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Should Apple Give Back Replaced Disks?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the consider-it-a-trade-in dept.

Privacy 446

theodp writes "As if having to pay $160 to replace a failed 80-GB drive wasn't bad enough, Dave Winer learned to his dismay that Apple had no intention of giving him back the disk he paid them to replace. Since it contained sensitive data like source code and account info, Dave rightly worries about what happens if the drive falls into the wrong hands. Which raises an important question: In an age of identity theft and other confidentiality concerns, is it time for Apple — and other computer manufacturers — to start following the practice of auto mechanics and give you the option of getting back disks that are replaced?"

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Remember kids. (-1, Troll)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802908)

Remember kids Apple can do no wrong - so sayest the Jobs.

Re:Remember kids. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21802920)

Who really cares what a bunch of hipsters at starbucks record about themselves anyways.

Re:Remember kids. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21802928)

Be careful of your wanton heresy!

Well, another victim of "lese majeste". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21802990)


Re:Remember kids. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803266)

Jesus dude, I can smell your karma burning from here...

Always Read Before You Sign Anything (5, Informative)

D.A. Zollinger (549301) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803326)

I cannot count how many times I have heard this advice, yet it bears out repeating over and over and over again - do not sign ANYTHING without reading it first. This is the person's mistake, and he willingly admits to his mistake. It is a shame that it happened at an Apple store, but to be honest, it could have been anywhere, even an automotive repair shop.

The only reason automobile mechanics must give you a replaced part if you ask for it is so that you can get a second opinion afterwards, thus hoping to reduce fraud that tends to run rampant at some questionable automotive places where either through technician ignorance, negligence, or through purposeful managerial policy, a part is replace that does not need to be replaced.

Apple has a legitimate reason for keeping the drive which is described on the form given to the customer - it believes the drive can be fixed and sold. As a paying customer, you are a part of that economic system. If you do not wish to participate, that is your prerogative, and with standardization of components, you are more than welcome to find an alternative (which ironically the consumer considered and should have pursued).

weiner penis (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21802934)


Always? (3, Insightful)

mastershake_phd (1050150) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802940)

Do you always get your part back at the mechanic? Aren't some parts "cores" used to make remanufactured parts? Just like PC drives?

Re:Always? (1)

JesseL (107722) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802976)

In cases like that you should have the option to pay the "core charge" and get your part back.

Re:Always? (1)

beyonddeath (592751) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802982)

you can pay the cost of the core to keep the core, if for some reason you had sensitive data in your.. oh say water pump. If apple is going to keep your drive as a core for a remanufactured drive, they sure as shit better give you the value of that part as an auto mechanic would.

Re:Always? (2, Insightful)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803010)

Do you always get your part back at the mechanic? Aren't some parts "cores" used to make remanufactured parts? Just like PC drives?
Core charges, as with automotive parts, only apply to refurbished components. For example, when I replace my brakes in my car I buy calipers pre-loaded with pads making replacement a matter of
1. removing 4 lugnuts x 2
2. removing two bolts x 2
3. removing one hose x 2
4. Disc removal + machine shop x 2

Financially it's on par with with pad replacement at a shop, but assurance of new rubber seals, and downtime is far less. If I wanted to keep the old ones, I'd buy new calipers which are often not pre-loaded. But I'm not a master of pad replacement and I support re-using of everything.

For an HD, if i'm buying a new drive I would expect to have the option of keeping the old one. I would support recycling if it was an option.

Re:Always? (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803216)

I forgot to add in my state, or at least the stores I shop at, new tires and batteries cost more without the old ones, but this is for environmental reasons. But it's not called a core charge but rather an environmental fee or some such.

Re:Always? (2, Informative)

eli pabst (948845) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803316)

I'm not sure how true that is. Every time I've been charged a "core charge", it's on something that has expensive (and reusable) material in it that can generally be made into a re-manufactured/refurbished part. For example the metal in batteries and distributors is inherently valuable, hence they charge you what amounts to a "deposit".

it's a parsing issue (2, Insightful)

User 956 (568564) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802944)

Dave Winer learned to his dismay that Apple had no intention of giving him back the disk he paid them to replace.

Does not compute. He paid them to replace it, not to replace it AND give back the old one.


netapp and ibm give you an option to keep failed.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21802946)

disks if they contain sensitive or secret data

but its weak you have to pay extra for it?!??? wtf

Re:netapp and ibm give you an option to keep faile (2, Insightful)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803354)

Apple can't claim the manufacturer's warranty on the disk if they can't return the failed unit after they replace it. It would be sensible if they'd charge a token fee to cover some of their costs and just return the failed disk. Of course, it's been out of his hands by just taking it to the service centre; who is to say they didn't recover some data *checks tin foil hat*.

This is why I encrypt my disks. Everything. I've been doing it for a long time and I pay a considerable performance penalty for it. As disks get faster I need faster hardware to keep up. If a disk ever fails (or goes missing) I can live (mostly) safe in the knowledge that the data on it is junk to the next person without access to my super secret key.

Why wasn't he using File Vault; it's standard and part of OSX. Sure, Apple probably have back doors but it's one step in the right direction.

