I have a 250GB Freecom external HD and never had a problem with it over the last 3 years. Its on most of the time too.
Also I have contacted Freecom in the UK via Email for my DTV usb stick and they got back to me in a couple of hours. Also sent me the part the next day.
I also made my own external HD for a laptop from a 2.5 USB case and a hard drive from an old laptop.