New external hard drive froze while transferring info to new computer. Laptop does not read external hard drive. Went to Apple store and didn't work. Any suggestions?

Day 1. Went to Apple store because iMovie was not working. It kept shutting down. Prior to going to the store, I called Apple Support and deleted and reinstalled iMovie. Still did not work. Then I went to the Apple Store. After an hour it finally worked but when I got home, it didn't work AND my iPhoto application was missing. Tried to back up on external hard drive but it didnt work.
Day 2. Explained the situation again to Apple employee at Apple Store. I bought an external hard drive that employee recommended and picked out. I went home and backed up my computer on the external HD.
Day 3 (morning). Went back to Apple. Employee verified that my hard drive was backed up successfully. All my photos, music, and documents were successfully backed up. He was going to reinstall the operating system. He did that successfully. He showed me how to install the external HD info to the laptop. I went home and followed the directions. It was going to take about 2 hours. I kept monitoring the progress and everything looked good until....30 minutes remained. 30 minutes remained for a good 20 minutes. The ext hard drive stopped responding. I tried to canel but there were no buttons to push. I exited the program. I called apple support and they tried to walk me through it. My computer still was not recognizing that the exteranl HD was plugged in. I mad another trip to the Apple store and the emplyee confirmed that the extranal HD was not reading. He tried plugging it in to his computer and it still wasnt reading.
He did give me a data recovery number to call. I asked if Apple would cover the cost and he said no. I called then and was quoted $700-$2000 to recover the data.
Does anyone have any suggestions? When frustrates me more is that I followed every instruction and I did exactly what Apple told me to do. Now, ALL of my data is lost and Apple does not want to help.
Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do next? I need help. =*(

Hi rkaufmann--
Thanks for the response.  I can say with confidence that that is not the issue.  I have at least 8 of these same WD external portable drives that are powered through their USB 3.0 cables, and I have never had problems with any of them.  Sometimes I connect them directly to my computer, and sometimes I use a powered hub.  Either way they work fine.  The drives with their own power source do not suit my needs.
My question is specifically whether anyone has seen an issue where sometimes they plug a drive in and it is not recognized but then it continues to work.  In other words, the question I'm posing to other users is whether it sometimes happens that they connect a drive and it simply doesn't show up, but then they disconnect and reconnect and it goes on working fine as it should.

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