Well, you got the e-mail to yourself, so everything is PERFECT!



  • I called SBC/ATT/Yahoo/CheezyPoof customer care today in the hopes of resolving a problem for a family friend.  He is a DSL customer who wanted a bit more speed.  Several months ago, he ordered the upgraded, high-speed DSL package so that he could download the rather large drawings and things that are so important to his buisness.  Three weeks ago, his DSL modem was having problems, so he called out an SBC technician.  The technician discovered a few issues.  First, the modem was dead.  Second, my friend's account had never properly been activated, so he had no username and password for SBC e-mail.  Third, while my friend had been paying for the so-called high-speed DSL service for months, SBC had never actually made the changes required to give him the extra kick of speed.  Having solved these three issues, he went on his merry way.  My friend hadn't noticed the lack of the login, because he was using a free Yahoo e-mail account to get e-mail.  Then, a few weeks ago, he noticed a problem.  He wasn't getting all of his e-mails.  He suspected the repair was at fault, and called me over to take a look.  First, he showed me his free yahoo account.  'This E-Mail was sent to me a week ago, twice.  The first one didn't make it.  The second one did.  That E-Mail there showed up yesterday, but it showed up a page back on the webmail, with a date from a week and a half ago.  These guys tried e-mailing this to me directly through yahoo, and it failed.  I had them try through my website, and the E-Mail was forwarded from it to me, and that worked fine.'

    Having seen all this, I assumed that the free yahoo account was to blame.  I decided to try to move him onto the SBC/Yahoo DSL account instead of the free Yahoo account.  I configured the pop and smtp servers as I was supposed instructed.  I fixed the problem with the username not having @sbcglobal at the end.  I sent test e-mails.  Everything was great, until I tried sending from my comcast E-Mail account.  I sent a message.  It didn't show up.  I sent a message from my gmail account.  It didn't show up.  I sent a message from my university computer account.  It DID show up.  I sent a message TO my comcast account.  It showed up.  I replied to the message to my comcast account.  My first message showed up.  I sent another message from my account.  It didn't show up.  SBC sent test E-Mails from their accounts, and from a private yahoo account.  They both showed up.  Suddenly, twenty minutes later, my second comcast e-mail showed up, followed by the second message I sent.  I tried sending e-mail from my student account to comcast, my comcast account to gmail, and various other things, all with a response of about two seconds.  I sent e-mail to the sbcglobal account, and about 30% of the messages arrived.  I scratched my head.  The customer care person scratched hers.  I was then upgraded to LEVEL TWO tech support.

    A new flurry of test E-Mails from SBC and Yahoo were sent.  All arrived.  My comcast E-Mails showed up randomly, and out of order, if they showed up at all.  Nothing from gmail ever arrived at the SBC account.  Any message sent anywhere but the SBC account made it to its destination in less than 10 seconds.  No 'unable to deliver' messages arrived at any of the accounts.  The technician came up with this: "Ok, have you tried sending a message to yourself? Ok, do that."  the message arrives immediately.  "Well, the servers have little or no latency, and are clearly working since you got the message.  Obviously your messages are getting stuck somewhere between the servers, somewhere out in cyberspace."  I insisted on doing more checking and digging.  "Well, without a bounce message or something (E-Mail undeliverable) we can't really do any more troubleshooting.  I can try to bump you to the next level of support.  Let me check."  (5 minutes of hold) "Yeah, the yahoo guys say that without a bounced message, they really can't do anything.  Honestly I don't think this is a problem on our end.  I mean, you can send and receive messages!"  My arguments that I wasn't getting ALL of my messages fell on deaf ears.  My arguments about the fact that literally every other E-Mail service got the messages from server to server in less than 10 seconds fell on deaf ears.  My argument that the problem was affecting both the free yahoo mail account and the SBC/Yahoo account fell on deaf ears.  My friend got on the phone and tried to explain how this problem was affecting his ability to do buisness, which was the point of having the account and the upgraded DSL in the first place.  The response was the same brush-off and stonewall.  "Clearly the messages are getting trapped in cyberspace somewhere.  That's not our servers.  There's nothing we can do.  It's not our issue." 

    Postal Service: "It's not our fault if your mail keeps fluttering out of the back of the truck!  If your bill collectors want you to pay, they'll send it again!  Or call you!"

