Why you might not want to buy a hard drive from Amazon

Summary:Apparently, the concept of padding eludes the Amazon pickers and packers.

I am a huge fan of Amazon Prime. The ability to order almost anything, and have it arrive within a day or so, without having to pay a shipping fee is hugely freeing.

Now, my first choice when buying something, is to check Amazon. Well, except for hard drives. You'll see why in a moment.

This weekend, I realized the media tank was running low on space and it was time to add some more drives. A quick check on Amazon yielded 2TB 7200RPM drives for about $89. The drives were well-rated by customers and from a fine manufacturer. So I bought two.

The drives arrived today. Apparently, the concept of padding eludes the Amazon pickers and packers. Please note how they were shipped:

2012-11-06-amazon1
What's wrong with this picture?

Look closely. The drives are loose in the cartons because the drive bumpers weren't secured to the drives and were left to bang around. Note how the drive reminds us that it's fragile and should be handled with care.

2012-11-06-amazon2
Yep, I feel safe storing my data on this. Not!

As all of you know, drives that are dropped without padding aren't drives anymore -- they're data management liabilities. These drives were shipped, tossed, dropped, and more, just as part of the normal shipping process. They're not safe for data storage.

Obviously, I'm returning them. I'll probably turn to Newegg and hope they've taught their warehouse people how to pack drives with care.

But here's the thing. I'm sending these drives back to Amazon in the same packing they came in. My guess is that the warehouse folks will immediately reshelve and reship these things -- probably still without any padding.

So, someone out there is likely to get a drive that's been shipped, multiple times, without any padding. Sadly, that's why you might not want to buy hard drives from Amazon, Prime or not.

Topics: Amazon

About

In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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