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Intermittent failure to send email

Today an email send via Virgin Media (from an iPhone) failed to send.  This was to someone with whom we regularly exchange emails.  A couple of weeks ago another email failed to be delivered for the same reason.  Most emails work without problems.

We received a Delivery Status Notification email.  On checking, the recipient has not received the email.  The message included:

Delivery to the following recipients was aborted after 38 minute(s):


Reason: This is the mail system at host know-smtprelay-2-imp.

I am sorry to have to inform you that your message, "Re: Catch up", has not yet been delivered to

The messages has yet to be delivered due to the following error:??
Socket error: Connection error

That looks like a low-level network (or maybe software) error.

  1. Can you say anything more about the cause?
  2. This is a problem at the Virgin end?  (know-smtprelay-2-imp seems to be a Virgin server)
  3. Will the mail system try again to deliver the message? (the "yet" implies it will)
  4. If it succeeds, will it send another email confirming delivery?
  5. If it gives up, will it send another email?
  6. If this happens again, is it a good idea to resend the message?

Thank you in advance.

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Re: Intermittent failure to send email

Talk Talk has owned Tiscali UK since 2009/10 and has been trying to get rid of these legacy Tiscali email addresses since late 2019. See this article -

If you ping (IP today – the ping times out, which suggests a temporary connection failure at the Talk Talk end. However, I wonder if TT is deliberately doing this to “encourage” the legacy Tiscali users to – upgrade or lose it.

The VM server should keep attempting delivery at intervals until it finally decides to give up. At that point it should send you a Non-Delivery Report to say that it has given up.

I think you should ask your contact – by telephone or letter – to clarify the status of his Tiscali address in relation to the article in The Register.


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Message 3 of 3
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Re: Intermittent failure to send email


The way I read it, they're doing what VM periodically does anyway.  Getting rid of ex customers email accounts.  They don't appear to be getting rid of the domain completely.

Doing a quick check on the server from my Virtual Server IP:

$ telnet 25
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
220 cm7gb1 ESMTP server ready
221 2.0.0 cm7gb1 closing connection
Connection closed by foreign host.

The server is running and responding to commands.  Whether or not they have an underlying issue causing them to drop network connections at times is hard to say though.



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