...hopefully the confidence that your computer's data is the first thing that will be checked on for safely backing it up.
It appears there are always bad news stories out there like this one. Truth be told, it doesn't surprise me at all that this was normal procedure for many computer benches. It is quite unfortunate that the computer at this point, becomes nothing more than a widget that needs repair and when you have an assembly line full of broken widgets... this is what can happen.
This is why it is important to be a proactive worker on the bench, when it comes to any sort of updates or cleanup, the very first thing that must be done is a backup of the data. This is what I would call the 'ace in the hole' since you can always resort back to the way it was originally if it came to a shouting match over $$$!
Look, if you aren't happy with the way you get your computer fixed, look for someone that does look after your best interests first and that should be the data that is on your hard drive!
Once the computer is up to date, a new back up image should be created (and from my bench it would also get a DVD burned backup of the image). After all, what happens if you get your computer home only to have the drive completely fail or worse yet, you get your computer stolen or your house burns down! That is also why it is important to take the DVD backup and NOT keep it next to your computer, but in a fire-proof safe or at your bank's safe deposit box!
With all the new software available to keep your system optimized and backed up not to mention the remote software to keep your system up to date and repaired remotely, finding the right person should be the most important thing and once you find that person, make sure you keep in touch with them! Don't make it their responsibility as much as they may want to help you, there are always others out there that seem to monopolize their time, but then again, they are paying for this so essentially it comes down to 'the squeaky wheel gets the grease' and by this I certainly don't mean to start a bidding war for the computer person's time (not that I would ever complain about this, since I am one of those computer people), but seriously, it is all about communication and communicating with whomever it is that is doing the maintenance to your system. Let them know the moment you see something out of the norm or are unsure if you performed the last update correctly. In most cases, a simple connect to your computer to check on things (in my case) will not even cost you anything, other than your own piece of mind, knowing that you have a computer operating well because you have a good working relationship with your computer maintenance person.
If you need more information of course, you can always contact me!