Are you sure all bytes are equal to
0x00? In that case your files contain no information at all (except for their size). No program could possibly store or transmit information as all zeros (unless it's telepathic).
What can happen is that a file has alternating text and zero bytes. Here's what this would mean: You've received files that contain unicode text, encoded as UTF-16 (or a near-equivalent). Each character takes up 16 bits (two bytes). Unicode assigns English letters and symbols to their ASCII character code, which means that, for example, letter
A is hex 41 in ASCII and 00 41 in Unicode. The result is that if you write out "Hello" as UTF-16 and read it in as 8-bit text, you'll see this:
\0 H \0 e \0 l \0 l \0 o
In that case it wouldn't be the fault of
tar. But if you really received all-zero files and the checksums check, there is definitely something wrong with the creating program. Not a version problem, but who knows? Perhaps a hardware problem causing the generating program to read all zeros.
(It's also possible, of course, that the files were correctly archived, and the bug is in the program that created the archived files).