Western Digital Buyers Beware!


You may not know me here at the Tom's Hardware forums, but I am an active member on other computer-related forums. I am an avid technology enthusiast, and have been working in IT for the past 12 years, and never ever have I seen such a failure on the part of a company to provide proper support.

I know this is a lengthy post, but it is a chronicle of my experience with Western Digital's Customer (dis)service. I hope that others will think twice before purchasing WD products after seeing that Western Digital just can't get it right the first time or the second time or the third time; that they don't know what's going on; that they are incapable of dropping the ball because they didn't even know it was in-play; and that they don't appear to have any customer appreciation!!

Read for yourself and make your own decision. This is my experience with them, but it is an experience that noone should have to deal with. And it's not a one-time failure on their part.

At the least make sure Western Digital is giving you the proper warranty period for your products.

I am going to post this everywhere I can, and I encourage you to forward this to others, as I will. This kind of poor support just can't be tolerated.


I purchased four Western Digital 400GB Raid Edition2 hard drives (which come with a manufacturer-supported 5-year warranty) from an online vendor.

I received the hard drives and installed them in my NAS, but noticed a strange sound coming from the unit when it powered up, and that it was only recognizing three of the four disks.

I removed the drives one-by-one and connected them to my PC, and determined which drive was spinning up and making noise, and that it was also the drive that was not being recognized.

So I had received one DOA drive and immediately fired off an email to the vendor, but since I didn't receive an immediate response, I decided to check Western Digital's online warranty support site.

One of the features was a warranty check, and when I entered the defective drive's serial number, the drive only had a 3-year warranty, and when I checked the rest it turned out that ALL the drives only had 3-year warranty instead of advertised 5 year!!

Another feature was the online RMA system, which I attempted to have generate an RMA because it could do an ADVANCE REPLACEMENT so that I could have the new drive in my hands sooner, and not have to wait for all this back-and-forth shipping. But when I attempted to do the online RMA, WD's system kept generating an error, and I was therefore unable to complete the transaction. At this point it was already late in the evening, so I decided to contact WD the next day.

I again attempted to use the online RMA system figuring it might have been a system problem the previous day, but again the RMA system kept generating errors and was unable to complete the transaction.

So I called WD support and spoke with "Angie". I was told that because drive was DOA, I would have to pay return shipping for the defective drive. Fine, I agreed, I just wanted my drive ASAP, and I was told that the drive would be shipped within 3-5 days.

Regarding the improper warranty period, I was told to call back with all serial numbers to have the issue corrected.

I called back with all four serial numbers for the warranty correction, and was told that I was correct about the warranty period, it should be five years, and and was assured that warranty would be corrected within two days

I performed an online warranty check on the four hard drives and saw that only three had been updated to the five year warranty and one still only showed 3 year warranty!

I sent the following email to westerndigital[at]custhelp.com:

I have four drives that are supposed to be warrantied until 2010, and were only warrantied til 2008. Your staff upgraded the warranty (as it should have been) on ONLY THREE of the four drives. Please fix the warranty issue for WMAMYxxxxxxx.

I shouldn't have to keep on top of this, and had one of the drives not been DOA, I wouldn't have known until it was too late.

I can't believe that:

a.) Out of four hard drives purchased, one was DOA
b.) the warranties are incorrect (3 year instead of the advertised 5)
c.) WD is making me pay for shipping to rma a DOA drive
d.) after calling in the problem with the warranty and being told that I am absolutely correct, the issue is still not corrected

Needless to say, so far I'm very disappointed with WD.

Please see attached PDF if you have questions.


And received the following reply:

Thank you for contacting Western Digital Customer Service and Support.

Although I cannot explain why the warranty for your drives was not already five years, I have contacted our warranty department to update the warranty of your remaining drive.

Jeremy H.
Western Digital Service and Support

I checked the warranty status after receiving Jeremy's reply, and finally saw that the warranty had now been properly updated for all drives.

HOWEVER, it was now six days after I had requested the ADVANCE REPLACEMENT from WD, and didn't have a shipping notification or tracking number, or any form of confirmation that my replacement drive was on its way.. but I decided to give WD the benefit of the doubt and give it a couple of more days to arrive..

