So, I’ve finally heard back from DataRetrieval.com!
(Actually, I heard back a couple weeks ago, but I’ve been a little busy and haven’t had a chance to write things up.)
After a couple days of trying to get a response from an actual human being as to what was going on with my drive, I finally got a quote. Well, actually, two quotes, which was kind of confusing. The first quote was for about $300 and the second quote was for $1800. But, I got no explanation of what the two quotes meant! After a whole lot of back and forth over the course of more than a week with what seemed like an email autoresponder, I finally got in touch with a customer service representative to find out what was going on.
As it turns out, the quote for $300 was the minimum price to just get started. Let that sink in for a minute. They wanted $300 up front before they even started working on this drive with no promise whatsoever of actually retrieving data. The $1800 quote was an estimate of the entire cost for retrieving all my data.
Obviously, that wasn’t going to work for me and I told the service rep that. Then, apparently, we started negotiations.
He came back with a counter offer price, which was still way too high and I told him so.
A day later, he came back again with another, lower offer.
In the end, that $1800 got cut down to about $500, which made me wonder just what they were charging me for in that first outrageous quote!
Finally, I convinced them that I wasn’t going to use their service and that I just wanted my drive back. They charged me $25 for shipping, which I thought was fair enough, and they sent my drive back to me. And here’s where they really lost me as a customer ever. To the left, you see the box they sent my drive back to me in. In case you forgot from the first post about this incident, since it was so long ago, I sent the drive to them in a larger box that was specifically designed to ship drives in, to keep them as safe as possible.
At the right, you see how they packed things inside the box.
After all the strongly worded warnings and disclaimers about making sure you ship your damaged drive to them well padded so they won’t be liable for any additional damage or data loss, they don’t return the drive with anything like that same consideration. I suppose they don’t feel like they need to since they won’t be making money off the drive, but, damn, that kind of disrespect for potential customers really says something bad about them as a company, at least in my mind. I mean, there wasn’t *any* padding whatsoever! It was just wrapped in two plastic shipping bags and shoved into the box!
Thankfully, the drive doesn’t seem to be damaged at all, or any more than it was when it crashed, so I’m probably no worse off than I was before I sent it to them. Still, it’s the idea that they’d show so little care with my data that makes me question their entire service. I know that I, personally, won’t ever trust them to attempt a data retrieval again, that’s for sure!
Also, based on what I’ve read, the problem is most likely a bad board on the drive. A board which I can get off eBay for about $40, replace myself, and quite likely retrieve all my old photos. I haven’t actually decided if I’m going to try and run down the board that matches the BIOS on my particular drive, but I may. Kind of a huge difference, though, between $1800 and $40, plus a little of my time, isn’t it?
In any case, if I decide to get the board and fix the drive myself, now that I finally have it in my possession again, I’ll post another follow up with how that went. And, possibly, even a tutorial on changing out that board.
Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"When I'm working on a problem I never think about beauty. I think only of how to solve the problem. But, when I have finished, if the solution is not beautiful, I know it is wrong."
--R. Buckminster Fuller