I made the mistake of buying a 500 GB external hard drive online last year. I paid for a 2 year extended warranty, but that did me absolutely no good.
I couldn't contact technical support because everything on their site requires a serial number and the ink on the label on my drive, was blurry making the serial number illegible. You cannot see the phone number or chat, or email technical support without a serial number- and it costs $25 to talk to technical support unless you have an extended warranty (which I do but again with no serial number I had no way to contact them.
My hard drive was making a clicking noise. Their site says you should unplug and send in a hard drive that is making abnormal noises, and not attempt to use data recovery software because you more than likely would further damage it. Before I saw this, I tried to run a chdsk that got stuck on 0%, and I tried to move the files onto this computer and only one of them moved and then it said "Error copying files from E:.. There is an unknown error" and since I kept on getting device timeouts or things saying the file wasn't found or the extension wasn't valid, I thought it was broken. So I sent the drive in and the first invoice I got was for: $1400! and then the second one was for $800 which is their so-called "Economy service."
I thought I was completely screwed because their site says if you take your drive to a 3rd party or use software to try to recover data, you void your warranty. And they charge $10 to return the drive. My boyfriend called the company today because I showed him why I had sent the drive in to them. First of all, I bought the drive on Buy.com and I had bought an extended warranty, and its site said to send it in to the manufacturer. The information on their site led me to believe that it would be best to allow them to fix it, but it appears extremely misleading.
This site says for example:
No clean room fees,
No diagnostic fees, and
No charge for labor. ... We'll even tell you if the problem can be fixed using a free Do-It-Yourself file recovery program.
Which isn't what happened. I asked why it would cost so much and the person I spoke with told me "Because of all the extreme effort it would take to recover your data and the equipment that is required." I asked him if I could have it fixed by a local shop and he said "You better hope they know what they're doing because of the clean room requirement that is necessary, and most places don't have that."
Plus my invoice made it sound like they were talking about hardware problems. It said:
The drive has read errors affecting *structures* and possibly data files. Based upon this evaluation, we feel that a recovery may be possible. We will have to attempt to *manually rebuild* the corrupted / invalid file system components, mount the recovered volume(s) and finally determine if some / all of the data you require is intact.
And this site has several warnings against using data recovery software including:
Warning: DO NOT install any do-it-yourself file recovery software on the drive or disk from which you may have lost data. Every time a read/write is attempted to a damaged disk, you increase your risk of permanent data loss!
While it is possible that you might be able to correct minor causes of inaccessible data, there is a much greater risk of causing further data loss or diminishing the chances for a successful recovery.
Iomega's Priority Service typically costs about the same as or less than most commercial data recovery software. For about the same price or even less money , you'll have the benefit of Iomega Data Recovery experts who are able to resolve problems far more complex than any data recovery software can! Oh really, so data recovery software costs more than $800-$1400?
Not to mention the most recent email I got said: "Upon email reply receipt I will make available the Invoice and online Credit Card payment instructions for you to complete so we MAY PROCEED with payment, data transfer and shipment."
So when I called him I asked if I could just have the drive sent back to me- because I hadn't paid for anything yet and it said "So we may PROCEED" but he said "We're past that point and the service has already been performed."(But nothing had been transferred and I hadn't stated whether or not I consented to the file transfer.) Thursday when I talked to him on the phone, he said that he would email me on Friday so he could see what files could be recovered and then *let him know if I accepted it- to think about it over the weekend* and call him back on Monday.
My boyfriend and I called Iomega again and spoke to a supervisor. I asked why it would cost $800 and he said "Data recovery costs a MINIMUM of $700 and we're trying to be nice to you and give you a price on the low end of the spectrum." He said "Why are you trying to second-guess the service after we already performed it? You can't do that!" But I told him that both my university information technology service and a local shop said that price was reasonable *if* it was a HARDWARE PROBLEM which was performed in a CLEAN ROOM and he said "Well we told you it was a software problem. It's simple."- which I feel is quite rude and also it was not clearly stated as their site promised.
The supervisor "If you're not satisfied with the recovery, you can have your drive back" and I said that they said I couldn't earlier and he said "Well yeah, because you were trying to renege on a legal contract and you can't just sign stuff without reading it."
However I do not believe I signed a legal contract. I did not fax or email back an attachment with my name written or typed into anything, and I believed that I was consenting only to find out what, if anything could have been recovered from the charge. Their site itself says:
"***No Files - No Charge: Charges are only applicable when you have agreed with our quotation and we have made a full recovery or you accept the recovery results as presented. If there are no files recovered, no recovery fee is charged. If there is a partial recovery, you decide to either accept the recovery as presented for the quoted price or decline the recovery with no recovery fee charged."
Payment must be received before data can be released. "
In addition, their site says quotes are only valid for 72 hours which puts a lot of pressure on you. They place a lot of pressure on people, then treat them like they are stupid. The supervisor told my boyfriend that if I just go around signing agreements then I'll have a lot of headaches in my life which is a rude and condescending thing to say. I believe that their site is highly misleading. To say they don't charge for labor fees or a clean room but to charge $800 for a procedure which I discovered is nothing more than running data recovery software and/or a disk defragmentation which I could do myself is ridiculous. They claim the price is so high because of the "Extreme effort" and "Hard work" required while stating that they do not charge for labor!
This company DEFINES the term rip off.o
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