Are our emails not getting through to you?

About Ottawa, Ontario · about Business

Since 2010 we have noticed that some of our emails sent to our clients are not being received by our clients. We are not talking about our email newsletter "list" (which is a separate opt-in list), but our regular client emails, with regular content such as:

  • vacation quotes,
  • replies to emails from our clients and
  • perhaps most importantly e-tickets and e-documents

Frustrating, but also dangerous...

This is very frustrating, as clients sometime are thinking that we have not sent them email that we did in fact send, but it is also dangerous if you never get your travel documents and try to head off to the airport without them. Even though we try to remember to "ask for a return receipt" every time we send documents, this only tells us if you DID get the email, not that you DIDN'T get it.

It's getting stuck somewhere...

We are not receiving "bounce-back" or "undeliverable mail" messages, so we have to assume that most (if not all) of these messages ARE being received by the email servers at your ISP (internet service provider). They seem to be getting "lost" or "filtered out" between the ISP and you... Possibly, because of the "travel-related" content of the emails, overly-aggressive junk mail filters (filters that you may not even know that you have) may be interpreting it as unsolicited and stopping you from seeing it.

So, what can be done?

  • The first thing to do is look is your regular "junk" folder.
  • If our email is there, then mark it as "not junk" and
  • make use of the other options of "adding this email address to your address book, or your "safe" list" (whatever your email program suggests). This should make sure that any other emails from us will not suffer the same fate.

If you use a "webmail" service exclusively (where you go on to the internet, and log-in to a particular website to check your email) this may be all you need to do.

Desktop email software users

But if you have a desktop email program (such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail, Thunderbird, Entourage, Mail for Mac etc) these "missing emails" quite often aren't in the junk folder that is part of that software.

You see, all ISPs also have junk mail filters, which are regularly "beefed-up", supposedly keeping ahead of spammers, and "catching more spam". Undoubtedly some legitimate emails are also being caught in these filters. And if they are caught by these filters, you may never see these messages at all and so will never know that you were even sent them!

This happened to me, with my own sympatico account and I can tell you what I had to do to fix it; something similar is probably happening with Rogers, and any other ISPs.

My HIDDEN junk mail folder
With sympatico I was missing mail that had been "helpfully" (ha ha), but incorrectly, intercepted on sympatico's servers and simply was never making it through to my home computer to get classified by my email program's own "junk" filter.
For some reason, one day, I had to log into the "webmail" version of my sympatico account - something I never usually do - and was amazed to find a junk folder on the web version of my email folders, which was full of messages, including some legit emails, which I had never seen. They had never been sent through to my home computer program at all. And, worse, they were being "helpfully" deleted for me every 10 days. So who knows how many legitimate emails I just never ever saw!
To get out of this mess - as I didn't want to have to check online every few days - I decided to set the "rules" for this junk mail folder to the least sensitive setting (to only catch the really obvious spam). This allows my own desktop software to sort out the legit from the non-legit. Since doing this a few more junk emails have gotten through, but I don't appear to be missing legit emails. (I still check with my webmail every so often, just in case).

Check your webmail

So, if you have never checked the "webmail" service (that all ISPs have, but that you may not know how to access) that should be your next stop.

  • If you don't know the webpage to log-in, start with the home page of your email company (or ISP) e.g. http://www.sympatico.ca, http://www.rogers.com, http://www.videotron.ca etc
  • From that page you will almost certainly find a link to "webmail", or "check my email" or something similar.
  • You will need to know your login (usually your email address) and your password. Your password may be hard to find if you use a desktop program exclusively, as the software usually remembers the password for you so you probably don't need to remember it on a day-to-day basis. If you really can't find it you may need to call your ISPs "help" desk...
  • Once you are "in", you should check the junk mail folder that will probably be there.Again, if you find our email there, mark it as "not junk" and "add the email address to your address book, or "safe" list". (Who knows, maybe you'll find other legit email at the same time that you can rescue).
  • At this time, I would suggest checking the "security" settings, or the "junk mail" settings - I set mine to only catch the most obvious junk mail.

With any luck, you will now get our emails in the future.

If this all sounds like a lot of hassle, we agree - it sure is. It's a real drag. But we can't think of any other way to ensure that you get our emails for sure, and if you are dealing with us by email, you do need to get our emails!

We hope that this mini-tutorial might at least give you an idea of how to fix a problem that you might not even be aware that you may have!

We are aware of the possibility that the problem may be "our-end" somehow, though our initial inquiries with our ISP do not seem to show any problems. We will continue to check.

If this is any use to you, please let us know.

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