound sand. And a scam of a warrantee like this cannot be rewarded.

Damn these fragile hands!


varangianguard said...

Ooh. I'm sorry to hear that. I worry about that too.

Too late now, but I would have asked for a second opinion about the lost data. Couldn't have hurt, considering.

I could have suggested a couple of people that I would have trusted to give you a real effort.

Michael said...

A sad tale, indeed. Next time around back up the older stuff to CD or DVD's. It's safer. As for your woes with could try sending off a copy of your post to The Consumerist ( ), they thrive on stories like yours and might even be able to help. Have you tried emailing the executives at WD? Amazingly enough an EECB, (Executive E-mail Carpet Bomb) can do wonders to get things back to normal in the money realm. You could also contest the bill with your credit card company. Lots of options. The Consumerist has a good piece on EECB's. They might even have the email addresses you're looking for. It never hurts to get a company executive to pay attention and it's easier than you might imagine, with a bit of searching.

Mike Kole said...

Aye, I've been backing up my music collection all to CD.

I'll look into reaching the corporate HQ for WD. Maybe it will do some good.