Two readers have written in to call attention to the terms of a settlement by Western Digital of a class action over the disparity between the announced size of its hard drives and the amount that is usable (settlement notice/FAQs). Reader Bill Evans says the settlement will “affect only aftermarket drives, class members to get $7.50 for each drive and will be able to download backup software. Lawyers get $485,000 plus $15,000 for expenses.”
Reader Mickey Ferguson writes:
Some months ago I bought a Western Digital hard drive. I now see that a class action suit was brought against WD, claiming that they misrepresented their drive capacities. What was the remedy? They offered me software – EMC Dantz Retrospect Express version 7.0 for Windows users and version 6.1 for Mac users – for which I have no use or interest. I have much better backup software that I’ve already purchased. Plus, it has been reported in various locations on the network to be incompatible with Microsoft Windows .NET 2.0 framework, a common component in many recent software programs.
There are no other remedies. Either I take the software, which has very little commercial value and none to me personally, or I write a letter to the court, voicing my concerns above, that will immediately be trampled by both plaintiff and defense attorneys, who both want the settlement to go through because the settlement essentially costs WD very little (useless software that they OEM anyway), and the plaintiff attorneys get their percentage of the settlement. As usual, the plaintiff attorneys make huge sums of money, and the actual victims get nothing of any particular value.
P.S. Just to be clear, I don’t feel like I’ve been harmed in any way, nor do I feel entitled to any settlement. I knew ahead of time exactly the game they play. All drive manufacturers have played the game, and this is just a way for an attorney to make a lot of money over nothing. If it were my preference, I’d rather the judge throw the entire suit out and sanction the lawyers for a frivolous lawsuit, but I know that would never happen, and frankly, there are some people out there who don’t know the difference between 1 GB and 1 billion bytes, to whom there is a claim of (very slight) harm.
Update: Jul. 3.