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Poor Customer Service from Western Digital

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September 11, 2009 3:27:39 AM

Sorry for the long post.

On July 22, 2009, I purchased a Western Digital 2TB My Book Studio Edition II External Hard Drive from an online retailer, Electronica Direst.com, through Buy.com. Within a matter of a few weeks the drive failed. On August 19th an RMA was issued by Western Digital. I chose to pay for an advance replacement and gave Western Digital my credit card information and was told that a replacement would be shipped out and when they received my defective drive, they would issue a credit back to my credit card. Western Digital’s site indicated that it could take up to 2 weeks to get my replacement. I waited a while and called a number of times. Each time I called I was told that they do not have a replacement drive but they expected them soon. In the meantime, I arranged to have the defective drive shipped back, which occurred on September 4th. Also, during one of my conversations with a support person, he mentioned that the replacement drive I would eventually receive from WD would be a factory recertified drive. So, I paid full price for a 3 week old drive that failed, I have no back-up drive and WD cannot tell me when they will have a replacement drive. So a customer should endure all of this and pay the cost of a new drive? At some point I decided to contact Electronica Direct.com to see if they would replace the drive. At first their site indicated that the unit was now out of the exchange period and they could no longer help me. However today I received an email from them indicating that they would take the drive back. So I called WD support and asked to have my drive returned. The support person looked at my case and said it would ship out within a day or two. Later in the day I wrote to support to request a confirmation number in connection with the return and I was told that they do not return items once they receive them through the RMA process. I mentioned that the retailer was willing to exchange the defective drive, but the support person said my drive is now their property, even though they have not and cannot provide me with a replacement drive. I asked the support person to direct me to a law that gives a company a right to keep someone’s property, particularly if they cannot provide a replacement drive. My request has not been answered. I have copied and pasted the exchanges that I have had with WD support below. If anyone has any suggestions please let me know, it would be greatly appreciated.


8/18/09
I attempt to apply for an RMA and the system shows that I am registered as a reseller and I am not and have never been.
8/19/09


Customer (RAY MASTROIANNI) 08/18/2009 09:01 PM
Hello:

I am trying to return a defective drive. When I try to obtain an RMA, I am being told that I am registered as a reseller and I am not. Please let me know what to do to get an RMA and return this defective drive. I purchased it less than a month ago.

Thank you,

Raymond Mastroianni

Response (Pablo R.) 08/20/2009 09:36 AM
Dear RAY,

Thank you for contacting Western Digital Customer Service and Support. My name is Pablo R.

I apologize for the inconvenience, I check your account and change the setup to customer, you can go ahead and in 24 hours you can try to created the RMA.

Now, if the drive is less than a month old, you also can try to replace the device with the retailer.

I hope that we have met your expectations today and that you are satisfied with our service. If you have any further questions, please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.

Sincerely,
Pablo R.
Western Digital Service and Support

Response (Administrator) 09/04/2009 02:47 AM
Dear RAY MASTROIANNI,

This is a confirmation that we have received your defective drive for RMA
#81429187. The RMA is now closed. If you have any questions about your
RMA please reply to this email. If the information is correct, please do
not reply back to this email.


RMA Number: 81429187

Customer (RAY MASTROIANNI) 09/04/2009 06:19 AM
>
> When will I be receiving my replacement drive?
>
>

Email Confirmation 09/04/2009 06:19 AM
Dear RAY,

Thank you for your email. If you are inquiring about the status of your RMA, you can check it online from the link below.

RMA Status: http://websupport.wdc.com/websupport/clearexp_scripts/r...
Current turnaround is 5 to 7 business days for a Standard RMA and 3 to 5 business days for an Advance RMA.

If you have been tracking your shipment and your shipping courier shows that the drive has been received by Western Digital and RMA status shows that the drive has not been received, it means that we have received the drive in our warehouse, but we have not entered it into our system. As soon as the drive is entered into our system, RMA status will be updated and show that the drive has been received. In addition, we will send you an email notification when your drive has been received into our system and when the replacement has been shipped. We apologize for this inconvenience.

If you are concerned about data on your defective drive, please see the link below.

Title: What happens to the data on the drive I sent in for an RMA and how can I retrieve it?
URL: http://wdc.custhelp.com/cgi-bin/wdc.cfg/php/enduser/std...

