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PHJ



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Topic # 68465 22-Sep-2010 13:42
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I have spent the last 5 days unable to send email through Vodafone. Or, rather, my messages were being delayed then blocked by someone called UCMMAIL.com, whom Vodafone denied all knowledge of. I was using smtp2.vodafone.net.nz. Voda checked my account etc and said it was fine... must have been a problem with my domain name host in the UK. I called the latter put the blame back on Voda. In the meantime the problem continued, and I now have more than 200 'error' messages. Then it struck me that this was actually rather serious...

A company I did not know (ie ucmmail) was blocking my emails, not providing an excuse or explanation, not responding to my enquiries, and not providing any avenue for me to address the problem.

I went back to Voda's helpdesk, who again assured me it wasn't their fault. So I sought some advice and then did a ping on smtp2, and a whois on the resulting IP number. When a whois on UCMMAIL. Bingo - bother were owned by J2 Global.

I spoke to Voda's helpdesk again. It seems that Voda have outsourced their smtp o'seas without even telling their own helpdesk staff. 

By pure coincidence (sigh) 20 mins after this became clear I got a message from 'electric.net' saying that my email was no longer being blocked. (I had contacted them 4 days earlier). Seems that ucmmail has outsourced the work.

Never fear, I was told an hour ago that Voda would ring me with an official explanation/apology within half an hour. They're so onto it.

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  Reply # 383165 22-Sep-2010 14:03

Thats the problem, these companies subcontact out to cheaper companies, who in turn also subcontract out to even cheaper companies. Each comapny clips the ticket along the way, and the consumer suffers becuase they are not able to communicate directly with the people who are actually providing the end service.

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  Reply # 383204 22-Sep-2010 14:56
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HeyPHJ,

I don't know the in's and out's of the issue above, nor can try to explain anything about it, I will however pass this onto someone I feel will be able to provide an answer.

I hope to be able to provide something back to you today.




My views are mine and don't necessarily reflect that of my employer.

 
 
 
 


PHJ



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  Reply # 383214 22-Sep-2010 15:10
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@robbyp: You're dead right. It would help if they at least kept their own helpdesk staff informed though, eh?!

@Big Dave: Thanks. Still no call, 3 hours after I was assured I'd get one in half an hour. But after 5 days of this crap from Vodafone, I'm kinda Zen. Just really hope you send the cheap shonky outfit you're working with (J2 Global) a note of protest. They should at least tell people they are blocking what they can do to resolve the problem.

I still have no way of knowing they won't do it again. Nor do any other Vodafone clients.

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  Reply # 383246 22-Sep-2010 16:28
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Hi PHJ,

I understand completely the situation is far from ideal on a few levels. I would however add not many front line CSR's in any company would know who the suppliers are of some of the services they offer, and for the most part they would never need to know it.





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  Reply # 383248 22-Sep-2010 16:33
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BigDave: Hi PHJ,

I understand completely the situation is far from ideal on a few levels. I would however add not many front line CSR's in any company would know who the suppliers are of some of the services they offer, and for the most part they would never need to know it.



Correct. But it would be good for CSRs to have some guidance on where to escalate issues they are not trained to deal with.





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  Reply # 383282 22-Sep-2010 18:00
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You won't hear me disagree on that note, I didn't manage to get a response before I left work, but I will follow up once more tomorrow




My views are mine and don't necessarily reflect that of my employer.

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  Reply # 383483 23-Sep-2010 10:05

Vodafone is not "blocking emails without knowing about it".

Instead, what's happened is the company we use to host our mobile email (which we've used for about six years" has presumably been carrying spam messages unwittingly and has been put on one of the spam watch blacklists.

This happens periodically to just about every ISP in the world. We find out what's going on, talk to the various list producers, get de-listed and it's business as usual.

What's complicated matters here is that the company we use used to be called UCMMail and has just changed its name to J2 Global, something our call centre staff were unaware of.

