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BT Negligently deleted/lost 9yrs emails from their servers

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In September 2013 BT negligently deleted 9 years of my emails,

the emails contained information and evidence on a project that I had been working on,

there were also attachments to emails and details of contacts that were also lost/deleted.

 

 

I duly complained to BT and followed the requirements set out in their complaints procedure, unfortunately BT did not.

 

Subsequent to which I reported the loss of emails to the Information Commissioner in the hope they would take an interest,

the breach of the Data Protection Act as defined on their website seemed to have been satisfied.

 

I was at all times told by BT that my telephone conversation was recorded which gave me some comfort,

short lived when I found out this was untrue.

 

 

At the end of the 'in house' procedure I was offered £100 as a 'good will' gesture,

this I declined and reported my complaint to the Ombudsman Service-Communications(OSC)

which meant my complaint was now Negligence and Maladministration against BT,

 

I had spoken to the OSC at some considerable length to ensure that the nature of my complaint was within their remit and established that it was.

The OSC, outside their suggested time scale, issued their 'adjudication' which was/is flawed in many respects

in that they claim that my contract for telephone and Broadband services with BT did not include email, which it does/did.

 

The report also blamed the 'negligent acts of BT on a 'system failure' which would/could not have been possible.

The maladministration of the OSC that I have been obliged to deal with was/is worse than that suffered during my dealings with BT.

 

 

I obtained a copy of the BT 'call log' that contains 135 entries and refers to failed 'call backs',

in fact there were 27 failed call backs which resulted in 54 telephone calls from me to BT,

each call took 40 minutes to get through to a person and even than not the right person.

 

Subsequent events required that I must now issue a further complaint this time to the Independent Assessor who reviews action of the OSC,

he found in my favour on a number of issues concerning Maladministration although he cannot review the findings of the OSC or their methodology.

 

 

The conclusion now is that the service available for complaining about negligence of your Internet Service Provider(ISP) is not fit for purpose,

a further complaint now lodged with my MP for progress through the Parliamentary & Health Service Ombudsman

whilst still attempting to obtain a meaningful reply from the OSC regarding the false and misleading assertions contained in their adjudication,

so far only the 'system failure' has been dropped and false reference to evidence that did not exist also seems to be admitted.

 

Clearly I now need some help and any suggestions would be welcome.

 

 

As to the value of my claim, this has yet to be discussed or assessed but the 9 years work was done

whilst I became disabled and now suffer with COPD (respiratory dis-function) and the work can never be replicated or replaced.

Edited by silverfox1961
spacing

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I thought that deleting emails did not totally remove them and an IT expert could retrieve them ? Have BT actually looked into this and responded.

 

Your problem will be that you relied on BT email system to store important information without having your own back up storage. If this gets anywhere, BT will no doubt refer to terms and conditions relating to storage of data, terms of usage etc. I Would be surprised if BT were held liable for any sum related to loss of data.

 

I thought that BT had a regulatory obligation to retain data for terrorist/security reasons. Or is it just the basic details of emails ?


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Many thanks for your interest, clearly there is more to the story than I could put on entry.

 

 

For 9 years I had the emails safely stored by the BT website that promised secure and unlimited storage of emails,

the email could easily have been recovered by BT and returned to my webmail,

however BT chose to open Outlook Express on my computer during a 'screen sharing' session, without my permission.

 

 

At the time all of this was going on I was speaking with my IT expert and learned that Outlook Express was not compatible with Windows 7,

although I could see the entire list of emails when I opened the email to read/check its content the email was not complete (corrupted)

and melted after reading, BT were informed.

 

 

The problem here is that BT lost the emails twice, once when they changed from Yahoo to BT

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Did you happen to access the emails via Outlook on a PC that you still have access to?

 

Edit: Just noticed you use Outlook Express which is some what more limited.

 

What did they do when they were on the shared session?

 

If the email protocol used was POP3 (likely), then it would sound like your local copy was deleted but not the server copy.

 

If it was IMAP, then the emails are synced each way and it would delete them from the server copy too.

 

You probably already have, but check deleted items.

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This was not possible, I had an IT expert with me and we tried various things. The problem was that the email were deleted from my webmail, never to be seen again. I explained this to BT and asked that they return the email, to my webmail, this they failed to do. The emails simply 'melted' after being read. The emails were deleted in error secondly put into outlook express with no contacts listed and no possibility of moving them because of the corruption that had then taken place.

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If you had the emails on Outlook Express, and then opened it with an internet connection, then it would synchronize and delete the emails locally too which is unfortunate.

 

Do you have Outlook Express set up with that mailbox on any other computer? Or even set up on a mobile device that hasn't been used since?

 

I work in IT too, so likely the things I suggested were the things they had tried.

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Thanks for your interest, the problem is that it happened and nobody seems to understand how or why. This was BT negligence, twice over and as long as there is no regulation by Ombudsman Services Communications(OSC) BT will continue ignore justifiable complaints by BT thanks to their poor/non-existent customer services, unfortunately the service from the OSC is equally poor and non-existent.

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Are you still a customer of BT Broadband?

 

If not then you will have to log in to your account at least once every 150 days for the email account to remain open. Could this be the reason why the emails were deleted?

