back to article OCZ refunds punter for dud drive shortly after El Reg steps in

OCZ promises to refund purchasers of failed solid-state drives, but at least in one case it seemed unable to do so - until Vulture Central poked its beak in. Dorothy Perry had three OCZ Agility SSDs fail over a period of about two years. The bricked flash drives wouldn't even show up in her PC's BIOS or that of another PC she …


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  1. Lee Dowling Silver badge


    We got caught trying to escape having to give the customer what they asked for and what we'd promised. We knew she wouldn't bother to take it to court, so we just kept telling her that she wouldn't get a refund but just another probably-broken drive instead because that costs us almost nothing.

    When we hit the press and might get some bad sentiment over it (with customers like ME now putting them on the blacklist for SSD's if they fail that bad - sod the refund or replacement, I'm trusting your drives with my data) we did what we should have done all along and that any court would have made us do anyway.

    Cheers, OCZ, you just my future purchasing decisions easier by removing an entire company from my list of potentials.

    1. Powelly


      What he said. Another lost sale here. Coincidentally I was looking at SSD's on EBuyer the night before last and they'd got OCZ on offer. They had decent reviews, so I was on the brink of purchasing. Definitely not now though. Can anyone recommend a good, high-speed small (60GB ish) drive to use as a boot drive in a MacBook Pro?

      1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

        Seriously, she got through three devices in two years? I've just had to go buy a USB->IDE adaptor from Maplin's in order to pull off some data from hard drives that have been sitting in the same (operational) computer since 2000, 2005 and 2008 respectively. These are obviously old-fashioned spinning disk (even IDE) drives that have been spinning for years at a time throughout their life.

        After that computer went into semi-retirement last year (after many years of reliable operation), I was tired of having to keep turning that machine back on to pull a couple of files and the Wifi in it was pitifully slow for remote file access, so I needed to copy all that data onto the £60 1TB external hard drive I got for Christmas.

        Let's put it this way - I consider it a pretty typical scenario in my experience that I had more problems:

        a) Extracting the drives from the jam-packed desktop case.

        b) Stretching the cables and plugging them all into a laptop to perform the copy.

        c) Accessing ext3 under Windows.

        d) With Windows XP out-of-resources errors because of the sheer amount of files on those drives.

        than I did with not being able to access even a single byte on those (collectively) 1Tb and half-decade-old-or-more drives. Hell, I have drives dating back to the 80's somewhere. I have more problems cobbling together an interface and reading the filesystem than I ever do with data integrity even if they've been in operation or sitting in a dusty, damp cupboard all that time.

        I understand that SSD's aren't quite as reliable EVEN IF they give ludicrous MTBF's for them now, but hell - a drive capable of standing 1000's of G's of shock failing after only a few months? Duff software and programming in the firmware and no excuse. I don't even care if it just say "Sorry, too many cell failures on the SSD to write that byte - going readonly", it should boot up and do SOMETHING that lets you try to recover your data, or at least be detected.

        You have my data. That's more precious than the most expensive warranty and replacement service available, even if I have every backup in the world and my data is worth nothing. Gigs of data should not just disappear overnight unless someone has done the equivalent of thrown your PC out of a window or set fire to it. SSD's are supposed to be even more resilient (I saw one the other day that said 1500 G's, operational or not - that's a CAR CRASH, ffs).

        I don't care if you can send me a drive as soon as I send one back - that sort of turnaround isn't even enough time to be certain of keeping a RAID5 alive at those failure rates. And their response time seems to be far from that (unless you get The Reg involved, apparently).

        1. Mark Honman

          yes, they can fail that often

          out of 3 OCZ Onyx entry-level SSDs, we have one fail (total loss of data), had it replaced under warranty, and then had the replacement fail. The other two have been fine.

          The bummer with SSD failures has been that it is a total loss of data, very rare for 'real' disk drive failures.

  2. kain preacher Silver badge

    I wounder did any one at el reg send him a link to penny arcade and ocean marketing .

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Dear valued customer"

    I love that opening salutation, years ago I had to train all my staff to use the phrase "valued customer" and not "Tosser".

    There had been lots of stories in the press about other companies' internal emails escaping into the wild that had the true description of the whinging awkward customer, using the phrase "valued customer", everybody inside new what it meant but if the email escaped there was nothing outwardly offensive about it.

    The "Have a nice day" at the end is brilliant, it is code for drop dead and die, scum :)

    1. Peter Simpson 1

      Yeah, the only thing they forgot

      "In order to serve you better..."

