Author Topic: How often do e-mails go astray?  (Read 3573 times)

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snappylt

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How often do e-mails go astray?
« on: January 04, 2014, 06:52:11 PM »
Background: I am curious what other people's experiences have been with e-mail. I am NOT upset or angry; puzzled, mostly.

My wife and I are involved in a business transaction with a woman who runs her own small business.  Our involvement started about six weeks ago and will run for roughly another three or four months before it is all concluded. end background

Two or three weeks ago the businesswoman called with a question regarding an e-mail she had sent to my wife.  My wife never received that e-mail - or another e-mail the businesswoman also said she had sent my wife earlier that same week.

I just assumed (without actually checking) that the businesswoman had misspelled my wife's e-mail address (because it is an oddly-spelled address), so after I checked with my wife I sent the businesswoman an e-mail from my own account with the correct spelling of my wife's address. I also asked the businesswoman to please go ahead and cc me in future e-mails. Since then my wife and I both have received three or four e-mails from the businesswoman.

Then today there was a polite e-mail from the businesswoman asking if we hadn't received her e-mails at the beginning of the week regarding a step in our business deal that requires my wife and me to take a particular action, and wouldn't we please go ahead and follow the instructions in those e-mails so she can proceed.  (Her message was polite but her tone sounded a little impatient with us, since she had been waiting all week.)

Well, we never received those e-mails.  I thoroughly searched my inbox, my spam folder, even my trash folder, both manually and automatically.  There is no such message from her anywhere in my e-mail account.  My wife has been checking her own e-mail daily, too, and she also did not receive hers.

I replied and asked the businesswoman to please re-send the messages and promised we will follow up quickly.  (I went ahead and manually added her to my contact list, too, although if that was the problem, her missing message should be in my spam folder, right?)

Question:  Does this sort of thing (vanished e-mails) happen frequently?  This makes four e-mails from that sender (3 to my wife and 1 to me) that have gone missing in roughly less than a month's time.  We do not have this problem with anyone else we do business with, just this one woman.

I don't think that the businesswoman is fibbing to us about really having sent the e-mails.  What would the point be?  The sooner we conclude all the steps involved, the sooner she will receive the balance of our money due her.

I'll be curious to hear what experiences others have had.

(OH - and, yes, I'm thinking maybe we should ask her to just telephone us in the future, but there are some aspects of the business that are very good to be able to see in a written e-mail.)




Outdoor Girl

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2014, 06:58:37 PM »
I wonder if she is losing them on her end?  I'd sent an email to my brother and he hadn't responded, which was very unusual.  A couple of days later, I was doing some cleanup and discovered the email I thought I sent him in the draft folder.  It didn't actually go through.

So it is possible that the problem is on her end and she doesn't realize it.  But I don't know how you'd go about approaching her to check on that.
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Harriet Jones

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2014, 07:05:00 PM »
My guess would be "operator error" on her part,  although sometimes I wonder if my internet service provider discards some of my email instead of just sending it to the spam folder.  And sometimes emails show up in my inbox *hours* after they were sent.

Belle

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2014, 07:17:25 PM »
Until last year, I would have been suspected operator error if somebody said that four emails went astray. However, my employer switched email providers last year, and for quite a while it was hit or miss as to whether your email was actually going to arrive where it was supposed to. Most did, but there would be days when my emails wouldn't send, and it took me several hours to realize I had 15 emails sitting in my "Outbox" but not actually sent. Similarly, some days I would be receiving emails as if there were no problem, but some colleagues' emails wouldn't arrive in my inbox. They typically eventually arrived, anywhere from 15 minutes to a full day after being sent. (The emails showed the original sent time when they finally popped into my inbox, so I could see that my colleagues were clearly telling the truth about when the mail was sent.) And some emails just never made it. It's been a mess (though thankfully the problem seems to have been fixed).

So, it's possible it's user error, but it's also possible there's a problem with her email provider.

Luci

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2014, 07:42:17 PM »
In all the years - since dialup and Win95 - never. One friend has a really slow provider, so sometimes it's 2 days before it goes through, but it always does.

We've never used email at work - it was available, but not much used when we were with the school district.
« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 07:53:35 PM by Luci45 »

Tea Drinker

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2014, 07:46:02 PM »
It could be a problem with her email provider, either in terms of them doing something wrong or in terms of some third party having (perhaps incorrectly) decided that her provider is a source of spam. At a previous employer, every several months comcast would decide that all our emails were spam, and throw away anything sent either to or through them. It doesn't help to tell my system to allow mail from your-name@example.com if it is throwing away everything from example-com.

Again, depending on the size of the messages, they may be quietly bounced or discarded: a plain email shouldn't be over modern size limits, but if someone is mailing you videos or even large drawings, that might be the problem. (A PDF of a contract might trigger that as well.)

I have more than one email address, and one advantage of that is that if stuff to my main address is getting lost, I can give people my gmail address instead, and that improves the chances of it getting through somehow. A few years ago we were talking to a fellow birder, who asked me "do you have a gmail?" and when I said yes, cheerfully sent me 28MB of video of a woodpecker, from his own gmail account. My regular email account would have bounced that as too big.
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kherbert05

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2014, 08:03:57 PM »
Tea Drinker is probably on the right tract


Something about how she is wording them is triggering a spam filter. IF there are attachments either they are too big or virus soft ware is stopping them as suspect. I've also had problems with my connection hickupping in the middle of sending something and it not go through. It always lands in my drafts box.