Cheers

Paul




Paul Brislen
Head of Corporate Communications
Vodafone

http://forum.vodafone.co.nz


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  Reply # 383513 23-Sep-2010 10:54
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Thanks for providing the info Paul :)




My views are mine and don't necessarily reflect that of my employer.

PHJ



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Reply # 383524 23-Sep-2010 11:07
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@ Paul Brislen. What a classic piece of fancy footwork from Corporate Communications. It wasn't Vodafone blocking the emails because we'd outsourced it. It was smtp2.vodafone.net.nz and the emails were being blocked. I hadn't realised that your helpdesk staff were 6 years behind the play, but frankly that doesn't make me feel better. And the guy who finally contacted me about this certainly wasn't a Helpdesk wallah. He didn't know that the company you had outsourced to had further outsourced the work... in fact I have found myself in the bizarre position of having to forward Voidafone copies of the messages I am now getting from the folk who provide your services for you. 

I appreciate that it's your job to put a positive spin on things, but in this case you owe your users more than twinkle.  

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  Reply # 383679 23-Sep-2010 16:23
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Deja vu
http://www.geekzone.co.nz/forums.asp?forumid=40&topicid=47383

Yes mail servers from various other isp's or providers end up on blacklists from time to time but the provider should be monitoring this and fixing it before customers have to complain.

Surely email should be a core competency for an ISP/provider and is a bad choice for outsourcing.

In my experience outsourcing of a core service like this inevitably leads to a decline in quality of service and accountability - that's what we are seeing here, very sad.



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  Reply # 383683 23-Sep-2010 16:24
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Ragnor: It's straight up poor service for what should be a core competency (email) for an ISP/provider.

Outsourcing a core service like this inevitably lead to a decline in quality of service and accountability imo and that's what we are seeing, very sad.


Yep. Many examples out there. This is one, the other is Telecom outsourcing email to Yahoo!Seven...





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  Reply # 383686 23-Sep-2010 16:27
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Edited my post a bit to fix up a couple of things.. but yes Telecom Yahoo is another classic case.

The signup process up for an "xtra" email account when you join as a new Telecom customer is so bad it's not funny (at least it was last year when I joined).

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  Reply # 383827 23-Sep-2010 22:51

freitasm:
Ragnor: It's straight up poor service for what should be a core competency (email) for an ISP/provider.

Outsourcing a core service like this inevitably lead to a decline in quality of service and accountability imo and that's what we are seeing, very sad.


Yep. Many examples out there. This is one, the other is Telecom outsourcing email to Yahoo!Seven...



 

 

Yes, and that service is terrible for regularly classifying legitimate email as spam. I personally know how much of a problem is with Xtra email users, getting my own emails classified as spam by the yahoo mail filters..

PHJ



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Reply # 383963 24-Sep-2010 10:48
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@Ragnor. That's dead right. When you call an ISP about email problems, you expect them at least to be aware of who provides the service they're supporting.

@Corporate Communications (all hail!): To blame your staff by saying they weren't aware of a recent change is unfair on them, and hides Vodafone's real problem. It was UCMMAIL in particular that I asked about, not J2. You've already said this change had happened six years earlier. Three of your helpdesk staff were unaware of who UCMMAIL were, and each of them then asked a more senior staff member (or said they did) to check. For days they came back with the same result: "Not us. Must be a fault with your domain host".

Worse, it was UCMMAIL's name which appeared in the headers I sent them. In fact 3 days ago I was reduced to sending Vodafone this piece of guesswork:

"One theory... who runs smtp2.vodafone.net.nz for Vodafone? Is it the old IHUG guys? If it has been outsourced overseas, could the company involved be J2 or UCMMAIL or electric.net or one of their associates? If so, this would explain everything. They just need to be told by the IT folks over there to stop delaying/blocking my emails."

If Vodafone couldn't work it out from this, you obviously have deep, deep problems with your internal comms. The staff I spoke to were really pleasant folk, and genuinely wanted to help. Bringing them into the loop and putting sufficent resources into Vodafone support (for them as well as your customers) might help? It's cheaper than spin and damage control, in the long run.


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