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Seagate CEO Bill Watkins has more than a few things to worry about: Seagate purchasers are entitled to free software or 5% cash back

With Cho v. Seagate Technology Holdings, Inc. wrapping up, Seagate customers who purchased a hard drive in OEM or retail packaging between the dates of March 22, 2001 and September 26, 2007 are eligible to receive one of two different settlement benefits per hard drive purchased:
  • The “cash benefit” is available to customers who purchased a Seagate hard drive between March 22, 2001 and January 1, 2006, and entitles customers to receive 5% cash back on the amount they paid for the hard drive, before taxes. Claims for a cash benefit must be filed using the mail-in form, which is available on the settlement web site.
  • The “software benefit” is available to customers who purchased a Seagate hard drive between the dates of March 22, 2001 and September 26, 2007, and entitles claimants to a free copy of the Seagate Software Suite, which retails for $40. Claims for a software benefit can be filled out online.

In both cases, customers must have purchased the hard drive as a discrete unit, as hard drives shipped with pre-built computers are not eligible under the proposed terms.

Cho v. Seagate was filed in April of 2005 by Sara Cho over claims that Seagate falsely advertised the capacity of their hard drives, overstating it by 7%. The nature of these claims lies in the difference between a gigabyte (1,000,000,000 bytes of 1 GB) and a giga binary byte (1,073,741,824 bytes or 1 GiB), as the abbreviation of “GB” is often used for both.

Seagate has denied and continued to deny both the false advertising claims and the fact that it has harmed anyone, and as of yet the courts have not ruled on the merits of the case.

Under the proposed terms of the settlement, Seagate will be required to:

  • Make “certain disclosures” about the nature of its hard drives’ storage capacity.
  • Reimburse affected customers with the benefits listed above.
  • Pay $1.8 million in attorney’s fees to the plaintiff’s counsel.

The final hearing date to approve the settlement will take place on February 7, 2008 at the San Francisco Superior Court.





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