I'd be interested if any of the people here who had positive experiences, dealt w/Plextor USA. As I know this is an international forum, I can never assume what country a post came from. I have read numerous times that people who deal w/Plextor Europe have generally positive experiences. My experience was w/Plextor USA.
My experience can only be described a hellish. I purchased a 716A in January, for a new system that I built. I'd always had good luck w/Plextor in the past, and admired the quality of the drives enough that I was willing to pay the premium price to have one.
Within 1 week the drive began to have problems reading and writing disks. I sent an email to Plextor, requesting advice. They didn't write back. Within 3-4 weeks, the drive refused to read or write anything. After sending more emails, I received a reply from Plextor. I explained that my drive was exhibiting behavior I had seen described on other forums.
I had expected that a premium company like Plextor would say something like, "Oh, yes, we are sorry, we have been experiencing problems w/that drive. We'll issue a call tag and have it picked up for exchange." I guess that was naive of me.
I got mostly canned, boilerplate responses that didn't really answer the questions I was asking. They just said to run the diagnostic, which involves getting into your computer, disconnecting the IDE cable, setting the jumper a certain way, inserting a perfectly good disk, and powering up the system while holding the Eject button (as I recall, this is the sequence).
My drive was, indeed, bad: the diagnostic resulted in two green blinks from the LED, which meant "initialization error".
Even tho I explained over and over that the drive had begun to go bad after only a week, and that since I had bought it from Newegg, I had to do warranty thru Plextor, they still said they would not pay for shipping to them. This was just the tech support dept. Finally, I guess they got tired of dealing w/me (I can be persistent), so they said to ask the RMA dept. The RMA dept. never returned any of my emails. Ever.
Defeated, I sent the drive back at my expense. Even tho I live in Northern California, and Plextor USA is based in Northern California, I had to ship the drive to Ohio, which made it more expensive.
Finally, about THREE MONTHS after I had first emailed Plextor, I received the replacement drive.
I installed it, and it began to fail even more quickly than the first one had. It failed, w/the same initialization error code.
I was rather incensed, as you can imagine. Plextor did not return any of my emails, which were, naturally, written in an irritated tone, but I kept to the facts, and did not swear, nor cast aspersions on their ancestors. They did not respond.
I sent an email to their official Public Relations dept., explaining the situation, saying I'd had enough of that treatment, and was ready to start posting my experiences in forums like this one. They also did not ever respond.
Finally, in desperation, I contacted Newegg. I thoroughly explained the situation to them, attached documentation, and got them to agree to take back the drive. At first, I thought to exchange it for yet another, but after reading many more experiences like my own, I asked them to refund.
After some hemming and hawing, they said they'd refund, minus a 15% restocking fee. I wasn't exactly sure why they would restock a bad drive, but at this point I just wanted out.
I was out $130 (US) for the drive, $11 to ship it to Plextor, and another $8 to ship to Newegg. I had also been dealing w/this nightmare for FOUR months. What I will get back for the drive will be around $110.
Someone in reply to one of my earlier posts (do a search, and you will find my posts; one includes an awful scan of a disk from the Plextor, as it was failing), said that people were overreacting to this situation, and "looking for problems". Even tho a lot of what I said here was anecdotal, it was always backed up by the drive's own diagnostics. I find those results pretty hard to argue with.
So, I'm glad that so many people seem to have had good experiences w/this drive. Mine were not good, to say the least. And my original feeling, which hasn't changed, was that if a company was going to charge that much for a drive--nearly three times what I paid for an NEC 3520A OEM--then I expected to receive premium service. In reality, I feel like I was basically told to f*** off. While my emails were firm, the tone was not really much different than the tone my posts here take. I didn't scream, I didn't threaten to sue; I did say I thought the treatment was unfair, and really could not believe they were doing what they were doing. I still can't.
For the record, I've had several Plextor drives over the years, and they have always performed well--which is why I chose them as my drive of choice for my new system. I still have a 708UF which still works. And in the entire time I've used optical drives--from my very first 1x CD-ROM--I've never had a drive fail before I retired it just to upgrade.
So my conclusions to this fiasco are:
1) The drive shouldn't have failed. But stuff happens, so I could forgive that if...
2) Plextor had immediately and unquestioningly moved to replace the drive, wholly at their expense. I told them that, yes, if the drive had failed 11 months into the 12-month warranty, I would be more willing to pay shipping. I thought it was unfair I should have to pay shipping on a drive which began to fail after 1 week of use, and when I had no other options to return/exchange.
3) I've been working with, repairing, upgrading, building computers for almost 20 years. I've dealt w/a lot of tech companies, both for myself, and for clients when I consulted. I thought a previous experience w/Dell was my number one bad experience, but the Plextor mess has far replaced it as number one.
4) Plextor had enough user feedback info when the first drive went bad to surely know what what was wrong. By the time I got to the second drive, I cannot fathom how they could still have, in good conscience, played dumb.
5) This may not matter, but the TLA# on the first drive was 0203. The TLA on the second drive was also 0203. 03xx TLA's were on the market at that time. I didn't know enough about the TLA factor at that time to make it an issue. I felt they should have sent me the most up-to-date drive they had. Instead, they sent me basically the same drive, w/a serial # only a few thousand increments newer than the one I sent them.
There's more detail to this situation, of course, including a lot of emails and such, but I think I've taken up plenty of space w/this. My ultimate recommendation to anyone thinking of getting this drive: buy it local, make sure you have at least 30 days to return (because it can take that long for it to go bad), and make sure they don't charge a restocking fee.
Because despite my experiences, I thought that when the drive actually worked, it was pretty amazing. I wish I was as lucky as some of you, who have good ones. Between my NEC and my LG, I can do 95% of what that Plextor could do, but I will miss that last 5%. I do not, however, miss Plextor the company, and find it difficult to believe that I will ever purchase another, especially since both my LG and NEC together didn't cost as much as a single Plextor.
Good luck w/the drive, and make sure you CYA if you deal w/Plextor USA.