While G-Technology has been one of my most favored and most recommended companies for well built, professional hard drives, due to a recent experience I can no longer lend my support to the company.
From the mid-2000’s G-Technology has been a leader in high quality products and service. I built my first home edit system on a stack of G-Raid drives because they not only made a solid product, but they were focused on the video pro. They didn’t just talk about data rates and drive speeds, they broke it down into editing lingo – the number of real time streams you could expect – and they guaranteed it.
At one point I had some issues with some G-Raid drives that I had purchased, and they were always very fast to respond and in one case pre-shipped me a replacement drive even before I had sent them back the problem drive.
For me personally, a really sold product means nothing if the company does not stand behind it with good people and exceptional customer service. And that’s where my relationship has now changed.
Change Is Not Always Good
In February 2009 G-Tech was acquired (indirectly through Fabrik) by Hitachi. At the time I thought this was great, because for a long time Hitachi drives have been the best in class, and the most reliable drives on the market. So it seemed like a good idea. But now, two years later it appears this change in ownership has translated into terrible customer service, especially if your warranty has run out.
Over the last 5 years I have spent over $25,000 on two maxed out G-Speed XL systems (around 25TB of combined space). We’re not talking about little desktop drives, we’re taking about making a serious investment in a company, especially for a small boutique post house. I was a very early adopter of the very first units they shipped in January 2007 and even did a post on SuiteTake and The Creative Cow about my experience with the drive. I was very happy with it, and just over 3 years ago purchased a second one for the other edit room. Based on my experience with the company over the years I had no worries.
The Dead Power Supply
A funny thing happened a couple of weeks ago, however. The power supply in the newer drive system went bad and as it’s supposed to, was beeping pretty loud to get the attention of anybody within 20 feet. No big deal, things happen and after all it’s the reason why it’s built with a backup power supply. The drive was still running smoothly, but no longer with a safety net.
I filled out the on-line tech support form at G-Technology like I’ve done in the past, and a day later (mind you this is a serious problem) I get a email telling me that my unit is out of warranty. Figures, it’s always just after it expires that something goes wrong.
I sent them my original sales receipt and an email between me and the sales guy that showed roughly when the sale date was, but I knew even when I sent it that I was probably going to need to pay for the repair. But it was worth trying. But after sending the info I never heard back, and had to follow up again.
So the attitude seems to be that you only get help if you are still in warranty. I was perfectly willing to pay for the new part, which seemed like the obvious solution to me.
But clearly, I was being pushed away.
Fine, I will call and purchase one, but why is it that I’m suddenly responsible to track down a power supply and the correct person to purchase it from? Not only that, they make it clear that there is really no plan at all for my situation. He doesn’t even know if it’s actually possible.
Once again, I hear back NOTHING!!!
I finally call their main number and get a woman on the phone who obviously knows about the email exchanges and said that they were trying to find me one, but may not have any left. She said she would call me back later after she talked to the tech.
Later that day she did call back with “good news”. She says they only have one left, but they will send it to me for free! Well that’s just great, but now I’m still stuck with two units that I can’t get parts for in the future, and a virtual guarantee that at some point, I will need parts for. I didn’t invest 25K in drives that I planned on using for just 3 years and then tossing aside! What the hell is going on!
So now I send another email and cc anybody in the company that just might give a shit. Just maybe.
Late the next day, this is all I get.
Go to the link and this is what you get (and I would SWEAR they created this and posted it just for my sake).
What else is there to say. As soon as the warranty is up you’re screwed. Now I have two proprietary drive systems that I can’t get parts for should anything else happen.
Let me be clear that it’s not that the product was EOL that bothers me, it’s that they refuse to support people that are willing to pay for the necessary parts to protect their investment. It is customary to support products through parts and service (with a fee) even after they are no longer being sold. Especially such a big high-end product like this.
To put it another way, it’s like not being able to get parts for your car once it’s past the 3 year warranty, and the dealer and parts manufacturers refuse to sell you any anything or help in any way. Wouldn’t that just seem insane!?
What’s troublesome for me too is that I really do like the G-Technology products, so having to move away to another vendor is a bit disappointing. I have not spent any serious time looking for a alternative for the future, but the first company I plan to check out is Promise. They seem to be cutting edge and make some solid, high-end products.
The lesson here is simple. When making big financial purchases for your business, look beyond the glossy brochure of that really cool piece of hardware. Ask yourself if the company is serious about customer service, and especially serious about the production industry. Do they have a good track record of taking care of customers, or is it easy to find customer complaints via a Google search?
In the end, investing in a product is also investing in the future of that company, and unless you take a look at the whole picture, you could end up burned and disappointed like me.
As for me, I am choosing to boycott G-Technology. I hope that you will too.