"But I sent you an email..."

by 13 comments
I've always considered the excuse "I sent you an email" (that somehow never arrived!) to be about as flimsy as "the check is in the mail".

Just how possible is it for an email to disappear into cyberspace (without getting a Returned Mail notice)? Does it really happen?
#internet marketing #but i sent you an email
  • Profile picture of the author Todd Walker

    It has happened to me...

    What usually happens for me anyways is that the Return Mail Notice does come to my inbox, but one or two things happen.

    That message goes to my Spam box, or is filed in my inbox on the date i sent the mail.

    So, let's say I send my email today, over the next two days I will get 120 emails, now on my front page I only have the last two days emails showing, the return mail got filed on the day i sent and is on the third page...

    Something stupid like that.
  • Profile picture of the author Jeremy Kelsall
    They definitely don't disappear into cyberspace. However, I do believe that quite a few end up in a spam folder that the owner of the email address doesn't check often.
    • Profile picture of the author Sandor Verebi
      Originally Posted by Jeremy Kelsall View Post

      They definitely don't disappear into cyberspace. However, I do believe that quite a few end up in a spam folder that the owner of the email address doesn't check often.
      I can imagine this situation because I also experienced similars.

      To avoid the tons of spam and email's lost I think the best solution is using the support ticket system, so we can manage staying contact with people.

      This solution is effective because in this way we'll never miss another important message. All messages are viewable online and the helpdesk respond to all messages asap.


  • Profile picture of the author Andy Fletcher
    It definitely can happen. I've seen plenty of emails get eaten, especially by free email services like Hotmail without even appearing in the junk/spam folder.
  • Profile picture of the author Takuya Hikichi
    How about those notices that come four days later and says "I tried to reach email address xyz... but I gave up" from email provider? That happens.

    Also I have had hard time simply replying to emails coming from Yahoo and Earthlink email accounts. All I do is hit Reply to what a customer says and it gets bounced.

    To cover all bases (especially billing questions), I like using Help Desk. I use this osTicket:: Open Source Support Ticket System and does a fine job. Spam free and works great.
  • Profile picture of the author rmholla
    My laptop computer crashed the other day and since I didn't want to install Eudora on my desktop and have my emails downloaded there I decided to log into my ISP's web based account. I found an email there that was over a year old that had never downloaded into my POP3 account. I have no idea why just that email stayed in the web based area. Go figure.

  • Profile picture of the author MommyEnterprises
    I think it can happen. I might have used it as an excuse too!
    • Profile picture of the author timpears
      It can happen, and it does happen. I proved it, I think. Tell me any piece of electronic technology that never has had a problem? How much email is sent daily? Odds are that this has happened according to this logic.

      Years ago when I was selling on eBay and receiving an average of $1,000 a day in my PayPal account, a couple of times a week or so I would get an email from a bidder, where the hell is my stuff. I would check payment records and found nothing. I checked all my email receipts and found nothing. I never deleted any of them just so I had this record. Last check was to go to PayPal and go through payments and low and behold I would find the payment record. Back to my email and search for the time/date stamp on PayPal to see if it was possible my search was messed up, and there was no email.

      Based on this, I have to conclude that email does end up in cyber space sometimes. Not a high percentage, but enough to cause a problem once in a while.
    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Just how possible is it for an email to disappear into cyberspace (without getting a Returned Mail notice)? Does it really happen?
      Stuff goes away without notice at Hotmail all the time. And I don't mean, "Into the bulk folder." I mean... just gone.

      Pinned to the wheel of karma and then burned as a sacrificial offering to the email gods.


      It's happened other places, but none as large or as persistently screwed up as Hotmail.

      If the person you sent it to uses Lookout or Lookout Distress, and has the spam handling set to auto-delete anything their filters mark as spam, you'll see a fair amount of loss. Same with other auto-delete systems, but the filters for those two are especially sloppy.

      Some receiving ISPs auto-delete things. If they're based on the better blocklists, FPs (false positives) will be very rare, but they do happen.

      Then there are the aggressive lists, that are prone to lots of false positives.

      A lot of people just never look in their spam folders.

      A lot of folks use stupid systems like SpamArrest, and never think that the people sending them mail might delete those challenges without knowing what they are.

      People accidentally delete legitimate emails while cleaning the spam from their inboxes. This is probably the single most common cause of legitimate email not being seen by the recipient.

      And then there are the emails that are improperly addressed. Typos happen. Address-completion systems misfire without the sender noticing. Someone hits the wrong entry in an addressbook. Etc.

      On top of that, some of us get so many bounces from spams forged with our addresses in the From field that we don't look at all of them. I've had to set up special filters to mark the most common types in different colors, in order to try and stay aware of legitimate bounces of my own mail.

      I remember the days when properly addressed mail was so unlikely to get "lost" in transit that it was safe to assume that the person saying that either goofed or was making an excuse. Those days are no more.

      Mail gets lost.

      With the right systems, you can cut the amount of legitimate mail that gets dropped by your system to a very, very low percentage. You can't do a whole lot about what goes on beyond your own borders, though.

      You will never be able to do anything about the goofs, or the people who think they sent it but didn't, or the people who are lying to avoid saying they forgot. That's just part of dealing with humans.

  • Profile picture of the author Rachel Goodchild
    It has happenned- both that I've sent one (though I always forward the original) or one hasn't arrived to me
  • Profile picture of the author thatgirlJ
    Hi David,
    I've had this happen to me because of gmail...I love it, but it's a pain that it stacks e-mails on top of each other. So, if I get an e-mail from someone and they send a new one it will stack it (with the same subject), and I'll think I've already read it.

    I think the HelpDesk suggestion from Takuya is a good suggestion I should try.

    There are definitely legit reasons, especially if you're getting tons of e-mails each day and tons of spam each day.
  • Profile picture of the author Lloyd Buchinski
    Yes, emails do just evaporate, rarely, but it happens. I have an email
    based contact form on a site and I plan on adding something like this.
    "Four guys walk into a bank carrying violin cases. When they get in,
    they open them up and three of them pull out sub machine guns, the
    last guy pulls out a violin. One of the guys with a gun asks him 'Didn't
    you get my email?'"

    To confirm that from a respected authority, check out gmail's
    discussion of downloading email with pop3, or imap. The page is here
    Getting started with IMAP for Gmail - Help Center and I'll quote a
    section. "Whereas POP is prone to losing messages or downloading
    the same messages multiple times, IMAP avoids this through its
    two-way syncing capabilities between your mail clients and your
    web Gmail." I think most people do use pop, and at least according
    to gmail, it looses messages.

    I have had enough weird things happen personally that I do not
    consider email reliable. I had one important email that I phoned to
    get, and after an hour, phoned again. Was told that it had been
    sent but it would be sent again. An hour later still no email, phoned
    again.. They said 2 had been sent and declined to send another.
    (It was only important to me.) Then about 5 hours after, they both
    show up.

    Have also had a couple disappear. Have been thinking of requesting
    a read receipt as a standard practice, or at least for anything
    • Profile picture of the author Paul Myers
      Have been thinking of requesting a read receipt as a standard practice, or at least for anything important.
      Forget that, at least if you mean automated read receipts. The majority of people with Clue don't allow them.

      Asking someone to let you know when they've read it is different. That doesn't cover you much, if someone wants to deny having gotten it, but it might be useful for dependable correspondents.


Next Topics on Trending Feed