I still hadn't received the replacement drive, nor any tracking info, so I checked the online RMA status and didn't see any drives shipped, so called WD again and spoke with "Richard D. [last name withheld]." He checked the RMA status, but said did not show any drives shipped either, and that he was unable to find any further information regarding the case, but that he would check into it and inform me of the status within 24 hours

Two days later, I still hadn't received a call from Richard, and the online RMA status still showed nothing being shipped, so I was forced to call them again. "Julie" answered the phone, and I asked to speak with a manager since I was obviously getting nowhere speakig with the phone zombies.

After holding for 15 minutes, I had the manager Scott on the phone and explained the history to him. He put me on hold some more to check on the case, and when he returned, he informed me that the drives are on backorder and that there is no eta on shipping of the replacement!!

It took them TWO WEEKS TO FIGURE THIS OUT?? If they had told me up front that this was the case, I would have figured out some way to accomodate my storage needs, but the level of (dis)service I have received from them is simply unnaceptable.

This was another 45 minute phonecall - yet another 45 minutes wasted dealing with WD, so I asked him how they expected to compensate me for my time and aggravation.. perhaps overnighting the drive to me once it was in stock, and/or covering the return shipping... but no, he said that Western Digital did not provide any form of restitution, and couldn't do anything for me.

This is unacceptable, but what can I do? I just have to take it, since as a lowly consumer I have no way to pressure them.

So the phonecall was ended, with me still not having a working drive, or knowing when it was coming, but knowing full well that I was going to be shelling out more money once I finally got it, so I would wait.. wait.. wait.. wait.. until...


Since it was now over one month since I made the purchase and WD still hadn't provided me with a replacement, I decided to see if the vendor might not make an exception to their policy and help me out.

After hearing the story, the vendor's phone rep spoke with their manager and said that they would provide me with a replacement drive and not "leave me hanging" like Western Digital literally did.

I shipped the drive back to the online vendor the same day, and I should be holding the replacement drive in my hands early next week.


While Western Digital's phone staff have all been very courteous and for the most part agreeable, this did nothing to put the replacement drive in my hands.

The fact that it took three tries for them to correct the warranty demonstrates lack of competence. The fact that they consistently drop the ball shows lack of support and customer care. The fact that they wouldn't provide any form of compensation shows lack of customer appreciation.

So to recap:

- warranty period incorrect out of the box
- took two tries and intervention on my part for them to complete the correction of the warranty period
- because drive DOA, I have to pay for return shipping
- advance replacement drive not shipped out as promised
- did not know the shipping status of the replacement drive
- did not return phonecall as promised
- took two weeks and speaking with the manager to find out that the replacement drive was not available
- no notification that the drive was not available
- no offer of compensation for their poor handling of the situation
- nearly a month later, still no replacement, nor any idea of eta

If this is not a demonstration of piss-poor service, then I don't know what is.


And if you're considering purchasing Western Digital products, decide for yourself if this is what you want to deal with.

"BUT," you say "they provide a 5-year warranty!" -- Right! And what good is a warranty five years from now, when you can't even get them to make good today?

I hope that those considering hard drive purchases find this helpful.

Good Luck.
17 answers Last reply
More about western digital buyers beware
  1. Also, I sent an email on 11/11/05 to as many WD addresses as I could find, asking them to cancel the RMA, as well as detailing the history I presented here. I also asked that the email be forwarded to the president/CEO of Western Digital.

    Although I suspect that the email will never make it to the head of the company, I am interested to see if they will address the issue, or even dignify me with a reply.

    The minimum follow-up required on WD's part is to confirm that they are cancelling the RMA. So far I have not received a reply and based on their past performance, I would be surprised to hear from them.
  2. Man, it doesn't get much worse than that!
    Keep us posted...
  3. So much for my plans of buying that brand new WD-Raptor.. :roll:
  4. Hmm...in the one RMA experience I have had with Western Digital everything went smoothly.

    Who was your vendor?
  5. In my RMA experience, the vendor was never mentioned. It was just between manufacturer and me...
  6. Same here...but it would be nice to know who the vendor was that was willing to "step up"
  7. True, now I see your point...
  8. The vendor that "stepped up" is Monarch Computer. If they hadnt, I'd still be sitting here twiddling my thumbs waiting for a sign from WD.

    Something that really bothers me is that WD doesn't differentiate between types of end-users:
    (and yes, the grammar error is from a direct copy/paste)

    End User

    A customer who purchases WD product(s) from a reseller, retailer, or from the WD Online Store.

    This includes churches, charity foundations, schools, and other organizations who purchases WD products for business use.

