back to article Ebuyer in hard-drive warranty debacle

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, …


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  1. Trevor Watt

    Dave can say what he likes - the goods are not as described.

    And as the goods are not as described the eBuyer has to give the money back and pay the postage both ways as the purchaser's rights say the purchaser is entitled not to suffer any loss.

  2. GettinSadda

    Not true according to Kikatek

    I recently bought a "1650VA UPS" from and they delivered a 500VA unit.

    According to Kikatek they made a mistake in the description and although I could send the unit back, they would charge me a "restocking fee" as I had opened the box before discovering their mistake.

    So, it seems that if they claim "oops" then you lose your legal rights. eBuyer seem to have taken the "oops" defence here.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Inferior goods?

    For my own interest, what is so awful about OEM devices that they dare not offer a warranty of more than 20% of a non-OEM device?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Err, but these are sold as OEM drives aren't they?

    OEM is what it says on the tin. Any system builder knows that.

    eBuyer as far as I know mark OEM drives as such.

    That the warranty is covered by them and not the manufacturer is another matter but so long as they honour what they claim then that's fair enough. They don't have to offer any warranty though as the system builder (yourself) is the one who provides OEM support. You are the OEM basically.

    It's the same with Microsoft Windows OEM editions (always dubiously flogged with a mouse to get around the OEM T&Cs). The licence (if you bother to actually read it) states that support is provided through the provider of the system. i.e. YOU (as you are the system builder).

    This is the main reason why OEM components are cheaper!

    Now if it's an issue that people don't realise what OEM actually means then fair enough. Perhaps OEMs shouldn't be sold so readily to end users (as the manufacturer after all intends, as sale of OEM to end users is an abuse really though we all like it because it's cheaper).

  5. fixit_f

    Ebuyer are a terrible vendor full stop - avoid.

    That is all.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No doubt about it my opinion.

    If a retailer quotes a 5 year warranty, you're entitled to 5 years.

    Which shouldn't be a problem. I don't imagine that Segate make an inferior OEM product. One that will curl up and die four years early.

  7. Chris Matchett


    if kikatek are in the eu then they are lying, wrong or both. they can explain oops to their accountant.

    sale of goods act my friend.

  8. Rob Beard

    eBuyer Returns

    When I worked at eBuyer when they were based in Sheffield (back in 2003) the returns techies were split into a couple of teams, we did about 2 weeks in the warehouse testing the kit that customers had returned and a week in the office replying to them dreaded e-Notes (and occasionally dealing with customers calls - yes, there were phones in the office).

    From what I can remember, there was a cordless phone in the warehouse but it was spread between about 7 or 8 techies who generally used it to return faulty bits to companies like Epson and Linksys (of whom I was on the phone to on hold for an hour on one occasion).

    I can't see how the drives can get mixed up though. Where I am working now we have a load of Seagate 40GB drives from Dell to cover failing drives in some of the machines, the warranties for them drives are covered by Dell although drives that I normally buy from places like SVP in Paignton (who are local to me) carry the full warranty (even if they aren't retail boxed ones).


  9. Kev K

    dont see a problem here

    The site description clearly states the product is OEM & clearly states the warranty is 5 years. I have never had a problem with ebuyer, on the very rare occasion I have had to return a product (one very cheap switch & one psu) they have been good as gold.

    As a system builder (which I used to be) you should accept the fact that on occasion something will break & that you, as the builder & person who makes a profit on the system should fix it. Who gives a fig where the replacement comes from. If it is the brand you prefer and the same size or greater you say thank you very much and move on with life.

    FFS some people get worked up over such small things, mind you as a system builder we had proper accounts with distributors, weren’t working out of our bedrooms and expected things to occasionally go wrong, its called the “that’s dealing with end (l)users factor”

  10. peter

    Return Costs

    You don't have to pay return postage if the goods are not as described, this isn't the DSR. Just cancel the payment (if you can) and advise the goods are available for collection at a reasonable time, you are not using a cooling off period to return them.

  11. Guru

    Your Warranty is with eBuyer.

    Now, to be clear here, your warranty is covered by the people who sold you the drive, not with the people who manufactured it.

