Tough time getting back hard drive

When Ellen Fedele’s computer hard drive, which included photos and sentimental letters she had written to her father, crashed, a friend suggested she go to Intratech in Montague Gardens who quoted her R1 000 to recover the data.

Justin Ackerman, from marketing and sales at IDS Group (Intratech), said the Plumstead teacher had been to one of their competitors who quoted her “a much steeper price”.

But as Intratech seemed to be taking too long to do the repair, she wanted her hard drive back and said she would get it done when she could afford it, Ms Fedele told me.

“While businesses have budgets for this, I, as a teacher taking a ‘gap year’ of my own, do not,” she said.

“Mr Ackerman was initially sympathetic and said he would ask one of the junior technicians to take the hard drive home and do it as a side job. I was told it would take up to 14 working days but it has been nearly two months. Whenever I call or email or SMS, I either get no reply or a fob-off of ‘we told you it was a private job for a junior tech so we cannot rush him’. Really? My 500MB hard drive has no videos, only pictures, which I have backed up, and documents. Surely a few documents should not take so long?

“Either do the job you promised for R1 000 or give me back my hard drive so that at least I have the device which contains that precious information and I know I can get the letters off it later when I can afford a more professional company to do it for me,” Ms Fedele told Intratech.

She said she emails or calls at least once a week but never gets an answer.

“When I call, I am always told that Tristan (the technician) is out of the office and never get a call back. It is very frustrating and unprofessional of them, in my opinion,” she said.

So what’s the problem?

“I would like to make clear that we have not taken any money from Ms Fedele. We work on a strict no recovery, no charge policy. The hard drive was damaged before it came to us. After we got the hard drive, we assessed it and gave her a quote of R3 000 for spares, labour, time in the ‘clean room’ and the billable hours.

“Ms Fedele declined the quote and gave us a sob story that the photos are of the underprivileged kids she taught before her retirement, and copies of letters that she had written to her father in Europe, adding that the little money that she does get, goes to her cats, who are like her kids and their welfare is very important to her,” Mr Ackerman said.

“We were heartbroken and agreed to do the recovery for
R1 000, which would cover the spares, and we did tell her the job would be done on a low priority.

“There was no deadline given. The standard service on recoveries is up to 12 working days due to the massive workload we have. We told Ellen it would be done over a longer period,” Mr Ackerman said.

“We feel she is being very ungrateful. This is an example of the quote, ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. We feel it would be very unfair to bring our good reputation into disrepute for trying to help, when we could have just turned her away for not being able to afford the service. But we would like to finish the job as agreed.”

After I spoke to IDS Group, Ms Fedele received an email from Karel van Wyk, asking whether she had been receiving updates.

“The last was sent last week. The fault is quite difficult to repair and we have asked our international partners for assistance and they have been very helpful.

“The drive is being repaired and I hope to have some good news for you soonest.”

But Ms Fedele said it was the first time she had any communication from them at all. Another week or two went by and there was no indication from IDS that the data had been recovered. Again, Ms Fedele called. After a prompt to IDS, Mr Van Wyk told her, “all attempts to recover the data have been unsuccessful and we are declaring the job a no recovery. Our most sincere apologies for the long wait, we wanted to make sure we had tried all options first. I will arrange that the drive be dropped off at your premises.”

Although Mr Van Wyk didn’t say when the hard drive would be delivered, Ms Fedele made arrangements for it to be left with security where she lives as she would be away.

When she returned it still hadn’t been delivered.

“We do not have dedicated drivers, and we schedule collections and deliveries to make the most of our time on the road but the hard drive will be delivered,” Mr Ackerman said.

And that’s how Ms Fedele recovered her hard drive. “Huge thanks for your help,” Ms Fedele said.