Top 6 user related reasons why email deliveries fail


Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /homepages/13/d121821522/htdocs/mvt/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

Common Email ProblemsHave you ever received that call from your boss or an employee saying that “email is down” or “what are you doing to the email?”   After a few breaths to calm yourself you look into the problem and find out it was the error of the user.  What I find is that they usually don’t read the details of the bounce back message and just assume email is down.   So here is my list and next time you get that complaint, maybe this will help you track it down.

  1. Use .com just by habit.   I work for a non profit so we have a .org extension in our domain.  When people try to send us email or if one of our employees give out their email address, they use .com.  I guess old habits are hard to break.
  2. Adds an S to the domain or forgets the S to the domain.   I work in education so one might send the email to @yourschool.org when it should be @yourschools.org or vice versa.  I find many emails like this in the failed queue.
  3. User doesn’t exist:  This can be a few things.  Most commonly, I will find someone is sending out emails on a distribution list and hasn’t updated it for a while.  Someone on the list is no longer at the place they were so an error message comes back.  Unfortunately, the user comes to me and says that their email failed and they need to get it out yesterday.  Sound familiar?   Another one is that they simply mis-spelled the username for the email.  Transposed letters or used the wrong naming convention.
  4. Saved it to drafts thinking that email was sent.   I have run into enough if this to list.  User claims that they sent the email hours ago and it hasn’t been delivered yet.  I check their Outlook drafts and find it in there. 
  5. Forgets the domain extension:  I have seen many emails fail because the user forgets to add .com, .org, .net, .TV, etc.. to the email address.
  6. Has a cached version of the address that is wrong:  In Outlook and many other email programs, frequently used emails will be cached.  This is convenient so you don’t have to retype the whole thing.  But it caches all sent email.  Not just emails that were successful.   So I user starts typing in an email the cached version pops up, they select it and send but it fails.  Over and Over!   The clue to this is the complaint, “I can reply to their emails and they get it but I can’t send them a new one.”

Do you have any email stories to share?   Good user created issues you need to vent on?  Leave a comment. Would love to hear some.

One thought on “Top 6 user related reasons why email deliveries fail


  1. Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /homepages/13/d121821522/htdocs/mvt/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524
    Todd on said:

    Warning: Use of undefined constant user_level - assumed 'user_level' (this will throw an Error in a future version of PHP) in /homepages/13/d121821522/htdocs/mvt/wp-content/plugins/ultimate-google-analytics/ultimate_ga.php on line 524

    Nice. My favorite is when they are trying to send person email through SMTP/pop3 at while at work using their person laptop. We have that blocked to make sure a workstation doesn’t turn into a email spamming machine. Anyway, their email is stuck in the outbox and they figure it’s related to the corp email so all email must be down. lol

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *