Seagate settles suit over disk capacity

Seagate Technology has agreed to reimburse 5% of the purchase price to people who bought Seagate hard drives in the United States between March 22, 2001, and December 31, 2005 plus pay up to $1.79 million in plaintiff's attorney fees. The move settles a lawsuit, filed in 2005, of false advertising and unfair business practices which accused the world's largest maker of hard drives of measuring storage without taking into consideration how much can be used and therefore misleading consumers by promising 7% more capacity than the devices are actually able to deliver.

The Scotts Valley company sold 3.3 million hard drives in U.S. retail stores during the period in question, at an average purchase price of $140, meaning the average cash refund will be about $7 each. In lieu of payment, those customers are also eligible for a Seagate software upgrade package worth $40. In addition, people who bought Seagate hard drives in the United States between January 1, 2006, and September 26 of this year are entitled to a non-cash reimbursement in the form of the software package. The settlement was reached in September, and a judge granted preliminary approval September 26. Both sides were prohibited from publicizing the agreement. A final approval hearing is scheduled for February 7, 2008.

News source: Mercury News

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23 Comments

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There's needs to be a law preventing companies from profiting off losing court cases. $7 is nothing, and the $40 option requires you to buy another Seagate hard drive. Microsoft has also profited from losing anti-trust cases. It should be a complete refund of the drives during that time period + $40 towards any hard drive of your choice from any company. That would be a significant financial penalty for engaging in deceptive business practices.

This is why corporations do what they do, because they can get away with it and make lots of money in the process. The law is currently set up in favor of big business, they are almost untouchable.

Specifically companies like Kingston and Corsair that make RAM under the MB/GB labels. This is NOT about Mega or Giga, that's the whole issue here. Seagate already *are* using the units of measurements as defined -- it's those who use Mega and Giga when they really mean Mebi and Gibi who are the problem here.

Ahem, exactly. 5% on all the drives I've bought during this time means I can make a whopping $100 or so...oooh wow...hooray....who cares. Only the lawyers make money on these things. We don't get enough to enough be worth filling out the claim form.

Hmm, so what about blank DVDs? They are advertised as having a capacity of 4.7GB but you can only burn about 4.37GB iirc.

The harddrive industry really needs to start advertising their drive capacities differently now, especially with bigger harrdrives. A harddrive advertised with a capacity of 750gb makes "only" 700gb of formatted space, that's a difference of 50gb (that's the 7% mentioned in the article), which is in my opinion unacceptable.

GEIST said,
The harddrive industry really needs to start advertising their drive capacities differently now, especially with bigger harrdrives. A harddrive advertised with a capacity of 750gb makes "only" 700gb of formatted space, that's a difference of 50gb (that's the 7% mentioned in the article), which is in my opinion unacceptable.

no you are wrong. The difference is that hard disc makers use the iso standard of giga and kilo and what else why the os makers use the more widespread 2^x, so a kilo instead of being 1000 is reported by windows, mac, linux as 1024

XerXis said,

no you are wrong. The difference is that hard disc makers use the iso standard of giga and kilo and what else why the os makers use the more widespread 2^x, so a kilo instead of being 1000 is reported by windows, mac, linux as 1024

Ok, that's a point. Either way, one side side needs to change.

I'd also argue that it's the long heritage of computer memory that messes things up here.

Once upon a time it made sense to measure RAM in base 2, and I guess those guys didn't care at all for sticking with the standards. It's unfortunate that they chose to call it kilo when it really wasn't about 1000.

So a 500 GB drive isn't 465 GB, it's 465 GiB.

If this is about the standard confusion, it's unfortunate Seagate is on the losing side here. It's the RAM makers that need to start specifying they aren't using the standard units of measurement even if they say there are. There you have those that should be victim of a lawsuit.

Jugalator said,
Once upon a time it made sense to measure RAM in base 2, and I guess those guys didn't care at all for sticking with the standards. It's unfortunate that they chose to call it kilo when it really wasn't about 1000.

In computing mega/giga were agreed as base-2 "standards" long before SI introduced the "somewhat retarded" sounding MiB and GiB.

Let's not forget, networking manufacturers do exactly the same.

daPhoenix said,
In computing mega/giga were agreed as base-2 "standards" long before SI introduced the "somewhat retarded" sounding MiB and GiB.

Let's not forget, networking manufacturers do exactly the same.

Very good point. Part of the problem here is that many, if not most, computer buyers these days (including posters here) aren't even aware (mostly because they are too young to remember) that this debate over hard drive size misrepresentation has been going on since the late 1980's, and maybe even longer. The drive makers absolutely refuse to adopt the standard in use by RAM and OS makers, probably because it is more profitable to advertise a 320GB drive than a 305GB drive.

The hard drive makers aren't in the wrong, they are saying that a thousand is a thousand, which it always has been, OS's are saying a thousand is a thousand and a bit (That's changing though, I've seen newer apps using the correct terms).

"We've used it a long time, lets keep it" isn't a real good excuse for why some people have a different definition of a thousand than other people.

Is this difference because of the difference between bits and bytes or was segate actually giving you less space?

Don't think so, think it's to do with non useable areas at the head of the disk to map out the HDD such as free sector tables or whatever. On Small HDD's it may not be alot, but as HDD's grow your using up a lot of space just keeping track of whats on the HDD.

No, it was over the definition of gigabyte. Computers report 1GB as 1024MB, while Seagate was defining it as 1000MB on their boxes. So if you bought a 500GB hard drive and installed it you'd find that it is actually 465GB.

are you sure or got an alternative source? this bellow quote seems to indicate to me that the dispute is not over the differences between a definition of a gigabyte.

The move settles a lawsuit, filed in 2005, of false advertising and unfair business practices which accused the world's largest maker of hard drives of measuring storage without taking into consideration how much can be used and therefore misleading consumers by promising 7% more capacity than the devices are actually able to deliver.

To me it sounds not to be a debate over a definition of how much space is there, but how much of the given space is useable by the consumer.