If your question is not answered above or you have already checked your RMA status and need a more detailed response, just reply to this email and we will respond to you promptly.

Sincerely,
Western Digital Service and Support

Customer (RAY MASTROIANNI) 09/04/2009 06:30 AM
> When will I receive my replacement drive? I PURCHASED THIS DRIVE
> BRAND NEW THROUGH BUY.COM ON JULY 22ND AND IT STOPPED WORKING WITHIN
> 3 WEEKS! I IMMEDIATELY CONTACTED WD AND APPLIED FOR AN RMA TO GET A
> NEW DRIVE AND STILL DO NOT HAVE ONE. THIS IS IRRESPONSIBLE AND NOT
> ACCEPTABLE.
>

Response (Joan R.) 09/10/2009 12:40 PM
Dear Customer,

We apologize for the delay in responding to you. Due to heavy volume, we are currently beyond our normal turnaround of 1 business day.

We realize that some of you may have already found the answers to your questions. In an effort to respond to your needs more efficiently, please do one of the following:

If you have already found the answers to your questions and DO NOT REQUIRE a response from us, please DO NOT REPLY to this email.

If you have not found the answer(s) to your question(s) and DO REQUIRE a response from us, please REPLY to this email. In your reply, you can just state that you still need an answer to your questions. If you do not respond to this email, we will assume that you do not require a response from us.

Thank you for your patience and understanding

Sincerely,
Western Digital Service and Support

Customer (RAY MASTROIANNI) 09/10/2009 03:33 PM
Hello:

I called and spoke with a support person today regarding the brand new defective drive I sent back in the original box. The online retailer that sold me the drive sent me an email today and said I could return the drive and I could get a brand new drive. So please send me back the brand new, defective drive so that I can return it to the online retailer. Please be advised that I have already paid for a brand new Western Digital drive on July 22nd and received it on July 23rd. Shortly thereafter the drive failed. So instead of contacting the retailer, I made the mistake of sending the drive back to Western Digital and have been without a drive for almost one month. Western Digital has brand new drives that they sell on their website but rather than sending me a brand new replacement for their defective merchandise, they had me wait for a reconditioned drive to become available. The support person I spoke with on the phone today did not give me a confirmation number linked to my request of having the brand new, defective drive returned to me. He also said he could not guaranty that the drive would be sent back on an expedited basis. Please send me confirmation that my original drive and original Western Digital box and packing material will be returned to me immediately so that I can send it back to the retailer. I have suffered enough by choosing Western Digital and deserve to have the drive shipped out immediately and on an expedited basis.

Raymond Mastroianni

Response (Joan R.) 09/10/2009 03:47 PM
Dear RAY,

Thank you for contacting Western Digital Customer Service and Support. My name is Joan R.

I do apologize but once you send the drive it can't be requested back. The warranty policy states that re-certified drives will be sent on warranty replacements. For further assistance on this matter I will suggest you to contact us over the phone.

I hope that we have met your expectations today and that you are satisfied with our service. If you have any further questions, please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.

Sincerely,
Joan R.
Western Digital Service and Support
http://support.wdc.com

Customer (RAY MASTROIANNI) 09/10/2009 03:57 PM
Dear Joan:

That was not what I was told. WD issued an RMA for a BRAND NEW drive on August 19th, less than 1 month from the date it arrived in my home. So I have been without a backup drive for nearly a month. How can you sell a product that fails within weeks of use and not have either a replacement product in stock to service what you sell? I was told that my drive, that I paid for would be returned to me. Either send me my property back, direct me to a law that shows me that I forfeited my right to my property or send me a BRAND NEW drive.

Raymond Matroianni

Response (Joan R.) 09/10/2009 04:39 PM
Dear RAY,

Thank you for your reply.

I checked the notes on this RMA and the agent that spoke to you over the phone was going to escalate your request to the warehouse to see if they can send you the drive. The response he got from the warehouse was the same I sent you before. They can't return the drive back to customer because it has been received and processed.

I hope that we have met your expectations today and that you are satisfied with our service. If you have any further questions, please reply to this email and we will be happy to assist you further.

