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Plusnet Usergroup » All Users - The Open Forum » Plusnet Network and Technical Issues » Spam being recieved on Private e-mail addy
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Author Topic: Spam being recieved on Private e-mail addy  (Read 162550 times)
XPC exiled in NZ

Posts: 1382

« Reply #270 on: May 24, 2007, 02:16:33 pm »

I suspect the problem here is that most ISP's don't make much money (or make a loss for market share - which they hope to profit from in the future when the market thins). PlusNet is relatively rare in the market as making a healthy profit from their service, but that is from clearly defined product models. If they had to re-define them with a margin for refunds, then it would have to modelled differently.

If ISP's where forced to compensate for downtime, then the prices would have to go up, unless BT also paid the ISP's for downtime it caused, but if they were forced to do that, then they would probably put their prices up to. It would work great for the guy who had a big problem, and so got a big payout, but the rest of us would be paying for it with increased bills. There would be the advantage that ISPs would have a financial motivation to not make mistakes in the first place, which we would all gain from, but we would also have to expect higher monthly bills EVERY month to make it possible.

I am not saying that ISPs shouldn't go down that route, in fact there is possibly something to be said for offering that as an option, for business customers (at a suitable price), as it might give some the piece of mind that they are getting the best service possible... but BT don't guarantee their own service, so it makes it difficult for ISPs to offer a guarantee on a product they can't control and get no compensation from the supplier for downtime.
mikeb

Posts: 657


« Reply #271 on: May 25, 2007, 12:17:39 am »

If ISP's where forced to compensate for downtime, then the prices would have to go up ....

I'm not naive enough not to understand that what you say is the way of the world and all that, but it still *really* winds me up whenever I see the old "Ah, but, if we offered service guarantees and compensation then we would have to put prices up" line trotted out !!!

[soapbox]

Erhm, well excuuuuuuse me, but methinks the sole objective of any such scheme is being entirely missed - the sole aim is NOT to pay out any compensation whatsoever by ensuring that the service is provided as advertised and as paid for by the customer - so it shouldn't actually cost anyone any more money than is already changing hands !  Unless, of course, the company concerned is being somewhat less than 100% honest in what it is advertising, the performance claims it makes, the way it operates or the way it sources or sub-contracts the goods and services necessary in order to provide the advertised service to the customer.

Granted that BT is a major issue in it's own right and a law unto itself but that should be of little or no concern to customers of any company other than BT. Who a particular company sources it's materials, facilities or services from or who it sub-contracts work to is entirely the responsibility and concern of that particular company and NOT of it's customers. The customer's contract is with a specific company to provide a specific service not with it's suppliers, sub-contractors or suchlike. How a particular company negotiates and handles issues with it's various suppliers and so on is (or rather should be) completely irrelevant and solely a problem for the company to resolve entirely to their own satisfaction.

What the "Ah, but, if we offered service guarantees and compensation then we would have to put prices up" line 'really' means IMHO is that the company knows d@mn well that it can't provide the service as advertised and therefore if there was some form of compensation scheme then it would cost them bigtime.  But again, the point is generally missed. The whole principle is not for the customer to pay more up-front only to receive it back as compensation when a satisfactory service isn't provided but to encourage preventing problems from happening in the first place so there is no requirement to pay any compensation.  And it certainly shouldn't mean tiddling the charges so that much the same bottom line profit is obtained regardless of whether a company screws up or not !

If a company feels no real 'pain' if/when it screws up then it's never going to be all that bothered about it and act responsibly.  Companies need to be 'encouraged' to do or provide exactly what they claim one way or another and feeling a certain amount of 'pain' if they don't is probably the only way to get anywhere close to that.  Saying sorry lots and lots is all well and good but talk is easy and cheap no matter how sincere it may be and it's always the poor old customer facing staff who have to take the flak rather than those actually responsible for the problem in the first place of course. 

