So, I've purchased a brand new TS-453A over 3 years ago thinking that it was more than enough for my case, and certainly a quality product from a reliable manufacturer. It costed about 400EUR at Amazon.co.uk. I put in it 3 enterprise-class HDD in RAID5 config, laid it down in a temp/humid controlled environment under high-quality online APC UPS, never moved or touched it anymore, and been happy with it so far.
All of a sudden, in this past month it started to disconnect the disk on bay 3, and it seems that moving it onto bay 4 gets the same result, while bays 1 and 2 keep working as before. Submitting the case and logs to QNAP's support resulted in the verdict that it was a backplane fault, a repair expense estimate of about 300EUR + shipping costs to Netherlands, and the consequent spontaneous (from QNAP itself) suggestion to consider buying a NAS anew.
No trade-in program for a new unit, no discounts, warehouse swaps or whatever else. No nothing. Just spend about the same costs of a new NAS (but with only 6 months of warranty on the repair !), or throw the TS-453A away and give us again money for a new NAS.
Now I still have to discover how a competitor like, say, Synology would behave in such a case as my other Synology NAS (DS716+II) is still working like charm, but just out of curiosity: is it only me that finds about scandalous that QNAP's plan seems to be to make users potentially buy a new NAS from scratch every 3-4 years by making potential repair expenses totally inconvenient ?
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