family that are able to email without a problem. Suddenly these past few
weeks I can’t get emails from my father. I have checked the
filters and all and there is no indication as to why. I have contacted
Hotmail and their response is to check my filters, unblock them and
that will work. As I said, I’d already done that. Their next idea was
to see if the sender got a bounce back but they didn’t. There is
nothing indicating this issue is on my side or the sender’s other than I am
not receiving emails and I don’t know if this could be a problem for anyone else
as I just heard this from my father. Do you know of anything that I can
This turns out to be a fairly common problem, and not just for
Hotmail. Yahoo and other email services seem to suffer the same problem
from time to time.
And no, I know of nothing you can do.
Strike that, I do know of one thing you can do, but you won’t like
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As you’ve described, the scenario is very, very simple:
Someone sends you an email
You don’t get it
The sender doesn’t get any indication that the mail wasn’t
It’s the worst of all possible scenarios – you can’t know what you
didn’t receive, and the sender has no indication that nothing was
delivered. Neither of you realize that there’s any problem until much,
It’s the most frustrating of all possible scenarios.
And to cover the stock recommendations:
Check your junk mail folder
Clear any filters you have set that might automatically act on
Add the sender’s email address to your address book. On some email
providers this acts as a kind of “whitelist”, or at least increases the
probability that email from that person will get delivered
Make sure that the sender isn’t sending something that “looks like”
spam. For example if his email is talking about enlarging body parts,
then it’s highly likely to get filtered as spam. Sadly it doesn’t have
to be that blatant – legitimate messages about breast cancer, free
offers, business opportunities and more can often be confused with, and
filtered as, spam
And it really is all about spam. Chances are that your email
provider, Hotmail in this case, is simply being overly aggressive about
filtering spam. (And unfortunately in doing so, there are actually
reasonable arguments for not sending a bounce message – many spammers
actually rely on bounce messages to either legitimize an email
address, or to actually carry their spam message.)
So, what can you really do?
Aside from what I’ve listed so far, nothing.
I wish that email providers, particularly the free ones,
gave you more direct control over what is, and is not, spam to you.
Truly paying attention to your address book would go a long
way to solving the issue, but as you can see that’s not happening
So what’s the one thing to do that I said you won’t like?
Use a different email provider.
Stop using Hotmail.
Find an email provider that is more responsive to its customers
needs. GMail currently appears to be the best of the free services, but
email reliability is also worth paying for, if that’s what it