Curious (4, Insightful)

Sorthum (123064) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802948)

I was just thinking about this today. I'd expect that this would be the case for a warranty drive repair, but when the customer bought a new drive? The old part should definitely remain the property of the customer...

Re:Curious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21802978)

FYI, it is the property of the customer, but you signed a contract!

Same thing happens at concerts where they take all your cool knives before you enter, yet never return them :(

Re:Curious (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803310)

You obviously don't know how to hide a knife properly! (next time, try hiding it in the guard's eye socket. Always works for me)

Option on returned parts? (4, Informative)

taustin (171655) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802958)

In most states, the consumer does not have the option to have the old parts returned, they have the right to have the old parts returned. Where laws are properly enforced, it's a rather big deal if the mechanics doesn't do so.

And yes, the laws regarding computer repair should be the same.

Re:Option on returned parts? (1)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803026)

Most auto parts stores will quote you a price that includes the buy-back of the replaced part. You pay, say, $20 for a new part, and a $80 "core deposit."

When it comes to shmucks like me who have no place to maintain their cars, well, the local garages charge an arm and a leg because they can, and we're more worried about "how much will it cost" than "can I get my beatup fender back."

Re:Option on returned parts? (2, Interesting)

iocat (572367) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803164)

I've only been a resident of three states (Michigan, Massachusetts, and California), but in all of them, you will get back any parts they replace unless you specifically tell them you don't want them. Even tires! (And if you don't want the tire back, they charge you extra, since they have to pay the disposal fee). It's basically a law that theoretically keeps them honest, because you could call them out if they replaced a working part.

Re:Option on returned parts? (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803198)

Even tires! (And if you don't want the tire back, they charge you extra, since they have to pay the disposal fee)
Where I live it costs extra to keep the old tires, at least at the shops I've received quotes from. It's rather nutty when your car only comes with a donut sized spare and you buy a used rim and want a tire, but in those cases I've asked friends for surplus tires like from an old tire swing or some such. In most cases it's not an issue.

Some applies to batteries. It costs me more to get a new battery without an old one, but again people are happy to give up their old batteries, esp those who buy used batteries.

Re:Option on returned parts? (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803358)

Not only that, but you also have the right to inspect the part, even if they're sending it to be re manufactured to save you a bit of money. Now, whether or not you have the ability to usefully determine anything with your inspection, they must let you see any parts removed.

Re:Option on returned parts? (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803370)

I'm guessing this is to help with fraud in the motor vehicle repair industry. There's a lot of lay people out there who wouldn't know what a carb-e-magig is let-alone why it needed to be replaced.

The exact same applies to computers except nobody wants to give the parts back. There's a lot of lay-people out there who really only know how to drive them badly and wouldn't know why they needed a new motherboard to fix "dll is missing" error.

Tin Foil Hat (1)

davidc (91400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802962)

...Hand me mine, please.

Re:Tin Foil Hat (1)

cheese-cube (910830) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802994)

That's a good idea however a better one would be to wrap the drive in tin foil before you send it back. It seems that there is not much you can do to stop Apple from stealing your data however the tin foil coating will at least prevent the Russian spy satellites from stealing the data while the drive is in transport.

Dell Already dose this. (4, Informative)

Forge (2456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802966)

Right there on the "customize your system" page for many (if not all) Dell Machines is the option to keep your defective disks after they have been replaced.

It costs a little extra and coming from the field support arena I know why.

Whenever you replace a part under warranty they take the old one. Not because they have use for it but to make sure you don't. Imagine an unscrupulous person who would call in "My drive is broken" then when the tech replaces the drive, he just turns around and sells the old one (which was fine anyway).

The same logically applies to other components and Dell only makes this special exemption for Hard drives because that's where the data is stored.

Re:Dell Already dose this. (2, Insightful)

Breakfast Pants (323698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802984)

But the guy in the story was paying, *out of warrantee*. Or did I read it wrong?

Re:Dell Already dose this. (4, Informative)

Forge (2456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803070)


Where I come from (Jamaica) that's simple theft. If I bought a new part and payed you to replace it the old part is still mine.

I may choose to have you dispose of it or to sell it to you as reusable scrap. The choice is mine however. And again the reason is simple and has nothing to do with personal data.

If you have a loose IDE cable and I tell you "The drive is dead" then sell you a replacement and keep the old drive, I can then sell that old drive. My profit would be 100% of the sale price.

Screwing over the customer so you can sell his stuff? Most jurisdictions discourage that :)

Re:Dell Already dose this. (1)

Forge (2456) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802998)

Sorry. Just checked.

This only applies to Servers. Desktop and Laptop users are screwed. Looks like your best bet is to degauze the old drive with a big magnet before the technician arrives if you are paranoid.

Re:Dell Already dose this. (2, Informative)

Nimey (114278) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803056)

Uh, no. I can buy Latitudes and Optiplexen with my uni's account & they give us the option to keep the bad hard drive. The price is generally something like $18 for three years, and you can pay a few dollars more for four and five years. We usually get 3-year warranties plus keeping the bad drive for that period.

Re:Dell Already dose this. (2, Interesting)

Hacksaw (3678) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803014)

I can imagine the "unscrupulous person" scenario. However, my company use Dells, and has a support contract, and they have never replaced anything that they didn't essentially make our tech prove was broken first.

