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back to article Tiscali rained off in marathon email snafu

Tiscali subscribers have been unable to send emails since last Monday, and the ISP has given no word of when it will fix the cockup. The problem has blocked SMTP outgoing mail, though Tiscali's service status message was not updated to reflect the seriousness of the problem until yesterday. The number of complaints on its own …

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Anonymous Coward

Irony

"This is not just a small problem for those of us relying on you to provide the service you are paid for"

Oh if only they actually paid for their free webmail service. Perhaps if it was so vital they should have gotten themselves a non isp specific email address, like gmail. Which is also free.

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JJ

Re: Irony

That was a rather smug reply, which singularly failed to demonstrate any kind of clue about the situation.

It's not a free service that's down/unreliable, it's the whole outgoing email service. Which is part of the paid service package.

And it's not like there's even an indication it doesn't work - if there was, you'd know to work around it. All that happens is emails go into the system, and never come out, which is by far the worst thing that can happen: unless you routinely CC yourself a copy of all your email you'll never know there's a problem.

Gmail and the others aren't guaranteed reliable - gmail certainly goes down occasionally - and as they're free (and US based) you have no recourse when they go wrong.

But for something you've actually paid for you expect it to work. And for the supplier not to spend days denying the problem exists when it clearly does!

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Irony?

Sorry, don't see the irony.

Gmail can go tits up as well. Service guarantee on a free service? Don't think so.

Best bet is to PAY for your email!! That's right, have a contract where the company supplies an email service for a consideration, ie money. That means a contract, which you can then kick their arses over when they breach it.

I haven't gone through the T&Cs for free email, either from ISPs or from Google and the like. But I'm reasonably confident that there will be some get-out clause about "best efforts" with zero comeback if the system goes down.

Besides, what do you expect for free? As with "free broadband", you get what you pay for.

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Anonymous Coward

That's why I don't trust ISPs in this country

My mail is managed by an organisation that understands that email is VITAL to an organisation's business, and that 100% uptime on mail servers is a requirement, not an optional extra.

That SMTP traffic is blocked is regrettable, but then again, our provider has, for precisely that reason, provided an alternate port on which their customers (including myself and my organisation) can send email without mail proxying and the like on their own ISP end.

Protectionistas like Tiscali should realise by now that customers do not appreciate being held hostage. No wonder HOTMAIL, Yahoo, and whatever other plethora of web mail services (in particular Gmail) are blooming. I'll stick to a barebones, BYOS DSL service, thank you.

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Cheap as chips?

If you subscribe to a cheap ISP which consistently scores low in customer satisfaction ratings, I don't think you should be too surprised when their service is less than perfect.

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Anonymous Coward

Broken for ages

Tiscali's webmail has been broken for ages. It cannot display half the mime messages you send it. We've had huge problems with it displaying messages generated on our websites. Same problem as the person here: http://www.tiscali.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=125960 which was never resolved to the best of my knowledge.

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Pikey Solution

I've been running Mercury Mail on an XP machine using BT Broadband for the past year, and based on the Tiscali debacle, my server has had FAR superior uptime, haha!

It comes as a surprise to me that Tiscali still operate here, their service record is nothing short of appalling.

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What a pile of c**p !

Their website claims that they are being blocked due to blacklisting. Well this is NOT the problem they've been having since last week and has been 'rather inconvenient' for my mother trying to finalise a book with one of the other contributors who is on Tiscali.

I can tell from my mail server logs that we just have not had any delivery attempts from Tiscali, just nothing whatsoever. It absolutely is NOT my mail server rejecting them for being blacklisted (which I could deal with by whitelisting if neccessary). So somewhere down the line they are lying about what's going on.

And of course, they have the cheek to charge a premium rate phone call before they'll condescend to take a phone call, not that it helps when the indian call centre staff can't understand a thick Yorkshire accent (and vice versa).

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'Sfunny

> since last Monday ....?

I just happen to have set up a laptop for my mother at the weekend, and she sent some pictures to friends using Kodak EasyShare and her (free) Tiscali.co.uk web mail account, cc-ing them to herself to be sure they had been transmitted.

No problems.

<shrug>

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Perhaps Tiscali tells partial truths

As owner/operator of SpamBlocked.com, I can tell you that finding the source of any spam is in Tiscali IP space is cause for blocking that IP space. They have a long record of ignoring reports of spam coming from their systems, so the solution is simple: Block Tiscali servers upon discovery.

So, even when (if?) they get the SMTP problem fixed at their end, their customers still can't email my customers - and that's how my customers want it.

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fon

It is not just tiscali...

the trouble about this, is trying to blame 'the whole country' for the problems of a very few places that have problems!!

(as shown by 'Jonathan Richards', and a friend of mine, who has had no problems either... )

It is like going to a major shop in scotland(call them XYZShop), being very disgusted at the quality of food, and then going on to London, and saying that XYZshops(london) food is awful, without even knowing or trying it....

-It is not usually the Head Office fault, but some where in the chain of command, down to the managemnt of the local shop...

So before you even listen, ask them *where*....

As they say, 'many a slip, between cup and lip' ...

