The manufacturer of hard disk drives and storage products Western Digital was sued for missing information in data sheets of its NAS hard disks. Through an out-of-court settlement, the manufacturer will now pay a total of $2.7 million to those affected.
The reason for the class action lawsuit is the change of recording technology in the NAS hard drives and the lack of information in the data sheets. Here, Western Digital has switched from Conventional Magnetic Recording (CMR) to the cheaper recording technology Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR). This hidden change has now cost the manufacturer several million US dollars.
The changeover in technology had apparently been going on for a couple of years. Thus, the hard disks from the WD Red series were simply changed to the SMR technology, but a change in the data sheets of the affected hard disks did not take place. Thus, the disclosure of the change was missing. With the SMR technology, the data tracks are overlaid like roof shingles and this leads to problems especially with RAID rebuilds. Either an implementation is then not possible at all or it takes several hours. In addition, there is also a slightly confusing advertising by Western Digital, because the manufacturer advertises its HDDs from the WD Red series for (NAS) network storage and which are common in RAID arrays.
The agreement on compensation payments to the affected parties was reached out of court. Agreed the manufacturer with the opposing lawyers of the class action on a compensation amount of 2.7 million US dollars. This agreement now only needs to be approved by a Californian court to become effective. If the desired approval is granted, each plaintiff in the class action will receive USD 4 to 7 per affected hard drive purchased in the period from October 2018 to the date of approval by the court. In individual cases, up to 85 percent of the purchase price will be reimbursed, or a maximum of $153. However, the court costs as well as legal fees are the highest here.
German users go empty-handed
Affected hard drive owners in Germany will not receive any compensation payment, as the collective clarification only applies to affected users in the US. However, the manufacturer is now obliged to specify the technology used in the hard drives. However, this is already being done after the complaints have been received. For users who explicitly want a hard drive with CMR technology, the manufacturer has now directly introduced the WD Red Plus series.