The Stack Archive

Seagate faces lawsuit over defective hard drives

Tue 2 Feb 2016

Consumers have today filed a class-action lawsuit against data storage company Seagate, after it had continued to sell a 3TB hard drive model that had an ‘exceptionally’ high failure rate.

The case is based on figures released by data backup company Backblaze, who found that failure rates for the ST3000DM001 were not only far higher than other drives, but also did not display a typical ‘bathtub-shaped’ failure rate curve. This trend normally shows failure rates for traditional disk drives decreasing, remaining constant and then increasing over time. Instead the 3TB Seagate model exhibited a 2.7% failure rate in 2012, 5.4% in 2013, 47.2% in 2014, and 29.5% in 2015.

Screen Shot 2016-02-02 at 15.06.36Backblaze’s report has since been accused of not representing real-world use. The company purchases consumer-grade devices to install in 24/7 server pods, better suited to enterprise-grade hardware. Seagate is likely to adopt this line as it responds to the suit.

Seagate marketed the ST3000DM001 as the first 3TB drive to layer three 1TB platters, while other models at the time were using up to five platters to reach a 3TB density. At the time of launch, the company emphasised its reliability and dependability, claiming an annual failure rate of less than 1% and a tiny non-recoverable read failure rate.

In a statement today, consumer rights law group Hagens Berman argued that the Seagate drives failed to live up to the marketing promises, violating federal consumer laws, as well as the company’s own warranties – delivering faulty replacements for failed hard drives.

‘Seagate promised purchasers reliable hard drives that would safeguard their important documents and cherished photos, but consumers report that these Seagate hard drives fail sometimes just days after their first use […] and replacements were just as defective,’ said Steve Berman, managing partner at the firm.

The suit was filed today in the Northern District of California, and lawyers are calling for other affected users who want payback for their purchase of a faulty Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive or Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive.

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