It's more likely that Dell is taking the drive so that they can get some money back from the manufacturer when the drive is under warranty. They are, after all, a business and if it wasn't their fault the drive failed early, they shouldn't have to suck up the cost.

Re:Dell Already dose this. (1)

John Courtland (585609) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803048)

I believe the real motivator is that the damaged drive is a usable core for a remanufacture. When you buy a new/reman auto part, you get a discount if you return your defective core. Note that I said "if". It is by no means mandatory to return a core.

This system Apple has is backwards. The core should be returned to the customer by default, and the customer should be able to opt-in for a discount. It should be plainly written on the repair contract.

Re:Dell Already dose this. (5, Insightful)

Tmack (593755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803050)

... Whenever you replace a part under warranty they take the old one. Not because they have use for it but to make sure you don't. Imagine an unscrupulous person who would call in "My drive is broken" then when the tech replaces the drive, he just turns around and sells the old one (which was fine anyway).
Right, but if he payed for the new drive, then it was not a warranty replacement, it was a new purchase + install, so the old *dead* part should still be his. Basically, apple is doing what you described, but they are the unscrupulous person in this case, taking your money and the drive, then either getting the warranty $$ from the manufacturer (or more likely credit for another drive), or are simply wiping it and re-using it in the next victim's computer.

I know when I worked in a computer shop, we left the dead parts on top of the computer to give to the user when they came back. Most would just tell us to toss the parts, so we had a big bin full of "dead" stuff, most of which truly was dead. We never kept things unless it actually WAS an issue covered by warranty, and then the customer got the savings passed to them. If this is truly happening, Apple has a nice scam going on.


Re:Dell Already dose this. (1)

jo42 (227475) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803120)

Before I sent in my Dell laptop that went tango uniform, I replaced the HD in the unit with another one (of the same size) that was wiped clean. Dell service, being so good, found this 160GB drive to be 'defective' and replaced it with a 120GB unit and restored the OS. When I got the laptop back, they included the 'defective' 160GB drive in the box. When I figured out that they had fubared, it took several phone calls and a remote session to convince them that they had installed a smaller drive. They then sent me out a 160GB replacement. Still having to return the 'defective' drive, or else get billed for a new one, I sent back the new 120GB and 160GB drives. Today the 'defective' drive continues to work just fine running The Pile of Poop Known as Vista.

File reports. (0, Troll)

NNKK (218503) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802970)

* File a police report detailing how your drive was stolen from you.

* Complain to your state attorney general.

* Complain to the BBB.

* Make sure the Apple Store manager and Apple HQ gets copies of all of the above.

I'll bet you have your drive back in a few days.

Re:File reports. (1)

pthor1231 (885423) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803328)

It's not exactly stolen if you signed it away. It may be a shitty / un-enforceable clause, but you should treat it as such.

ironic: captcha = external

Re:File reports. (1)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803400)

You forgot

*Complain on SlashDot

I'll bet you have a un-deserved sense of accomplishment back in a few days.

(not trolling, just wondering what this guy is *actually* doing to get back his property - or if he just cares about his righteous sense of outrage)

Dell already does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21802986)

It's called Keep your Hard Drive

http://www.dell.com/content/topics/global.aspx/services/client_support/keep_harddrive?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd [dell.com]

Pretty much all companies should do this, I know mine does, keep your information out of the wrong hands. Maybe Apple does something similar?
For Dell if I remember correctly, it costs an extra $5-10 per machine to subscribe to this program -- and you can specify you want to subscribe to it when you order the machine.

Re:Dell already does this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803124)

You can even purchase the Keep your Hard Drive service once you realize your drive needs to be replaced so that you don't have to send it back to Dell.

Agreement (2, Interesting)

The Step Child (216708) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802988)

According to the excerpt, Apple owns the drive, not the data on it. IANAL, but they don't have any legal right to distribute your data that's contained on the drive. If they accidentally give someone the drive with the data still on it, then it seems like that could equal a big lawsuit. That's why they'll most likely wipe the drive. If you're that concerned with a middle man digging through your drive, then you probably should have been more careful with 1) signing forms without reading them, and 2) using PCs or notebooks where you'll invalidate any warranties by breaking the case seal.

Yes (1)

lostngone (855272) | more than 6 years ago | (#21802992)

I had almost the exact thing happen to a friend I was helping. His system was under warranty when the drive failed but he needed to recover some data on the drive that failed wasn't backed up. Apple would not give the back failed drive. So he ended up having to buy another just so he could send the broken one to Drivesavers. I still don't know what that did to his AppleCare extended warranty, I'm sure it voided it.

Encrypt (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21802996)


Call it tough love

(still, if you paid for a new one, they should give you the dead one)

Absolutely. (5, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803008)

If there's sensitive information on the drive, you have every right to want it back (especially if it wasn't warranty work). Apple deserves the highest possible mark of shame for this disregard for the security of their customers' information, it's absolutely not permissible.

Re:Absolutely. (-1, Offtopic)

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What? (0, Troll)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803248)

If there's sensitive information on the drive, you have every right to want it back (especially if it wasn't warranty work).