    Phone Service: "So 50% of the people that call your house get redirected to a payphone in Queens! That's not our problem!"

    My friend will be moving his high speed internet to Comcast in the next few days, and sending a rather polite letter to SBC.  This letter will kindly ask them to waive the cancellation charge as they have, so far, charged him for a service without actually providing it, failed to properly set up his account, failed to succesfully handle his e-mail, and failed to give a damn about his problem.

    It makes me wonder though, will anyone at SBC/Yahoo capable of fixing this problem ever hear about it?  I mean, the E-Mails are probably getting dropped!



  • @smitty1smitty said:

    It makes me wonder though, will anyone at SBC/Yahoo capable of fixing this problem ever hear about it?  I mean, the E-Mails are probably getting dropped!

    It is almost certain that several people in their technical staff have already uncovered the issue, and the corporate decision was that fixing this issue would not generate any new revenue, so they weren't given permission to do the necessary work. 



  • I had a similar strange problem a few months back that I never bothered to resolve.

    I was abroard and decided the cheapest way to make contact back home was to e-mail from my phone whenever there was a wifi hotspot. I sent the e-mail with my network's e-mail (O2) account that was pre-programmed in to my phone to my girlfriends Hotmail account. When I didn't hear from her the next day I sent another e-mail and a follow up SMS. Apparently, she never recieved the e-mail.

    So to test, I got the details for my gmail account on my phone and e-mailed from O2 to gmail. That worked fine. Gmail to Hotmail was fine. O2's online web mail didn't work to Hotmail either. Gmail to O2 worked fine. So it's clearly something to do with how O2 send their e-mails.

    Poor protocol structure maybe? Something that Hotmail refuses to acknowledge?

    In the end I put Gizmo on my phone and made free calls instead.



  • I have a simliar problem with yahoo.. I send an email to a yahoo account I get a mesage saying that its delayed... it sends on the 2nd/third attempt.

     In the server logs it shows that the yahoo server is giveing me something like 450: Message Deffered, this is not a permanant error..

     So far yahoo have not been able to fix this.

     



  • @wonkoTheSane said:

    In the server logs it shows that the yahoo server is giveing me something like 450: Message Deffered, this is not a permanant error..

     So far yahoo have not been able to fix this.

    It doesn't need to. 4xx is the usual reply when the server can't (or doesn't want to) process the message immediately. Many e-mail servers use this because it stops almost all spam (that doesn't travel through legitimate e-mail servers) - when a SMTP server sees 4xx response, it should retry the delivery sometime later (the first time the server sees user X from server Y sending a message to Z it'll respond with a 4xx code, and remember this combination for a while. On the next retry the message is accepted, and the combination is added to a permanent whitelist). Of course, there are SMTP servers that don't implement this part of the protocol properly - Exchange 2003 will often lose these messages somewhere (they disappear from all stores, and the logs actually suggest that they were sent), only to be actually resent the next time the SMTP service is restarted.



  • I've been having an issue with Yahoo! lately too.  I have the free web email.  Sometimes I get messages from a certain listserv weeks after they've been sent, but with the correct timestamp, so they show up buried in my inbox. The following is the best explanation I've gotten

    @notreallyauserIjustwantedtoputthisinquotes said:

    Email, as a communication medium, is less reliable than "handshaking" mediums
    and as a result messages get lost out in the "ether". Since others received the
    message "on-time" I would suggest that the issue arose closer to the receiving
    end of the chain rather than the sending end.

    In cases like this, the
    only scenario I can envision (although I'm not email guru) is that one of
    Yahoo!'s mail servers received this message and while processing it was taken
    offline (as opposed to shutdown). Once back online it simply picked up where it
    left off. I used to see this type of behavior all the time when I was trying to
    administer email for my domain myself. :)



  • My favorite call was when my internet service was down, and they suggested that I take the end of the lan cable plugged into my computer, and put that in my router, while taking the routers end and connecting it to my computer.



  • @DBob said:

    My favorite call was when my internet service was down, and they suggested that I take the end of the lan cable plugged into my computer, and put that in my router, while taking the routers end and connecting it to my computer.

    That's a polite way of saying "make sure both ends are plugged in" - it was suggested here (i think it was here on the forums, might have been in comments) recently. 



