Back in 2005, a woman named Sara Cho sued Seagate alleging that the company's use of binary when reporting hard drive sizes constituted false advertising. If you're not familiar with the difference between how the hard drive industry measures a gigabyte vs. how everyone else measures a gigabyte, it boils down to this. HDD manufacturers (including Seagate, Western Digital, Samsung, and Hitachi) define one gigabyte as one billion bytes. In other market areas, however, a gigabyte is technically defined as 1.074 billion bytes—a difference of 7.4 percent. The gap between the two measurements has grown along with hard drive capacities, at the one terrabyte level the gap increases to ~10 percent.
According to details posted at the settlement website, Seagate has agreed to issue a refund equal to five percent of a drive's original purchase price, provided the hard drive was bought between March 22, 2001 and September 26, 2007. Alternatively, customers can request a free set of Seagate's backup and recovery products (valued at $40). Seagate has agreed to this settlement despite denying any liability (and all of Cho's claims). The settlement must still be approved by the presiding judge and no ruling regarding the merits of the case has been given.
In order to submit a claim, buyer's must fill out either an online claim form (for free software) or a mail-in claim form if you actually want the five percent refund. Drive serial numbers, merchant identification, and the month, date, and year of the purchase are all required for either form, so if you've already tossed the drive or don't remember when you bought it or who you bought it from, you're unfortunately out of luck.
As for the merits of Cho's case, I can see her point—but her failure to win any real concessions from Seagate regarding product labeling means that the problem will continue to occur. What might've seemed trivial at one megabyte becomes a notable loss at one terrabyte, though I have to admit that I don't plan on taking to the streets over the issue. It's quite possible, however, that Cho's settlement (if approved) will open the door for similar actions against other major hard drive manufacturers.