Hi - for some reason, emails between approximately the end of November and early January for both 2019/2020 and 2020/2021 have disappeared from my inbox account. I have checked the main virgin email account rather than my outlook account as well with no joy. I appreciate that in the T&Cs that there may be something to say that I should back up my emails - but something has caused this to happen by virgin media and there should be safeguards in place to prevent this. I am also assuming that Virgin Media will not be able to restore these emails?
Certainly. It is not an issue caused by VM, as far as we can tell. The most likely cause is a badly configured email client (in this case Outlook) using IMAP as the mail protocol for receipt of mail; which is set to purge automatically or a manual instruction has been issued by the user to purge mail for the specific period, often accidentally. If it were VM's issue we would see this issue repeated on a scale that would be hard to dismiss. And we do not see it on that scale. Most of the time when we see this the email client responsible is on an Apple device, but not exclusively so. Apple devices when IOS is upgraded do strange things.
The mails are lost forever. VM do not archive them once the delete/purge command is issued by the email client. The issue with IMAP is that the mail is not downloaded to the email client (as it is with POP). IMAP just gives the email client a view onto web mail. The mail is stored there. That is how the IMAP protocol works to ensure that what is done in one place is reflected across all the devices that are used to view email provided the folders on the client and web mail are properly mapped to one another.
It is always the responsibility of the user to back up mail. Relying on the servers used by any ISP is always risky. They might have had a catastrophic failure for other reasons. VM's haven't (as far as we know, and we would know if that was the case).