  • Good to know, I had thought they already asked if it was plugged in, but I must admit it was a while ago, so I can't remember too much except how odd it sounded at the time.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    I've been having an issue with Yahoo! lately too.  I have the free web email.  Sometimes I get messages from a certain listserv weeks after they've been sent, but with the correct timestamp, so they show up buried in my inbox. The following is the best explanation I've gotten
    You can check where the message was held up by looking at the Received headers - each one contains a timestamp when the server received the message.



  • @ender said:

    4xx is the usual reply when the server can't (or doesn't want to) process the message immediately. Many e-mail servers use this because it stops almost all spam (that doesn't travel through legitimate e-mail servers)

    Or at least it used to. The spammers are slow but they aren't completely stupid: many of them have now updated to software that implements retries, and the rest won't be far behind. Now this is just an irritation that doesn't really accomplish anything, but does occasionally cause trouble.



  • @asuffield said:

    Or at least it used to. The spammers are slow but they aren't completely stupid: many of them have now updated to software that implements retries, and the rest won't be far behind. Now this is just an irritation that doesn't really accomplish anything, but does occasionally cause trouble.
    My server logs suggest otherwise, however I did notice something else - nowadays I get 2-4 spams through legitimate mail servers - it appears that the spammers have started directing their mails through the servers provided by the ISP that hosts infected computers. Still, 2-4 spams per day is much less than 30-50 I was getting before implementing greylisting.



  • @wonkoTheSane said:

    I have a simliar problem with yahoo.. I send an email to a yahoo account I get a mesage saying that its delayed... it sends on the 2nd/third attempt.

     In the server logs it shows that the yahoo server is giveing me something like 450: Message Deffered, this is not a permanant error..

     So far yahoo have not been able to fix this.

     

    Actually, Yahoo's doing it deliberately. Look up 'Greylisting' sometime. They intentionally bounce the 1st email attempt with a "please try again later", on the theory that spammers won't bother retrying the bounced message, and real mailers (ie: everyone else) WILL do the retry in a short while. Sometimes you might get the "please try again" temporary failure message a few attempts in a row, until some random period is up and then Yahoo will accept the message as is usual.

    From my postmaster email logs:

     <<< 421 Message from (216.139.224.176) temporarily deferred - 4.16.50. Please refer to http://help.yahoo.com/help/us/mail/defer/defer-06.html

    Due to the various bits of cacheing happening on both Yahoo and your side, depending on which outgoing and incoming servers you reach, your message might be accepted immediately, or deferred/delayed for quite a while.

     


     



  • UPDATE: I got an email saying that the message was delayed at my university account.  No-one else has ever recieved this message when e-mailing him.  He called SBC/Yahoo back and they again told him to go pound sand.  Comcast is due out in about 10 days. 



  • Well, this is one customer that it has cost them.



  • My friend will be moving his high speed internet to Comcast in the next few days, and sending a rather polite letter to SBC.  This letter will kindly ask them to waive the cancellation charge as they have, so far, charged him for a service without actually providing it, failed to properly set up his account, failed to succesfully handle his e-mail, and failed to give a damn about his problem.

    You better pray you don't need assistance.  SBC is a god of tech support compared to Comcrap.  Oh yeah - don't let them install their crappy-ass software on your friends' machine either.  And don't let them feed you a line about having to register.  Just call the tech line and explain that your machine keeps getting errors when you try to register the modem and you're not really good at "All this internets stuff" and they'll register it for you :)

    No software, no mess :-)



  • @ShadowWolf said:

    My friend will be moving his high speed internet to Comcast in the next few days, and sending a rather polite letter to SBC.  This letter will kindly ask them to waive the cancellation charge as they have, so far, charged him for a service without actually providing it, failed to properly set up his account, failed to succesfully handle his e-mail, and failed to give a damn about his problem.

    You better pray you don't need assistance.  SBC is a god of tech support compared to Comcrap.  Oh yeah - don't let them install their crappy-ass software on your friends' machine either.  And don't let them feed you a line about having to register.  Just call the tech line and explain that your machine keeps getting errors when you try to register the modem and you're not really good at "All this internets stuff" and they'll register it for you :)

    No software, no mess :-)

    My favorite was a call to SBC when the internet connection to our fraternity house went down.  It went something like this:

    Guy w/ Indian accent:  Thank for for calling SBC.  This is Jim.  How can I help you today.

    Me:  I have no internet connection

    Jim:  OK, I need you to answer a few questions for me.  First, what operating system are you using.