It's so trivially easy to encrypt data on a Mac, any decently saavy user gets exactly what they deserved in this kind of situation. Public service announcment: It's FOUR clicks to turn on FileVault, (seamless encryption for your entire home folder.) STOP BITCHING AND USE THE SECURITY FEATURES GIVEN TO YOU. BY APPLE. Oh, and did I mention it's just as easy to create a secure disk image, just for your "code" to live in? Protip: look in Disk Utility.

If it wasn't warranty work, why didn't the guy hire someone to replace the drive himself, since drives are dirt cheap @ retail prices? The drives are NOT (despite the tags on this article) proprietary. If it's that big a deal and it WAS under warranty, why didn't he do it outside the warranty? An hour's labor and the cost of the drive, and he's done- could probably even have it done on-site. On most macs save the Macbook Pros, it's a few screws at most to get to the drive. A child could get to the drive on a Macbook, flat panel iMac, G4, or G5/Mac Pro. Apple can't deny a warranty claim unless they can prove you did the damage or your drive caused the problems you're having, thanks to the Magnuson-Moss Warrant Act [wikipedia.org].

Apple deserves the highest possible mark of shame for this disregard for the security of their customers' information, it's absolutely not permissible.

Um...what? This is standard practice in the industry; components replaced under warranty have to be replaced, even if you're a big-shot enterprise comapny with a several-thousand-dollar 4-hour 24x7 support contract. "Highest possible mark of shame"? Jebzus, save the drama fo you momma.

PS: If you're that bothered about your data, and the drive failure is not complete- use dd to write /dev/random to the drive (with the skip-on-errors option) before you return it. If the failure is serious enough that such a method doesn't work, then your data is most likely not retrievable by a casual user- someone would have to go to the trouble of ripping apart the drive and repairing the mechanism, and guess what? You're one guy with "valuable code" in a sea of hard drives with nothing more scandalous than some racy photos in iPhoto and maybe some hot & steamy emails to old flames...

If you think someone will go beyond casual efforts because your stuff is that important/valuable/risky, why didn't you encrypt it?

metamoderation's a bitch, mods. (-1, Offtopic)

SuperBanana (662181) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803368)

Idiot posts "OMG MAC IS TEH SUCK" and gets modded up to 4, insightful. I post pointing out that the guy in TFA should've turned on encryption, or done the repair in-house (and point out the glaring hole in the parent comment's argument about non-warranty service) and get modded "troll."

Ah, how I love the metamoderation function.

...and cell phones? (2, Insightful)

AySz88 (1151141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803020)

I recently encountered a similar situation - my mother had dropped her cell phone into the pool, and it wouldn't recognize any SIM cards anymore. She had "insurance" that sent her a replacement refurbished phone in exchange for sending the old phone back (but the premiums plus "deductible" would have been enough to cover the cost of the refurbished phone, and far too expensive to trade in the almost-working phone, so it was a terrible deal).

Unfortunately, she apparently had credit card info inside the phone somewhere (no, I don't know what she was thinking). I wasn't really comfortable with sending the phone like that through the mail, so we tried to get AT&T/Cingular to give up a way to unlock the phone to delete the card info or give us a way to perform a master reset (assuming that the functionality exists), but they refused. We sent it anyway, but I wish we could have at least reset the phone, if not kept it in its broken state (or maybe shown it to our local store that it was indeed broken or something...).

Sent them Sensitive Data?! (1, Troll)

phantomcircuit (938963) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803024)

Why did he send them sensitive data?!


Re:Sent them Sensitive Data?! (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803064)

If Best Buy copies the porn off of HDs of PCs that go in for repair, just imagine what Apple does with your sensitive data.

Re:Sent them Sensitive Data?! (2, Insightful)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803102)

Why did he send them sensitive data?!

Maybe his disk drive was broken, so he could not take the sensitive data off it?

Re:Sent them Sensitive Data?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803166)

As a new iMac owner it crossed my mind after the fact... What if my Mac breaks? Or it doesn't boot for some mysterious reason which makes me feel like I need to send it in for repair... What about the drive and my data? Regardless of the contents, it is sensitive to me. I don't want anyone going through my shit. So then what? I heard if I break the seal (like to replace the HD), it will void the warranty... So what good is the warranty then? Will they refuse to service it if you send it to them without a HD? or put a new one in and charge you a sick amount extra for that? or a sick amount of extra labor cause you sent it back without the internal drive? Void your expensive extended AppleCare contract cause you pulled the drive?

I keep finding little things that nag me that seem minor to most people but sometimes really piss me off about Apple. I'm starting to think that maybe I should sell this machine before I ever have to deal with those questions personally. I mean if I knew the HD failed, I could just replace it myself I think it's not hard and there are HOWTOs out on the net. But if something else goes, then what?

Or try to encrypt everything and take the performance hit? Blah... I just installed Leopard today. It's really nice in some ways. It makes me want to love Apple and OSX. But there's always something else to make my blood boil about it. I just haven't wanted to take the financial loss on the depreciation to try and sell the damn thing. I made the switch. I'm a switcher. And I regret it. Nice as some things are. I wouldn't do it, or recommend it, unless you have to have the style/fashion, or have to have some OSX specific application and it's mission critical to you. I probably won't ever buy another Mac again. Even so, there are a lot of neat little things about it...