    The system of passing customers directly to the manufacturer is meant as a convenience for all involved (hah :), but does not reflect the way consumer protection laws work. If eBuyer asks you to contact the drive manufacturer directly for a warranty request, you are within your rights to refuse and ask them to deal with it themselves.

    If eBuyer offered you a 5 year warranty, then you are entitled to one. eBuyer have clearly stated they will honour it, therefore goods are as described.

    There may be nuances and practical aspects I haven't covered here, but that's the gist of it.

  12. Keith Langmead

    Where does it say they were listed as OEM?

    While the article says that the drives were OEM, at no point does it state that they were sold as such. Yes if you take the chance of buying a cheaper OEM version of something then it's on your head to look after it, but in this case people were buying what they thought were standard branded drives, with their stated 5 year warranty.

    Just because you decide to upgrade the HDD in your computer does not make you an OEM!

  13. Kev K

    States OEM

    On the ebuyer page in question. I actually followed the link and checked before lighting up the neon sign on my head.

    My understanding is the reason people buy OEM is that as a rule they are cheaper and GENERALY come with less warranty/no frills/no free games/cr@py or no packaging etc. Lets be honest if Product X and Product are basically the same and one is cheaper there is normally a reason and you need to be living in some kind of Paris Hilton world of fluffy pink clouds to think there is such a thing as a free lunch.

    TBH this kind of thing p1sses me off "Boo Hoo!! I didn’t pay retail prices but expect retail service" pfft I wish these people stuck to buying from PC world.

    Ebuyer should ban this bloke from buying anything from them ever again. Or employ that customer service bloke from the other day, Rufus I think he was called

  14. Brett Brennan

    OEM drives NOT covered for 5 years?

    This surprises me: I nearly *ALWAYS* buy OEM drives from resellers here in the U.S. - and they have the manufacturer's stated warranty - typically 3-5 years for newer hard drive kit. And yes, they DO occasionally fail: out of an 18 drive RAID I built, I had two drives that were DOA. These were WD, and, when registered on their OEM WEB site, they were immediately replaced - no questions asked.

    I can't believe that Seagate would not honor their warranty, unless these specific SKUs are only warranted for 1 year. Unless Seagate is getting that cheezy with their manufacturing that they only warrant the consumer devices for a decent amount of time. (Of course, the consumer box items are more expensive...maybe it's not just the plastic filler and the razor-sharp "security" packaging that's inflating the price?)

  15. b166er

    Avoid Ebuyer

    I ordered a 32Mb Sandisk SD card from Ebuyer about 5 years ago. They sent me a 32Mb sanKing part or something like that (totally inferior, packed up about 20 uses later). I called them to ask for the part I ordered and they said it must have been a picking error and I could return it, postage at my expense! That's the last time I bought anything from Ebuyer. Why buy anything from them, when there is Scan, who have been exemplary from the word go often going the extra mile. I know this is a rant at Ebuyer, but they suck. The only reason they are honouring the warranty is because they got caught with their pants down.

  16. Tiim

    They refund postage for everyone surely?

    I've bought a fair bit of gear from Ebuyer over the years building machines for people in the home environment since then can generally get twice what they could in a retail shop and their budget meant they couldn't get what they needed the retail way.

    When I have had DOA parts like optical drives and HDD's I've posted them back or had Citilink pick them up and after testing the items and deciding I was correct and sending me replacements they have always refunded me any additional postal expenses.

    Sure, warranties generally should be held by the point of sale here in England and I dislike the disclaimers on items like DFI motherboards (return to Netherlands yourself!) where for example recently a northbridge fan failed on a DFI mobo, but I just bought an Evercool VC-RE fan to replace it myself as it was easier all round (would have been an upgrade anyhow, reduced noise and temps.) But They clearly state "OEM" and "five year warranty" which means you are getting OEM parts and have a five year warranty with Ebuyer themselves. There is absolutely no problem here really, just a lot of hot air.

  17. Paul

    ebuyer are relatively good

    I've found ebuyer, dabs, scan and Komplett to be reasonable and efficient; my worst experience has been with Aria (just snipped big rant). I can cope with mistakes, and ebuyer have made the occasional one, but Aria's really f*****d me over.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The only reason they are honouring the warranty is because they got caught with their pants down." - The problem was not known until it was highlighted by a customer and as with policy, to honour the warranty would always be the case in this situation.

