Adata Shipped Black-Friday Shoppers a Slower-Model SSD Than They Ordered

Disappointed Guy
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

You don't always get what you pay for. Customers who ordered an Adata XPG SX8200 Pro (1TB) SSD from Rakuten during the Black Friday weekend have been receiving the slightly-slower, SX8100 drive instead

The Adata XPG SX8200 Pro is one of the fastest M.2 NVMe SSDs on the market and the best value or the money when compared to pricier competitors like Samsung's 970 EVO Plus. It normally goes for around $147 so when Rakuten had it for $106, many enthusiasts pulled the trigger. 

In a thread on the /r/buildapcsales/ subreddit, a number of users reported receiving the inferior drive, shortly after getting an email from Adata  (via Rakuten) stating that the company's shipment of SX8200 Pro drives was delayed and that it was substituting an SX8100.

The text read:

"We apologize for the inconvenience, but due to an issue at the port, the 8200 item you ordered was delayed and will be delayed until the week of 12/22. We had sent out messages regarding this previously, however some people did not receive this message, that is why we are sending another one. Due to the long wait, we offered customers to swap to the 8100 to avoid the long delay as an option and if there was no response, the 8100 would be shipped. If you received the 8100 and wish to return it, please let us know as we offer free returns and will provide you with a free return label to ship 8100 back to us for a refund or for the 8200 once it is back in stock on the week of 12/22."

Adata's Email

The Adata email has a Rakuten header, because the company was using its Rakuten account to respond. (Image credit: Future)

Though users ordered their drives through Rakuten, the orders were fulfilled directly by Adata, the SSD's manufacturer. The text of the email states that Adata had tried contacting the customer in a prior message to ask if they would like a refund and since the company received no reply, it shipped out the SX8100 instead. 

However, users on the Reddit forum and several who contacted Tom's Hardware directly said that they had received no prior email from Adata or Rakuten. Some customers told us that they had received no emails at all prior to getting the SX8100 in the mail. 

Adding to the confusion just a little bit: a label on the outside of the shipping box read "ASX8200PNP," while the package inside was correctly marked as the SX8100. 

SX8100 packaging

Customers received the SX8100 in a package that had ASX8200 written on the outside. (Image credit: Reddit User /user/reddit_service_desk)

We spoke with Adata Marketing Manager Chris Kuo who admitted that the company hadn't managed its inventory well, resulting in the shortage, and described the controversy as a learning experience that would change how it handles similar issues in the future. She insisted that all consumers were sent an initial email offering them the opportunity to either wait for the SX8200 Pro to come in stock, get a refund or receive the SX8100 instead. If the company received a response, she noted, the consumer's wishes were followed.

The packaging carried SX8200 Pro labels on the outside, she noted, because the boxes were stickered before they were packed and before the decision was made to put the substitute products in.

"This is a lesson learned for us," Kuo said. "Next time we will ship out replacements to those customers who reply and directly cancel the orders for those who do not reply."

She said that the company is very concerned about its customers' satisfaction and will, as it states in the email, allow anyone who received the SX8100 to send it back and receive an SX8200 Pro when it becomes available next week.  Kuo said that the company is providing free shipping labels for customers to send the SX8100 drives back.

Consumers who bought the XPG SX8200 Pro through Amazon were not affected, because Amazon fulfilled those orders and, according to Kuo, had adequate stock.

We also reached out to Rakuten for comment. The online marketplace said that it was aware of the problem with Adata's inventory and that it fully expected the company to replace the SX8100 units with SX8200 Pro models.

"If a customer who received an 8100 in error hasn’t heard from ADATA already, they should receive an email from them shortly about their plans to replace or refund it," Rakuten said in a statement. "ADATA has assured us that that they plan to replace customers expecting 8200s with the correct units when they are back in stock and that they can continue to use the 8100s while they wait."

Adata XPG SX8100

Adata XPG SX8100 (Image credit: Adata)

XPG SX8200 Pro vs. SX8100

Besides just wanting exactly the model they paid for, there's a good reason that customers would prefer an XPG SX8200 Pro over the SX8100. The top pick on our best SSDs page, the Adata XPG SX8200 Pro uses an SMI SM2262EN controller that has a 1GB DRAM cache as opposed to the Realtek RTS5762 which has a "partial DRAM" cache of an unspecified amount. 

The XPG SX8200 Pro has a rated sequential read/write rate of 3,500 and 3,000 MBps respectively with random read and write IOPS of 390,000 and 380,000 IOPS. By contrast, the XPG SX8100 has the same rated read and write rates, but read/write IOPS of 290,000 / 240,000.

Except that the latter has a heat spreader, the XPG SX8100 is nearly-identical to the XPG Spectrix s40G, which we are in the process of reviewing. On most tests, the XPG SX8200 Pro scored better.

Spectrix vs XPG SX8200

(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

For example, on Diskbench, the XPG SX8200 Pro has a transfer rate of 887 MBps as compared to 678 MBps with the Spectrix S40G. The SX8200 Pro also loaded a level of Final Fantasy XIV in 18.6 seconds, one second faster than the Spectrix S40G.

XPG SX8200 Pro

The XPG SX8200 Pro, which consumers ordered but didn't receive. (Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

What You Can Do

If you're a customer who ordered an SX8200 Pro from Rakuten but received an SX8100, you should have received an email from Adata telling you how to send it back for either a refund or an SX8200 Pro. However, if you haven't heard from Adata, you can contact Rakuten by emailing or calling (800) 800-0800.

