Unanswered e-mail bad for business

Many businesses have an online presence, and some have e-mail addresses to handle inquiries. But some businesses do not respond to e-mail messages, ever. This has serious implications.

A few weeks ago, I sent off some e-mail messages. One was to a vacuum cleaner company asking for details how I could get repairs done for equipment under warranty. Another e-mail was to a daily deals site which asked for customer feedback (ironically, my feedback was that I was still waiting for a response to my feedback). To date, I have not received any reply.

Bad customer service aside, the non-answering of email could bite businesses badly. Legislation, including Singapore's Electronic Transactions Act, state that the time of receipt is when the e-mail reaches the e-mail address designated by the addressee. This means that regardless of whether it was eventually read, once the message reaches the e-mail address, it is deemed received.

An important message, including one with legal consequences, could have been sent to one such e-mail address and remain in effect although unread.

Therefore, all those businesses out there which proudly display their feedback and enquiry channels--you have to read those e-mail messages as well.