    The 'problem' was with only a relatively small batch of these OEM (clearly labelled) drives of which the affected stock left our warehouse before we even knew about this issue.

    These drives are marked OEM on our website and whether the warranty is covered by us or the manufacturer - it does exist. It is easy to say that we have lied in our description but we have been selling these drives for a long time with no issues and as we have said this was not known until brought to our attention. As anyone buying these drives now will not be affected, to put this addition on to our description is not required.

    If any customers who have been affected do contact us, we take this seriously and look into the situation. Under DSR, postage charges are not refunded if a customer changes their mind about a product and the same applies here. We have confirmed this warranty will be honoured (the complete 5 full years from receipt) and if the customer decides to return the drive regardless that is their decision.

  19. Chris

    OEM != OEM

    A few years ago, I had a friend who had a Dell system with a drive doing the click-of-death. When I went to WD's website, I learned that the drive was an OEM drive and was only warranted to the original equipment manufacturer (Dell, in this case). This is where our confusion comes from -- hard drives are sold in three forms: retail, OEM, and OEM. The first OEM is sold to the big system builders such as Dell, and is only warranted to them. The second OEM is sold through the distribution channel and carries the full warranty; these drives are most commonly called OEM, but are also sometimes called "bare drive" (as opposed to retail). Until the storage industry starts using different terms for these two types of OEM drives, the confusion will continue.

  20. Andy Bright

    Offering to honour warranties is not the point

    The problem is there is a reason why hard disk manufacturers offer warranties of varying lengths on particular products, and that reason should be fairly obvious.

    The more expensive drives are more reliable - therefore fall within acceptable failure rates in terms of how much they have to spend to replace them over the warranty period.

    So I would assume a hard drive with a 1 year warranty is probably 99.5% reliable over 5 years as opposed to 99.9% - that's a guess not an accurate number.

    The problem is that hard disks are very specific in their warranties about what they cover. Very, very few hard disks come with data warranties - and that's the point.

    Even if replaces your hard disk after 3 or 4 years, it's not much comfort to a person that only had enough DVDs or second HD space to backup a portion of their data.

    The 5yr warrantied gear would almost certainly have not failed - so the user is still out of pocket regardless of what do.

    Not offering postage to retrieve "oops" goods is just rubbing salt in the wound.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    seems quite apt that this came out this week

    How many web retailers dont know the law?

  22. Rachel


    For some reading this, it sounds like they haven't looked at the parts warranties much.

    Generally there is a manufacturer waranty. And yes retail waranties generally go a bit longer, to something like the 3-5 year mark.

    It sounds like ebuyer had a mixup and stated a manufacturer waranty of 5 years when it was a 1 year waranty.

    So really they aren't doing that bad in honoring the additional 4 years through their site, rather than directing you through the manufacturer.

    Your still getting the same drive. When you buy OEM your generally getting the base hardware. You don't get the extended manufacturer warranty or possibly the extra goodies that might be packed with the retail device (cpu fan for cpu, software etc..).

    The main problem for the consumer is that you might have to keep track of more paperwork and the return system may not be as easily tracked. Most of your drive manufacturers track everything by the serial number you'll find easily posted on the drive. So if the drive does fail in 4 years, you can reference everything through the SN and manufacturer and generally track its progress through the site. With the warranty through ebuyer, you need to remember that you purchased it from them and then deal with them as a middle man.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets simplify this a little

    The issue here is that eBuyer are buying OEM drives from distribution. All the part codes listed on their site are OEM drives.

    They know, just like every distributor and reseller knows, that those drives are for trade and system integrators only.

    The drives carry 5 year warranties, normally dealt with entirely by the distributor. These warranties are not for end-users to deal with Seagate directly about. The warranty is upheld by the company that sold it.

    So even if a system integrator buys from eBuyer, eBuyer has to handle the warranty - even if that means simply passing it onto their supplier/distributor.

    The problem here is that eBuyer are selling to end users, and even if they are offering to handle the warranty for those end users, this clearly is a violation on the terms of sale on these products.


  24. CharleyBoy

    Hmm, paper trail

    Just a few points I'm pondering.

