HELP: Expert needed to verify/document HDD is fake

Discussion in 'Storage & Backup' started by Nick the Knife, Oct 4, 2010.

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  1. Nick the Knife

    Nick the Knife Member

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    Hi,

    I am urgently seeking a 3rd party who is willing to state that a HDD I recently bought is a fake/counterfeit.

    The reason for this request is its required by Paypal/Ebay as part of a claim I've raised with them. I have until 07OCT to provide this.

    On behalf of a relative I (stupidly!) bought a 500gb Samsung 2.5" external HDD from a seller who had sold many of the items without a single negative feedback. Upon arrival the item did appear suspect and then didn't work.

    I've contacted Samsung Electronics Australia (SEA) and been advised verbally by Matt Wu (Sales & Marketing Manager, Storage Products) the item is definitely a fake as globally they've never made one looking like it nor with the model number shown. I am trying to get SEA to provide documentation but they're VERY slow to do so - and I have little confidence in them to help before 07OCT.

    My assertion is the the entire item is fake - the enclosure is fake, the HDD itself is a smaller HDD (80gb) which has been physically labelled fraudulently and also had its firmware/info altered to make it appear to be 500gb in size. Formatting the HDD removes this and renders the device unusable.

    So what I require is:

    So you DO NOT have to be a shop, retailer etc - if you feel qualified in this area and can provide contact details etc in an electronic document - THAT IS PERFECT.

    Let me be clear I'm NOT looking for anything incorrect or fraudulent here - just another 3rd party to state their opinion of the item.

    For reasons of vendor verdict I cannot publicly list the seller of the item or the original listing - though I will provide these to anyone upon request.

    Here is an extensive photo gallery of the item and below is a screenshot of the HDD Tune Pro scan I ran on it.

    I am happy to work with anyone willing to assist to make sure you get everything you need to be able to assess the item.

    Thanks in advance for your assistance,

    Nick

    [​IMG]
     
  2. rowan194

    rowan194 Member

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    I would say the fact that it has a huge number of bad sectors would be sufficient to claim a refund, unless it was clearly specified as a faulty drive and sold "as-is"

    I wouldn't be surprised if it's a second hand 80GB drive that has had its firmware fiddled with in order to report a different capacity (and possibly manufacturer).

    By all means try to find someone that can tell you for sure that it's fake, but the fact that it's faulty out of the box should go a long way to proving your claim.

    Out of interest...

    What does the Health tab show?

    How does what you paid on ebay compare with typical retail?
     
  3. rowan194

    rowan194 Member

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    I have a Samsung 2.5" drive from a couple of years ago, the larger labels are virtually identical (including the extra P/N one at the bottom), one difference I can see is that on mine SAMSUNG is etched onto the metal lid just below the P/N label.

    If current Samsung drives are supposed to have this then it may help indicate it's fake.

    My drive doesn't have the smaller "holograph" label. I note that on your drive it's stuck over the hole that isn't supposed to be covered!


    edit: A quick Google images search for HM500JI shows that the shape of the pressed lid for the genuine models also appears to be different. There are no additional black stickers covering holes/screws like the two small ones on yours. (The larger foam ones are probably for padding in the enclosure.)

    edit 2: One final thing. There are various "dots" showing on the large label, eg top left next to the URL, a few between the URL and barcode etc. Examine these carefully: if they're *printed* then it could be indicative of a copy... ie a scan of an original label in order to copy or modify it, and they haven't cloned out the dust specks in the original scan.
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  4. OP
    OP
    Nick the Knife

    Nick the Knife Member

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    Hi Rowan, just to reply to your posts:

     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 5, 2010
  5. issa2006

    issa2006 Member

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    looke to me mod firmware, theyt put a firmware thats supports the hdd bigger data size. but when you format it you get less, res bad hdd blocks, its prob a other size? maybe..

    it does not mater if samusung say its fake, thats all the proof you need.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Nick the Knife

    Nick the Knife Member

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    And here's the cherry to go on top of everything.

    I stumbled across an online warranty checking utility for Samsung HDDs. I didn't know they had one but evidently they do. I checked a number of my authentic Samsung 3.5" HDDs to make sure it was working fine and all came back exactly as expected.

