Tuesday 1 May 2007

Sympatico Email Server Problems

In case anyone was wondering what happened to their email on April 30th...

For those of you using Sympatico as an ISP in Canada, you may have experienced problems today receiving email. Sympatico's email server system was on the fritz today, at least for the Toronto area, if not other parts of Ontario and/or Canada as well.

The problems began in the middle of the day Monday April 30th and lasted until just after midnight (and hopefully it won't go down again, as I am writing this just after midnight the morning of May 1st).

You could send email, but not receive it (unless you logged onto the Hotmail web site for your Sympatico email account. So, the problem was not with the MSN hotmail server, it was with some Sympatico process.)

Every once in a while, something like this will happen. But, the funny thing is, Sympatico usually doesn't notify it's customers or admit that they had an outage. To see if they had listed anything about this email server problem, I visited their old Outages & Maintenance page. But, instead of that, it said the page had moved, and to visit the main page as they had rearranged their web site. So, I went to the main page. And, as suspected, there was no link for an outage page. After extensive searching, I found that there is no longer an outage & maintenance page. Go figure.

I'm sure there is something in the agreement relating to how they can have outages and maintenance, and totally deny that they are having any outage and maintenance, even with proof, and that you can't get any credit for the downtime, let alone get them to acknowledge that there was any downtime.

Anyway, remember these key points if you ever find that you can't connect to the internet via Sympatico:

IF you know that your computer is working fine and you didn't change anything that could affect you getting on-line, then
1) Shut down your computer, unplug your modem and router
2) Wait a few minutes, then plug in your modem, then router, then start up your computer again
3) If you still can't connect, DO NOT call Sympatico. Wait until they fix the problem (as it is a problem on their end, not yours).
4) Waiting could be an hour to a couple of days

If you DO decide to call Sympatico, just politely tell the operator to tell their supervisor that you are experiencing an outage in your area, give them your area code, and hang up if they continue to try to get you to do unnecessary things to your computer. Hopefully, he/she will mention this and your area code to the supervisor and they will get the problem fixed. The operator is not to blame. It is Sympatico policy that before they can listen to you, they MUST put you through the ringer of a bunch of basic things, whether the problem is at your end or not, whether they know there is an outage or not. Operators are NEVER told of maintenance or outages.

Yep. I was right about there being something in the agreement about all this:

e. Loss of Service Due to ... Internet Service ... Failure. You acknowledge and understand that ... in the event of an outage ... you will continue to be billed for the Service ...


f. Service Subject to Maintenance or Other Service Outages. You acknowledge and understand that Bell may perform maintenance on the Service from time to time without notice to you, ...

When I first switched to Sympatico, they used to give you advance notice of regular maintenance - when there would be an outage, and, you would be credited with time if there was an unexpected outage. But now, not only do they not give any advance notice, they won't admit that there is or was an outage. It would be nice if they would at least say "yes, we have maintenance in your area and service should be up again soon". That would be nice and that is what I would expect from someone I am paying money to for a service every month.

Now, after all that, I have to say I am generally happy with the service from Sympatico. It still seems to be about the most reliable ISP around (for a while I thought another large ISP was better, until I read that they limited bandwidth for anyone using any sort of sharing software or sending or receiving any encrypted files - they have less outages, but they secretly limit bandwidth (so, while you pay to have a high bandwidth, they give you a low bandwidth)). From my experience, Sympatico doesn't do this, so they are still tops in my book.

It was down again off and on in the evening of May 1st, so I guess they are aware of and working on the problem. So, maybe there will be more intermittent outages in the evenings for the next few days. Or, maybe not. Hopefully they will have the problem fixed soon.


DA said...

It's happening again - March 18, 2010 - stupid sympatico. Their reps have been very unhelpful. David Anber

Thor said...

Yes, I got an email from them today, March 20th, saying there was an outage on the 18th.

But, I find there are less issues now with their email servers than a few years ago.