Sometimes, you have to be tough. Sometimes, it pays to be nice. I recently have had a run of bad luck with some hard drives, and so I needed to have them replaced under warranty.
Western Digital had the easiest return process — you can go on their web site, enter a serial #, and then if you give them a credit card #, they’ll send you a new drive first, making it easy to return the defective one because you already have the box.
Hitachi was equally easy to set up the RMA, but less convenient — they make you send you the drive first, repeatedly warning you that if you don’t pack it to their specifications that you’ll void the warranty.
Iomega was the worst of the bunch — they won’t even accept a phone call without a $25 charge. Instead, you have to chat with someone on their web site until you convince them that the drive is really, truly defective. That took an hour. And then you have the same process as Hitachi — you have to return the drive first.
In all of these cases, the manufacturer expects you to pay for shipping your defective drive to them, which is a little bit of adding insult to injury. However, I called both Hitachi and WD and, after sensing that the person I was talking to was a “wants to help” type, I politely asked if they would pay for shipping, on account of the drive (in both cases) being nearly new. And the rep agreed, at both companies, and I received the label by email. The Hitachi rep was super nice, and even said he’d be happy to because I asked so nicely — he was more accustomed to people shouting at him.
So, not happy about the drive performance, but the customer service performance of WD and Hitachi pleased me, and WD gets bonus points for offering advance replacement.
Now I need to see if Iomega will pay for shipping — that drive was BRAND NEW but it was too late for me to return it to Best Buy — now that I’ve convinced them it’s return-worthy. I don’t know if my charm will be as convincing via chat.