Sincerely,
Joan R.
Western Digital Service and Support
http://support.wdc.com

Customer (RAY MASTROIANNI) 09/10/2009 04:59 PM
Hello:

But that should not be my problem. If someone sends a drive in by mistake are you saying that they can never get their property back? So you will not send my property back, you don't have a replacement drive and you will not send me a new drive? Either send me back my property immediately, send me a new drive or show me where I can find the law that gives you the right to keep my property. Telling me that someone from a warehouse says he can't send my property back is not acceptable. At the end of your replies you continue to say that "I hope that we have met your expectations today and that you are satisfied with our service". After all of the hardship your company has put me through, how could you include that statement. I just want my property back and you have no right to keep it.

Be Guided Accordingly,

Raymond Mastroianni

Response (Joan R.) 09/10/2009 05:04 PM
Dear RAY,

Thank you for your reply.

I do apologize but once the RMA is requested and you send the drive it becomes Western Digital's property. When you created the RMA you agree to the terms that this procedure has. Unfortunately once the drive is at the warehouse and has been received they can't send it back

Sincerely,
Joan R.
Western Digital Service and Support
http://support.wdc.com

Customer (RAY MASTROIANNI) 09/10/2009 05:10 PM
Hello:

But you cant live up to the terms, so I want my property back. I was never told that if I send my drive in, I would not be told when I would get a replacement. I used sound judgment and assumed that a replacement drive would arrive in a reasonable time frame. Please show me where it indicates that by agreeing to the terms of the RMA I have given up my property rights or conveyed them to Western Digital.

Customer (RAY MASTROIANNI) 09/10/2009 06:16 PM
Would you please either send me my property back? Or end my a new drive? Also, where does it say that I no longer own my drive.

September 11, 2009 3:59:25 AM

Unfortunately you are probably going to eat this one and receive the recertified drive. It's not right but its how they operate. Have you tried to call them? I would stop the emails as they are all base level support techs and if you call you can likely ask to speak to a supervisor and get someone that can possibly make a decision outside the base guidelines they are required to follow.

I haven't had any good luck getting a drive to be replaced by WD as their warranties seem to expire before they break. I use Seagate and all drives I have had go bad (only 1 so far) was under warranty and got replaced with 2.5 more years remaining on the warranty. I do have a USB drive from Seagate that is defective and is under warranty as well.

I used WD all the time until this last year since I have had 2 WD drives go bad and both warranties expired. I got reverted from the RMA request page to another page that said they were going to give me a discount for being a customer with WD and when I looked at the selections it was recertified drives and was more expensive than a new drive at my local store. In my opinion WD has a lot of improvements to make to get me as a customer again.

Good luck with it, you will need it...
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September 11, 2009 4:05:29 AM

Hey :

Thank you for the quick reply. I have called 4 or 5 times and have escalated the call and spoke with a manager once. I called Western Digital's corporate office and left a message for Mr. Jim Case this evening and I am hopeful that he will return my call. What is even more disturbing is that they will not return my property.

Ray
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September 11, 2009 11:34:19 AM

Not a problem. The bad thing as you can see is they are riding on their eula to cover not having to return it to you. I don't know if anyone has ever had success getting a hard drive returned after an RMA but it would be interesting to know if they can do it.

Hopefully you will get it back. I think you have done the right things to make it happen if it can. Keep on them with the phone calls, I would do it daily if I had to.

Good luck with it...
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Best solution

September 21, 2009 2:27:52 AM

Hello:

Just thought I would let you know how things worked out with Western Digital. I called WD's office's and was directed to a gentleman named Jim Case. I left a message one evening for him asking him to call me because of an issue I was having with his support folks. Jim called back the next morning and left me a message. I called later in the day, got in touch with him and explained what I went through. He asked me for my RMA# did some checking with me on the phone and asked if he could get back to me within 15 minutes. He called back as promised with a senior support person. By the way, during all of my conversations with me, he was extremely pleasant. Jim arranged to have a drive sent to me immediately and went over and above what I had expected. Jim turned what was a nightmare episode for me, into a highly satisfying one. I would absolutely purchase more Western Digital products. I hope you find this message useful and thank you for responding to my posts, I felt a sense of satisfaction that at least you were listening to my story.

