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PlusNet Suffers Customer E-Mail Problems.. again

Posted: 24th Aug, 2007 By: MarkJ
It's probably the last thing a Sheffield based ISP like Plusnet needs right now, another customer e-mail deletion saga. The provider had been busy rebuilding its image following a spate of similar problems in the past and recent outbursts by a former boss.

It's understood that the installation of a new spam (junk e-mail) "appliance" went wrong, causing Plusnet to roll back its changes and accidentally "black-hole" a fair number of legitimate messages:

As previously announced, we encounter problems following the installation of a new spam appliance on the mail platform yesterday morning. This caused some email sent to customers' accounts to queue on the spam appliance before being delivered to our mail servers.

The decision was taken to roll back the changes late afternoon at which point new email should have been getting delivered immediately and older email should have been in the process of getting dequeued.

Unfortunately this was found not to be the case and our on-call engineers were contacted yesterday evening to investigate further. We are aware that some customers are still missing email that was sent before 11:00pm last night.

We now believe that approximately 10% of legitimate email that was de-queued from the new spam appliance to our network was incorrectly recognised as spam and black-holed. Additionally the same percentage of new legitimate mails received between approximately 5pm and 11pm last night have also been deleted. These mails will not be recoverable and we recommend customers who have not received email that was sent yesterday to ask the sender to re-send where possible.

Plusnet recommends that customers ask senders to re-send their messages, which might be a problem if you never got it in the first place and didn't even know one had been issued.

Happily the problem has since been resolved and all new e-mails are currently being sent, received and delivered correctly. To be fair quite a few ISP's probably suffer similar issues and simply choose to never inform their customers, either way Plusnet will be hoping that their rebuilding efforts haven't been too harshly set back.
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