And I think this question extends beyond just Apple. Aren't there PC makers and maybe laptop makers trying to squeeze tech into smaller spaces and getting more interesting proprietary solutions that make disassembly/re-assembly a nightmare? or is that just Apple (like trying to replace a HD inside a MacBook Pro)? I'm starting to feel nostalgic about my old big clunky PC box right about now...

Re:Sent them Sensitive Data?! (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803206)

Or try to encrypt everything and take the performance hit? Blah.

Your computer could be stolen out of your home on any random day.

Take the performance hit. Encrypt anything you don't want thieves or the world to see.

Re:Sent them Sensitive Data?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803308)

Take the performance hit. Encrypt anything you don't want thieves or the world to see.

I have to agree with you. That makes the most sense. But in real life I tend to find encryption causing a lot of extra pain, enough so I start to choose the risk over the protection it would provide.

But it's rough now, if you sent cheesy love letters to some girl you like, or IM chat, and tons of stuff traveling around and stored unencrypted through various web services, and even innocent sounding stuff, could theoretically come back and bite you in the ass if the wrong someone saw it. To try and extend the hypothetical story, maybe a jealous boyfriend reads the messages stored on gmail/yahoo/outlook/mail.app/etc and hunts you down and kills you, or breaks your legs, etc.

One possible solution would be to dedicate some silicon to encrypt/decrypt your data on the fly, but doesn't that almost sound like an advertisement for Vista? Hahah DRM everything, and don't you dare forget your password or your whole digital life is gone in an instant.

Right now I try to keep my passwords and accounts hidden, but most everything else is normal un-encrypted. Now imagine trying to run a virtual machine from an encrypted disk, I've heard it is horrendously slow. Now maybe your virtual Fedora, Kubuntu, SuSE, and CentOS aren't really that sensitive, but I'd still not want someone else to mess with it while it was in the shop...

It's an option (5, Informative)

Maeric (636941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803028)

I work as a Tier 1 agent for AppleCare and I can assure you that getting your hard drive back for a mail-in repair is an option; however, most Tier 1 agents do not know how to put this request in so it's not often done correctly. It's definitely not a standard, and if a hard drive is replaced through a mail-in repair the minimum price would be a flat-rate repair which is at least $249 but oftentimes it is more than that.

Re:It's an option (2, Informative)

Maeric (636941) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803060)

Something I should add is that this option is for out of warranty work. Something we call either a flat rate repair or tier level repair work.

Re:It's an option (5, Funny)

404 Clue Not Found (763556) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803246)

the minimum price would be a flat-rate repair which is at least $249 but oftentimes it is more than that.
What kind of flat rate is that?

Re:It's an option (3, Funny)

toddestan (632714) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803364)

What kind of flat rate is that?

It's like the Mighty Mouse. Atleast one button, but oftentimes it is more than that.

Re:It's an option (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803402)

... the minimum price would be a flat-rate repair which is at least $249 but oftentimes it is more than that.

What kind of flat rate is that?

A Reality Field Distorted flat rate (kind of all curvy, that sort of thing).

Don't give them the drive in the first place. (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803032)

Why in the world did he send them the drive in the first place. If I have or at any time had anything I consider sensitive on a hard drive, it NEVER goes in with the machine for repair. I take it out myself and have them test the box with a fresh drive. Who knows when you will get some snoop perusing your hard drive. Identity theft would be easy with the information available on many computer. Either back up your data and reformat (after a 7 pass rewrite) or don't give them the drive.

Most companies that sell servers have hard drive replacement policies available that let you keep the old drive with confidential data on it. No one should consider less security with their own machines.

some genius's at the bar.. (3, Interesting)

m1ndrape (971736) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803042)

I ran into a similar problem. Once I found out that my apple care warranty also forces me to forfeit my drive, it also came to my attention from my attention that it would most likely be a refurb. Plus, I wasn't allowed up to upgrade to a higher capacity drive. My fault for not reading the AppleCare warranty. The "geniuses" at the bar insisted that the entire process of replacing the drive would take 2 weeks and that it was much too hard for mere mortals. Since they didn't have any stock that matched my drive (but they had countless higher capacities laying around), it had to be sent out of state. I was like bullshit, took my drive and my broken hard drive. Replacing it myself took only 15 minutes. don't get me wrong, love my mac, but the warranty plan could improve.

Why would anybody not replace it him/herself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803062)

Problem solved.

Re:Why would anybody not replace it him/herself? (0)

notanatheist (581086) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803404)

Because if it is an Apple laptop it is an over engineered piece of crap. I will NEVER take apart another Apple machine unless they improve serviceability. Desktops and Mini does not apply. My favorite is the Mini. Tools needed - a putty knife and small philips screwdriver.

Do yourself a favor, compare as many laptops as you can and find out how quickly you can remove the hard drive. Nearly every 'PC' based requires between 2 and 5 screws to remove the hard drive taking all of 3 minutes if you're completely incompetent. Now, find an Apple and do the same. FWIW, the newer Sony laptops are designed as badly as Apple machines with the only exception being they limit the number of different sized and types of screws.