Inflicting financial 'pain' is perhaps the only way to provide maximum 'encouragement' to get it right.  If it costs money and is therefore 100% obvious to shareholders looking at the balance sheet if/when things go horribly wrong then there's a reasonable chance that any fundamental problems will get sorted in one way or another.  Whilst losing some customers as a result of screwing up badly or too often no doubt causes a certain amount of 'pain', it's quite easily hidden away or compensated for by gaining a few others but a nice BIG red entry on the balance sheet for "Compensation paid out for not providing a satisfactory service as advertised: (£xxx)" resulting in a much smaller than anticipated bottom line profit plus far less free bubbly and munchies at the next AGM simply can't be ignored !

[/soapbox]

If only all things in life were so simple  grin  and BTW, intended more for amusement rather than a rant and certainly not intended as a broadside to PN in particular - it is equally applicable to just about any and every company I (and no doubt most other people) have ever dealt with !  Any problem is always someone else's fault and we're very, very sorry and it won't happen again ... but, yes, of course we're still going to charge you the full amount despite the problems and all the inconvenience or cost to you !

--
WARNING: The e-mail address on my profile is not my usual address, all messages sent via this site have been redirected elsewhere for test purposes. This could result in messages not being received in a timely manner or potentially not being received at all.
dhookham
Administrator

Posts: 3270


« Reply #272 on: May 25, 2007, 08:51:32 am »

Any problem is always someone else's fault and we're very, very sorry and it won't happen again ... but, yes, of course we're still going to charge you the full amount despite the problems and all the inconvenience or cost to you !

And "Your call is important to us" as part of the default hold message on many complaints lines  wink

It's the PlusNet Way
adh2020

Posts: 3

« Reply #273 on: May 25, 2007, 09:53:30 am »

We could nickname it the business-customer russian roulette relationship.
mikeb

Posts: 657


« Reply #274 on: May 25, 2007, 11:51:25 am »

And "Your call is important to us" as part of the default hold message on many complaints lines  wink

OMG ... don't get me started on that one !!!!! Your call is very important to us - which is why you've been on hold at your cost and making us money for just over an hour now listening to some poxy rendition of some generally good piece of music sounding rather like it's being played on a Rolf Harris Zylophone under water only to have your hopes raised then promptly dashed every few minutes when, click, the music stops and just as you begin to think someone is finally about to answer the call .... "Your call is really important to us. We are very sorry for the delay but due to an unusually high demand all our operators are busy at the moment. Please continue to hold (and make us some more money) until one of our operators is available to take your call."  Oh yeah, dontcha just love it !  The old BP goes up another notch each and every time it comes round grin

Mind you, I think we've missed out a stage here ... don't forget the wrestling with the d@mn "press 1 for this" and "press 2 for that" game usually comes first.  Gotta spend at least 5 mins trying to work out which of a whole load of seemingly irrelevant options might just fit the bill ... or simply mash the phone key pad a few times until it finally stops giving out options and puts you on hold of course.  Extra points if you manage to press numerous options which seemed completely appropriate but then rather curiously find yourself right back at the start of course.  Now, if only there was always a "press * for I really don't give a %£$£&^ just answer the bl**dy call for god sake" option ! 

--
WARNING: The e-mail address on my profile is not my usual address, all messages sent via this site have been redirected elsewhere for test purposes. This could result in messages not being received in a timely manner or potentially not being received at all.
XPC exiled in NZ

Posts: 1382

« Reply #275 on: May 25, 2007, 11:54:55 am »

If ISP's where forced to compensate for downtime, then the prices would have to go up ....

I'm not naive enough not to understand that what you say is the way of the world and all that, but it still *really* winds me up whenever I see the old "Ah, but, if we offered service guarantees and compensation then we would have to put prices up" line trotted out !!!

[soapbox]

<snipped/>

[/soapbox]

If only all things in life were so simple  grin  and BTW, intended more for amusement rather than a rant and certainly not intended as a broadside to PN in particular - it is equally applicable to just about any and every company I (and no doubt most other people) have ever dealt with !  Any problem is always someone else's fault and we're very, very sorry and it won't happen again ... but, yes, of course we're still going to charge you the full amount despite the problems and all the inconvenience or cost to you !