Regards,

Ray
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September 21, 2009 4:08:35 AM

Wow, Im impressed. I just wished they had a better warranty on their drives and I would go back to them myself. I used them for years and I know they have one of the best products. Seagate has won me over due to taking care of me without any issues on a previous issue I had.

I'm glad it worked out for you and it sounds like you contacted the right person the last time.

Thanks for taking the time to give an update. Its sort of a reward to find out the outcome for putting the time into trying to help.

Much appreciated Ray!

Rodney
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October 25, 2009 11:03:46 AM

I had to RMA two drives recently. One a Samsung and the other a Western Digital. I got the Samsung back in two days. Seems they understand how important a hard drive is to a PC. And the importance of customer service as well, for that matter. Western Digital RMA was done at the same date October 2nd. It's now October 25th and, although it's finally showing as shipped by UPS, there's no Tracking Number.

I was a big fan of WD in the past. I sure as hell will be looking to stay away from that brand in the future. I'd rather have drives fail on me two or three times a year and get next day or near next day service. Western Digital should be ashamed of themselves for providing such poor service.

Apparently the 30million people up north in Canada don't rate their own depot or RMA service in country. Nice...

B.
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Anonymous
a b G Storage
October 27, 2009 5:53:53 AM

I am a Computer Tech and have to deal with the RMA's amongst other things. Anyhow generally we deal with Seagate drives and their RMA, email and tracking system is absolutely first class. However any time I have to deal with Western Digital in Germany its a nightmare. The emailing system consists of standard format emails...solving nothing...requests enquiring about their complaints procedure gets ignored no matter how many emails you send. The Tracking system does not work and takes anything up to 2 weeks to update...considering the RMA's should be accompanied by their pre printed bar codes...therefore should be an easy process for the receiving warehouse to scan and update the RMA database. Its a real pain to deal with western digital no matter how good their products are. Support to any organistaion should be important...perhaps WD dont grasp that concept...Scottie
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October 28, 2009 12:20:51 AM

Scottie:

What I learned from the experience I posted on this forum was that the weakness stemmed from lower level tech support. Once I was able to communicate with corporate, the results were more than satisfying. A customer should not have to try to figure out how to escalate out of a technical support environment and into the company's corporate structure to get customer service. So I agree that WD should improve their technical support system but I have to say they were more than generous once the right person in corporate got involved.

Ray
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October 28, 2009 1:21:55 AM

Proabably <5% of customers get beyond cs to get to the level you are talking about and I'm sure that's the general idea. I stick with Seagate now as I get an RMA, ship the drive and a new one is at more door step in days. My luck of having a WD hard drive to be under warranty is much slimmer than with the Seagate from my last 4 hard drive failures...
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November 4, 2009 1:11:02 PM

