Data recovery is a service that most of us hope that we’ll never need. Nevertheless, hard drives, RAID arrays, and flash media fails, and if data is extremely valuable, sometimes data recovery is the only option. Luckily, there are a number of great companies that offer data recovery services–however, there are also a lot of data recovery scams out there, companies that will take your money without returning a sufficient amount of data or overcharge for basic services. Here’s a guide to recognizing and avoiding a less-than-reputable data recovery company.
1. Ask about their techniques. They should discuss a class 100 clean room, which is necessary for internal data recovery work. If they’re unable to discuss head swaps, electronic work, or the basics of how a class 100 clean room operates, they might be a scam company–data recovery scams often simply run software on hard drives for anywhere up to days at a time. This results in low recovery rates and a high amount of permanently damaged drives, often causing enough platter scoring to make recovery impossible, even by a reputable data recovery company. Make sure that the company you’re considering uses nondestructive methods that won’t cause further damage to your hard drive.
2. Ask about their recovery rate. A decent data recovery company will either quote a 70-90% recovery rate (depending on how the percentage is figured, a single company might quote both of these rates accurately, so you might also ask how the percentage is figured) or try to explain that recovery rates vary from hard drive type to hard drive type. A data recovery scam company will often quote a ridiculous 100% or 99% rate of recovery, which is simply impossible given the variety of issues that affect modern hard drives.
3. Look at pricing and how it’s figured. Be very skeptical about any company with a low maximum cost for recovery–the maximum cost should be at least $700. Flat rate data recovery companies can be trouble, as in most cases the only way to offer the same price to every customer is to provide exactly the same service, and if one hard drive with failed heads is treated the same as a hard drive with a failed spindle, that’s certainly a problem. And, while it’s OK for a customer service representative to narrow the range of data recovery costs by talking to you on the phone, they shouldn’t be able to pinpoint an exact price without seeing the hard drive first.
Do you have any experience with data recovery scams? Post in the comments section below.