Introducing The First Ever Warranty Shrink Ray

We’ve seen many different variations on the Grocery Shrink Ray over the years, but somehow never anticipated this: a Warranty Shrink Ray. A sneaky tipster who works at Best Buy noticed that the same product, a Seagate hard drive for notebook computers, had a lovely redesigned box. And a few years lopped off the warranty. Much like how other products change the size of an item just a tiny bit rather than raising the price, Seagate cut back on the warranty.

Our tipster writes:

I’ve been a big fan of your site since 2010. I work at a local Best Buy here in Houston, TX and saw this hard drive (along with others that had the same thing happen.) Not sure if this truly qualifies for the Shrink Ray section, but it’s pretty close.

Note that these 2 HDDs are the same, just new packaging (UPCs are exactly the same), but now the new box comes with only a 1yr warranty, as opposed to the old box which carries a 5 yr warranty.

The new packaged desktop HDDs are the same way- going from 3yr to a 1 yr from old to new box.

Indeed, we noticed that different online retailers had different warranty lengths listed for the old and new models. We wrote to Seagate to find out what’s up, and will let you know if we receive a response.