    So I enter the serial number of this fake HDD into it, S0A0HQSS907425 and for the country of origin I entered Hong Kong (I also did China which worked exactly the same).

    What I got back was this - the Samsung website reported that the HDD serial was for a HM120JC harddrive - NOT a HM500JI!!!!!!!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  7. ironpaw

    ironpaw Member

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    Isn't that proof enough that for Paypal to refund you? I mean its from the manufacturers themselves!
     
  8. Bertross

    Bertross Member

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    Yup ring PAYPAL and make a report against the seller and demand a direct refund asap, and make sure that seller is banned for life and then reported to samsung for fraud.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Nick the Knife

    Nick the Knife Member

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    After speaking with Paypal this morning I doubt it - but I will call again and check as this is a new development.

    Oh and get this for the completely bastard mindset of Paypal.......I call this morning and speak with them and I state that if I am able to prove that the item is counterfeit will every other person who bought the item have to do the same over and over and over again - as the items were identical - all from the same seller.

    So you'd logically think that if I can prove that item 'A' is fake - and another buyer can prove (through ebay/paypal records) that they also bought an item 'A' from the exact same seller - that this person wouldn't have to jump through hoops and prove its fake all over again.

    Think again.......Paypal said that every single buyer must for every single item prove that its fake - as they handle every case seperately.

    When I pressed why......this is policy. I said why is it policy as I can't see why you'd not link them as you can clearly see identical item, identical seller, identical complaint by buyer.........their answer, NO, every single time prove it all over again.

    How is that for buyer protection and common sense?
     
  10. Betzie

    Betzie Member

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    These kind of issues run far deaper than the refund price, I know for a fact the OEM mentioned has a huge counterfiet product problem as do many manufacturers.

    PayPal, eBay and law enforcement are actually quite active at times persuing leads, it may not be PayPal being a shit, thier support centre may have a control in place for this manufactuer

    Although it seems erroneous policy in place they do it to distance themself from the responsibility to automaticly refund all buyers which could get quite expensive :p
     
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2010
  11. Hive

    Hive Member

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    Fake‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎‎
     
  12. crag_v

    crag_v Member

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    Probably not overly helpful, but if this all goes south and you end up being stuck with the drive, you should be able to make it usable again:

    If you download and burn the small ISO of MHDD (Maysoft Hard Drive Diagnostics, I think it stands for) to a CD, then boot it with your "500GB" drive plugged in, you can type the following commands:
    nhpa - displays the drive's Native HPA value
    rhpa - cuts the drive's HPA to its native value.

    Once done, boot the computer again and create a new partition on your "500GB" hard drive. If it really is a 120GB HDD, it should then work without issue as a 120GB, assuming nothing else has been done to hurt the drive (like loading backyard firmware that changes the native LBA to around ~970m rather than ~230m). You might also find this thread partially helpful.

    * this is all from memory so you probably want to double check your commands before proceeding!
     
  13. OP
    OP
    Nick the Knife

    Nick the Knife Member

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    Crag,

    Hey don't undersell things - its very funny you post this as that was exactly something I was going to look into.

    I was able to put together a VERY, VERY comprehensive report as to why the device was a fake - and then with the very kind help of 'Betzie' I've gotten this formalised and on the letterhead of a very reputable 3rd party.

    So I'd be gobsmacked if Paypal didn't find it clearly to be a fake.....its open and shut material.

    But with their bastard mentality I'll not be counting my chickens just yet.....

    I've asked Samsung Australia - who I've provided all this info to - and apparently assisted in starting legal proceedings against this seller in Hong Kong - to make the VERY SMALL gesture of swapping me an authentic Samsung external HDD for this fake one.

    I figured they'd need/want it to investigate its source and possibly in legal proceedings anyway - I also offered to include a stat dec stating where I obtained it from etc.......haha they so far have completely sidestepped this matter.

    Heck they haven't even come back to me with any help yet.......so I've had to do it completely myself, albeit with the formalisation of Betzie.