I strongly agree Western Digital Customer Suppoer is Diabolical...I have worked in the Industry now for nearly 30 years and have never had dealings with a company whose Customer Support is so bad.
It has been a culture shock having to deal with Western Digital support services over the last few weeks and the high level of incompetence is truly astounding.
I returned 2 faulty drives under RMA's and thats where the problem started.
Both drives were sent by courier and in fact were signed for by Western Digital in Germany on 12 Oct 2009 @ 12.03pm.
I tried using Western Digitals tracking system which is practically useless as its not updated promptly therefore is of no use to customers. It so far out of date that it is beyond belief. RMA's are accompanied by a BarCode detailing each RMA Number therefore its a simple process to scan each RMA receipt on arrival. This would immediately update the RMA Database. I have personal experience with such controls therefore I am astounded that Western Digital cant institute such a basic control system.
I can only assume the SLA has something to do with RMA's being updated approx 10 days after receipt of the actual RMA's. Incorrect Data input give distorted SLA in favour of the companies RMA receipt and turnaround times when in fact WD turn around times are alarmingly atrocious.
Not withstanding the poor RMA controls the Support services by email and telephone are even worse. I sent so many emails to WD Support, perhaps as many as 25, most of which were ignored and never made it onto your their system for some reason. Yet they keep sending me Customer Satisfaction emails to comment on their level of support
Another reason for losing my emails may be that each email i sent requested details of Western Digitals Complaints Procedure. No email was received by me at any time detailing those procedures. Making staff aware of the Complaints Procedure should be pure basics and is always covered in staff training. I am assuming its the same with Western Digital BUT its NOT happening nor are emails being answered compentently. Standard emails are being fired out without even trying to read what the customer has written Where are their internal controls? What's their internal audit teams doing.
I soon got fed up with the emails to Western Digital and the lack of support so I tried to telephoning Western Digital on several occasions. The 0800 Telephone Numbers quoted on the internet do not work.
Eventually I contacted your support staff using an alternative Tel No and have spoken to 3 seperate members of staff. The first being Waldo who promised action...I have seen no evidence of any action and he did not keep me the customer informed of any action taken. The second was Tom. He promised to have a senior member of staff call me to discuss the matter. Again no evidence of any action. In fact I am told he made no record of the call at all. The third was Miguel whome i spoke to at length...21 minutes.....he promised to go and find someone for me to talk to....he didnt and when i asked for the Supervisor I was conveniently cut off. Had this not been deliberate, I assume he would have called me back considering he had already asked me for my contact tel no. He did not attempt to call me back.
I spent a further 20 mins waiting on being connected again....and hey presto it was Maguel again. I requested the Supervisor again and finally managed to speak to an apologetic Michael. He as the Supervisor kept apologising. I told him I do not want apologies I want action. I also asked to be able to talk to a Senior member of the Operations Management. The reason being that Western Digital would benefit from some genuine feedback instead of relying on being fed false data on SLA times.
Western Digital appear to have serious issues regarding RMA's, Emails and Customer Support.
Incidentally I am still receiving emails telling me my drives have been received and that the replacements have been shipped. Not at all. The UPS link on the emails does not recognise the RMA details.
This is a shortened version of events and does not do justice to the many hours I have spent trying to communicate with WD. I feel that WD have performed very very badly indeed. I am not saying Western Digital Drives are bad but more that their whole Customer Support setup is bad.
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November 5, 2009 11:52:44 AM

Yeah, this fits my situation to a tee. However, I've just tried to patiently wait. It's very difficult to do so.

I paid extra for the WD 320GB Black Drive with the added shock sensor over the one without the sensor, supposing it'd help my drive to last longer, or be recoverable. I did manage to get my data off, but it's now been over a month that WD has had my drive, and I've attempted 2 or 3 times via email to get an answer (giving PLENTY of time between attempts), but still no answers, and no updates to the RMA status. It's said "delayed" since they received it. The initial receiving of my drive and approval for RMA went so quickly, I thought I'd have my drive within 1 to 2 weeks tops. However, it's now been over 1 month, and I sure hope it doesn't go to 2, though at this point I'd not be shocked.
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December 3, 2009 7:04:13 AM

Similar experience (external harddisk):

Received Date: 29-Oct-2009
Model No: WDG2NC10000E

Shipped Date: 26-Nov-2009

(and the "Received Date" is 10 days after I sent it....)
---------
all together: 6 weeks





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Anonymous
a b G Storage
January 2, 2010 5:01:08 AM

i am also face the same problem
i sent an western digital hard disk
it is received there after 11 days and shipped to me at that date
but now 12 days after i canot get my drive back.
now my custormers warn me
what i will do
the customer care said to me to check online?
which courier the hdd is returned
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January 2, 2010 11:33:19 AM

Quote:
i am also face the same problem
i sent an western digital hard disk
it is received there after 11 days and shipped to me at that date
but now 12 days after i canot get my drive back.
now my custormers warn me
what i will do
the customer care said to me to check online?
which courier the hdd is returned

----------
When I got the e-mail from WD, that they had received my harddisk
(Western Digital RMA Status for RMA #xxxxxxx - drive received"),
there was a link to the status of my RMA
(View RMA Status
- http://websupport.wdc.com/rd.asp?t=104&l=en&p=v&r=xxxxx...)
and on that page I could read the carriers name (UPS) and there was a link "Tracking # 1" to UPS.
I f you had a similar mail you should be able to find the carrier and contact them.
But I think the responsibility even for this is at Western Digital.
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January 2, 2010 2:39:50 PM

Thanks for posting guys.......

I am in the market for another HD and I think I just took Western off of the "list".
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