Chinese hard disks, original hard disks, cheap hard disks, genuine hard disks, expensive hard disks, 1 terabyte, 500gb, 250gb are all terms you have heard when you went out looking for a hard disk, although the first term “Chinese hard disks” is not such a common term to many.
When we go to buy something, we are looking for something good but at the same time we are also trying to save some money in the pocket. In the process, I don’t know if I should say the Chinese, or the locals here in Kenya or all of them together; but someone has found a way on how to take advantage of us innocent people who just want to save some money.
I had a friend who recently bought a 500gb hard disk and then he brought it to me complaining that the hard disk is really slow, and asked me if I could do my magic and make it work efficiently. On seeing the hard disk, it had an odd appearance. For starters the casing was a bit odd. The first question I asked him was how much did you buy this hard disk for? He looked at me all smiles, and told me “I got it at deal and a half, you won’t believe it.” Of course I did not believe it because he told me he got the hard disk for 3000 ksh about 31 dollars (at the current exchange rate of 98 ksh per dollar), and yes it was brand new in its packaging. He even broke the seal.
On plugging the hard drive to my computer it showed a size of 499gb. This was really accurate. Hard drives never have the full capacity as some space is reserved for other functions of the hard drive.
I decided to test the hard drive by just copying a few files into it, I was amazed at the speed of the data transfer. No, it wasn’t shock of, “wow, that’s fast”, it was shock of “What in God’s names is going on”. The speed at which the data was being transferred was alarming; it was too slow. I desperately wanted to look into the hard disk, however he wasn’t really up for it. He thought that it would be best to return the product without tampering with it. Once you read on to find out how he purchased the product, you will understand how returning the product wouldn’t really be a viable option.
To satisfy my curiosity and also possibly warn my trusted readers, I decided to also get myself a piece of that amazing deal. So I purchased the hard disk from the same vendor who sold it to him. The whole experience of buying it was interesting, and what marveled me the most is what I saw when I got to have a pick inside the hard drive.
I was shocked. Inside the hard disk were two metallic rods like the one they use for joining the pieces of a bed. Then in between it was a very small item that looked like a flash drive, as shown below.
Even if you have never seen the inside of a hard drive, you will clearly tell that this was a rip off. In essence the two metal rods were meant to give the hard drive the weight of a genuine hard drive.
The interesting thing is that this hard drive also came with a manual, like how the original hard drives come packaged. From the outside, this hard drive looked original, as the packaged was maintained as it was even sealed.
My buying experience was actually really nice. The person selling the item, came all the way to deliver the item to me at no extra cost. This was really convenient to me as I was held up where I was and I couldn’t make the trip to town. They showed me the hard drive and even let me test it on my mini laptop.
When it came to me making payment I told them that I have to go to mPesa to withdraw the money. Once I told them that, they slightly changed their behavior and began to look scared in some way. They were two ladies. This should have been a clear sign of mischief, but either way I wanted to get the hard drive. I gave them the money, and they were really happy and telling me how they will even give me more discount when I bring more customers.
Back to the results
Then is when I got home and on studying the drive I could only laugh. The speed at which data was being copied was always below 5mb per second. At times the speed would be at 0mb per second (meaning no data is being copied to the drive) for some minutes before it resumed the data transfer. It was then that I decided to open the hard drive to find the three components inside; 2 metal rods and a 500gb flash drive.
How to protect yourself
On playing back my experience in my head and after studying the hard drive is when I learnt how the deal had the writings “SCAM” written all over it. This is how you can prevent yourself from falling prey to such scams.
- This has always been said, when the deal is too good to be true, think twice.
- If you are buying the hard disk from someone you have never met, for the first time be extra vigilant in case they insist that they should deliver it to where you are instead of you going to the shop.
- Examine the packaging of the item. This hard disk was advertised as WD (a western digital product), but when you look at the box it looks different from normal WD boxes. The Chinese writings should have raised a huge red flag. (PICTURE)
- If possible, if you are sure you are going to purchase the hard drive ask for it to be tested. Most sellers will not want to break the seal unless the buyer has confirmed they will purchase the item. If the item is not up to standard, you have no obligation to purchase the item even if the seal has been broken. Try copying a few files. The speed for file transfer for hard drives should be way above 15mb per second single file, and especially a 3.0 hard drive should have speeds of even 60mb per second.
- For a new hard drive its always better buying from a place that will give you a receipt and even offer you a warranty for your purchase
- All in all, be vigilant and exercise patience. If the seller seems to want to hurry you to make your purchase, leave; they definitely are not the only ones who sell hard drives.
I know we all would love to save some money on purchases, but sometimes if not all the times, cheap can end up being quite expensive.
It is important to note, that I am not saying that all Chinese products are fake, but a majority of the products out there that are fakes come from China; however China make some of the high end products in the market, such as the iPhone which is manufactured in China.
This article was highlighting these fake Hard disks. We shall be writing another article talking about fake capacity drives such as memory cards and flash drives. We will feature on how to spot them and how to test them for their genuineness. If you haven’t subscribe look for the red sign on the web page that says “Subscribe for free updates” and stay updated.
Check out the pictures below of the hard drive and see how this hard drive looks like and how well it was packaged.
If this scam story interested you, check out this other story of how ItechJungle exposed an online scam. Check it out HERE