I can't speak to the minds of those to whom you regard as stastically unlikely to have gotten seven bad drives in a row. Nor was I, in my post, referring to PIE tests or other disk reads. No, both my drives went kaput (not to get too technical). Both diagnostics yielded the two-blink code, which = initialization failure. Other than that, my test approach was simple: the drives read and burn great at first, are fantastic at every task I set them to, and then...
First they had trouble reading a disk here and there. Oops, must be my fault--guess I scratched the disk or something. No, wait, those same disks read properly in both my other DVD drives: an NEC 3520A, and a Plextor 708UF. Hmm, what's going on here?
Let's burn some disks. Okay, guess it's all right, the disks are burning fine. No wait, that last disk reads on one of my set-top players, but not on the other. Must be the media.
Let me switch to Verbatim. Whew, that last burn seems okay. No, wait, now I just got 3 coasters in a row--three Verbatim coasters. Let's try the burn in the NEC... burns fine. Plays fine.
When I ordered this drive from Newegg, I noted that they said "Product is warranted thru manufacturer only", but didn't think much about it, because I've never had a bad Plextor. Let me expand on that: I've never had a bad optical drive, ever. Never ever. Even going back to my original, 1x CD-ROM drive. I've always retired the drives and/or systems they were in. If I fire up one of those old systems, the drives are still working. No bad ones--until now.
HWP, this tirade is not directed at you. I realize that, in heated situations such as this, it helps to have the occasional cooler head such as yourself. But the fact seems to exist, that there is something odd going on w/this particular drive.
My equivalent analogy would be that if I bought a new Lexus, by the end of the first week the engine would have blown, Lexus would make me pay to return the car and give me a new engine, and that one would also blow up. And they would want me to pay again to get a good one. (As Plextor is European, I would have used a European car analogy, but Consumer Reports rates them all very low in reliability. I guess we can add European DVD drives to the list.) And this would keep going on and on and on...
I can post my miserable experience w/Plextor, if anyone is interested (I have all the emails). The topper was when I wrote to their Public Relations dept., explaining what was going on, and never receiving a reply. Public Relations!
Their tech support followed a very rigid script, and ignored many questions I put in my emails. Their RMA dept. would not respond at all.
Am I steamed? You bet. :a If I shell out $50 for a Lite-on or similar less expensive brand, I don't expect too much. But I paid $130 for the Plextor, and I expected support to match the premium price. I didn't get it, and now--yes, I know--I'm going off the deep end about it.
What power do we, as individuals, have in a situation like this? If I want to return the second bad drive, I have to pay more shipping. If that drive is also bad, then more shipping, and more, and more... Where does it end, and how does a company like that ever become accountable?