Good Service Is Hard To Find. But not at CBL.

I am famous (infamous?) for my diatribes against companies that provide lousy service, poor attempts at customer service, as well indifferent, incompetent, and unknowledgeable staff. It is rare that I can write something good about a company. I wish I could, but it is a sadly rare event. People have come to expect the average and I don’t feel average is worth commenting on.

In the past I’ve said nice things about my pharmacist at Walgreens, Pixmonix (if you ever need your old photos and negatives digitized, they are the ones), and even American Express. I am about to add one more to that list. CBL Data Recovery did a fine job. I am furious that my drive broke and furious that Western Digital has screwed me over. WD referred me to CBL and CBL did their part well. CBL has multiple locations and I picked Atlanta because it was the nearest office.

I sent the drive in and in the promised time, my data was returned to me. They kept me informed and did what they could to recover my data. Was it overpriced? Of course, I think so. But they gave me the price going in, I agreed to it, and they did the work. No headaches, no attempt to extort additional funds, and so forth. They kept me informed. I was basically satisfied because the important data (photos and videos) were fully recovered except for one file. The music files (wherein if you recollect I ripped my entire CD library over the course of 65 days) were mostly recovered, or so it appeared. I had to recreate the index files of course which was to be expected because iTunes is funny like that.

So, imagine my surprise when nearly 350 files were missing. Now this wasn’t the end of the world because I have most of the CDs here and one or two in my Safe Deposit Box (like the original master pressing of Abbey Road by EMI Japan — the rarest CD of all). In theory, I could recover all that data by figuring out which songs were on which CDs and trying to figure out which ones were missing. iTunes is stupid that you cannot sort on the “!” icon that lists missing songs. While doing it manually, I noticed an odd quirk. All the missing files were ones that had accent marks, umlauts, characters with set high bits, foreign characters including Japanese. (Only 14 files plus two albums didn’t fall into this).

Keep in mind CBL already had my money, had done their job, and was under no obligation to do anything else at this point.

I wrote them a nice letter explaining that I had observed an unusual anomaly with their recovery algorithm. Robert Dwyer answered quickly and said he would consult with his tech Joel Barker who did the original recovery. Robert was the guy who called me during the recovery and asked me what all the files were on my hard drive that weren’t mine (which will result in a scathing letter to WD, Apple Store where I bought the drive, and the FTC). Anyway, some 10 days later I received by FedEx two DVDs which had almost all the missing files. Yep. They did the recovery a second time. I got everything except those 14 songs and two album. And I was able to recover most of the 14 songs easily and I re-ripped those two albums.

So, if you ever need data recovery services, I will gladly recommend CBL ! Good work guys! I hope all of you loyal readers (187,000 visits and counting) use them when you need their services.

(I’m still hoping CBL will write that letter explaining that the drive I sent them was clearly used because it had data on it from another recovery attempt from a previous owner. That means the drive was USED and sold to me as NEW. That’s illegal. It would also explain why WD showed the drive wasn’t a valid drive in the USA. It will make my fight to recover my money easier.)

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