If your hard drive, flash media, or other data storage product fails without being properly backed up, you may need to pursue data recovery from an experienced company. The Internet is full of stories about data recovery companies, both good and bad, but the bad stories tend to be heard a little more often, since, well, they’re more interesting. Still, some data recovery companies are simply inept and aren’t too great at what they do. It’s in your best interest to avoid sending your hard drive to one of these companies.
Here are some of the common issues that data recovery companies have, and warning signs to look for.
1. Turnaround time. Because parts need to be ordered for certain drives, and because some companies simply aren’t organized well, turnaround time is never a guarantee with data recovery. Late cases should be uncommon, though, and you should receive adequate information as to what caused the delay you’re dealing with. If your case is nearing the end of its scheduled completion time, it’s completely acceptable to contact the data recovery company and ask if everything’s going well. They shouldn’t act offended that you’re asking (provided that you’re not calling so much that they can’t get any work done). Realize that delays happen–but make sure they realize that you’ve got a right to know what’s going on with your hard drive.
2. Pricing. The biggest complaint that most customers have with the data recovery industry as a whole is the wide ranges of prices that are quoted–most of the time, extremely high prices. The fact is, until a data recovery company looks at a hard drive, there’s no reliable way to gauge how difficult a data recovery will be, so don’t trust any service that gives a standard flat rate on hard drive data recovery, unless it’s part of a special promotion or a deal that has been organized with your company. Also don’t trust a company that won’t give a range–you should be able to find out the minimum and maximum cost of recovery in your case.
3. Partial recoveries. In some cases, a hard drive is damaged severely enough that only a portion of the drive’s data can be recovered. This is, unfortunately, part of being in the data recovery business. However, some companies will try to get the full cost of a data recovery job for only a partial recovery. When you contact a data recovery company to discuss your case, discuss their plan for partial recoveries to make sure you don’t run into a problem later. You should have a clear agreement with them that you only intend to pay for a recovery if the files you need are recovered. Reputable data recovery labs have a “no data, no charge” policy that ensures this.
Have you experienced any problems with data recovery companies? Post in the comments section below. You don’t need to be specific about which company.