I have my own domain (originally registered with 123Reg, now using GoDaddy) where the registration company forwards the emails to my Virgin Media mailbox (actually used with multiple mailboxes for different family members, but I'm seeing the issue on my main mailbox). This has been working for years, however in the last few months I've been wondering if occasionally some emails have been going missing.
I realise there's a number of links in the chain for email delivery, and it may be impossible to trace the issue without getting either headers for the delivered email (doesn't help if it doesn't arrive), or an error message sent to the sender (which in my case, is unlikely to be available, even if they got an error message).
I have three definite occurrences of repeated missing emails from different entities - the emails never arrive, not even in the SPAM folder.
First occurrence was with Ford Parts UK. I've used them previously with no issues, however a month or two ago I requested a quote from them, but never got a response. Emailed them, they emailed back saying it had been sent out some time ago, and would re-send. Never got the re-send, but did get their manually emailed responses saying they would re-send etc which always came through immediately, and - comparing to previous quote emails - their manual emails came from the same address as the quotes generated by their system. Therefore, it seemed emails from their automated system to send quotes weren't getting through, but their manual emails from the same address were. Eventually I worked around it by getting them to copy/paste the quote email from their end into a manual email and it arrived.
Second occurrence is from Microsoft. I was eligible for a refund on a device I had, I received various automated emails saying how things would work and that I would be getting an email explaining how to claim, but never got the actual email with the claim instructions. Raised a support event with MS and they re-sent the email, but never arrived. This was repeated another time, still no email. Some systems' emails were getting through, others were not.
Third occurrence is the AA - trying to register for their online services, I never get the confirmation email despite trying repeatedly.
For these senders it's unlikely I'll be able to get access to any email rejections (assuming they got one) - and there's been no mention of them seeing an error their end.
Other than these 3 specific incidents, I can't categorically point to any other missing emails, but have wondered if there's more I'm just not aware of. I get lots of emails a day, and can send them to myself fine too, so it's fairly hard to pin down something so infrequent or which has very specific trigger criteria.
Now, having had occasional intermittent email issues with 123Reg and Virgin Media in the past (can't recall who was to actually to blame, but recall fairly catastrophic non-delivery/non-sending issues but each pointed the finger at each other before it just starting working again), I decided to try eliminating 123Reg from the equation and moved my domain from 123Reg to GoDaddy. This went smoothly and email forwarding continued to work fine, with headers showing it routing via GoDaddy correctly. However, my problem remained. I've requested another quote from Ford Parts UK and never received the response, same with the AA signup confirmation emails.
I then looked at Virgin Media's SPAM settings - and from what I could see, it would never block an email, just move into SPAM folder and tag the subject. I changed it to just flag them, not move them, but no difference. It says you can add contacts to your address book in Webmail to bypass the SPAM filters - and I did that with the AA addresses (they provide the addresses to add) and the Ford Parts UK address, but no difference - and even then it would only have prevented it moving into the SPAM folder, not prevented its delivery.
I also noted that VM say: "In addition to the SPAM filters, we also check that the email has come from the sender that is shown in the email. This is done using sender records in use by most email providers. If we believe that the email may not be from the sender shown, we'll place the message into the SPAM folder. These sender checks are done even where you've added a sender to your contacts, or when you've turned SPAM filtering off completely."
So, even if those senders are triggering VM's sender checks, these would only result in them being moved to SPAM folder, which is not happening.
Short of moving the mailbox away from Virgin Media I'm at a loss on how to resolve it. Has anyone else seen something similar, or have any advice?
No email service provider will knowingly prejudice their reputation by consciously deleting valid emails. They all voluntarily conform to the RFC guidelines on the subject of email handling. If an ISP cannot deliver an email, it MUST return a non-delivery/failure message (NDR/DSN/NDN) to the sender. Wikipedia’s useful guide on the subject is here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bounce_message
Your description of Ford’s process suggests that like many large corporates, marketing and other services requiring routine customer email contact are outsourced. So, in your case, a quote is drafted by the Ford marketing department, entered into the outsourcer’s system, who sends it on to your domain owner, Godaddy, who forwards it on to VM. Note that the outsourcer would be sending your email “as if it was coming from FMC” - but in reality it may be from the outsourcer’s email system. And the spoofing of sender address is at the root of much of the SPAM issue. Identification and processing of spam grows more complex and tortuous every day. Any minor errors in the outsourcer’s email system may cause it to be classed as spam. Each of those links in the chain will apply their own interpretation of the RFC guidelines on the handling of spam. Returning spam to sender is a valid option. Do all links in the chain have a well-defined process for handling Non-Deliveries? Or do they just ignore those? I think that all I can say is that when an email message eventually arrives at VM it will be processed according to the rules specified in your webmail settings. To test the route from Ford to you, open a gmail account, ask Ford for a quote to be sent to the gmail address. If it arrives at gmail, forward it to your VM address. If it arrives there also, the likely culprit is Godaddy processing of the email from the FMC quote system host.