Telecom may pay for email outage

01:56, Nov 02 2012

Telecom has apologised to business customers affected by email problems over the past two days and says it will consider whether it will offer compensation.

Spokeswoman Jo Jalfon said several thousand users of its Officemail product had experienced problems receiving email and Telecom had received 600 calls from disgruntled customers about the issue.

Greg Trask of Lower Hutt financial services firm Trask Financial Services said the problems started on Wednesday at 8am and his firm was only now receiving small amounts of email which were "taking ages to come through". Telecom had been "aloof and evasive" when communicating about the issue, he said.

Chris Brown, owner of Wellington public relations company Sputnik, said half his staff had not received mails that they knew had been sent to them, but the delays were unpredictable and sporadic. Today one of his staff received an email that had been originally sent on Tuesday.

Jalfon acknowledged the disruption had been considerable. "Especially if you are a small business, it is a massive inconvenience", she said.

The fault was nothing to do with Telecom's consumer Xtra email service, which was outsourced to Yahoo in 2007, she said. That service has also experienced several major glitches this year.

Problems arose after a customer engaged a contractor to send out Christmas promotional material, Jalfon said. The overseas contractor sent about as much email as Officemail usually processed in 24 hours in one go, overloading the service.

Jalfon said the backlog of incoming mail was now being cleared and all delayed emails should be received within two days. Telecom was adding extra capacity to Officemail to reduce the risk of the same thing happening again, she said.