Seagate is cutting the warranty period of its bare drives.
A mail sent by Seagate to a North American reseller said:
Seagate Updates Warranty Terms on Select Bare Drives
Starting in 2009, Seagate will be making some important changes to its limited warranty terms for selected bare drive products.
For products purchased on or after January 3, 2009, the limited warranty period for consumer electronics, notebook and personal storage bare drives sold to Seagate Authorized Distributors will be changed from 5 to 3 years. Seagate believes that the new warranty period and terms better reflect current industry standards.
Seagate enterprise drives and Seagate and Maxtor external retail products that have 5-year warranty periods will not be affected by this change.
Drives with a 3-year warranty period include the Barracuda 7200, Diamondmax, Momentus 7200 and 5400, Pipeline HD and HD Pro, DB35 and LD25 5400.
The warranty change goes into effect on drives shipped from January 3, 2009, onwards. Seagate will honour the 5-year warranty on affected drives purchased before that date. The company isn't intending to change the warranty period on retail or enterprise drives.
A Seagate Bare Drive Warranty Change FAQ strongly rebuts any suggestion that this reflects lower confidence in product quality.
The company says 95 per cent of drive returns take place in the first three years. The industry norm warranty period for such drives is 3 years and Seagate says that by changing to a 3-year term it is able to improve other aspects of its customer support programs.
The Register reader who tipped us off to the change said he was sure many people, including himself, had stuck to Seagate drives because of the 5-year warranty. He, and they, won't do that anymore.
Ian O'Leary, Seagate's, EMEA Corporate Communications Director, said: "Our current 5-year limited warranty will remain in place for consumer retail products as well as for enterprise-class hard drives, and we will now provide our distributor customers with a 3-year limited warranty for all other hard drives."
"Based on our data, we know that 95 per cent of all returns take place during the first three years, so by offering a 3-year warranty - which is in line with the rest of the industry - we can make other aspects of our customer support and warranty programs more attractive with negligible impact to customer product return needs. The 3-year limited warranty on notebook, desktop and consumer electronics bare drives offers new advantages and enhancements to the business proposition for our channel customers while improving cost efficiencies for Seagate. We expect little, if any change for consumers since hard drives used in computer systems and other devices are covered by the individual manufacturer’s warranty."