    Me:  FreeBSD.

    Jim:  No, no, no, what operating system?  What version of Windows?  Like Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP.

    Me:  FreeBSD is the operating system.

    Jim:  No, that is a program running on Windows, what version of windows are you using. ...Proceeds to give me instructions to check the Windows version.  Click start, etc.

    Me:  Realizing I am getting nowhere and deciding to play along... I have Windows XP.

    Jim:  OK, now start Internet Explorer

    Me:  Realizing that arguing this time would prove more futile than the OS discussion, types "lynx" into the console.  OK,

    This continued on for quite a while before they promoted me to a line tech to diagnose line problems, at which point it started all over again.  Turns out someone unplugged the dsl line so they could connect a phone for a conference call.



  • @j_johnso said:

    Jim:  No, that is a program running on Windows, what version of windows are you using.

    And how many people, when asked their operating system, say e.g. "Netscape"? You can hardly blame him for assuming this is what has happened, when presented with an unfamiliar name.



  • @j_johnso said:

    @ShadowWolf said:

    My friend will be moving his high speed internet to Comcast in the next few days, and sending a rather polite letter to SBC.  This letter will kindly ask them to waive the cancellation charge as they have, so far, charged him for a service without actually providing it, failed to properly set up his account, failed to succesfully handle his e-mail, and failed to give a damn about his problem.

    You better pray you don't need assistance.  SBC is a god of tech support compared to Comcrap.  Oh yeah - don't let them install their crappy-ass software on your friends' machine either.  And don't let them feed you a line about having to register.  Just call the tech line and explain that your machine keeps getting errors when you try to register the modem and you're not really good at "All this internets stuff" and they'll register it for you :)

    No software, no mess :-)

    My favorite was a call to SBC when the internet connection to our fraternity house went down.  It went something like this:

    Guy w/ Indian accent:  Thank for for calling SBC.  This is Jim.  How can I help you today.

    Me:  I have no internet connection

    Jim:  OK, I need you to answer a few questions for me.  First, what operating system are you using.

    Me:  FreeBSD.

    Jim:  No, no, no, what operating system?  What version of Windows?  Like Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows XP.

    Me:  FreeBSD is the operating system.

    Jim:  No, that is a program running on Windows, what version of windows are you using. ...Proceeds to give me instructions to check the Windows version.  Click start, etc.

    Me:  Realizing I am getting nowhere and deciding to play along... I have Windows XP.

    Jim:  OK, now start Internet Explorer

    Me:  Realizing that arguing this time would prove more futile than the OS discussion, types "lynx" into the console.  OK,

    This continued on for quite a while before they promoted me to a line tech to diagnose line problems, at which point it started all over again.  Turns out someone unplugged the dsl line so they could connect a phone for a conference call.

    The Real WTF (tm) is that you expect outsourced tech support to know what BSD is :-)

    I always lie and say Windows XP regardless of what OS I'm using - even different versions of Windows and ESPECIALLY Vista.  After once being told that UAC can interfere with internet, I almost lost it.

    I hate lieing, but I hate wasting time for no good reason more than that.



  • Yeah, as I said, I gave up on convincing him that I wasn't running windows pretty quickly.  The other entertaining internet install that I have witnessed was a Comcast install.  It was a choice between showing the tech my computer, running Linux, or my roommate's computer running Windows, but with a dvorak keyboard, a BlackBox interface, and the boot screen replaced by a Mac-looking screen.  The poor tech didn't know what to do.



  • I also like how you used the browser least likely to work with the interface on your router or modem.



  • @j_johnso said:

    Yeah, as I said, I gave up on convincing him that I wasn't running windows pretty quickly.  The other entertaining internet install that I have witnessed was a Comcast install.  It was a choice between showing the tech my computer, running Linux, or my roommate's computer running Windows, but with a dvorak keyboard, a BlackBox interface, and the boot screen replaced by a Mac-looking screen.  The poor tech didn't know what to do.

    The Comcast guy recently came to install digital cable and broke my TV Stand.  To make it more exciting, he didn't program the remote so that was a joy too!

    To their credit, the next guy was a real pro.  Was done in about 10 minutes with a full (this time working) installation.  It's like night & day sometimes.



  • You should have just said "Linux", they might at least have heard of that. If he carries on cluelessly, just say XP; if he says no support, call back and say XP.


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