Fasthosts in email crisis

Customers unhappy - Fasthosts denies problems...
Written by Sally Watson, Contributor

Customers unhappy - Fasthosts denies problems...

Web-hosting firm Fasthosts has walked into a row with customers after several thousand emails went missing or were delivered to the wrong addresses. One Fasthosts customer told silicon.com that his company had received over 2,000 misdirected emails on one day last week. "These emails include attachments, including stuff from solicitors and accountants," the customer said. "Fasthosts' customers are going ballistic." Fasthosts' technical support line was weighed down with calls last week. Several customers waited in queues of up to 25 calls before being able to report problems. Those who have got through claimed Fasthosts was unable to offer a satisfactory explanation. According to another customer, Brian Nash of Vision Software Solutions, the hosting outfit has been having sporadic problems for the last few weeks, but for Nash, it came to a head at the end of the week before last. "I sent a proposal to a customer and it ended up with one of our suppliers as well. It could have been confidential," he said. Nash added: "I sent an email to my contacts to apologise about the problems - and some recipients ended up receiving the same email eight or nine times." Andrew Michael, managing director of Fasthosts, admitted the company had been having some problems since a software upgrade earlier this month. However, he said the problems had not affected customers' email service. Michael also denied an earlier report that a virus had infected the company. "Since we changed the software it's not been completely trouble free. But we have not received any reports of misdirected mail, other than those cited," he told silicon.com. Michael told silicon that his company had investigated Nash's complaint and found it to be a problem "at the customer's end". He said: "He [Nash] sent out a broadcast email and then sent out a confidential email. He mistakenly sent both emails to the broadcast group of addresses." Nash denied this, claiming he did not misaddress the mails. Meanwhile, a third customer, who preferred to remain anonymous, confirmed that some outgoing emails had been misdirected. "Sending an email to one client meant that four other different clients also got the email. Not only very embarrassing but also a large security issue. Needless to say we're pulling all provision of services by Fasthosts." Another company, which resells Fasthosts services to small and medium-sized businesses, said several of its customers had been affected. "Fasthosts upgraded their Matrix servers two weeks ago. Since then things have been going crazy," he told silicon.com. "I received an email on Sunday night which was sent over a week ago. I've also received emails which weren't sent to me - I've had to forward them on." Fasthosts claims to be the UK's leading provider of web hosting services. Its £10m Gloucester data centre hosts over 500,000 websites on Matrix Windows servers. The company previously hit the headlines in May when problems with a BT router caused a 36-hour outage in its service.
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