/rant by hardware snob

Warranty Service (1)

linuxbert (78156) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803128)

I have certifications to preform waranty service for Apple, IBM, and Toshiba.
All 3 have a procedure to deal with sensitive data on Bad HDD's. - You typically can ask to not send the drive back.
I have never done it with Apple, but IBM and Toshiba have a Affidavit you fill out certifying the drive was destroyed, signed by the tech and the Customer IIRC.

If its non waranty service.. the drive should be sent back.

Encryption is the only way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803130)

Once your hard drive is under anyone else's physical control, you should assume its bits are compromised. Having you disk returned only increases the number of individuals who have physical access. The only solution if you work with sensitive data is to encrypt your disk. Next time turn on FileVault. And be sure to use a strong passphrase, such as Diceware.

Apple stores always do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803132)

$160 for an 80GB HDD? I don't know who is more stupid, the Apple store for demanding it, or this guy for paying it.

Back when I was stupid enough to own a Mac notebook, I had the cable that delivers signal to the screen fail. The Apple store tried to tell me that it was the LCD, and that I would have to pay $1200 for a new one. They categorically refused to order the cable (which was a restricted Apple part, otherwise I would have ordered it myself).

I eventually found an independent shop with an Apple contract that ordered the cable for me (it was something like $30), and I did the replacement. Problem fixed. I then sent the Apple store a demand letter for my $50 "diagnosis fee" back, otherwise I would take them to court for consumer fraud. They paid it.

My subsequent notebooks were PCs, and I never looked back. Apple is a typical 1970s hip ripoff.

Apple should ASK (2, Insightful)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803156)

It would be good customer service to ask. I can understand the risk of abuse by giving customers 2 drives for the price of one, but at least one's options should be given up front. They could offer a transfer fee or a keep-old-disk fee or the like. Find a decent compromise.

There ought to be a law (1)

zakezuke (229119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803168)

Seriously, this is a case where someone needs to construct a good letter to be distributed and sent to our respective congressmen. While matters of property are vague when dealing with warranty repairs, matter of ownership of the data is not. Consumers should have the right to opt for new equipment and keep old drives. I applicate any attempt to reduce, reuse, and recycle but in this age of identity theft that can often not be practical.

Let's work together to make this happen.

hp does it with certain warranties (1)

philo_enyce (792695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803170)

hp has media retention with some of their extended warranties, at least on the proliant line.


Kind of a whiner (4, Insightful)

giminy (94188) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803174)

From the story, a few things appear evident:

This Macbook was not under warranty, or the hard disk replacement would have been free.
The $160 that the author is scoffing at isn't that outrageous if you consider that he paid for a hard disk and the labor to install it (though if his generation of macbook is anything like mine, replacing the hard drive is a snap. Still, using his auto analogy, mechanics get to charge you $100 labor to install your brake pads, even though it takes them only a few minutes).
If he had demanded the old disk and made a scene, he probably could have gotten it back.

I agree that saying that the old hard disk is theirs is lame as hell, and he's rightfully angry about that. It's probably the only point of the author's that holds water. There are alternatives to the Apple Store for repair, though. CompUSA was one (though it's now going out of business). There are other Apple Authorized Service Shops, like Ikon Solutions, and the old-skool Apple stores (privately owned ones, of which many still exist).

I once decided to have an old iBook's hard disk upgraded. I took it to CompUSA (please don't snicker, the iBook was under warranty, CompUSA is/was apple authorized so it meant saving my warranty, and this was around the year 2000, before Apple Stores were everywhere). When I took it in, I simply asked to keep the old drive and they were happy to put it in a static bag for me.

Re:Kind of a whiner (1)

jt2377 (933506) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803388)

Apple Do no Evil. $160 for 80G? I'll use that money to hire those Apple Guru to blow me!

Sure he should get it back, but... (2, Interesting)

caller9 (764851) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803178)

What was his plan if the device was lost or stolen?

Encryption goes a long way in remedying this particular dilemma. If you're worried enough about it to freak when they don't send the drive back, you should be worried about loss or theft. Use TrueCrypt or your favorite encryption software for those files.

I find that surprising (1)

Cracked Pottery (947450) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803184)

I would expect that somebody as gross and belligerent as I would be in that situation would get his damn drive back or end up in lockup. It might be failed, but still have recoverable data. There is no legal claim to that property that I think should ever prevail in court. If they are offering an exchange price, fine. If they are refusing a full price sale with return of the old drive, they are out of line.

My experience with Apple... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803214)

I also had a drive go bad on me with the iBook G4, only when I called them to replace it, they wanted to charge me $702 (Yes, you read correctly) to replace the drive. I told them the laptop itself is only $999 to begin with. I had also paid for my Mac software -- and unfortunately I was forced to either pay to have my hard drive replaced, or lose my near $1k software investment. I chose to abandon Apple products entirely (iPod, iSight, iBook...) and now have first hand experience on what it means to avoid proprietary software.

Apple is worse than Microsoft -- tying your data straight to the computer you own. OSx86 is not a solution either.

Re:My experience with Apple... (1)

reidconti (219106) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803338)

So you bought commercial software, threw out the disks, then when your hard disk died you got pissed at Apple for it? I'm sorry, but you're just stupid.

A lot of the comments on this topic are fairly pathetic apologists; there's no reason for Apple to not give back the drive if you're paying for the repair, but your comment is even more ridiculous.

