A simple search for “data recovery” using your favorite online search engine will yield a laundry list of companies that recover data from damaged media devices. Data loss is much more common than you might think, and you’d be surprised by the sheer number of companies that manage to stay afloat by providing only this one, single service. With so many companies to choose from, customers are oftentimes tempted to take the cheapest route and bring their damaged media device to local data recovery specialists who offer to recover their data for a “flat rate.” These “flat rate data recovery companies” usually charge somewhere in the vicinity of $300, but some charge as low as $150! How can some companies get away with charging thousands of dollars when there exist those who allegedly provide the same exact service for a fraction of the price? The answer is simple: data recovery companies that charge “flat rates” don’t offer services of the same quality as do legitimate data recovery experts and will frequently use underhanded business practices to deceive the customer into paying much more than their advertised “flat rate.”
If a customer brings his damaged media device to one of these aforementioned “flat rate data recovery companies” and the company decides that it isn’t profitable for them to recover his data (i.e., the cost of recovery is above their advertised “flat rate”), one of two things will happen: they will claim that his data is unrecoverable or direct the customer toward another data recovery company they find “reputable.”
When they claim that your data is unrecoverable, they aren’t always telling the truth. Many “flat rate data recovery companies” will tell you that your data is unrecoverable rather than risk tarnishing their reputation by admitting that they lack the expertise and equipment necessary to recover your data. So if you’re told that your data is unrecoverable, always seek a second opinion from a different data recovery company.
On the other hand, if the “flat rate data recovery company” does admit that they can’t recover your data and directs you toward a different data recovery company of their choosing, immediately ask them to return your media device and seek the help of another company on your own. “Flat rate data recovery companies” will almost always “partner up” with other, more established or experienced companies and “outsource” their customers to them in exchange for a cut of their profits. This is a clear conflict of interest and will always result in overinflated price quotes and lower quality service, as the “flat rate data recovery companies” will not recommend to you the company they find most reputable, but the company that offers them the largest commission.
As the old saying goes, “caveat emptor.” Shop around before committing to a “flat rate data recovery company,” they aren’t always the best decision.