I just wish to point out that I have nothing to do with PlusNet or PUG (other than being a F9 customer and occasionally posting here on PUG forums) and therefore my previous comments and opinions are my own, not theirs! Therefore it was ME trotting out those lines that really wind you up... not PN. I'm sure you knew that, but just making sure!

Anyway, for what it is worth, I know what you are saying, and I agree with you. Unfortunately, as well as being an optimist, I am also a realist (it is sometimes helpful, but often a frustrating viewpoint to hold!). The problem is the current market place. It has been price driven for a while, which means that corners get cut, in an attempt to cut costs, to cut the retail price, to grab a market share, and make a better profit etc.

When this happens, then the mistakes start and service levels drop. This is what we have seen from PlusNet in this last year (although the cuts probably happened in the previous year!). Last year and this year appear to have been a genuine attempt to turn things around and get things back in order (from my observations), but the current shortage of PHP coders can't be helping!

However they are certainly still reaping the "rewards" of their previous bad decisions 2 years ago (again just my opinion) and despite trying to get back on track, still have a way to go yet.

So Compensation....
Who can offer compensation for BT Wholesale's mistakes without putting prices up? PN can't improve BT wholesale's shoddy services more than any other ISP can. And if they received preferential treatment (through BT retail ownership) compared to other ISP's then OFCOM would come down on them pronto.

Their own mistakes... - yes they could start to offer compensation for their own mistakes, and hope that it provided an incentive to make sure the mistakes didn't happen in the first place. However, the investment in man-power to improve the service might price them out of the market. There is a delicate balance here. It is hard enough to compete with "free" broadband ISPs at current pricing without deciding you are going to take on even more staff to mitigate ALL future problems. Either way it has to cost more.... either to provide that premium service, or to pay for not achieving that service!

If you want that sort of service it costs money. And surely that would be the point of a price increase, not  to pay it all out in compensation, but to be paying it to get a better service than others are paying for.

I'm not saying we should be content with last year's service (or even this year's) from PlusNet. They need more prodding yet, to get back to providing the level and quality of service that they have potential to provide. I'm sure with the right pressure from us the customers, and hopefully PUG interaction too, they will make that transition back to being a solid dependable ISP, and that is why I have stayed with them through the storm (time will tell if that was a waste of time!)

There is a place in the marketplace for that kind of a premium service and some people would pay for it happily for a definite SLA (Service Level Agreement) with compensation on failure to meet those standards. Interestingly enough, just 15mins ago I filled in a PC Pro survey asking about ISPs and one of the questions was "would you be interested in a ISP with a strict SLA and compensation?". Another question also asked, "would you be willing to pay £50 more a year for better customer service?". I got the impression that the survey was linked to Thus/Demon Internet (although that might be wrong), so I suspect that they are looking at the current market place and trying to find a niche to slot into, but seeking customer opinion first.

I think the bottom line here is that we (the customers with PUG's help!) need to help prod PN into shape, so that this ship can sail without leaking (deliberate terminology chosen!), before anyone at PN towers considers offering a SLA or compensation deal. Once on an even keel, maybe it will be right time in the market to offer that sort of service from PN, but we need to be realistic at the moment and recognise, that even if everything was sorted today for ongoing improvements, that we would still reap problems from last two years for another 6 months or so, as it takes time to turn a moving ship around!

