Because the customer is always...riiiiight

This hosting provider recently got a new customer for its managed e-mail service -- and apparently the customer really needs to be managed, says a pilot fish on the scene.

"This IT director sent in a support request, saying that there must be a problem with their mail server because they keep getting bounces," fish says.

"We were able to convince him to send those bounce e-mails so that they could be investigated. There were about 10."

Fish investigates. Of the 10, nine are simply invalid addresses -- the error messages state that clearly. For the last one, it turns out that the remote mail server rejected the connection -- but there's no problem with fish's mail server.

Fish explains all this to the customer, figuring that will be the end of it.

He responds, "There's still a problem. More investigation is needed."

Fish puts together screenshots of message tracking for every e-mail that has started a nondelivery report, with extremely detailed information, and sends that off.

No response -- and fish figures it's finally behind him.

No such luck. The customer -- remember, this is an IT director -- is still getting bounced mail, but won't send any of the nondelivery reports to his e-mail provider. But he does call every day to yell at whoever he gets on the phone.

After a week of this, he calls to complain that he's even getting an error message when trying to send an e-mail to the hosting company.

When he reads the address of the message that bounced, fish's manager informs him that the address doesn't exist on the hosting company's mail server. The customer insists that, yes, it does.

"I did get hold of the nondelivery report, and it appeared as though the original mail was sent to a previously entered contact, as opposed to having been typed in manually," says fish. "I checked their company address list to see if it was in there somewhere, and it wasn't.

"The only other place it would be would be a personal contact in his own mailbox, that he typed there himself.

"He continues to insist that we need to fix something. Thankfully, everyone at my company is standing behind me."

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Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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