The RMA Experience – WD and Seagate

RMAs. Return Material Authorization. Warranty. Whatever.

It’s like insurance. You rather not use it. When the time comes to use it, it can be a savior.

Recently, I have a bunch of disks with issues. I happen to have lots of hard disks. Lots means lots. Excluding office and client systems, there’s quite a few in NAS boxes (4-disks usually), servers, PCs, media players, etc.

I’ve had bad experience with Western Digital hard drives for a long time now. They somehow don’t work for me. Maybe it’s my workload, maybe it’s just me. WD disks may be fine for you but it never seems to work out for me reliably. I still risk them from time to time as I prefer to diversify my disk collection. That is supposed to reduce the risk of a manufacturer going through a bad patch. Here, you will see that I have two WD disks and four Seagate disks for RMA. I have more Seagate disk failings due to the fact that about 21 of my 28 disks are Seagate…

RMA Process:

Both WD and Seagate are quite clear on the process. Login via an online portal, give you a bunch of FAQs and stuff to do before you RMA the disk. Check warranty status. Both were clear on the entire process down to creating the RMA and printing shipping label.

Score: Tie.

Once you’ve sent the disk, you do want to make sure that the disks got to their destination. Sorry but this is Malaysia and the local postal service isn’t the best but they can be pretty good (see part 2).

Monitoring the RMA Status:

Both WD and Seagate have their portals where you can check the status of an RMA. Great. After three days, Seagate’s portal showed that the drives were received. Two days later, it indicated processing was completed and even indicated what replacement drives I would be getting. Awesome. They list shipping times as 7-10 days. Not great but hey, I have a timeline and know what to expect. WD’s portal was the same for the next five days.¬†Concerned, I sent an email. To their credit, response was by 24 hours and confirmed the shipment was received. Interesting the next day, the WD website status was updated. It took them another three full days to update the status to say that processing was done and moved to shipping. A few days later, it was updated to mention that the RMA will be shipped status as TBA. The WD updates stopped there. Eight days after Seagate listed the status as to be shipped, I got an email from Seagate saying that the RMA has shipped and the tracking number. Awesome.

Score: Seagate. All the customer wants to know is what is going on. Give me an accurate and reliable status and I’d be simply happy.

The next thing is actually beyond Western Digital or Seagate’s control. The shipping part but as Part 2 will show, it’s equally or more crucial than actually the first part. So, part 1 winner is Seagate.


[to be¬†continued…]