I was lucky enough to be given a 250GB, USB hard drive at Easter. Which I dismantled and put into my desktop PC. There it sat until September, when it decided to fail.
According to the manufacturers website, the drive was still under warranty, so off it went, via DHL, to California. Correctly packaged in its anti-static bag in a cardboard hard-drive box with custom made foam carriers. And correctly labeled with its three barcodes the manufacturer had me print off (presumably to stop it getting lost).
DHL lets you track the progress of your package - it was delivered on the 5th October.
Three weeks later, the status of my RMA (Return Merchandise Authorization) was stuck at "waiting delivery". Finally I gave in and enquired as to the status of my RMA. Turns out that "our warehouse has refused this drive back to you and the warranty has been voided due to the tape seal on the drive was tampered with".
There honestly is no way my drive was "tampered with". You know what I think? They lost it!
Lesson learned: take loads of photos of anything you return - just to prove that you didn't "tamper" with it.
Not to be outdone by a hard drive manufacturer, I complained - "There's no way that drive was tampered with", "I am very unhappy".
This morning I've just heard that my replacement drive is on its way back to me.
Lesson learned: Complain - no one wants unhappy customers.