    1. Do the buyers have an actual paper warranty?

    If not and if they didn't notice then (Ie. this had not come to light like it has), then how would they prove that they ever had the warranty. I CAN imagine ebuyer saying three years down the line - "nope, sorry mate that's an OEM drive, standard warranty of one year. Five years! Don't know what your talking about". And I have dealt with ebuyer and can believe this would happen. Even with things like things vanish forever when they are only available online.

    2. Silly thought really. They haven't cut-and-pasted the description, including warranty information from a competitors site have they? Not noticing the difference - their are retail, ours are OWM. Naaaah! I'm sure they've stopped all that now.

  25. Trevor Watt

    Everyone pointing out the description says OEM are right, but

    Everyone pointing out the description says OEM are right, but the product description clearly says 'Manufacturer's Warranty - 5 Years' That is a warranty provided by the manufacturer, not the vendor, and is in addition to the buyers statutory rights and any warranty give by the vendor.

    As typically an OEM device has no warranty information in the box or bad then the only way a buyer would find out is to check the drive against the manufacturers web-site and most would only enter the drive number in the event of a request for a RMA number by which point it is likely too late.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OEM not the point

    I'll start off by saying that I've bought from ebuyer multiple times in the past, and not had any issues with them. However.....

    Whether or not the drives are OEM or not is not the point here (and it does state that they are OEM). If you look at the specifications, it very clearly states that the drives have a 5 years "manufacturers" warranty.

    And that is not the case, so we are dealing with goods that are not as described, so if a customer wants a refund on that basis then it is not a simple "customer changes their mind about a product" issue.

  27. Philip Cass

    OEM and OEM

    In response to Chris - quite right, after reading through the thread what appears to have happened is eBuyer's supplier gave them a batch of "component" OEM (intended for manufacturers) instead of "bare drive" OEM (intended for end-users without the fancy packaging and cables etc)

    While retail and the second category of OEM get a 5 year warranty from Seagate, the other type don't (you should go to the place you bought the computer from)

    Given that ebuyer's policy is to honour any warranty stated if the manufacturer won't / ebuyer mistyped the product description / whatever, I don't see the problem

    Note that this explanation implies (but not definitively) that ebuyer didn't make money out of this

  28. dreadful scathe

    ebuyer are great

    not sure what the big deal is here. Ebuyer will honour the warranty for the OEM drives they sell? Ebuyer are an excellent company and my few RMAs have been handled perfectly.

  29. Graham Jordan

    Awful company

    Send the wrong goods via the worst courier ever. Utter tossers.

  30. Robert Hirst

    OEM = same gear, different box

    "The 5yr warrantied gear would almost certainly have not failed - so the user is still out of pocket regardless of what do."

    Yes, the packaging really makes a huge difference to how long a product lasts.

    The retail stuff has flashy boxes so it can sit on the shelfs at shops and tempt people into snap decisions.

    You want my guess, the real reason that OEM equipment have a shorter warranty so that the manufacturers can get a slice of the sweet extended warranty pie that the big system assemblers are selling. It works well for both parties... if you buy a PC from Dell and you know all the parts are covered for 5 years already, you aren't gonna buy the extended warranty, are you? And the hardware makers cash back for the x% which does fail.

    I've never heard of OEM hardware having higher fail rates than retail branded stuff.

  31. James Pickett

    Ebuyer OK

    "I have never had a problem with ebuyer"

    Likewise. Delivery when they say (often before) and very competitive. Sounds like an honest mistake, and they have said they will deal with any claims.

    If you want shrink-wrapped stuff, go to PC World - twice the price and carp service, but at least you get a nice box...

  32. HT

    My OEM CPU from Ebuyer turned out to be second-hand

    My OEM CPU from Ebuyer turned out to be

    second-hand -- heatsink imprint, TIM remnants

    etc., Not only that, it was the wrong speed

    and arrived rattling around loose in a scruffy

    package with sellotape dangling from it.

    Complained and returned it for replacement only

    to have the whole episode repeated !

    (No whisper of delivery refund in either case.)

    Other 'OEM' items I've had from them have also

    shown signs of dubious provenance.

    Retail items they've been okay with (so far).

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