Fifteen months later, in May 2011, I suddenly received a dialogue box message that said, “This disk is unreadable by your computer”. On contacting Western Digital they said it would be replaced and I should send it to their warehouse in Singapore. They also stated as they do not support data recovery I should organise to get this done before sending the drive.
They suggested two companies that could do this but neither were in NSW. I selected a Brisbane one and was told data recovery would cost between $400 and $1500 depending on the difficulty of recovery. I tried a local company who quoted between $400 and $700.
I pointed out to WD that for a drive that had failed in less than half of its guarantee period I was being penalised by the failure of their equipment in having to pay a minimum of $40 for proof of delivery to Singapore and the cost of data recovery. I said I felt this was outside the guides of fair trade.
An email in reply said as a one-off gesture they would supply me with a prepaid UPS delivery voucher to send the drive to Singapore but no mention of the data recovery. The next email said they are sorry but UPS does not have prepaid mailers in Aust. so the offer was withdrawn. I did get a further call from FedEx saying they had received a request to pick up a drive and deliver it to Singapore.
I know that drives can fail unexpectedly and back-up is essential but this is not the first time. I had a Western Digital My Book Pro Edition II 1.5TB drive with a RAID format that started becoming erratic with the disc spinning wildly and sounding like a 747 getting ready for take-off.
I was able to copy the data from this disc to the one above and contacted WD about the erratic performance of this drive. It was suggested that I recover the data, installed the latest firmware, and then reformat the drive.
After I installed the firmware my computer refused to mount the drive and so foiled efforts to reformat it. It is now a doorstop. I feel to have to pay three times the cost of a new drive to obtain the data in such a short guarantee period is a bit rich.
Willoughby East, NSW
WD answers: WD is globally committed to customer service and providing reliable product to consumers, and when customers experience difficulties with our products it is of the utmost importance to us that we rectify the situation as quickly and effectively as we can. With this is mind, WD offers limited warranties on its hard drives and entertainment products.
WD does not yet operate receiving facilities in Australia. We recommend that customers experiencing difficulty with WD products first contact the place of purchase (in this instance the Apple Store). Most retailers are happy to replace faulty drives on the spot.
Customers who cannot be helped by their place of purchase can return drives under warranty in Australia by contacting WD support (support.wdc.com/contact) to obtain an RMA (Return Material Authorization) or manually generating one at: support.wdc.com/warranty
WD offers complimentary shipping to Australia when we replace consumers’ drives in response to drives delivered with an RMA. As is common practice, our policy expects customers to return in-warranty WD drives, with an RMA, at their expense (the case highlighted was an exception).
WD makes tremendous R&D and manufacturing investments every year to ensure our customers benefit from the highest quality WD hard drives. We also understand the importance of the data our customers entrust to our WD drives, and we strongly recommend that consumers protect their valuable content by backing up their data regularly.
In the event that data is lost, due to any number of reasons, including drive failure, consumers with a duplicate back-up drive would still have access to their important data without incurring the cost of data recovery services, which are not covered in the WD warranty policies.