My drive was a external Western Digital. It started to randomly click and later not be recognized by my computer. I tried to copy data over to another drive by the computer froze and the drive never came back up. All data was lost. The drive was never dropped and rarely used.
I googled data recovery services and found Nationwide Data Recovery. They charged a flat fee for data recovery and no charge for unrecoverable data. The fees were pretty cheap compared to other data recovery services. I sent them my drive for a free evaluation.
They told me the drive needed a head replacement and the cost would be $515 that included a non-refundable charge of $129 to cover the cost to buy a donor drive for parts. I agree to the donor drive and sent them $129. They claimed that they successfully replaced the heads but could not scan and recover the data. I was told the hard drive had damage to the read heads which caused damage to the platters in the form of lost sectors. Well they sent my drive back and I'm out of $129.
Here is when I became outraged. A friend of mine knew a person at a law enforcement agency that was into data recovery. I had nothing more to lose, so I gave it to him to look at. And to my surprise, he had all my data imaged over to another drive. I mean every bit of it!! He did it on his lunch break. He told me that the drive had never been open and that he was the first to open it . He swapped a controller board and the drive worked. NDR never replaced the heads as they claimed.
If after a second evaluation and the data could not be recovered for the reason NDR stated, then may be I would have been able to accept the lost. But they lied!!! They charged me for parts they didn't use! They probably never purchased the donor drive.
NDR may have been lucky on drives with simple problems and charging people for major problem fees. If you don't know any better you are at somebody elses mercy. As for NDR, don't trust them. If your data is that important, you are better off just paying a higher fee to a reputable company. In my case I paid $129 for a lesson learned. It could have been worst. If it sounds cheap, it probably is cheap.