We had a hard drive issue. At 7pm, I found DataRetrieval.com's (dr.com after this) ad online using an Internet search engine. They stated in the ad that their typical hours ended at 5pm. So I decided to wait and call in the morning.
Next morning, I had my car in for service and wasn't near my office, but... I brought the number for dr.com with me. So I called them. A pleasant man answered and before I finished explaining what had happened he was assuring me that they could most likely (85-90% sure) retrieve the data on the drive. Boy was I relieved.
I immediately asked about the cost. I was told that I could choose options from $99 all the way up to $1499. Each of these was based upon speed of service; the longer I was willing to wait, the cheaper it would be.
I elected the $299 package. I was told (via phone) that this was a '4 hour diagnoses' and a '3-4 day retrieval process' (if it was to be possible).
The man took my CC number over the phone and said he would email me a CC form I would also need to fill out. I explained that I was out for the day, but could look at it when I returned to my office after hours at the end of the day. He also said he'd send me an email with my case number in it and pertinent information. I AGAIN said that I was out til the end of the day.
Now the plot turns to 'the scam'...
When I got back to my office (earlier than anticipated; about 3:30), I found two emails from DR.com. The first contradicted what I was told on the phone and stated that the $299 was only to diagnose the drive and not for any data recovery whatsoever. I was in shock. The second stated that they had diagnosed the problem and that they would need to charge me $ 1,939.26 (tax included) to recover the data! This was SIX TIMES what I was led to believe via our phone conversation.
I told our office manager to reply (email or via phone) and tell them NOT to proceed and that we just wanted to get our drive back immediately. She called twice and emailed once to the very man I spoke with earlier. Her calls and emails were not returned.
The next morning, our office manager went to the physical location where our drive was diagnosed. She was told that the drive wasn't there...?!? The receptionist told our manager that they would have to 'ship it to us'. Our manager said that this was definitely not 'OK' and just that they needed to tell us where the drive was, that we could go pick it up.
After a 30 minute 'run-around', the receptionist there at DR.com's place, finally went around to the back side of her own desk and picked up our drive from the floor and handed it to our office manager.
Some additional info as well:
When our office manager finally spoke with the man I spoke with and told him that it was more than we would pay, he offered to forward us to a department for 'negotiating a better rate'. It seems that this company's policy is, "Fleece each client for as much as they can possibly pay. Start way over-priced, then negotiate down if we have to". To me, this reeks of "scam".
When I complained via email to the man with whom I first spoke, he said for me to go back and read the emails he sent me. Unfortunately, as he well knows, I was never able to read them before they began this scam. I had told him during our original phone conversation that I was out of the office and wouldn't be able to get to my computer until AFTER business hours that day.
The man even referenced an email he sent me at 3:03pm as being one where his company explained everything about the charges. So why then, was our drive diagnosed and our DEBIT card already charged by then? Again, this seems like 'bait and switch' or 'hold them for ransom' tactics to me.
Please be VERY WARY of the seemingly dishonorable business practices used by dataretrieval.com.