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Betelnut

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2014, 08:06:33 PM »
Do you have a firewall/ironwall?  That could be filtering your emails also.
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daen

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2014, 10:36:09 PM »
My husband the geek's response to the question posed in the thread title: Every day.

A bit of personal experience:
I have an email address through one of the websites we own, and there are various emails that have permanently gone astray. We very strongly suspect that the host is filtering the emails, although they claim they don't. We've also had problems with our host having been blocked because they've played host to spammers.

I'm thisclose to using gmail as my primary email account.

jalutaja

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2014, 04:24:46 AM »
One of the email providers I use has had problems now and then - and, yes, this DOES mean the emails sent thorough them simply disappear.

It does not happen very often - may-be once in couple of years.

I believe that, during the last decade of emailing, there has been just an handful of mail lost. But - that is what I know of.

menley

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2014, 04:56:30 AM »
I often have the problem as my e-mail address is my name. My name has a bit of an unusual spelling - it's the common spelling in most of Europe, but it's the uncommon spelling in the USA, and since I'm American everyone tends to spell it wrong.

What tends to happen is that people will send messages to the incorrect name at first, *and* their e-mail will save that incorrect address. So, whenever they start to type my name into the To: field, that incorrect address will pop up as an auto-complete option and they'll just hit enter without thinking.

So generally it happens like this - they ask me why I haven't responded to e-mails, I'll give them my correct address which they'll use for that first interaction, but then the next time they try to e-mail, the address field will auto-complete with the original error-filled address.

It can be incredibly frustrating.

faithlessone

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2014, 06:21:37 AM »
It could be a problem with her email provider, either in terms of them doing something wrong or in terms of some third party having (perhaps incorrectly) decided that her provider is a source of spam. At a previous employer, every several months comcast would decide that all our emails were spam, and throw away anything sent either to or through them. It doesn't help to tell my system to allow mail from your-name@example.com if it is throwing away everything from example-com.

I would agree with this one.

My office recently had major issues when it turned out that something had gone awry with our spam filter. Intermittantly, the filter would block certain email providers, meaning that our emails didn't go through - except that the programme didn't tell us. The emails would "send" as normal, but never arrive. We didn't get any sort of notification saying that they had bounced back or anything like that, they just vanished.

I would advise that the woman should investigate her email provider or perhaps call out some sort of IT consultant.

Yvaine

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2014, 09:24:39 AM »
I often have the problem as my e-mail address is my name. My name has a bit of an unusual spelling - it's the common spelling in most of Europe, but it's the uncommon spelling in the USA, and since I'm American everyone tends to spell it wrong.

What tends to happen is that people will send messages to the incorrect name at first, *and* their e-mail will save that incorrect address. So, whenever they start to type my name into the To: field, that incorrect address will pop up as an auto-complete option and they'll just hit enter without thinking.

So generally it happens like this - they ask me why I haven't responded to e-mails, I'll give them my correct address which they'll use for that first interaction, but then the next time they try to e-mail, the address field will auto-complete with the original error-filled address.

It can be incredibly frustrating.

I've had this too. My name is also one letter off from the way it's more commonly spelled. If the sender is replying to an earlier message that I wrote, I'll get it, because it's sending directly back to my actual email. But if they're initiating the exchange and not replying to a message of mine, often it'll go nowhere because either they have the wrong spelling saved or they're re-guessing the spelling on the spot and getting it wrong.

Promise

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2014, 11:08:53 AM »
I'm not sure how to address this with a business person, but I was accused of not responding to student emails. The way I handled it was to have them go into their "sent" folder and "forward the original one to me. Surprisingly, I've never, ever received the forwarded email because they then had to inform me that it wasn't in their sent folder. Generally if it's not in your spam folder the problem was on the sending end.

VorFemme

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Re: How often do e-mails go astray?
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2014, 11:20:43 AM »
Someone else (who was also a military spouse - but living in Japan instead of the Deep South in the USA) had the same first and last name & a similar Yahoo! email address some ten or twelve years ago.  It took almost two years (I didn't use Yahoo! much at the time for email - but had to have the email account to sign in for the mailing groups that I did use it for) to get them to replace MY  FirstLast##@yahoo.com with her FyrstLast##@yahoo.com (or whatever her user name was) - just because we had the same first & last names didn't mean that we both got to be FirstLast on an email site with millions of users worldwide!

Sending a reply that I wasn't the First Last they knew didn't get the point across - for some reason, pointing out that I was a military spouse in the USA who had never been to Japan and was not going to the event at that base because it was 14 hours around the world from me and would they please, please, PLEASE contact the other woman to get her correct email address instead of using MINE in their mailing list got the point across. 

It only took about six tries....but at least it eventually worked.

And people wonder why I don't use my Google or Yahoo! email addresses for much.....too many other people out there with similar names who are likely to cause confusion.  At least Comcast has slightly less competition for the exact same user name/email address that I have already set up!
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