EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES PART II: How To Get A Free Replacement

broken external hard drivesLike many electronics, external hard drives come with warranties. Most are for two or three years, but some are for five or even more. Rather than shelling out another two to three hundred dollars if your warrantied hard drive fails, then, you can simply have it replaced by using an RMA. RMA stands for “return material authorization” or “return merchandise authorization,” and it’s a code that tells the stingy warehouse trolls, “I compel you to send me a replacement product.”

When your hard drive fails, turn it upside-down and take a photo of its serial number. Then simply use a search engine to look for “(device manufacturer) RMA process.” Chances are, you’ll either just have to call a phone number, or even simply fill in some blanks online, and an RMA will be issued to you along with an address to which you can send back your broken product.

Print out the RMA, include the printout with the product, and also write the RMA prominently on the outside of the box. After the drive is received by the manufacturer, they’ll get another one to you straightway. If you still need to waste three hundred dollars, please just send it to my Paypal account; I promise I’ll spend it on whiskey and stickers.

2 thoughts on “EXTERNAL HARD DRIVES PART II: How To Get A Free Replacement

  1. Not quite right!

    The key part of RMA is the Authorization part. The manufacturer will only authorize the return, and issue the RMA number, if they have first verified that the failed drive is (still) under warranty. No warranty, no RMA number.

    I should also point out that most manufacturers these days offer the option to send you the replacement drive immediately, and include return paperwork that you can use to send the faulty drive back in their supplied packaging. This gets the replacement drive in your hands within a day or two max. The reason they do this is that they will then refurbish the returned drive and re-sell it as a refurb. BTW, most warranty replacements are also refurbs!!!

    • Thank you Richard, I came here to say the same thing. Replacement hard drives nearly aren’t worth the hassle as they’re usually refurbished drives. You can even see for yourself by opening the external enclosure and checking the hard disk drive label: refurbished Seagates will have a black border around the lid sticker while WDs will have ‘Recertified’ in a top corner of the label – though open the enclosure at your own risk if still under warranty!

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