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WD Red SMR Lawsuit Pays Out Pennies in Settlement Damages

WD Red NAS Hard Drives
WD Red NAS Hard Drives (Image credit: Shutterstock)

As tipped by a Redditor (opens in new tab), Western Digital has started sending out cash payments to class members of the WD Red NAS class action lawsuit. The payout varies from $4 to $7 per hard drive, depending on the hard drive capacity that consumers had purchased.

In 2020, consumers discovered that Western Digital was utilizing inferior shingled magnetic recording (SMR) technology in the company's WD Red hard drives that cater to NAS devices. The manufacturer later detailed all of its products that used SMR technology, including several Blue and one particular Black drive. Sadly, it was too late for the disclosure as firms have filed multiple class action lawsuits against Western Digital for false advertising.

Western Digital settled one of the lawsuits back in 2021 and created a $2.7 million compensation fund for consumers that had bought one or more of the brand's WD Red hard drives. Owners had to file a claim at WDRedNASHarddriveSettlement.com (opens in new tab) before November 8, 2021 to file a claim. If you're part of the group, it shouldn't be long until you get your compensation from Western Digital. The 2TB (WD20EFAX) and 3TB (WD30EFAX) models were eligible for $4.00 whereas the 4TB (WD40EFAX) and 6TB (WD60EFAX) drives are good for $7.00.

The user from the Reddit post received a payment of 18.00 Canadian dollars, equivalent to $14.00. It's not a considerable sum, but it's free money regardless - money that you can use to pay for a meal.

Zhiye Liu
Zhiye Liu

Zhiye Liu is a Freelance News Writer at Tom’s Hardware US. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • Kamen Rider Blade
    Stop selling SMR drives to consumers.

    SMR should be a "Enterprise Only" solution that is direct to Enterprise Customers.

    Regular Consumers, even those that buy Enterprise Grade HDD's through online retailers, should only have access to regular HDD's.

    That would have avoided alot of issues.
    Reply
  • Alvar "Miles" Udell
    It may pay out pennies, but it no doubt cost WD much more in lost revenue.

    Also, immediately made me think of the check writing scene in The Jerk.

    The Jerk Check Writing Scene - YouTube
    Reply
  • JWNoctis
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    Stop selling SMR drives to consumers.

    SMR should be a "Enterprise Only" solution that is direct to Enterprise Customers.

    Regular Consumers, even those that buy Enterprise Grade HDD's through online retailers, should only have access to regular HDD's.

    That would have avoided alot of issues.
    There are use cases for oodles of cheap storage even for regular consumers, and there are people who kept racks of CD/DVD-R/RW/RAM's back in the day. Plenty of write-once-read-rarely demand even in consumer space.

    NAS in RAID is not one of them, even though it's supposed to cover those same needs.
    Reply
  • Thunder64
    Meanwhile the lawyers probably made a hefty sum.
    Reply
  • thisisaname
    Thunder64 said:
    Meanwhile the lawyers probably made a hefty sum.

    About the only ones who did make anything out of it.

    As for paying for a meal $14 is not going to buy you much of one.
    Reply
  • pug_s
    Kamen Rider Blade said:
    Stop selling SMR drives to consumers.

    SMR should be a "Enterprise Only" solution that is direct to Enterprise Customers.

    Regular Consumers, even those that buy Enterprise Grade HDD's through online retailers, should only have access to regular HDD's.

    That would have avoided alot of issues.

    SMR drives are only an issue when used in a NAS, which was why WD was sued in the first place. I personally use an SMR drive in my computer as a storage drive without issues.
    Reply
  • JarredWaltonGPU
    thisisaname said:
    About the only ones who did make anything out of it.

    As for paying for a meal $14 is not going to buy you much of one.
    A couple pounds of ground beef, or a decent pound of steak, or a package of pre-formed hamburgers... and for the non-beef crew, three bags of salad mixes, a soda and a sandwich from the deli, etc. $14 is enough to feed my whole family dinner and then some, provided we're not eating out.
    Reply
  • digitalgriffin
    Let me guess: the class action lawyers got the vast bulk of that? I want to see difference between what the claimants got and what the lawyers got.

    The more I read about these class actions, the more I think people should let the class action settle then open a claim in small claims court citing the original ruling. In a number of states you can claim your small court cost in the settlement. As corps don't want the expense and can't bring a lawyer any way, they would just likely fork over the full cost of the drive as a refund. That is a worthless payout for a drive that does not perform for its intended purpose.
    Reply
  • waltc3
    digitalgriffin said:
    Let me guess: the class action lawyers got the vast bulk of that? I want to see difference between what the claimants got and what the lawyers got.

    The more I read about these class actions, the more I think people should let the class action settle then open a claim in small claims court citing the original ruling. In a number of states you can claim your small court cost in the settlement. As corps don't want the expense and can't bring a lawyer any way, they would just likely fork over the full cost of the drive as a refund. That is a worthless payout for a drive that does not perform for its intended purpose.

    Exactly. These suits benefit the lawyers far more than consumers. Just starving lawyers looking for easy money. I bought an SMR drive recently, and it runs perfectly fine with the one big exception of RAID striping. RAID striping on SMR drives is a no go! It's possible, but unless you have a week to spare in striping a couple of SMR drives for RAID--you don't want to use SMR drives for that purpose....;)

    However, for everything else? The drive keeps up perfectly with my CMR drives in performance--and I don't need (or want) RAID anymore. So, for my non-RAID purposes, SMR is equal to my CMR drives and costs a bit more than half as much while being warranted the same. (Link is the drive I bought.)

    I cannot approve of the drive manufacturers hiding the CMR/SMR information, though, although most these days seem to show it well enough on their websites. That was dumb...Maybe they figured consumers weren't using RAID anymore, who knows?

    As far as the settlement goes, however, it's an inferior settlement (except for the lawyers.) I would simply have asked Seagate to swap me the SMR drive for the CMR counterpart if I was planning on RAID striping. That seems like a much better deal. Anyway, the drives are fine and cost less than CMR, if you do not intend to stripe them.
    Reply
  • husker
    Thunder64 said:
    Meanwhile the lawyers probably made a hefty sum.

    On the other hand, if there were no lawyers making "hefty sums", then no one would get anything (some may even miss a meal as a result) and companies could go on selling and profiting from substandard products.
    Reply