I also have a hard time believing they wanted to charge you $702 to replace the drive, especially when all of the other people commenting who have had drives replaced by Apple paid 1/5th or less.

I also completely fail to see how your experience would have been any different with anything other than F/OSS that you could re-download later. But then again, you'd still lose your personal data.


Re:My experience with Apple... (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803414)

I also had a drive go bad on me with the iBook G4, only when I called them to replace it, they wanted to charge me $702 (Yes, you read correctly) to replace the drive. I told them the laptop itself is only $999 to begin with.
I find this a little hard to swallow, unless they also found something wrong with a mainboard. I had a new PowerBook G4, and around that time I was also building custom rigs. I purchased myself a lot of hard-drives (including high performance 2.5" drives) and they were never anywhere NEAR that. Granted Apple has a premium on their stuff, but even with that in consideration there's no way.

So either there was more to this story (like a lightning strike fried mostly everything) or I smell troll.

Warrantied Components (1)

secondhand_Buddah (906643) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803222)

Having owned a small dealership for a while, I can tell you that the manufacturers require faulty goods in warranty to be returned for swap-out. If the component is under warranty, then you don't get it back. Out of warranty, we always used to give the client back the old components. They belong to the client. Our service was to replace them, not to claim ownership of them.

Wait a second... (5, Insightful)

VValdo (10446) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803254)

What if the data on the drive can be recovered? What if there are credit card numbers and other personal information on the drive? Source code? Trade secrets? Does Apple really want to treat their customers privacy so shabbily? For what? Don't they already make enough money off the $160 price for the new disk?

Here's another question for ya-- why didn't you use FileVault [wikipedia.org]? Y'know apple throws it in OS X for ya for *free* for a reason...


No Mac for me! (1)

jigyasubalak (308473) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803268)

I have always been enthralled by all the comparison of Macs with Ferraris
and the sorts. For long,I've stopped myself from purchasing a Mac though I can
afford it because of its proprietary nature and of course the wife feels
that we are doing fine with the good old windows(or sometimes linux) desktop.
But after the release of leopard i convinced myself and my wife for atleast
an entry level Mac i.e. a Mac-Mini.
After reading stories like this I've again made up my mind not to purchase
a Mac. Apple, enough of your hedonistic practices. It surprises me that Apple
is resorting to such practices in the midst of a place which we cite for
unmatched consumer friendliness.

two points (2, Insightful)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803294)

Did he make it conditional up front to return the defective drive? If he didn't it was probably thrown on a pile with other drives making it impossible to return. The other point is I've dealt with surplus and most companies don't recycle intact drives the first thing they do is drill or punch a hole through the drive making them impossible to recover data from. I'm guessing that's Apple's policy like most major companies. There's an outside chance of people in the repair department pocketing the defective drive for recovery but that's a risk anywhere and has nothing to do with Apple.

First mistake (1)

lordsid (629982) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803296)

His first mistake was letting Apple replace the hard drive he wanted to keep.

Re:First mistake (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803346)

No, his first mistake was buying an Apple after the Woz left...


Several things to add here... (2, Informative)

jht (5006) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803314)

First of all, there's a problem with an awful lot of 80GB Seagate drives that are (mainly) used in Macbooks. Apple has been acknowledging it to a limited extent, and even though the laptop was out of warranty, the drive would likely been covered if enough of a stink was raised.

Secondly, if he paid for a replacement, he should have been allowed to keep the old drive. Once you're paying, you are buying the new part and the labor involved. Although, if his drive in fact has the same problem the Seagate 80s are coming up with, data snooping is not a problem... (the failed drives are, in fact, causing platter damage)

Third (and most important, perhaps), he should likely have been aware that on a Macbook the drive is a user-replaceable part. You remove the battery, unscrew the three screws that hold the memory/HD in place, and just pull the drive. Put the positioning screws on a new one, slide it in, and all is well with the world. I did a swap-out for a customer of mine two weeks ago who had a Seagate die, and the new 120 I put in cost about $100. The work took 5 minutes, most of which was spent looking for my screwdriver set!

Apple should get things clear though, and also step up and start a warranty extension for these drives. They've been pretty good about it with other hardware issues so far.

Auto Mechanics (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803318)

Auto mechanics don't give back your used parts out of the goodness of their hearts. They give them back because consumer law forces them to do so.

A similar consumer law should force the return of replaced parts on computers, and don't expect Apple to change their mind about it until such a law is passed. And while they're at it, they should forbid under pain of long jail sentences, computer technicians from rifling through your hard drive for files of interest. I'll let the occasional child porn collector slip past this barrier in the interests of increased privacy from young geeks in the process. And I'd test them from time to time with decoy systems with files too interesting to resist by anyone who is pursuing through your personal data.

Seriously? (1)

c0d3h4x0r (604141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803324)

If a hard drive dies in your Mac, you have to ship the machine to Apple and have them replace it? You can't just order a new drive off NewEgg or buy one down at Fry's and put it in yourself?

If that's truly the case, I'll stick with the dumpy boring guy in the ugly brown suit, thank you very much.

