Dabs - is my purchase OEM or not?

  ade.h 22:21 20 Mar 2004

Earlier this week, I received a pair of Western Digital WD400JB Special Edition hard-disks from Dabs click here

There was nothing to suggest that this product might be an OEM version, but they were supplied to me without a manual, IDE cables or fittings. Without the cables and fittings, I have no way of installing them (I have no local PC stores to fall back on and ordering even small items online incurs a hefty minimum postage charge.)

I have twice emailed Dabs for clarification, asking whether it can supply me with what are, in my opinion, missing items. The Dabs FAQs don't say anything about products being OEM unless otherwise stated, or anything to that effect.

I could benefit from some advice on where I stand vis a vis Dabs and its apparent miss-labelling of the above product. I don't really want to go down the route of rejecting the product if I can avoid it, provided Dabs can supply me with the necessary accessories.

I am about to contact Dabs in writing, as, if other people's posts are anything to go by, email does not seem to get a response.

  floot 23:17 20 Mar 2004

I had a similar experience to ade.h a couple of weeks ago. I ordered a Seagate ST3120026AS hard drive from dabs. The OEM version offered by ebuyer would have been cheaper, but as I wanted the manual, driver disk and cables I ordered what appeared to be the retail version offered by dabs. The dabs FAQs even have the cheek to warn against using other cheaper suppliers who supply OEM equipment in the guise of retail equipment. Naively, I assumed this meant dabs would not do the same thing.

When the drive arrived in plain brown box without manual, software or cables I complained to dabs. I got a stalling reply asking for more information, such as the bar code number on the box. I supplied this, but heard nothing more. I have let it drop, since I did not want to mess around returning the drive etc. etc. etc. and had already been warned that dabs have a zero customer service policy.

The bottom line is, think twice before dealing with dabs.

  Forum Editor 00:24 21 Mar 2004

to make the point here that OEM equipment isn't in some way inferior to other versions - it's normally supplied to computer manufacturers and suppliers who don't need any manuals etc.

I say that because some forum members may not realise what OEM is. The letters stand for Original Equipment Manufacturer, and can apply to both hardware and software.

I have no idea whether the hard drive you were supplied with is actually an OEM version, or whether that applies to the one referred to by floot comes under that heading, but it does sound odd that both of you had a similar experience, and it would be good to have some clarification on this point from Dabs. I can certainly see no OEM reference on the link you provided, and from that it would be reasonable to assume that the drive in question was a normal retail version.

Perhaps you'll update us when/if you get a response to your letter?

  SEASHANTY 00:38 21 Mar 2004

I think it has become the standard practice these days to assume all hard drives offered for sale are OEM (i.e. without cables or fixings) unless the product is actually listed as being "retail boxed".
I certainly have realised that this has been the case for some time now - just check any catalogues.

  Forum Editor 01:01 21 Mar 2004

if a supplier is going to offer OEM products for sale it must be stated that this is the case. A "standard practice" can have legal effect, but only when it is considered to be 'widely known' and something that it would be reasonable to assume a purchaser would know about.

My own view is that it isn't widely known that all hard drives offered for sale nowadays are OEM versions, and if you take a look at another major online retailer you'll see evidence to that effect. Ebuyer.com sell some drives that are clearly marked as OEM and some that aren't. It would be reasonable to assume therefore that the unmarked drives are boxed with manuals etc.

Perhaps the answer is before making a purchase, you e-mail the retailer asking if the item is OEM. If you get no response, then that should tell you a lot about the company, allowing you to make an informed opinion as to whether to purchase from them.

  Stuartli 08:57 21 Mar 2004

Most hardware and other components you buy from dabs, Scan etc are OEM products and it's certainly no secret - that's why you can buy them so much more cheaply as you are not paying for the retail version.

Drivers etc can easily be downloaded and the satisfaction comes from the financial saving and the avoidance of not having to pay for fancy boxes and often unwanted software etc.

Compare, for instance, the price of a 60GB retail boxed HDD in PC World or similar outlet and the OEM version from an online retailer and just smile at the handsome financial difference.

The great majority who buy such OEM products are doing so to upgrade and usually have all the ancillaries that are required.

  Rayuk 10:57 21 Mar 2004

Just had a quick look Micro Direct/PlanetMicro/Aria[no info that it is oem]
overclockers/ebuyer[States oem drive]

For a first time buyer if they are not told its oem[does that constitute it as a secret??]how are they to know.

  spuds 11:23 21 Mar 2004

Reference to ELECTRON99 suggestion, I tend to find that Ebuyer and Dabs will respond with a return email refering you back to their website and the published advert, they usually state that they cannot offer further advice on the product.This happened recently, when I purchased some software and hardware items, so it was a case of taking pot luck on the savings that I made.

PCW 'brown boxes' usually suggest that they are OEM, but I have always found that they contain nearly everything as similar to any retail pack.

  ade.h 11:36 21 Mar 2004

The FE is right to suggest that the OEM issue is not widely known - I have bought online (mostly from Dabs, unfortunately) for a few years and I have always expected OEM products to be clearly marked. Surely Dabs is guilty of mis-selling by not clearly stating my hard drive's spec or listing box contents.

Stuartli says it "is certainly no secret" - well, no-one told me, that's for sure. And, as it happens, I am upgrading, due to a hard disk failure, but that doesn't mean I have a enough spare screws and cables kicking around to fit two new disks to a RAID chip while keeping the unbootable drive in place to extract my files.

Quite apart from the difficult situation and loss of productivity, I object to being misled.
Anyway, I will state my case to Dabs in writing, consult the Trading Standards website for more advice, and post an update when I know more.

  Forum Editor 12:05 21 Mar 2004

As far as I'm concerned it isn't widely known that "most" of the hardware you buy from online sellers is OEM - where did that idea come from? I'm in the business, and I have never understood that to be the case.

If it's so widely known, why does Ebuyer (my personal favourite) find it necessary to distinguish OEM products separately on its web site?

I'm going to look into this in more detail, but in the meantime I will be interested to see what kind of response you get from Dabs.

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