Data on returned hard drive

Hello there.  I was writing because I was wondering what the basics on the protocol for data on returned hard drives to Western Digitial.  I guess I say this because I had a 320 SATA Caviar internal drive fail, or stop working, despite trying to plug it into two separate enclosures.  It previously was extremely easy to get to “activate” when plugged into these enclosures.  The last noise it made was a “scratching” noise that was not unlike its normal access noise.  But I noticed that it was making this noise despite not being given any instructions to access the drive.  I suspect this was the head hitting the surface, but, I am not sure.  The other strange thing was that it was not making any noise when plugged into either enclosure, which were the same brand of enclosure.  I was thinking about getting a different brand of enclosure to further evaluate it, but, due to the ease with which the drive was previously working, I decided to return the drive to the retailer because I could still return the drive according to their policy.

I copied a lot of files to that hard drive, most of which I could replace, but some information which could be used to identify me I suppose.  I guess I should have done dramatic things to “destroy” the hard drive, but, my suspicion is that the retailer will now probably endeavor to return it to the manufacturer now.  Based on what a I read, the general principle is that the drives are evaluated primarily to see if they actually work, at which point they are refurbished.  If the platters are bad but the circuit board is fine, then the circuit board is recovered.  But in all instances, the platters are generally wiped or destroyed?   I know that there is no legal liability for what happens once I return it, but I guess there are not a lot of opportunities in the “chain of custody” for significant data compromise to occur once it returns to Western Digital?  I was just wondering what might happen now.

Thanks for any information!

You are basically right.  The machines WD uses to check the drives when they come in, destroys all data at the same time they analyze the drives.  When the drive is pulled, it’s cleaned of data.