      ...and then on about how they're not going to give you *all* your money back, or you need to travel to their "conveniently located" branch in Timbuktu to pick up your check.

  4. elsonroa

    Par for the course...

    This kind of thing seems to be standard operating procedure for a lot of tech component suppliers. I'm in RMA hell at the moment over a brand new AMD FX-8150 which was generating L2 cache parity errors all over the place. AMD were perfectly happy to take it back, but over six weeks later I'm still trying to get them to send me a replacement...

    The bottom line is that if El Reg tried to help out all their readers as per the article, they'd never have time to do anything else!

  5. Tegne

    And next from El Reg...

    An article about a potato that hilariously looks like a penis!

    1. Ralph B

      Followed by one of Orlowski's Odd Odes.

  6. 404 Silver badge

    And that's why...

    ... I use MayaStone HC drives. A little slower write speeds with my MayaStone Hammer and Chisel, but I never lose my data.

    If it was good enough mCloud for the Mayans, that after a thousand years, the data is sill retrievable... It's good enough for me.


    1. Lockwood

      But you'll lose all your data from that by the end of the year.

      Filesystem timestamps are a bitch.

      1. Glen 1 Bronze badge

        Re: Timestamps

        Epoc Fail :P

        (sorry for double (triple?) post)

  7. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Mark Rendle

    Oh dear

    Reporting your own journal's little "triumphs" is just so tabloid. Can we expect tech commentary from shirtless bimbos in the near future? Maybe you could even hack Steve Ballmer's voicemail and see if he uses Google.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Oh dear

      Hi! You must be new here.

      1. Glen 1 Bronze badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: shirtless bimbos

        The eeePc girl hast college tuition to pay for.

      2. Mark Rendle

        No; just increasingly infrequent due to the accelerating downward trend in the quality of the "journalism". Speaking of which, whatever happened to the RIP comment icon?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Mark, the following might be informative -

      1. Mark Rendle

        My only issue with applying the term "red-top" to The Register is that it precludes comparison to the Express and Daily Mail, and that would be inaccurate.

  9. Captain Underpants


    You would *hope* (possibly in vain) that they wouldn't be stupid enough to need El Reg to tell them about the infamous Ocean Marketing incident.

    TBH, there's a good possibility that this wasn't a case of the entire company Being Evil, just one employee/team having been given crap advice internally (or a target to minimise refunds through any means necessary). The tried-and-tested protocol in such cases is:

    1) Deal with normal support channel, documenting dates & times of contact along with promises made;

    2) If this proves unsatisfactory, request escalation to a manager. You need to be sure that you've got a legitimate complaint and that you have described what you expect from the support team (and why you think it's reasonable).

    3) If escalation doesn't resolve the issue (or is refused) go to complaints team first (copying the original support team on the complaints.

    4) If complaints procedure fails, invoke Tactical Nuclear Vulture/Webcomic/Other High Traffic Site Of Your Choice.

    Beer for El Reg because it sounds like you collectively deserve one for helping bring an end to Ms. Perry's misery.

    1. archengel46

      I thought...

      ... it was Mr. Perry?

  10. Corp-Rat

    On the Other hand

    Shameless plug...

    I had a Seagate drive die last week, Seagate were quite happy to RMA a replacement under warranty

  11. Flash_Penguin

    OCZ Solid 3 infant mortality

    As title. 60G replaced after 4 months.

    Aria managed the return well however.

  12. JC_


    A Corsair drive we bought died a few months after purchase; a quick contact with Amazon's customer support and a new (properly new, not refurbished) drive arrived first thing the next morning. Can't imagine OCZ jerking around Amazon like they did this lady.

  13. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Sale of Goods (UK)

    I assume this was a uk based reader?

    If so sale of goods act applies. Its not clear if the *vendor* was OCZ or someone else. A quick glance suggests OCZ dont retail direct. Therefore its the vendor you should be dealing with.

    You contact the *vendor* and if they don't play ball - *as they are legally obliged to* - then a threat from trading standards or small claims court usually sorts them out.

    Honestly this stuff isn't rocket science. You don't have to go to the manufacturer - your contract is with the vendor - its ALL their problem - even if the manufacturer has a direct RMA its irrelevant - I make a point of never going down this path.

    Don't be fobbed off with anything else - be polite but dont hesistate to go Nuclear if you are not satisfied quickly.

    If the product doesnt work you can demand a full refund. If they dont play ball it costs a tenner to lodge a small claims court request.

    1. Lockwood
      Thumb Up

      I got an OCZ PSU from a local supplier.