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I am no longer a customer of BT, thankfully. I used the email daily and had done so for 9 years+, this was a clear act of negligence by BT who deleted the emails twice, once when they changed from Yahoo to BT and again when they put email into a program that was not compatible with my operating system.

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That change happened a few years ago if I remember correctly.

 

There are posts from 2011 where people had this problem during the switch to Yahoo.

 

https://community.bt.com/t5/Email/Missing-email-in-BT-Internet/td-p/134117/page/2

https://community.bt.com/t5/Email/emails-disappeared/td-p/123797

 

Trouble is that it could have been deleted for any number of reasons so it would be hard to prove it was the fault of BT unless they have admitted it, and you have written / recorded proof of that.

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Thanks for your continued interest, this happened in September 2013 and is something I became more aware of, after the event.

On the BT website there was a guarantee that no email would be lost as a result of the change from Yahoo to BT. I can and have produced emails that confirm my conversations with both BT and Yahoo, all 135 of them. The customer service that is available from BT is terrible and clearly designed to make you so fed up that you give up and go away, the problem here is that I not going to give up and go anywhere until BT stop telling lies and the OSC start to regulate and stop 'Passing Off' also using false assertions on their 'adjudication', many people have said "it's a case of who pays the piper", that may be what is being attempted but the OSC are 'independent' and must behave in an independent manner rather than merely attempt to protect BT.

I can only refer to the actions and customer service of the OSC as suffering from the 'Savile syndrome', there are clear and detailed Terms of Reference that must be complied with by both the OSC and the complainant, any alternative dispute resolution scheme is only as good as those who oversee that the scheme runs efficiently and in accordance with the published 'rules'.

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But are you still a BT customer ?

 

The change from Yahoo to BT was mainly admin and as they used the same port numbers.

 

What exactly do you hope to gain from this and do you have proof that 9 years of emails were stored on their servers. Email servers don't keep emails permanently.

 

It does say on the BT site that non use of an email address for so long will terminate that address.

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I assume that you have read the 'thread' and I am grateful for any constructive input. I used the emails daily, I have a copy of my 'sent box' it was the 'in box' that was deleted.

 

 

The emails were used every day and had been so for 9 years, the loss of email was reported to BT on the day they were deleted.

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I honestly doubt you can claim anything from them here. Perhaps something for your time and inconvenience, but not if it's caused you to lose projects some how, and then only if you can prove it was them, and not you doing something wrong by mistake.

 

Had a user a few weeks ago "accidentally" selected all and pressed shift+delete within outlook, which instantly and without notification deletes everything. Nothing we can do about that.

 

As it was just the inbox and not sent items, it would indicate something similar had happened caused by someone accessing the mailbox, and not data loss. Can also be caused if someone set up the email account on outlook / outlook express and didn't check the box "Keep a copy of emails on the server".

 

The change from Yahoo to BT was mainly admin and as they used the same port numbers.

 

Port numbers tend to be the same as different protocols have their own standards. The chances are they kept the host names and ports the same in order to do a *seamless* transition, but most probably did migrate the accounts to other servers. His sent items were there so it's unlikely that they didn't copy something across properly as this would have affected all emails.

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In all walks of IT we are advised again and again to make backups.

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There may well be backups. But they have no obligation to restore backups if the user has made the error. Quite often, depending on the type of backups they have been using, it is too time costly to do. It's not always as simple as click a file and press restore, with mailboxes, it certainly isn't the case and can be a real nightmare to have to deal with.

 

Most likely, they do not have tens of thousands of hard drives full of customers mailbox backups just in case a customer looses a few emails. At best case, they have one backup, and perhaps a copy in a redundant data center somewhere, and being from 2011, It's probably long gone.

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The main point I am trying to make here is that there is no regulator regulating. When the emails were deleted I checked with other ISP's as to what the 'industry norm' was, the people I spoke to said reinstate the webmail to where it was, this was not done by BT neither was it attempted, instead what they did do was abuse my trust when I agreed to 'screen share' with BT NOT computer share. When BT put programs on my computer without my specific consent they were in breach of trust and I believe the Data Protection Act. The Law, as I understand it, makes BT the expert not me, I paid BT for a service which was not professionally delivered, no care or attention to requirements of Sale of Goods and Services Act and the OSC have not taken any regulatory action against BT, all the OSC have done is taken the explanation from BT over mine when I supplied email evidence to what I was saying, BT have no, to my knowledge.

This was a 'custom and use' issue, I had done the same as I had done for the previous 9 years, without loss or corruption of my emails, when the emails were lost BT had control of the emails and could have reinstated my webmail but they chose not to, not me. Had this not been the case then there would have been no requirement to install Outlook Express and for the second time put my emails and 9 years of my past life in jeopardy.

 

 

It is most interesting to hear your views and I am open to listen. All I am looking for here is for the regulator to regulate, not only for my own benefit but for every user on the Internet, it is well known that BT have the worst customer service record in the industry, I now know why, it's because the regulators do not regulate.

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There isn't a regulator to regulate email providers.

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I refer to the regulator of ISP's rather than email in isolation, email forms part of my contract for telephone and broadband service and in this case BT, my ISP, is in breach of contract.

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I know an accountant that does window cleaning on the side. I doubt the ACCA would care if he left a window dirty.

 

Were you a customer when this happened?

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Yes and had been so since BT started service.

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Edit - Sorry misread something

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