For what it is worth, I am optimistic about PlusNet's future or I would have jumped ship by now!
XPC exiled in NZ

Posts: 1382

« Reply #276 on: May 25, 2007, 12:42:29 pm »

And "Your call is important to us" as part of the default hold message on many complaints lines  wink

OMG ... don't get me started on that one !!!!! Your call is very important to us - which is why you've been on hold at your cost and making us money for just over an hour now listening to some poxy rendition of some generally good piece of music sounding rather like it's being played on a Rolf Harris Zylophone under water only to have your hopes raised then promptly dashed every few minutes when, click, the music stops and just as you begin to think someone is finally about to answer the call .... "Your call is really important to us. We are very sorry for the delay but due to an unusually high demand all our operators are busy at the moment. Please continue to hold (and make us some more money) until one of our operators is available to take your call."  Oh yeah, dontcha just love it !  The old BP goes up another notch each and every time it comes round grin

Mind you, I think we've missed out a stage here ... don't forget the wrestling with the d@mn "press 1 for this" and "press 2 for that" game usually comes first.  Gotta spend at least 5 mins trying to work out which of a whole load of seemingly irrelevant options might just fit the bill ... or simply mash the phone key pad a few times until it finally stops giving out options and puts you on hold of course.  Extra points if you manage to press numerous options which seemed completely appropriate but then rather curiously find yourself right back at the start of course.  Now, if only there was always a "press * for I really don't give a %£$£&^ just answer the bl**dy call for god sake" option ! 

Often pressing hash once (or a few times!) gets you to an agent instantly without the menu turmoil on a lot of phone menu's. On others if you don't press anything, and pretend that you phone isn't sending out tones then you also get to a real person quicker! Of course, you need to note that the person you get in these scenario's isn't always in the right department, so you can be better to brave the menu!
« Last Edit: May 25, 2007, 02:17:34 pm by xpcomputers »
dhookham
Administrator

Posts: 3270


« Reply #277 on: May 25, 2007, 01:29:58 pm »

And "Your call is important to us" as part of the default hold message on many complaints lines  wink

OMG ... don't get me started on that one !!!!!

There's a whole family of worms in the business/customer relationship can grin

Don't forget the other kinds of platitudes that crop up (largely in advertising, but are creeping into hold messages and call centre spiels) such as "We care... so you don't have to"

Then there's the over/misuse of phrases like "For your convenience", attached to statements such as "we have introduced a premium rate support line".


It's the PlusNet Way
Oldjim

Posts: 1016

« Reply #278 on: May 25, 2007, 04:15:25 pm »

Getting back to spam - just received which no spam filter is going to pick up as the text is totally innocuous except that the sent date is Sun, 25 May 2003 16:27:50 +0200
Is it possible for the filter to pick this up and reject anything more than 30 days old for example
Penny

Posts: 1781


WWW
« Reply #279 on: May 26, 2007, 12:29:22 am »

It doesn't help that the advice being given by Comms reps is incomplete and only talks about selecting the mark and move option without telling people about the need to subscribe.

Um, it takes 3 or 4 well placed clicks to get access to the Spam folder, were are the clear instructions from PN to explain to the great unwashed non-savvy users how to do this?

Okay guys, I would appreciate some help here, falling as I do into the non-savvy-user category [not too keen on the rest of the description, needless to say]

I simply don't have time to log separately [via Squirrelmail] every day into every individual mailbox or account to see if there's some missing mail sitting in a spam folder somewhere.  Not that I'm entirely sure such spam folders are automatically-created as posited in other posts;  regardless on a sample mailbox account on which heavy-content spam is being received via OE, no such folder seems to have created itself for that account on the portal.

So.  Could someone here please provide idiot's-guide-type instructions as to how to do the following:
(1) create a spam folder for a mailbox I can't (yet) dispense with.

(2) on a standard (less busy) username,
(a) create a mailbox (this bit I can do, as per jelv's post here)
(b) drop the catch-all [ is that the same thing as "blackholing the default"? ]
(c) blackhole postmaster@
(d) blackhole username@

As far as I can gather ( huh ) this will leave open only one route into that username, that of the mailbox I have created (eg mercury@username ), and everything else, including all the spam, will just get dumped.

If someone could possibly provide simple instructions for 2b, 2c and 2d above, I can just plod through relevant accounts and make the changes, whenever time allows, progressively reducing the spam overload factor till it's entirely gone.

