During our discussions with Maxtor earlier this year at CES, Maxtor indicated to us that the possible reduction in warranty from three years to just one could happen later this year. Now with both Seagate and Western Digital now jumping on the bandwagon to support this move, hard drive warranties will only be one year on most consumer desktop drives starting October 1st.
PC makers have been in the process of changing warranties as well and this all goes to the ability to reduce cost. The big three hard drive companies, Maxtor, Seagate, and Western Digital have made the commitment to follow suite. At least to start with, hard drives that will be affected are drives that are intended for desktops PCs and consumer-electronic products.
While these three companies make up 85% of all of the hard drives sold, claim that they are only responding to the trend in the industry to reduce warranty. Industry sources claim that the hard drive makers do not typically get returns in the second or third year of their warranties.
Western Digital at least is planning to offer an extended warranty to customers for an additional charge and they have also said that the Special Edition Series “JB” drives will continue to carry a three year warranty at least for the time being. Maxtor and Seagate do expect that retailers will offer an extended warranty program to customers at some point.
While all three companies have said that they will still offer three to five year warranties on products used in large businesses, this does not help the typical user who will now expect hard drive to fail sooner do to additional cost cutting by the drive makers.
While many industry analysts have suggested that this move to reduce warranty will have no effect on consumers because hard drives are becoming more of a commodity item. I think I can speak for all of us here at THG, we don’t share this opinion.
While it is true that most hard drive that are going to fail, do fail within the first 90 day, this is no reason to shorten the warranties. We don’t like it, but there is little to do about it other than voice your displeasure.
No word yet if some of the other drives companies (For Example – Samsung and Fujitsu) will follow this warranty reduction as well.