    THANKS SAMSUNG!!!!! :sick:

    But yeah if none of that comes off I was considering trying to find out how I could flash the HDD (I have no idea what it actually is) to get some value from it.

    After the model HM120JC came linked to the serial on the Samsung online warranty checker I thought it might be one of these but its actually definitely not. A very quick squiz at the geniune HM120JC will show this immediately - the most obvious difference being that the HM120JC is a PATA device and this one is SATA.

    So what HDD it actually is to be honest is really neither here nor there - IMHO it'd be some cheap chinese sourced junk - the cheapest they could get.

    The reason the HM120JC code came up on the Samsung warranty checker website would be that they'd lifted the serial # from a HM120JC they had lying around.

    So thats pretty poor by the counterfeiters - you'd think if they were going to make fake HM500JI's that they'd atleast make the tiny effort to use the serial number of an actual HM500JI!!!! As you can be certain that every single one they've ever made has the same label and serial on it.

    OH and I also had the amusing discovery of why they put that shitty hologram sticker on the HDD - which everyone recognised as weird.....turns out that was to cover up that there actually wasn't a hole in the top cover where the Samsung HDD label says DO NOT COVER THIS HOLE.....! Check the photo when I removed the hologram sticker!!!

    What assholes.........

    On a sidenote this whole incident has been so annoying and stressful for me. I can see why even though they'd sold hundreds of these fakes not a SINGLE person has ever proved them to be counterfeits.

    :-/
     
  14. Betzie

    Betzie Member

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    lol, you'll be right mate

    glad to be of some assistance.
     
  15. crag_v

    crag_v Member

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    Wow. That all really sucks, eh.

    Well, the other thing you can do to help identify the drive is to take the PCB off and google the part number/s until something recognizable comes up. Then google image that particular drive to see if it looks like yours.

    Or, you can send the whole thing to me and I'll disassemble it and try to identify it for you - no charge, as I'm interested too :Pirate:
     
  16. Rzeractor

    Rzeractor Member

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  17. OP
    OP
    Nick the Knife

    Nick the Knife Member

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    Hey guys,

    No none of those PCBs match......I've bought a LOT of Samsung HDDs through the yrs and this PCB doesn't look anything like those ones.

    I've no idea at all what PCB it is......haha as I know you guys will just LOVE to try and get to the bottom of the riddle I'll pull it apart again and post up some pics for you.

    I've just actually spoken to the legal counsel for Samsung Electronics Australia and they've asked me to return the HDD and all accessories etc to them so that they can follow up on the whole matter.

    Apparently its being taken very, very seriously. So thats heartening.

    PITA that I have to send at my expense....gawd what is it with these companies not showing initiative and sending a courier to pick the item up????

    But anyway he did say that PENDING a whole bunch of other crap they might give me a replacement HDD.

    Which I had to bite my lip on a little when I replied as it was kinda like,"Ummmmm well after I spend hours helping you.....make multiple phone calls at my expense and then return the item I'm completely out of pocket for AT MY OWN COST I'd like to think you could send me something!"

    Oddly they didn't even offer to give me the documentation to prove it was fake.......which I felt was poor.

    ANyway will see how it goes - will put those shots up shortly.

    :-/
     
  18. OP
    OP
    Nick the Knife

    Nick the Knife Member

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    Ok - 6 new shots up for those forensic detectives who are dying to find out what the actual HDD is. Here's the original album link again, the new shots are 26 to 32.

    My hunch is that its an 80gb model - ummmm brand, gawd whats the cheapest nastiest HDD maker?

    Interested to see what folks come up with.

    :)
     
  19. Rzeractor

    Rzeractor Member

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    You sir, have there a 5400rpm 40GB Seagate hard disk
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2010
  20. rowan194

    rowan194 Member

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    Funny thing OP - you know how I said earlier I have a 2.5" Samsung drive? Right under it is a 2.5" Seagate! I can't see all of it (would need to remove and disassemble the cage) but I can clearly see that the shape of top area (including the small glossy round sticker and digits in the top right corner of the lid) is the same as your fake.

    Didn't even think of checking that at that time - what are the chances? Oh well, I guess you know for sure now.
     

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