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By | Kelly Fiveash 21st June 2007 15:24

Ebuyer in hard-drive warranty debacle

Sells Seagate OEM drives to end users

Online retailer has many disgruntled customers knocking at its door after a cock-up with the manufacturer warranty on some of its Seagate hard-drives.

According to a thread on the firm's website forum, Ebuyer has been flogging Seagate drives that are intended only for Original Equipment Manufacturers, or PC makers, to consumers.

Customers complained after learning, via Seagate's own validation website, that the drives were not covered by the expected warranty period of five years.

In fact, a measly one year warranty was all they could expect with the 500GB and 320GB affected drives.

Why, you may wonder, would this be the case when Ebuyer clearly claims on its website to sell all Seagate hard-drives with a five year manufacturer warranty?

One answer, according to a Seagate spokesman, was that Ebuyer could have mixed up its batch of OEM and consumer hard-drives by mistake.

He told El Reg that such an error had been known to occur when retailers buy in bulk: "It's not unheard of for this to happen".

However, he would not be drawn on whether selling OEM drives to ordinary customers could help retailers cut costs while pushing up sales.

For Ebuyer's part, it has engaged in a lengthy discussion about the cock-up on its forum; or at least its intrepid 23 year-old employee Dave from Sheffield has.

Indeed, his most recent post on the topic of postage and packaging for the affected drives reads:

"As far as I am aware postage would not be refunded (although I will arrange a City Link collection for a future RMA if you so wish) as we are still honouring the warranty period regardless.

"From my own personal point of view I would consider this fair." Quite.

We tried to call Dave to get his take on the whole mess, but apparently "returns technicians do not have a phone system" and they can only be contacted via the forum.

We were also told that the firm will be putting a message up on its website confirming that Ebuyer will honour a five year warranty for the affected drives.

However, individual customers unfortunate enough to be stuck with the OEM drives will not receive individual emails as confirmation.®

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