I have finally managed to get my data back from the failed drive. Yay!
As you might know from a previous post, in January 2009 I have filed a ticket on Seagate site about the defective drive. After a couple of weeks I finally got a reply. The excuse for the extremely slow response was that their e-mail server had issues and it took some time to backlog all the new tickets, including mine. After some more e-mails, the Seagate representative agreed that the problem appears to be their defective firmware and he pointed me to the i365, the Seagate company that handles the data recoveries. He also assured me that all the recovery will be done free of charge.
Soon after that, I went to i365's web site and tried to log a ticket with them. Unfortunately, due to some glitch, the process didn't finalise, even though the site presented me with a success page.
Two weeks ago I was almost to the point on giving up on the data from the drive, return it to the shop and request my money back. Just to be sure that I have exhausted all the other options, I've decided to make a second attempt to contact i365.
This time, the ticket was logged and I was soon contacted by a representative asking me more details and if I have a ticket with Seagate about this drive. I had a ticket and I've sent it to them. The reply came shortly saying that i365 will do the recovery free of charge.
I asked them if 'free of charge' includes transportation or only the flashing, but I got no answer. Nevertheless, the next Friday I've received a call from TNT Romania asking me when can they come to pick up a HDD for Seagate Recovery Services. This was quite unexpected, so I've agreed with TNT to pick it up the next Monday.
After 1 week, the drive was back and all the data is apparently in place.
i365 inspected the drive and they've came to the same conclusion as me - the drive failed because of the firmware, so they covered both the recovery and transportation expenses. The people handling the case were quite nice and speeded up the process enough to return the HDD the same week. I was very dissapointed by TNT's services, but, in the end, they did the job (the package was handled ok, but they messed up the transport papers and they have a lousy 10-18 delivery/pick-up policy).
Now I'm reviewing what's on that HDD and try to make backups for the data from it. I'm not sure how soon I'll buy another Seagate drive, but at least for now, I'm happy I have my data back, data that I've thought lost for ever.