Sky Email Avalanche Angers Customers

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Some Sky customers have been receiving thousands of old messages after the company switched email providers

Sky customers are complaining they were bombarded with literally thousands of old email messages when the company switched email provider from Google to Yahoo last week.

Sky has been looking into the issue since Friday, but has so far failed to find a solution – so on Monday afternoon, users are still reporting a flood of old messages. The company’s only advice so far has been to delete the unwanted emails through Yahoo’s cloud client.

Heads will roll

Last week, users of desktop email applications such as Outlook, Windows Live Mail and Thunderbird started complaining about outdated and deleted messages repeatedly appearing in their inbox. Sky

Soon, support forums filled with disgruntled customers, describing horrors of inboxes filled to the point of bursting. “Today Sky changed there [sic] emails to Yahoo mail and 4000+ emails want to download to my outlook, please can someone tell me how I can move all 4000+ emails to a new folder in one go?” asked ‘razor82’.

“I’m having the same problem – Windows Live Mail wants to download over 8,000 messages!” complained user ‘MarlB’.

“Anybody know a safer and better email provider? This is rubbish and my important emails are going unanswered. Don’t Sky and Yahoo understand they should first test new systems before inflicting them on paying customers?” ‘denman12’ wanted to know.

Apparently the switch caused some old emails, which weren’t deleted from the Sky servers, to be redelivered, sometimes resulting in thousands of obsolete messages clogging up a customer’s inbox. Other users complained that their email settings were reset and aliases deleted.

On Friday, Sky apologised for the inconvenience and promised to investigate the issue. After admitting it had taken “much, much longer” than anticipated to pinpoint the problem, the company recommended simply signing in to Yahoo’s cloud mail and deleting “any emails you may no longer want/require e.g. any that are older than a certain date”, before downloading any emails to a desktop application.

However, if the emails were already downloaded, they would need to be deleted from within the email application. Sky also attached handy guides which explain how to search for outdated emails in various versions of Outlook.

The company has neither fully explained the reason behind this incident, nor offered any solution besides the rather obvious suggestion of deleting the emails, something customers would have probably done anyway.

On Sunday, it posted an additional update that offered information on the progress of the switch of email service provider, but once again failed to address the reappearing email issue.

“We’ve continued to make progress on the remaining accounts with all mail now moved across for everyone who accepted the new Terms & Conditions before the move. We do have some customers whose account settings (mail filters, auto-forwards, etc) are still being moved across, and for customers now signing the new Terms & Conditions it’s taking 24 hours on average for the old mail to be moved,” wrote Sky.

“Unfortunately, we have not been able to identify any other solutions at this stage to clear old emails. If these emails have downloaded to your email application, such as Outlook, you will need to try and delete all the old/unwanted emails from your email application inbox.”

Naturally, customers haven’t appreciated such treatment. One especially angry forum user has even gone as far as posting the email addresses of Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch and CTO Didier Lebrat, adding: “use them as you will”.

Another user, posting under ‘Luffbra+Brewer’ actually explained how Sky could have avoided this debacle: “To have prevented this at the server end, i.e. by Sky, would have been for them to have set the necessary flags in Yahoo that shows that the message has already been sent and doesn’t need to be sent again, this would have meant knowing exactly how Yahoo works, then you would have the problem of knowing which messages to send and which not to send.”


Last month, Sky announced it will be buying O2’s broadband business for £180 Million.

Sky users aren’t alone!  Here is our quiz on Tech Failures!

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