Warranty no help in this situation (2, Informative)

turtle graphics (1083489) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803348)

This happened to me, too. In September, I had a complete hard drive crash in my MacBook. It was still under warranty, so I took it to the store, and was offered the same deal (only w/o the $160 charge). The bulk of my data was backed up, but there were some things I was worried about losing and a few others I knew I'd lost. I wanted to keep the possibility of sending the drive to a recovery firm while still getting my computer back, but Apple makes no provision for that. They insist on keeping the dead drive.

It was worth it for me to just buy a new (and bigger) drive so I could keep the old one. I still haven't decided if the lost data is worth the effort of recovery, but at least I have that option now.

Re:Warranty no help in this situation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803372)

Most professional data recovery services have deals with drive manufacturers that their services specifically do not violate warranty. You should have the option of sending the drive off for data recovery, and then afterwards get a warranty replacement. Though really it's up to you to know that or find it out, especially if you're taking it to a retail store, where they may not even know that themselves.

They should give the disks back. (1)

posterlogo (943853) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803350)

I've had three friends who didn't want to screw around trying to fix things themselves, and they ended up going to Apple. It didn't work out well for 2/3, and they didn't get their disks back. The thing is, I am not confident enough to mess with data recovery unless I know they feel comfortable (or desperate as the case may be, since they've already gone the "official" route). I'm certain I could have given it a good try (after all, it is actually pretty difficult to really delete data). So ya, I wish Apple had given them their "bad" disks back. I have a couple Macs myself, and all know now is that I've try every trick in the book myself before I even think about giving a disk over to Apple. They should give the disks back.

Im a computer geek so I know better but... (5, Insightful)

cyberjock1980 (1131059) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803360)

I'm sure everyone here remembers the geeksquad incident with people looking for porn and trying to compile a collection of all the porn they could. Or the guy this week that got arrested because a rep at CompUSA(I think) found kiddie porn on his computer while looking for pictures to put on a DVD to test the drive they just installed. It is in the nature of some people they are going to spy on other people's drives. Especially so here in the USA. Not sure why but people seem to be addicted with getting into everyone else's personal lives.

Now, just because you got the disk back doesn't mean they didn't look over your data anyway. I always encrypt my drives completely with a FDE program. That way if it does fall into the wrong hands they can't do anything with it anyway. My personal opinion, if you don't want someone going through your drive, you should either:

1. Take it to a repair center and watch them do the repair.
2. Take it to a friend/relative whom you know won't go fishing through your stuff.
3. Learn to fix it yourself.
4. Replace it yourself and use those handy dandy backups(you did do backups right?)
5. Suck it up and accept that some minimum wage freak is gonna go through all your stuff with a fine toothed comb looking for goodies.

Now, #5 might not be a big deal if you have something like source code, they might not know enough about programming to realize what they have and how valuable it is if they wanted to use it against you. In the end, it would be great if the IT industry had some kind of checks and balances to keep everyone honest and separate those who are honest from those who are lying kniving thieves, but this is the world we live in. Until someone can come up with an effective way to keep everyone honest, FDE is needed.

Me personally.. if I had a drive that wasn't encrypted I'd value the data and the cost of the replacement drive. If losing the data to the wrong hands could cost you millions of dollars, a $200 drive isn't too much to throw out yourself and replace. If it has no real value then why not RMA it? The choice is yours, so make it a good one.

Funny question (1)

jandersen (462034) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803366)

He owned the old disk, right? Did applt buy that disk from him in any way, eg. by exchange of money? No? Then they should of course give the thing back, no doubt about it.

You don't get warranty parts back (5, Interesting)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803380)

for consumer electronics. I worked at a warranty center for 35 brands and to keep fraud to a dull roar the wanted the parts back. We'd fill out all the paperwork, stick it and the parts in a bin and wait for the field rep to audit them. Then they'd take them back or tell us to dispose of them.

I assume it's similar in other industries. It's way too easy to claim you replaced a set of brake pads or that microprocessor and not do it but get the money for the part.

Since the party paying is the manufacturer then they get the old parts back.

What? (1)

VonSkippy (892467) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803390)

Who pays someone to replace their hard drive?

If you know which end of a screwdriver is pointy, you can pretty much swap out a hard drive. //betting the guy wears velcro trainers.

Ouch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21803392)

This article should be tagged appl0wned.

Let's put this in perspective (4, Insightful)

Matt Perry (793115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21803398)

Quoting the article:

He got his supervisor. She insisted that the drive belonged to Apple, even though I had paid an inflated price to buy a new one. She showed me the language on the reverse side of the form I signed. It was even worse than she had said. There was no guarantee that the drive they had just put in my Mac was new! It might have been someone else's defective drive.
I just can't sympathize with this guy. It's always important to read and understand the things you sign. He says "I think they should tell you up front, before they do the work, that you're not getting the old drive back." yet they did tell him up front. He didn't choose to listen, or in this case read. Who in their right mind signs a legal contract without understanding, or even knowing, what they are agreeing to? My parents taught me a lot of life lessons and two that come to mind here are:
  1. If you don't have an agreement in writing, you don't really have an agreement.
  2. Never sign anything without having read and understood what you are signing.
Making excuses about "fine print" is just a way for lazy people to justify their laziness when it comes to reading a contract. This guy has no one to blame but himself.
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