Missing and delayed e-mails


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I have been getting my AT&T phone bills by e-mail for a few years, along with all my other utility bills. Last week I went to my bank website to pay an e-bill and noticed I hadn't made a payment on my phone bill for over a month. Normally this is unlikely because I schedule payments immediately upon receipt of a bill, and ATT sends a reminder a few days before a bill is due if payment has not been made. So I had not received 4 ATT e-mails - 2 bills and 2 remiders. I called ATT who said they had sent me two e-bills and two reminder notices, and had not received any bounced e-mail notices. Their computer people checked my e-mail account, e-mail name, etc. All was ok. Their tech person sent me a test message with the sender name as on billing e-mail. It didn't come through for 20 minutes, so I contacted my ISP. They took down the info, including the sender name, and sent it to their tech people for follow-up. over 2 hours later, the ATT test message came through. Next day I called ISP, tech people said no issues/problems could be found with my mailbox (which is not spam filtered), but they could no explain the delay in the ATT message. Next day I sent a freind an e-mail at noon to which they responded, but I never got it. Sent a follow-up two hours later, which they responed to but also called. I never received that one either. Again called ISP, checked mailbox & said it was empty. The next morning I checked my e-mails and the two e-mails were there, one received 8 hours after it was sent, one 6 hours later. These were both "respond to sender" mails via a state government computer system which moves mail very quicky, and I have communicated with this person many times before with no delay. I know computers fairly well, and checked the blocked senders, message rules, deleted messages, etc. etc. Nothing. I have no spam filters on my PC. Also have not changed any setting on PC. What the heck is going on? I am getting concerned that I may not be getting other e-bills or messages. I see internet sites saying it's not possible to lose e-mails because, if it didn't go through, a sender would receive a bounce-back message. So where's my e-bills from ATT?

About 2 months ago I also started having delays in connecting to my e-mail server - keep getting the message "no reponse from e-mail server for 60 second" message. Don't know if this is related or not. I can't even figure out where the problem is. Please help!

EQ Admin

EQ Forum Admin
Staff member
I see internet sites saying it's not possible to lose e-mails because, if it didn't go through, a sender would receive a bounce-back message.

I'll start here and set straight that this is not true. Emails can be lost for a variety of reasons server failures, server misconfigurations, user setting misconfigurations, spam filtering, etc. Most mail servers will handle most server to server smtp communication failures correctly. Often if you don't get an email and the original sender does not get a bounce what has happened is your spam filtering rejected an email and then their spam filtering flagged the bounce message as spam.

ATT seems like they are trying to help you. Ask them if it's possible to check the log files for the date/time of the missing emails. It may not be something that their support can check. If they can check the logs are they showing the emails being successfully received by your ISP's mail servers? Did they record any errors related to the missing emails?

What is your email address? I can check to see how fast it's incoming mail servers are responding and if they are generating any intermittent errors including them not responding, dropping connections, or reporting that they are out of resources.

As for your ISP, even though you don't have any spam filtering enabled in your account, it's not uncommon for an ISP to have one or more layers of virus, IP reputation, and/or global spam filtering that are not user configurable. Ask them if they have any filtering in place at the network or server level before email is being delivered into your account. What does your ISP day about the missing emails? It's easiest to start the log check from ATT and have them confirm they see your ISP accepting the missing emails. If that's the case you'll want to note the IP address ATT send from, the date, time, To:, From: Subject: and anything else that could help assist your ISP in checking the logs and tracing the email on their end.

I hope this helps in your continued troubleshooting of the problem.

If you have any additional questions please let us know.

:welcome: to Email Questions! -Raymond