I've been taken for a $350 ride.
I got the DVD-R of the data that was recovered from the laptop HDD. It consisted of one folder containing 72,000+ files, totalling 1.13 Gb of data (but I discovered that the data had been duplicated into two folders containing the same thing, so the data recovered was actually half the 1.13 Gb worth). The files each consist of names like
and all the files consist of around 3 to 50 lines of stuff, mostly gibberish, and clearly (in the case of readable files) literally 1-5 line pieces of text or bars of graphic material that are literally pieces of files. That's when I could get the DVD-R to actually show me the data, and even then the new laptop couldn't handle that many files in one folder, and the files were all locked and the folder in which the files were stored were all locked.
I have literally been taken for a ride, as I was completely misled into believing that the DR process would recover intact files, and my "friend" and the DR lab guy (who turns out now to be an "independent data recovery guy") must have known that the drive was too corrupted to recover intact files from - but both led me to believe it was otherwise.
So I'm screwed, I'm out $350 (it was a cash deal), and I am the biggest example of P.T. Barnum's folly that you know right now.
On top of that, I haven't slept tonight at all.
It doesn't augur well for the rest of the week. :(