and dear, well, near, just had a hard drive failure (one of the infamous IBM 75GXPs).
No big deal, two years into a three year warranty. Went to the IBM site, found out that Hitachi had taken over warranty service.
OK, went over there, jumped through the (reasonable) required hoops, got an RMA number.
Then I got to the “acceptable packaging” requirements.
I buy OEM drives. They come in an electrostatic bag, and outside of the standard popcorn, that’s it.
I had thought that if it were OK to get them that way, the requirements for sending them back would be much the same. But being paranoid old Ed, I figured I’d check to make sure.
Good thing I did.
Here are Hitachi’s rules for acceptable packaging. They want an ESD bag, that’s fine.
They can’t seem to make their minds up about clamshells being acceptable packaging, but the only clearly “acceptable” route is foam rubber covering all four sides of the drive.
Not just foam rubber, though. Foam rubber with a “special cutout section” for the drive. Hmmmm, don’t have one of them, and that’s not easy to do.
Hitachi is extremely clear on what happens if they find your packaging unacceptable, though, they just void your warranty.
So what do you do? To add insult to injury, they provide a link to a place that will be happy to sell you “acceptable packaging.”
The box costs $6. Then we get to shipping.
For UPS ground in the US: $5.
For UPS 2nd Day: $17.
For UPS Next Day: $32.
Mind you, this is for an empty box with a little foam rubber inside.
Just for the hell of it, I looked to see what Newegg charged to ship a box that actually had a hard drive in it, and the cost for 2nd Day and Overnight were $11 and $21 respectively.
International? You could BUY a new hard drive, throw it away, and use the box it came in and pay less than what they charge.
This is not good.
You can find the policies for shipping back Maxtor drives here. They are similiar to Hitachi’s. Maxtor says that if you don’t have something appropriate, you can call them to get packaging at a “nominal cost.” (If anyone has been through this, send me a note as to what it costs, and I’ll update the article.)
The policies for Western Digital drives can be found here. Again, pretty much the same, but no place to get packaging.
The Moral of the Story?
If you buy OEM drives a lot, it probably would be a good idea to scrounge up a retail box from the vendor you bought from, so you won’t be faced with unexpected costs and delays, especially if you own just one hard drive.
If you buy a hard drive with a retail box, hang on to it! You might need it later.