If I (also) put mercury@username as my contact address for PN, on the portal, essential stuff will still have a way through.

Having had a relatively-sane period since the main site default address got blackholed and the mail dropped to minimal levels, I am finding the increasing spam volumes very wearing, as no doubt is everyone else.

I don't want to / haven't got time to, check endless "spam" folders so 2a-d above would for me represent a way of getting rid of all the spam for all the compromised usernames here, without having all the spam sitting on PN's servers for 30 days.

I trust that is a reasonably-accurate assumption Smiley  and I'd also value instructions on exactly how to set up a spam folder on the few affected mailboxes which can't immediately be dispensed with, on the main site account.

Regards,

Penny. 
« Last Edit: May 26, 2007, 12:18:43 pm by Penny »

Penny Rollo       Force 9 from 17/02/98       PlusNet from 2000 onwards     
Project HappyChild - free maths worksheets, free French-English
worksheets and 12 other languages – http://www.happychild.org.uk
personal site www.pennymidasrollo.plus.com
OldDuffer

Posts: 3


Silver surfer

« Reply #280 on: May 27, 2007, 12:12:57 pm »

Silly question:

I understand that there is a method where an email received at the ISP is compared to a list of authorised addresses. If the address is found then the email is sent to the recipients mailbox. If the email address is not found then the ISP sends an email to the sender saying that it not authorised and giving instructions as to how to proceed, and an email is sent to the recipient informing of the unauthorised email. The recipient then can then add it to the authorised address list or not.

We would then be in control of what we receive, or not. Obviously this should be selectable on individual mailboxes.

OR - am I talking out of another orifice.

ttfn
Bob
petervaughan
Usergroup Member

Posts: 2512


« Reply #281 on: May 27, 2007, 12:25:51 pm »

There are a number of problems with your solution - which is in part commonly referred to a white-listing...

1) Spam often has spoofed from addresses so bouncing the email back will actually do the spammers a favour by sending the spam to your mailbox and the one they have spoofed - two for the price of one - never a good idea. Spam should NEVER be bounced, it should be deleted.

2) Sending an email to you stating a message has been bounced causes just as many messages to be received by you as the original spam. In effect these additional messages will become just as annoying as the original spam, especially if you are targeted and receive several hundred of them.

A whitelist should be under your control to add email addresses manually. So you find the addresses you want to receive mail from and set it up. Any messages that do not match are then automatically deleted and you don't get a warning email for each one.

However PN do not have such a system. It has been asked for but I suspect it may be some time, if ever, before we see it and the work involved could be big having to maintain 100,000s of whitelist files that the mail servers need access to.
OldDuffer

Posts: 3


Silver surfer

« Reply #282 on: May 27, 2007, 12:37:27 pm »

Thanks for elaborating.

I have learnt some pointers that I did not appreciate. (68 today and still learning)

ttfn
Bob
Oldjim

Posts: 1016

« Reply #283 on: May 27, 2007, 12:48:44 pm »

As another aged person can I throw in an episode on my previous company e-mail system.
A user set up a forward to his home e-mail account unfortunately the mailbox had exceeded it's limit so the server sent an automatic response back saying that it couldn't be delivered. You can guess what happened next - the response was forwarded again and so on.
The end result was that by the time the IT staff came in the whole e-mail system had died as it was full of these bounces - self inflicted DDS attack  grin
LC100

Posts: 283

« Reply #284 on: May 27, 2007, 01:00:16 pm »

Hi

Quote
Erhm, well excuuuuuuse me, but methinks the sole objective of any such scheme is being entirely missed - the sole aim is NOT to pay out any compensation whatsoever by ensuring that the service is provided as advertised and as paid for by the customer - so it shouldn't actually cost anyone any more money than is already changing hands !

I quite agree, but in order to ensure no payouts need to be made money has to be spent on improving the service to such a high level that no compensation is ever needed, so there is still a cost.
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