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CC-ing won't help

If the problem is that e-mails will not leave the Mail server and head out in the big wide world, then CC-ing yourself will not indicate any problems whatsoever.

Your e-mail will reach your ISP's mailserver, which will notice that one of the recipients is someone local to the ISP and simply deliver that e-mail to their (local) mailbox. The copy that is received never left the ISP and is therefore no indication as to whether or not the e-mail ever left the ISP's confine... the only thing it tells you is that the ISP's mailserver received the e-mail.

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Tiscali

So now you are P'd off with Tiscali and its email, and you want to change ISP? Good luck! It took me over 5 months to get Tiscali to free up my line so I could change. Only succeeded when all sorts of threats were made and complaning to the regulator.

Good luck but go to the big boys or someone who offers customer service.

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Anonymous Coward

Nothing new here

By JJ

Posted Tuesday 29th May 2007 14:31 GMT

It's not a free service that's down/unreliable, it's the whole outgoing email service. Which is part of the paid service package.

And it's not like there's even an indication it doesn't work - if there was, you'd know to work around it. All that happens is emails go into the system, and never come out, which is by far the worst thing that can happen: unless you routinely CC yourself a copy of all your email you'll never know there's a problem.

** in their defense if something is very important you should be sending read receipts anyway, and chasing it if they don't come back. That's just common sense**

Gmail and the others aren't guaranteed reliable - gmail certainly goes down occasionally - and as they're free (and US based) you have no recourse when they go wrong.

But for something you've actually paid for you expect it to work. And for the supplier not to spend days denying the problem exists when it clearly does!

^^ This is common place for companies these days, the onus is on the customer to prove them at fault else they do nothing. We pay for BT's megastream leased lines, over £7500 per annum, per line. They still deny there is a problem when one breaks 6 times in 2 months.

As for AOL, they blacklisted my current company for not having rDNS (with no warning or notification). Then when approached about it denied it, and still do to this day (6/7 months onward). As a result about 60% of our 150 contracted consultants have had to set up gmail etc. so that we as an organisation can send them vital info because they use AOL, and AOL drop all mail originating at our IP range.

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Tiscali fiasco

I’ve struggled for some years with Tiscali, which has appalling support, and an incomprehensible website. I’ve been reluctant to move, simply because my business email address would change.

However, with the complete lack of service (no outgoing mail, and only being alerted to the fact by customers calling me) over the last 2 weeks, I’m afraid I can no longer trust their (in)competence. I’m now obliged to move, despite the obvious inconvenience.

Can anyone suggest who to try? By paying more, can I be assured of higher quality?

Regards

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Anonymous Coward

Who's the daddy?

Look at the parentage of Tiscali:

Tiscali's dialup business started up with screaming.net, probably the UK's first free ISP where if you moved you phone service to them you got a free Internet connection. It is absolutely God-awful. Screaming.net stumbled on for about two years before admitting the game was up and sold out to World Online who were just as bad. Eventually this business got bought out by Tiscali and it formed the basis of their original ISP business.

From start-to-finish it's a sorry tale about the very worst ISP service. People were paying down to a price and not up to a quality. When your only paying £14.99 a month for broadband I'd be amazed if Tiscali is even supplying this at cost. When you really are paying so little for service you can realistically only expect a stream of woes to go with it. Quality and reliability costs - the argument is no different at all from those that expect unlimited downloads for the same money and complain when they get capped.

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Email is inherently unreliable

Anyone relying on email for anything important needs their head examined. Delivery is not guaranteed, *timely* delivery even less so, there's no way of ensuring that you get an acknowledgement from the recipient that your message got through, and there are some circumstances where you won't get notification of failure.

If it's something important like buying a house or selling a manuscript to a publisher, then use the damned phone or a respectable courier who will get a signature when he delivers your disc of information to your correspondent. Would you use the ordinary postal service for those things? No, you'd pay a bit extra for peace of mind. Email is no different.

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fon

you gets what you pay for... mega-co notwithstanding.... :( :(

calum malcolm: If you think the tiscali website is bad, you have not seen plusnet!! :O :O

It take quite a bit of 'hunting' just to find something simple!! whter BT will make it more or less easy, is yet to be seen....

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Email is inherently unreliable?

David, under that logic, when your company email goes down and the staff don't feel like fixing it all they need to say is "Email is inherently unreliable", then go home for the weekend.

I expect internal email to work, I expect external email to attempt delivery.

Tiscali email does not attempt to deliver:

internally,

to my own domain with an email forward

to hotmail

to anywhere else in the world.

This "its spammers" is a lie.

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Not Just Tiscali Users!

It would appear that Pipex Homecall users are also caught in this botch-Up!

None of my emails have arrived since last weekend, and I discovered that Pipex Homecall from where I live is routed through Tiscali.

At least Homecall have a recorded message on their Technical Support line, but again, there has been no mention of it by inbound email, or on thier website.

As of today, Thursday, I am without email service. (Thank God for GoogleMail)

David Dunwoody

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Re: email is inherently unreliable

Jason, don't be silly. Of course they should try to fix it. However, I still have no sympathy for people whining about not being able to exchange contracts on a house because email was broken.

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