When Online Shopping Goes Wrong: Newegg Seagate Exos Edition

Online shopping are mostly pleasant: You found something interesting, place an order, and it shows up on your doorstep in couple of days!
Not so much when you are buying and shipping large electronics though…
Buying a TV? Getting a server? Some “expensive” hard drive?
When in doubt, you should always go to a brand’s authorized reseller right?

Not so much when the reseller also sell you fake products.

Here’s the story of how Newegg sold me a Exos X18 hard drive with no warranty, and doesn’t want to admit they shipped me an OEM drive until confronting them.
TL;DR Run serial number before opening your hard drive bag, or you’ll need to get into a fight to return or exchange the item without penalty. Especially Newegg.

It all starts when I saw Amazon and Newegg are running a promotion on Seagate Exos X18 18TB. Hell, Newegg even would throw in a free Samsung Evo MicroSD card @ $309.99!
I’ve only bought Seagate Exos from Provantage before, because I am sure they are Seagate reseller (although via a different name). At the time of writing, they were selling the drive at $334.4, with shipping and tax not calculated. I bought my first one from them, and paid a little over $400…

Provantage listing, as of Aug 18, 2022.

Obviously, everything cheap comes with a price. I have no idea where Newegg got their stock from, but it’s definitely not somewhere Seagate would consider “Official Reseller”

I bite the bait, placed the order on August 4th, 2022. Shipping with UPS is surprisingly fast (although nowhere near what I had back in China), arrived on Saturday Aug 6th.
Their packaging is super simple. One large box with enough packing material inside, and a small box “tightly” hold the drive in. Not weird, but also not great.

Scanned the QR code without removing the anti-static bag, everything seemed to be okay.
Remove the bag (well, the worst decision I’ve made in this purchase – I can’t return it without some headache with Newegg…) and saw some dent on the bottom of the drive. It’s normal by how they pack it right? Proceed to check the serial number on https://www.seagate.com/support/warranty-and-replacements/ . and nope! I saw this (I had to redo the screenshot because … i took the original one on my phone)

Newegg’s Seagate Drive. Serial check
Provantage’s Seagate Drive, Serial Check.

This is obviously not good… As the drive I bought from Provantage do have a normal warranty status on here.
So, I got right into chat with Newegg.

Chat agents are great, but they have no clue what’s going on or why it’s like this. So they offered to escalate it to Newegg’s back office or whichever that deal with this kind of things. Told me they’ll get back to me next week.
Being a bit cautious and mad, I also contacted Seagate and requested them to see what’s going on with the drive.

It’s Monday, and I got a call from Seagate. Aug 8, 2022
They told me, Yes it’s an OEM drive. And it’s not originated from USA. So, if I’m in US, they won’t allow me to claim warranty returns even if I can add it to my Seagate account. The best thing I can do is to return it to the supplier.
Newegg, still nothing.

It’s Wednesday, still nothing from Newegg. Aug 10, 2022

Called them and got a supervisor. They checked the ticket and no one have touched it. Requested them to do it a bit faster, because … it’s Wednesday and they only work weekdays.
Nothing else. Still waiting.

Friday in my local timezone. Aug 12, 2022
Still nothing from Newegg.
Thinking they won’t actually want to deal with it, I’ve begun to search how and where I can sue them. Yes I can charge back, but that would involve getting my account banned from Newegg.

Early Saturday morning in my time. Aug 13, 2022
Got an email at 3:10 AM, which is 10 minutes after their California office’s chat closure time.
They send me this

Well it meant nothing. I’ve also requested information from them regarding how they would actually “honor” the warranty, but as of 8/18/2022, no one cared to tell me.

So I replied back to ask how they sold me OEM drive on that listing, and … they said it’s a mistake.

For the record, Newegg does record and keep the serial number of the drive when they ship it out to you. So they clearly know what they shipped (and probably where they sourced the batch, what’s the warranty status etc).

From the experience I had back in China with these places, promising to honor the warranty means s**t.
I can promise to give everyone a million dollars (Disclaimer: I do not want, and would not enter into any promise with anyone to give you any amount of money), and there’s always some excuse to not deliver a promise, unless they’ve written it as a contract and listed specific things on how they would / would not honor the warranty.

I’m annoyed by the response, so I went to chat and you know what? They still would accept return, but not replacement. Chat said they’ll forward my request to back office, and will get back to me on Monday (they didn’t)

and replied this email

I’ve not heard back from either how Newegg would honor that warranty, or anything else. I don’t think they’ll ever do.

Tuesday, Aug 16, 2022.

I don’t want to wait any longer, so I got into chat again.
Chat kept saying “Connecting to an agent” for less than 5 minutes, but I got “not so happy” and decided to call.

It must be magic or coincidence that when I dialed and heard “Welcome to Newegg”, Newegg chat finally found an agent.

They now accept returns, but not advanced. (Being an idiot, I threw the packing box way too early)
The chat agent did claim to reimburse my packing cost (which UPS did charge me $20 to pack a Hard Drive), but I have not yet contacting Newegg to claim it.
RMA label created, the package got to UPS store an hour later.

Early Thursday Morning, Aug 18, 2022.

Slept too much after work, so I decided to check where is my UPS return package.

Something else surprised me: Newegg quietly changed their product listing for this specific hard drive. Previously, the product title is “Seagate 18TB Exos X18 7200 RPM SATA 6Gb/s 256MB Cache 3.5-Inch Enterprise Hard Drive HDD (ST18000NM000J)”. Now, it’s “Seagate 18TB Exos X18 7200 RPM SATA 6Gb/s 256MB Cache 3.5-Inch Enterprise Hard Drive HDD (ST18000NM000J) – OEM”.

See! To Newegg, specifying this is an OEM drive would avoid all drama I had. Why? “We sold OEM drive to you, so it’s your issue to get a OEM drive.”

Screenshot as of 8/18/2022 4:30 AM EDT

Bad news? Newegg’s Invoice did not use snapshot, so whatever the product name is, that’s what show on the invoice.

Newegg invoice as of 8/18/2022 4:32 AM EDT
Newegg Invoice, screenshot at 8/6/2022 5:26 PM EDT

That’s it for now. Hopefully they would receive the returned hard drive, and ship me a “normal” drive with proper warranty when I run serial check. Not the OEM BS…
If so, I’ll update this one last time. I surly hope they do.

Friday evening – Aug 19, 2022

This got worse.
UPS delivered my exchange shipment to Newegg this afternoon.

Instead of issue me a replacement, Newegg issued me a refund citing “the item was out of stock temporarily at the moment when our warehouse staff processed the RMA”.
They refunded me the order amount minus the “free” microSD card, and offered me a $10 discount (So I can place the order at $309.99) to buy a OEM labeled product. (Via chat)

I really don’t know how their amazing team processed my RMA request this fast and how does the product went “temporarily out of stock”, but that’s not what I wanted, nor what I planned for.

Currently on chat and see if they have any other options to remedy for the action, or I’ll find ways to involve legal options.

Update: Submitted my term, waiting for Newegg to get back to me. If they agree (I definitely hope), that’s the end. If they don’t, well there’ll be more time consuming matters involved.

I’ll wait till Monday at 9 PM EDT.

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