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Western Digital

A California customer has filed a class-action lawsuit against Western Digital, the parent company of SanDisk, alleging the company misrepresented the capabilities of its portable SSD products which have been widely reported to be failing en masse.

The lawsuit, spotted by TechSpot, alleges that Western Digital, through its SanDisk brand, gave customers the expectation that its portable SSDs were a “rugged, dependable storage solution” even though it was aware of a firmware issue that caused the drives to disconnect from an attached computer, lose data, or “become unreadable by computers.”

SanDisk has been in hot water over the last week after reports from The Verge, Ars Technica, PetaPixel, and online forums such as Reddit all came to a head, leading to general knowledge of the widespread failure issue. Over the last several months and even through the last week, Western Digital and SanDisk representatives have not responded to repeated requests for comment on the issue from a range of publications, including PetaPixel. The problem is so severe that many photographers have expressed that they will never trust the brand again.

The lawsuit alleges that Western Digital marketed its SanDisk Extreme Pro, Extreme Portable, Extreme Pro Portable, and WD MyPassport SSD products in such a way that consumers would expect them to be a reliable storage and backup solution, which they were not due to this issue.

“A series of SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD portable solid-state hard drives thus do not conform with their core functionality, as well as Western Digital’s basic promise that the hard drives they sell will do what they are supposed to do — store data safely for later access,” the lawsuit reads.

“Western Digital has failed to publicly reveal the serial number range of the potentially impacted portable hard drives and has not disclosed or the extent, or even the existence of, this defect. Defendants have made material representations and omissions of material facts, both to Plaintiff and presumptively to members of the Class, about the basic functionality of these SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD portable solid-state hard drives.”

The lawsuit also alleges that the basic claims that Western Digital’s SSDs could “save, store, and retrieve data” is false. It adds that Western Digital has only offered an “unreliable firmware update” or replacement drives that suffer from the same defects — an issue highlighted by The Verge.

“As of now, Western Digital is not warning customers and retailers who have already purchased these drives or may purchase these drives in the future that significant data loss is possible, how these drives are defective and the causes of the defects, why the firmware fix is not resolving the issue and whether hard drives currently for sale in the market have the same unremedied defect,” the lawsuit says.

“Western Digital is not even presently acknowledging this issue exists.”

While there is no proof of such, the lawsuit even mentions that Western Digital might be discounting the drives in an attempt to get rid of inventory.

“What’s worse, Western Digital may be selling these defective hard drives at steep discounts to get them out of inventory rather than not selling them at all, knowing that these drives have a significant unremedied defect,” the suit adds. “Western Digital’s ‘admission’ misleads and induces or is likely to induce Class members who may see this representation when deciding to either continue to use the devices or buy the defective drives at discount into believing they understand the nature of defect and the risk that defect represents, when, in fact, they do not.”

The lawsuit is demanding a trial by jury and is seeking remedies of $5 million.


Image credits: Header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

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