Disappearing Files Rattle Business Owner After Upgrade

A small business owner said she trusted an online company to back up her important computer documents and instead spent nearly two weeks not knowing if her business would recover after many of the files appeared to be lost in the process.

Heidi Hageman owns a public relations firm specializing in placing Chicago restaurants and chefs in the public eye. Her clients have appeared on NBC’s The Today Show and in numerous other publications.

Her team is small and Hageman watches every dollar spent.

“I don’t have an IT person. I don’t have an HR person. It’s just me doing all of this as a small business owner,” Hageman said.

Hageman said she pays the online site Dropbox to keep her important files safe and make them accessible to her employees. But she said the company recently sent her a notification telling her she needed to upgrade from its “pro” to its “business” category since too many people were logged on to one account.

Hageman signed up for the upgrade. However, she said the process was anything but smooth.

“Files started duplicating. Files started disappearing. Multiple folders were showing up that didn’t have files in them,” Hageman said.

Luckily, some of Hageman’s files were backed up to a hard drive. But she said she was unable to access hundreds of other files that had been stored on Dropbox.

“They continue to tell me that they’re going to restore my files, but they just pass me from tech to tech to new tech,” Hageman said.

The publicist said because she had to buy a new Dropbox account while the company tried restoring her files, she asked for a refund for the old Dropbox account and was denied.

“I would hope that when I trust somebody with those types of files and folders and sensitive information that they would protect me,” Hageman said.

NBC 5 Responds asked Dropbox to look into the matter. Hageman said the company later issued her a $99 refund.

And moments after NBC 5 Responds left Hageman’s office following an interview, she called to tell us all of her files had been recovered.

“It’s hard enough to lose your phone for a day. It’s ten times worse when it’s your business info!” Hageman said. “So happy to have it all back.” 

A spokesperson for Dropbox said while the company does not share details on individual accounts, it can confirm that it worked with Hageman to resolve the issue. 

Multiple tech experts told NBC 5 Responds that it is unrealistic to believe any file storage system is 100% secure. That’s why they urge consumers to back-up critical data in multiple locations, which can include cloud-based systems, physical media (DVDs, etc.), and external hard drives.

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