Kuo said that Adata is working with Rakuten to get customer's phone numbers so that, if a similar situation arises in the future, the company will be able to call people who don't answer via email.

Unfortunately for Adata, even sending the correct SSD may not restore trust.

"The communication was bad and the entire idea of sending a customer lower quality product because the one they ordered is out of stock is ridiculous," said Adam Miller, a consumer who ordered the XPG SX8200 Pro from Rakuten on November 28th. "I won't be shopping their products again and I hope I can get this issue resolved in a timely manner. The worst part is that there will undoubtedly be customers who don't catch the switch and will be stuck with a product they didn't even want."

Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch is Tom's Hardware's editor-in-chief. When he's not playing with the latest gadgets at work or putting on VR helmets at trade shows, you'll find him rooting his phone, taking apart his PC or coding plugins. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram developed many real-world benchmarks, including our laptop battery test.
  • Dark Lord of Tech
    Not good!
  • drdccd
    not to mention that 8100 has heating problem.
  • gdmaclew
    Standard excuses...

    The cheque is in the mail.
    We sent out an e-mail.
  • nofanneeded
    well They said they will send the SSD once it is restocked. you should feel happy not say NOT GOOD

    because in Black Friday , when it is out of stock you will never get the deal.

    By offering you the option to wait instead of saying out of stock and still pay Black Friday price , you have nothing against them. They are cool.
  • Karadjgne
    its called a 'Rain Check' . ppl have been doing it for years when dealing with OOS items that will be continued, not OOS items that won't be replaced.

    You order, pay, get item when it becomes available. If announced on the website that item was OOS and a substitute would be sent for use until stock allowances were made, that'd be cool, I'd know upfront, and would be happy that someone was trying to honor customer service, like getting a loaner car while yours is getting fixed, but the email thing is wonky, most emails go to spam nowadays, so if you don't expect one, its probably gotten deleted. Who reads their spam mail?

    Can't blame Adata, they at least tried, they didn't have to. That should have been entirely a Rakuten responsibility as they are the Vendor in question, online resale or not.
  • velocityg4
    It appears Adata may have dug a legal minefield for themselves. Allegedly, they purposefully shipped a substitute item people never ordered. An inferior one at that. Next a demand that item back before shipping the correct item or issuing a refund.

    While they sent an e-mail. They did not receive tacit approval from the buyers to accept a substitute. To avoid legal troubles. They should tell buyers to keep the incorrect SSD. Then offer to still ship what they ordered or get issued a refund.

    Unordered Merchandise Q. Am I obligated to return or pay for merchandise I never ordered?
    A. No. If you receive merchandise that you didn’t order, you have a legal right to keep it as a free gift.

    If the seller is unable to ship within the promised time, it must notify you, give a revised shipping date and give you the chance to cancel for a full refund or accept the new shipping date. The seller also must give you some way to exercise the cancellation option for free — for example, by supplying a prepaid reply card or staffing a toll-free telephone number.

    If you don’t respond — and the delay is 30 days or less — it’s assumed that you accept the delay and are willing to wait for the merchandise.
    If you don’t respond — and the delay is more than 30 days — the order must be canceled by the 30th day of the delay period and a full refund issued promptly.If the seller can’t meet the revised shipping date, it must notify you again by mail, email or telephone and give you a new shipping date or cancel your order and give you a refund.

    The order should be canceled and a refund issued promptly unless you indicate by the revised shipping date that you are willing to wait.
    If you don’t respond to the second notice, the seller should assume that you are not willing to wait issue a full refund promptly.
  • Karadjgne
    So the question is, who is at fault. To me, that would be entirely on Rakuten, as the seller, regardless of supplier, as the item wasn't bought direct from Adata, but through a 3rd party. Rakuten should have sent the emails, tried contacting non-responders etc as they were the ppl being paid for the item. Even if Adata did supply/ship temporary replacement items, it should be on Rakuten to resolve the issue, absorb any shipping fees, any loss of revenue from Adata. I have no doubts Rakuten knew full well that Adata was out of stock, at some point, but continued with the sale anyways.
  • bigdragon
    Is it amateur hour over at Rakuten and Adata? This is classic bait and switch. No site policies or terms and conditions are going to override legal precedent here. The explanation for how this happened makes it obvious the whole thing is intentional too. You can't just substitute an inferior product and send it out without consent like this. Was anyone paying attention in Business Management 101?

    The 8100 drives are considered unsolicited gifts that consumers are not required to waste any time sending back. Free return shipping does not negate this fact. Rakuten and Adata need to send out those 8200 drives or cancel-refund the orders.

    This story makes me want to avoid doing any business with Rakuten and Adata. Want to give consumers a surprise free upgrade? Sure, fine. A surprise downgrade -- oh hell no!
  • Karadjgne
    And therein lies the issue, there isn't really a surprise upgrade, the SX8200 Pro is top of the line. But I'd agree, if it was the 8100 that this happened to, and Adata shipped the 8200 instead, nobody would have said a word...
  • Christopher1
    No. This is nonsense. You do not automatically swap out X for Y if you do not receive a response. You only do that when you do receive a response!
    This is black letter state and federal law. AData is going to be in heap big pile of dog waste when the regulators hear about this.