    Not that it would make me feel better for them to discriminate because this is for personal use, but what really bothers me is that if this was in some way critical to my business they would be putting my livelihood in jeopardy.

    If you can believe, WD didn't even have the courtesy to acknowlegde my request for RMA cancellation.
  9. First of all you should never have gone through WD. You should immediately have gone through Monarch. I just had a 3200JD die on me after 12 hours and would never dream of going through WD. Now granted I wasn't pleased with the length of time and amount of emails it took for Monarch to get me a new drive (about a week and 4 emails), but they did it. Cost me $8 shipping to send the dead drive there. They definitely aren't good at responding to emails promptly, but going through WD never even crossed my mind. That would be like me going through Ford to get my car fixed instead of the dealership.
  10. I've had two WD HD go bad in all the years of using them. The first was still under warranty and WD replaced it without hassle.
  11. I had a WD caviar 120gb die a few months ago, it was out of warranty (from where i bought it (local reseller) so i looked for seagate, unfortunately i didn't find any in a big mall here for computers, WD has a reseller preference here and that's a problem to me. I ended up buying a WD Caviar 200gb

  12. @dhlucke: I understand what you're saying, and if I hadn't had an immediate need for the drive, that's what I would have done.

    But based on WD's premise of providing Advance Replacement (which Monarch doesn't offer), if they had their act together, I wouldn't have had to wait for all the shipping and processing and return shipping before receiving my replacement drive.. that's the whole point of Advance Replacement!!

    Advance Replacement has worked for me without a hitch with Seagate and Maxtor drives in the past and I had the replacement in my hands in less than a week.

    Regardless of "what I should have done," there is no excuse for WD's poor support.

    It should have never taken two weeks and for me to have to speak to a manager to find out that they had a problem. There is simply no exuse for this, or any of their other countless failures detailed above.
  13. 11/15/05

    After not receiving a confirmation for my previous email, requesting cancellation of the RMA, I sent another email today to westerndigital@custhelp.com:

    Hello again,

    The least you could do is confirm that the RMA has been cancelled as
    per my request. Why am not surprised that I didn't receive a reply?

  14. Okay here's the update and resolution.

    (yes, another lengthy post.. now you understand why it took me so long to get this update posted)

    I left off having sent emails on Friday and again on Tuesday asking that the RMA be cancelled (because the vendor, Monarch, was taking care of the replacement), and I asked that the case history be forwarded to the president; I received no emails from WD confirming the cancellation, or otherwise.

    Wednesday afternoon FedEx delivered the replacement hard drive from Monarch, and I promptly installed it in the NAS. I was expecting a couple of items that day, and DHL was the next delivery (replacement TiVo).

    About 1/2 hour later the doorbell rings again, and it's the UPS guy with another delivery. I briefly glanced at the box but couldn't make out the sender and signed for it. After bringing the box into the house I see that there's a big "Overnight" label on the box. After closer scrutiny of the shipping label, I can just make out the bottom-most portion of the letters "WESTERN DIGITAL."


    They had sent me the drive via overnight delivery after I specifically requested cancellation of the RMA. There was no way I was going to pay for return shipping. There had been no notification that the drive was going to be shipped. Not to mention that I had sent email twice requesting cancellation. Had the sender been apparent, I would have refused acceptance of the package. But now I was stuck with it.

    Incensed, I dialed WD again and immediately asked to speak with the manager. After a brief hold period, the manager Scott came on the line. He remembered me from my prior call, and as he started to tell me that he couldn't provide a status update, I interrupted him and explained to him that I had just received the hard drive, and that unless this was a "gift" from WD, I wanted nothing to do with it, and that they would have to make the arrangements to have the drive returned to them.

    He was completely baffled that I had received the drive, and proceeded to check their system again. According to the system there was no record of the drive having been shipped, or any email notification being sent to me that I was going to be receiving the replacement.

    He then said he would have to escalate the case and that they would call me back. When I asked what the timeframe was for the call-back, he told me it would be a couple of days. !!! I asked him to please call me back that day before he left -- whether or not they had come to a conclusion as to how they were going to handle this. I had been through enough and just wanted to be done with it.

    I left the house to run to the pharmacy for a couple of minutes, and when I returned, I had the following email in my inbox:

    Dear David,

    I want to apologize for any inconvenience this hard drive issue may have caused you. I wanted to speak to you

    personally in regards to these issues. I have left you a message at xxx-xxx-xxxx. I understand the warranties have been updated to 5 years and the drive was replaced and shipped to you on RMA #: xxxxxxxx.

