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Topic # 226313 1-Jan-2018 12:06
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Bah!

 

Silly vodafone is replying to any email sent to an @clear.net.nz email address with a reply that simply says 

 

"This mailbox is closed" 

 

Cant they just close the account and return the proper SMTP error code? 

 

A customer's ticketing system now has several thousand tickets of back and forth replies of

 

Your ticket number is xxx

 

This mail box is closed

 

Your ticket number is xxy

 

This mailbox is closed

 

After a billing run attempted to send some statements to customers with @clear email addresses. 





Ray Taylor
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  Reply # 1927588 1-Jan-2018 12:17
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I would say its more the ticketing systems fault for allowing that many to be created than vodafones IMO.





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  Reply # 1927592 1-Jan-2018 13:09
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I'm no SMTP expert but I'm pretty sure what Vodafone is doing isn't kosher under RFC 5321 so I'd say Ray is correct and they are in the wrong? Wouldn't the correct way to be return a 550 Error?





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  Reply # 1927594 1-Jan-2018 13:21
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I posted about this problem i another thread a while ago at https://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=40&topicid=226077 . I was getting these emails, even though I had never emailed the person or had previously had any business with them, so there was no trail showing why I had received it. I suspect that spammers were sending from my spoofed email address, so I was getting a lot of these emails from people I had never contacted. Also if the person was using email forwarders to a vodafone email address, I suspect the same problem would occur. Vodafone really need to fix this, as I can't understand why they aren't bouncing the emails properly. AT the moment they are being tagged as spam.


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  Reply # 1927599 1-Jan-2018 13:38
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Can only return those errors on the initial connection into the reciving MTA, which may not have any idea what accounts are open or closed when it is accepting the message, so not practical.

 

Really vodafone should have some throttle on how many can be sent and how often back to the same sender like out of office etc but meh, its email. Best left to die IMO.





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  Reply # 1927607 1-Jan-2018 14:03
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richms:

 

Can only return those errors on the initial connection into the reciving MTA, which may not have any idea what accounts are open or closed when it is accepting the message, so not practical.

 

 

I thought they closed all their customers' email accounts?


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  Reply # 1927612 1-Jan-2018 14:24
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No some are redirected out somewhere else so it has to accept the mail to send it on




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  Reply # 1927613 1-Jan-2018 14:27
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The process should have been

 

- Email sent to customer with their invoice

 

- SMTP error 550 mailbox invalid or 553 incorrect mailbox name during the smtp session will reject the message

 

Then the sender can deal with the issue correctly

 

In this case the internal system and process we created for the customer is 

 

- Their email server replies with a notification saying the message was not sent. Because the reply comes into the pop mailbox from postmaster@localdomain it gets forwarded to the receptionists email, and not accepted into the ticketing system for accounts queries where normal replies to invoices would go. 

 

 

 

In this case, vodafone are breaking RFC standards so the message gets accepted. 

 

Vodafone then replies with a new email saying the mailbox is now closed. 

 

That gets accepted into the ticketing system- like any other new reply to a message sent from this mail box. Such replies are normally "Why have you charged me this?" or "Please help me make a payment"   

 

The ticketing system automatically replies and says here is your ticket number, please quote this when talking about this issue, and we will get an official reply to you before the next business day. 

 

But that reply - as per normal ticketing procedure, then generates another email from vodafone saying the account is closed.

 

 

 

It would be good if vodafone responded with the correct subject line "Re: New Ticket #4334 generated" and that way at least the customers ticket system would append it to the one ticket, and wouldnt reply to the second email, thus breaking the loop and not causing this problem. 





Ray Taylor
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www.ruralkiwi.com

There is no place like localhost
For my general guide to extending your wireless network Click Here




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  Reply # 1927707 1-Jan-2018 18:12
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     >Silly vodafone is replying to any email sent to an @clear.net.nz email address with a reply that simply says  "This mailbox is closed" <

 

In my 'amateur' view, isn't that the correct information? viz. if a Vodafone customer has requested Forwarding of their now defunct email address, then they will get the email sent to them at their new email address?

 

On the other hand, if they either didn't request Forwarding OR subsequently requested closure of their old email account, then the sender will get the "Mailbox closed" message back?  Businesses/corporates etc would then presumably undertake other options to contact their clients?

