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I would like to tell everyone about my recent catastrophic experience with Dell DataSafe Backup services - or as one Dell representative (Linda Kelly from the Executive Support Team) quipped the Dell "Sometimes Safe Local Backup".
I contacted Dell because my computer's operating system suddenly couldn't complete start up. The technician took control of my system to perform some tests. He said he checked the hardware and found no problems, so it had to be a software/operating system issue. He then told me to buy Dell's DataSafe Local Backup so that he could back up my files, then wipe my computer clean as if it was brand new out-of-the-box. I questioned him extensively about the effectiveness and extensiveness of the backup tool, which he lauded as being absolutely safe and guaranteed to work.
He supposedly executed the backup, then wiped my computer clean and reinstalled the operating system. Then as he began to reload all my files and documents guess what we discovered. Nothing was in the backup folder. I had lost approximately 500,000 files. I use this computer to run my small business, so from that Sunday night on I had no assets whatsoever.
Then he said he would run some software called Recuva to recover my files. When that didn't work he claimed that I must have had a really bad virus that had destroyed my data. An obvious made up excuse. Over the course of several days he and other Dell reps ran the Recuva over and over - which I later found out actually obliterated any future recovery efforts.
With no success I asked for high level escalation of my case. Over the course of several weeks I was contacted by one flunky after another who could do nothing. Then one of the "managers" at Dell suggested I contact a data recovery company in Kentucky that might be able to recover the data. I learned this company works on hard cases and with our country's Homeland Security department to do forensic work. I sent them my hard drive, but they returned it saying (in writing) that previous attempts (the Recuva software) to recover data had actually destroyed any chances of recovering anything. During this entire time my business was paralyzed.
Once I got my hard drive back and reinstalled it I found my computer still wouldn't start up properly. I had the same problem I started with when I called Dell the first time when I was given a diagnosis that I had an operating system problem! So how could that be now that I had a newly installed operating system?
I took my computer to a local service center and after doing a complete examination of the hardware (for a mere $29.00), it was found that I had a bad card on my motherboard and that was likely the issue all along! They installed a new card ($15.00) and everything operated great after that.
So what was the hardware check that the Dell rep did that came up with the result that my hardware was fine and that I had a software/operating system issue?
Why didn't the tech advise me that the SafeData backup wasn't safe and that I should first back up the data myself before he took control?
Why did he make up the story that I must have had a really bad virus that destroyed my data?
Why did he jump into running the Recuva software without telling me that it would void all future recovery attempts?
To me that is repeated negligence at every point. I then filed a complaint with the Texas Better Business Bureau.
My last interaction with Dell was a call from Linda Kelly from the Dell Executive Support Team in Texas. I was flabergasted when she made the quip that the DataSafe Backup should be called "Data Sometimes Safe Backup".
When I asked her why didn't the tech advise me of the risks before he initiated backup and wiping she said he didn't have to - that only an exceptional person would think of doing so.
In so many words she said I should have backed up my data myself before I hired them to back up my data. Does that make sense to anyone? If I had backed up my data then why would I pay them to do the same thing? I wouldn't have needed to purchase back up services if I already had a backup. The logic of that was lost on Ms. Kelly.
I asked why he didn't make sure the backup worked before he reset my computer. No answer.
She said she reviewed the records of all my communication with Dell representatives and that they acted properly. When I asked for a copy of that information she refused.
When I told her I was not presented with any terms and conditions for the transaction that would advise me of limitations she said they didn't have to provide that and that by my asking them to perform a service I was automatically agreeing to all their terms and conditions.
When I asked her to reimburse me for the fees I had to pay out of pocket for third-party to attempt data recovery she refused flat out.
When I asked for her employee number and supervisor she refused to answer.
She replied to my BBB complaint saying she was sorry I was disappointed with the services provided by Dell and that they were refunding the $137.00 charge for the backup services.
So here I am with my small business and no client files, no tax info, no work samples.
Has anyone had such an experience with Dell DataSafe Back up or their customer service? What is my best strategy at this point to publicize the situation and hold Dell responsible? Are there lemon laws for software/data services to protect consumers?