    Please give me an alternate phone number to discuss the customer service/satisfaction issues with you.

    If you have any questions, please call or email me.


    Jim Case

    Manager, Customer Relations
    Western Digital Technologies

    So I fired off the following reply:
    Hi James,

    Thank you for finally contacting me.

    Please see the forwarded emails below for the complete history and understanding of my dissatisfaction with Western Digital.

    The last portion of the saga, which is not covered in my documentation of this case is that on Nov 11, since I had made other arrangements to have the drive replaced, I sent email to Western Digital requesting that the RMA be cancelled. I received no reply from Western Digital. And again yesterday I forwarded the original mail requesting cancellation and received no reply.

    Then, to my surprise, a drive shows up today. I wouldn't even have signed for the package if I hadn't been expecting other items and the sender had been evident at first glance. I received no notification that the drive was being shipped, and I'm sure that Scott informed you that there is neither a record of the drive being shipped, nor email notification being sent to me, as he told me.

    The fact that I received the hard drive overnighted to me after I SPECIFICALLY requested TWICE that the RMA be cancelled shows a complete lack of attentiveness. Based on this, I would also have to assume then that my email also never made it to the Mr. Shakeel as I requested.

    Let there be no doubt about it: after all the time wasted and aggravation I've had to put up with, under no circumstances will I pay to ship this drive back to WD, and I will take it to court if it boils down to it.

    As I see it, the options are either:

    a) WD sends a prepaid shipping label, or
    b) uses this as the last opportunity to "set things right"

    I keep being told that these screw-ups never happen at Western Digital..... but how can ALL of it happen to just me?

    Are you still in the office? If so, I can be reached at home at xxx-xxx-xxxx now. If not, I can be reached on the cell phone at xxx-xxx-xxxx tomorrow.

    I would be "happy" to "spend" even more time on the phone with "Western Digital," but in all honesty I'm not sure I can see what purpose this would serve: the documentation is all in front of you.

    David [..]

    Literally seconds after I hit the "send" button, my phone was ringing, and caller ID said "Western Digital C". I answered, and Mr. Case was on the other end, and we discussed what had transpired.

    He was apologized for the bad experience I'd had, and said he was very surprised that this particular model had failed: it is the "cream of the WD crop" and the best product WD has ever produced, and in addition, each drive is burn-in tested prior to release for sale.

    He also briefly outlined his position and history with Western Digital, having one of the original employees there (since the days when WD was just a chip manufacturer). Furthermore, he wanted to make things right: I didn't have to return the hard drive I had received from Western Digital, and should disregard any return shipping labels, should I receive them, and I would not be charged for it.

    I further inquired as to what the reason was for all of this to have occurred, and I found out that were apparently a couple of gremlins at work here.

    WD has been going through a massive update of their Oracle databases, and that it had been quite problematic in more way than one: This was the cause for the incorrect warranties, and it has resulted in a huge mess with the reported quantities of warehouse stock: one day it shows thousands of items, and the next day it shows negative quantities.

    In addition to this, he checked the case history notes made by the call center staff and noted that they had made mainly one-line vague entries. As it turns out, WD farms out the telephone support to a contractor, and he said that he would make it a point to meet with them in order to discuss what had happened, and the level of service that he expected them to provide to WD's customers.


    All in all, although it was for the most part a rather unpleasant experience, I'm satisfied with the resolution, and that Mr. Case did the right thing. I also appreciate having some insight into what the root causes were that led to this massive support failure.

    I'm still not excited about the fact that this occurred, but I also know how database implementations and upgrades can go wrong, so I can understand how this all happened. Admittedly this has opened Jim Case's eyes to some customer service issues, and I hope that he follows through with whatever changes are required to improve their support protocol.

    "The End"
  15. Quote:
    "The End"

    Let's hope so!
  16. DuDe it's so stupid of you to say "so much for my raptor"...lol

    he wasn't even using a raptor!

    he was using some 400GB raid edition!

    go on Newegg and check out the raptor. There's like 500+ review on it and there all amazing. I even have one and so do 2 other people in my family.

    So times you just get bad luck.

    Thats what happens when you go against Newegg.
  17. Well...hmmm I didn't say that! But chillyman did.
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