 

Seems logical to me.


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  Reply # 1927708 1-Jan-2018 18:14
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raytaylor: ... Silly vodafone is replying to any email sent to an @clear.net.nz email address ...

raytaylor: ... The process should have been ...
not to send to @clear.net.nz in the first place and clean up your customer database.


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  Reply # 1927725 1-Jan-2018 19:10
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IcI:

 

raytaylor: ... The process should have been ...
not to send to @clear.net.nz in the first place and clean up your customer database.

 

 

Except some people have forwards from those domains, so it will work fine, and the customer may not have notified the new address because reasons.


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  Reply # 1927726 1-Jan-2018 19:13
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Rickles: [snip]

 

     >Silly vodafone is replying to any email sent to an @clear.net.nz email address with a reply that simply says  "This mailbox is closed" <

 

In my 'amateur' view, isn't that the correct information? viz. if a Vodafone customer has requested Forwarding of their now defunct email address, then they will get the email sent to them at their new email address?

 

Not quite. This is not forwarding to a new address, it's replying to the sender when there is no forward set up. For that reply (reject) to be correct, it should send a specific error message that complies with the standards. Vodafone are sending their own, rather than the standard error, which means mail servers do not interpret it correctly.


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  Reply # 1927729 1-Jan-2018 19:24
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Thanks for this and apologies for the inconvenience. Will pass onto email team for review.





Channel Manager, Help & Support @ Vodafone NZ


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  Reply # 1927730 1-Jan-2018 19:30
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RunningMan:

 

IcI:

 

raytaylor: ... The process should have been ...
not to send to @clear.net.nz in the first place and clean up your customer database.

 

 

Except some people have forwards from those domains, so it will work fine, and the customer may not have notified the new address because reasons.

 

 

Another reason: It is not reasonable to expect every company (especially overseas companies like Netflix et al who would have no idea about what is happening to every other ISP) to manually clean up their database to remove all the ex-VFNZ addresses. Had VF used a simple bounce most mass-mail systems (e.g. Mailchimp) will mark the address as stale and stop sending to it. VF's non-standard approach forces a manual approach instead of allowing mail list managers to deal with bounces the right way, automatically.


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  Reply # 1927797 1-Jan-2018 22:05
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Rickles:

 

     >Silly vodafone is replying to any email sent to an @clear.net.nz email address with a reply that simply says  "This mailbox is closed" <

 

In my 'amateur' view, isn't that the correct information? viz. if a Vodafone customer has requested Forwarding of their now defunct email address, then they will get the email sent to them at their new email address?

 

On the other hand, if they either didn't request Forwarding OR subsequently requested closure of their old email account, then the sender will get the "Mailbox closed" message back?  Businesses/corporates etc would then presumably undertake other options to contact their clients?

 

Seems logical to me.

 

 

The problem is that there are standards which say how a mail server should handle this sort of situation (the aforementioned RFC), and Vodafone's way of doing it isn't even close to following that standard. They are sending a "human readable" email, when they should be sending a machine readable error message. Far more email is sent by software than is sent by humans, so a human friendly message is almost irrelevant. 





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  Reply # 1927801 1-Jan-2018 22:29
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Lias:

 

Rickles:

 

     >Silly vodafone is replying to any email sent to an @clear.net.nz email address with a reply that simply says  "This mailbox is closed" <

 

In my 'amateur' view, isn't that the correct information? viz. if a Vodafone customer has requested Forwarding of their now defunct email address, then they will get the email sent to them at their new email address?

 

On the other hand, if they either didn't request Forwarding OR subsequently requested closure of their old email account, then the sender will get the "Mailbox closed" message back?  Businesses/corporates etc would then presumably undertake other options to contact their clients?

 

Seems logical to me.

 

 

The problem is that there are standards which say how a mail server should handle this sort of situation (the aforementioned RFC), and Vodafone's way of doing it isn't even close to following that standard. They are sending a "human readable" email, when they should be sending a machine readable error message. Far more email is sent by software than is sent by humans, so a human friendly message is almost irrelevant. 

 

 

most email providers also translate machine errors into human errors

 

 





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Any comments made are personal opinion and do not reflect directly on the position my current or past employers may have.


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