Reynolds Data Recovery = Nightmare

Back at the end of November my desktop machine froze and my hard drives got corrupted. It happens. I hadn’t done a recent backup (entirely my fault), so I had a choice: forget about the data I was losing or pay someone to get it back for me. I decided on the latter. So far, it has not worked out well.

First I took the drives to Eboxlab1 but that didn’t work out so well. Then I choose to take the drives up to Reynolds Data Recovery.

When I took my drives up to them, I’d had nothing but good experiences with Reynolds. I met a fellow from there at BarCampDenver, and every time I’d called (getting information), my call was quickly answered and the person on the other end of the phone knew what they were talking about.

They gave me estimates I was comfortable with ($600-1400 and 3-5 days), so I drove up there and dropped off my drives along with an additional external drive for them to put the recovered data on. Since then, things have not gone smoothly.

Here is a timeline:

  • Tue, Nov 28 – Call Reynolds for information. I am told a recovery like this will take 3-5 days.
  • Fri, Dec 1 – Drop off hard drives for recovery.
  • Tue, Dec 5 – Receive call from Mark, confirm $800 price (which they have already charged to my credit card) and that drives will be ready to pick up Friday (8th) or Saturday (9th) at the latest and that I could pick up Sat since I was local. Mark says he will call me Thursday to let me know which day.
  • Wed, Dec 6 – E-mail sent to Mark on Tue bounces back to me, I call and fax the printed e-mail in.
  • Thu, Dec 7 – No call from Mark. I cannot reach Reynolds via phone or e-mail.
  • Fri, Dec 8 – Still cannot reach Reynolds via phone or e-mail. I track down Bill’s cell number via the BarCamp web site to his personal site to his WHOIS record. Bill apologizes, explains that they are having ISP issues (IP phones I guess) and says he’ll find out what is happening and call me back.
  • Mon, Dec 11 – Call Bill again since he didn’t return my call with information as he said he would. Bill still has no status, says he will call me back.
  • Tue, Dec 12 – Called Bill twice and left messages. No return call.
  • Wed, Dec 13 – Call Bill again and leave a message. Since I can’t reach anyone and the drives were supposed to be ready 3 days ago, I drive 45 min to the Reynolds office. No one is there. I finally reach Bill, he tells me to wait that Mark is on his way. 1.5 hours later I give up and leave. Bill calls me on my 45 minute drive home and says he can’t reach Mark.
  • Thu, Dec 14 – Mark calls in the morning. Note that this is the first time someone from Reynolds has contacted me since Tue, Dec 5 – one week after he was supposed to call. He says that the drives are 55% complete and he will call me in the afternoon. He does not call in the afternoon.
  • Fri, Dec 15 – No calls from Reynolds, called and left a message with Bill at the end of the day.
  • Mon, Dec 18 – No calls from Reynolds, called and left a message with Bill at 2pm and at 4:45pm.
  • Tue, Dec 19 – No calls from Reynolds, called and left a message with Bill at 12pm and at 4:45pm.
  • (the timeline is continued with updates at the bottom of this post)

So now I’m not sure what to do. I can’t seem to get them on the phone, or get them to give me any kind of status information. I can’t even go get the drives back since it appears that no one is at the office2.

I can understand that a phone and e-mail outage means that things are not “business as usual” for Reynolds right now. Maybe if I’d taken the drives to Reynolds first and gotten in and out before their phone and e-mail outage I’d have had a nice smooth experience.

I can try to sympathize and understand, but at this point I can no longer excuse their failure to communicate or complete the work as promised. A quick phone call or e-mail when a project is a week and a half past due isn’t too much to ask for.

I decided to blog this in the hopes that it applies some pressure to Reynolds to resolve this quickly (so that they can comment here and show a nice response time). If this doesn’t work, I guess I’ll have to look at other options for recourse.

I hate that they’ve put me in a position to even have to consider this. Please, someone from Reynolds get in touch and fix this.

Based on the information I was given three weeks ago, I decided to postpone my upcoming releases of Tasks Pro™ and Tasks to wait until I got my data back rather than re-doing about a week’s worth of work on stuff for the launch. I now regret that choice – I probably won’t be doing those releases until 2007 now.

  • (timeline continued from above)
  • UPDATE: Wed, Dec 20 – No calls from Reynolds, called and left a message with Bill at 10:45am. Called Bill again at 5pm – he answered but had no information, will try to have someone call me tonight or tomorrow.
  • UPDATE: Thu, Dec 21 – No calls from Reynolds.
  • UPDATE: Fri, Dec 22 – No calls from Reynolds.
  • UPDATE: Tue, Dec 26 – No calls from Reynolds. Reynolds has a new temporary phone number listed on their web site. I dialed it at 9:30am and got an automated voice system. When I pressed 0 to reach an operator (an option given to me), I received a ‘your call cannot be transferred’ error. When I try to type in ‘mark’ in the dial-by-name feature, I also get a ‘your call cannot be transferred’ error. It seems that the original temporary phone number posted on their web site (which would go to voice mail) has been replaced by another temporary phone number that doesn’t work at all. I am close to giving up on them entirely.
  • UPDATE: Wed, Dec 27 – No calls from Reynolds. Calls to their (new temporary) number still do not work. I was contacted by another local company that does data recovery (see comment below) and they were kind enough to try to contact folks they knew at Reynolds for me. Unfortunately, they had no luck either.
  • UPDATE: Thu, Dec 28 – No calls from Reynolds. Tried to call again at 2pm, the phone system is still broken (can’t even leave a message). Called and left a message on Bill’s cell phone around 3pm.
  • UPDATE: Fri, Dec 29 – No calls from Reynolds. Tried to call again at 10:25am; no luck, no way to leave a message.
  • UPDATE: Tue, Jan 2 – No calls from Reynolds. New year, same results. Tried to call at noon; no luck, no way to leave a message.
  • UPDATE: Wed, Jan 3 – No calls from Reynolds. Tried to call at 11:30am; no luck, no way to leave a message. Left another message with Bill’s cell phone. It is now my guess that Reynolds is likely going out of business.
  • UPDATE: Thu, Jan 4 – No calls from Reynolds. Tried to call at 12:45pm; no luck, no way to leave a message. Left another message with Bill’s cell phone. Drove up to Reynolds and was able to take my drives back. You can read more about that here.
  1. Which, apparently, actually wasn’t Eboxlab on some technicality I don’t fully understand. [back]
  2. Perhaps because the phones are out no one is working on-site? [back]

This post is part of the thread: Hard Drive Recovery – an ongoing story on this site. View the thread timeline for more context on this post.