      It failed, the retailer told me to go direct to OCZ as I was out of their guarantee period but within OCZ's.

      OCZ took a short while to respond, but I got a new v2 PSU (since the v1 was discontinued).

      All I had to do was pay DHL to send it to the Netherlands. (And already bought a new one).

      New one arrived, sold it to a mate who needed a new one for the cost of postage I'd paid, everyone won.

      1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

        Your vendor bent the truth. A warrantee or guarantee is in *addition* to your basic consumer rights not instead of.

        Regardless of any warrantee they have to comply with the sale of goods act if the item becomes not fit for purpose over a reasonable period of time.

        Reasonable period of time changes depending on the item but for electronic or electrical goods a year would be a minimum and courts have ruled in favour of the consumer for period over 5 years!

        Know your rights or lose them.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sales of Goods (UK)

      "You contact the *vendor* and if they don't play ball - *as they are legally obliged to* - then a threat from trading standards or small claims court usually sorts them out."

      Indeed, although it's worth noting that under the Sale and Supply of Goods to Consumers Regulations 2002, warranties are binding contracts between the purchaser and warranty issuer (typically manufacturer or their agent), so you should have rights against both (i.e. could issue against them jointly).

      Normally best to go back to the retailer though (unless they're useless), as you say. :)

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Inachu

    Abusive customers.

    Not saying she is at fault but many customers lay their laptop on the carpet or directly on a bed.

    this leads to overheating and heat kills hard drives as well as electronic equipment!.

    If you read this and still put your latop on the toilet seat as you watch your fav show and your lid has a carpet like mesh on the lid then yes you are at fault! You kill SSD's with heat and shame on you!

    1. Gordon 10 Silver badge

      What bollocks

      A) I expect my hardware to work over a reasonable set of temperatures and environments.

      B) I expect a failsoft mode - not an utter failure.

      C) what are the stats for SSD heat related failures or are you just spouting cobblers off the top of your head?

  16. ACx

    "a refund isn't possible"

    "a refund isn't possible"

    This is a stone cold lie right? How is a refund not "possible"? Does the banking system prevent it? Are OCZ out of cash? No. They can easily make a refund.

    What these con artists really mean is: "we don't want to give you a refund and we have decided not to. A refund is perfectly possible, but we chose to lie to our customers to keep their money. We don't care what has happened to our so called valued customer, we have their money and we are not giving back unless made to by shame or law."

    Then typically we get the old "its our policy to....." routine. What is a policy? A decision made by the company. That's all. In other words meaningless in law. So when they say "its not out policy to ...", they mean "its our decision not to....". They hide behind the word "policy". Just another way to obstruct the truth and honourable behaviour. Its a smoke scene the public facing staff can hide behind.

    While I'm on a rant......

    Do we have "computer error" anywhere? We all know that one right? It's never a computer error is it, unless the whole system is down in some way? Do computers ever change data arbitrarily? Do numbers just randomly change in a computer? Its always to do with the human operating the computer and entering something wrong, or entering what the company concerned wants but not what's right. Another fig leaf that is essentially a lie.

    This is typical of dealing with almost any organisations these days, not just OCZ. It leaves me at a point where I am reluctant to even purchase these days. I tend to assume that if the product fails, I''ve lost my money. If I can get it back, its a bonus.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well done OCZ!

    OCZ are certainly now my list of companies to avoid should I need to purchase parts and I shall inform anyone else I dicuss system parts with too!

    Well done OCZ, if you'd just coughed up the reddies in the first place all would have been well but now you have been shown in your true light and several dozen(*) people who read El Reg on a regular basis will be avoiding you like the plague!

    (*) Alright so it's nearer 20 on a good day!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Odd I get similar emails all the time.

    Dear Mr vAlue customer,

    It has coming to my attention that your ticket at OCZ has not been handled correct. Of course you are eligible for a refund as set out by the United nations, Microsoft and the Bank f American. To set things up, I need the following details please thankyou

    Your full address + phone + email

    Your banking details including IBAN and SWIFT/BIC codes

    A copy of your receipt shoing your credit caqrd inforamtion

    ThankYous and have a nice day. lord be with you

    Mit freundlichen Grüßen / Kind Regards

    Nico Stamp.

    Head of refunds and lottery competitions.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I cancelled an order for an OCZ Agility 3 last night...

    I cancelled an order for an OCZ Agility 3 60GB last night... as it was going to delay the rest of the parts needed to build a PC - and having read this i'm rather glad, but....

    now i have to convince the "finance manager" that a Kingston HyperX 240GB is an equivalent alternative.......

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