My Charter/Comcast email is unreliable

LoryDawson
LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant
edited February 6 in Email

When I talk with Charter Support, they tell me it is Comcast’s problem. When I talk with Comcast Support, they tell me it is Charter’s problem.

Has anyone else experienced this problem? Can anyone suggest why I am experiencing it?

Sorry for the length of this post. I’ve been doing tests for days. I’ve summarized those tests that I think contribute to characterizing the problem.

Background

I have two ISPs, Comcast and Charter. I have Comcast in Portland and Charter in Cannon Beach.  I have mail accounts with Comcast. I have mail accounts with Charter.

Here is the problem.

When I send mail from my Charter account to my Comcast account, it does not arrive. Comcast receives mail from all other sources. Comcast does not receive mail from Charter.

Before Testing

I changed the passwords on all my Comcast accounts. I changed the passwords on all my Charter accounts. I cleared the cache and cookies from my browser and then I log onto the servers. My issue is not dependent on my browser and OS. I see the same problem with Edge on win10, Edge on win11, Firefox on Ubuntu, Safari on IOS.

Here is how I tested.

I send/receive mail directly on the Comcast and Charter websites. I am not using an email client (although when I do, I see the same issue). So there is no 3rd party application involved. My primary charter account is <primary charter account>.

Mail from charter to comcast does not arrive at comcast

Mail from comcast to charter does arrive at charter

Mail from charter to Gmail does arrive at Gmail

Mail from Gmail to charter does arrive at charter

Mail from charter to comcast does not arrive at comcast

I log into www.charter.net as <primary charter account>.

I send mail to <primary comcast account>. I do not get an error message.

I see the mail I sent appear in the Sent folder on www.charter.net.

I log onto www.comcast.net as <primary comcast account>.

I do not see the mail I sent from <primary charter account>. It never arrives.

 

Mail from comcast to charter does arrive at charter

I log onto www.comcast.net as <primary comcast account>.

I send mail to <primary charter account>.

I see the mail I sent appear in the Sent folder on www.comcast.net.

I log onto www.charter.net as <primary charter account>.

I see the mail I sent from <primary comcast account> arrive.

Mail from charter to Gmail does arrive at Gmail

As another test, I log onto gmail.com as <Gmail account>. I send mail from <primary charter account> while on  www.charter.com in another window. The mail arrives at <Gmail account>.

Mail from Gmail to charter does arrive at charter

As another test, I log onto gmail.com as <Gmail account>. I send mail from <Gmail account> to <primary charter account>. On www.charter.net I see the mail from <Gmail account> arrive.

Summary

I am at a loss. The Comcast/Charter connection is unreliable enough to be dangerous. If someone (a business, for example) has a Charter email address and records my connection as a Comcast email address, I can lose valuable information. I would never see that information.

It is possible that the problem only exists with my Comcast/Charter accounts. I doubt that because there is nothing special about my Comcast/Charter accounts.

 

 

Best Answer

  • Ruben_R
    Ruben_R Posts: 55 ✅ Verified Employee Moderator
    Answer ✓

    I do apologize for this inconvenience. When you send from our webmail and comcast doesn't receive it. Have you tried to whitelist the spectrum/charter email address on the comcast email side?

Answers

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    Thank you for responding. The comcast site does not have a facility for whitelisting email addresses. I did add my comcast addresses to my contact list on the charter site in the hope that this would allow charter to send mail to comcast. But that did not solve my problem,

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    Comcast does have a safe list, but that is inappropriate. Their site says "When Email Safe List is enabled, only email sent from addresses on the Safe List will be received. All other emails will be filtered out and not delivered." I don't want to allow emails from only the Safe List. I have not enabled the Safe List.

  • HT_Greenfield
    HT_Greenfield Posts: 604 Contributor

    That sounds like the same kind of incoming delivery queue issue multiple Comcast users were reporting from e.g. Gmail, about a month ago. 🔗https://forums.xfinity.com/conversations/email/issue-receiving-emails/6564ecd277f859431030a843?commentId=656790e493c02b495090b0c7&replyId=6567ca6a1863db460fe80e9e

    Hopefully the queue server will eventually deliver those messages or at least return requisite delivery failure messages.

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    HTGreenfield,

    Thank you for responding. I checked out the link. My issue has been going on for some time. I can wait to see if all that queued mail finally arrives, but it has been several days.

    It appears that Charter can send/receive with all other email accounts except Comcast. Charter can receive from Comcast but cannot send to Comcast. I did do some further tests described below.

    As an IEEE member, I have an IEEE email account. (the IEEE is the International Electrical and Electronics Engineers, a professional org for engineers). The provided IEEE email address is primarily a forwarding service. We can publicly give out that address and point it to an ISP address. I am forwarding my IEEE email to my Comcast address.

    As I said, I am unable to send charter ==> comcast. The mail does not appear in my Comcast account, and I receive no error message. But I can send charter ==> IEEE, which is auto forwarded ==> comcast. If I send mail from Charter to my IEEE account, I do see that mail in my Comcast account.

    Again, I am not using an email client (there is no 3rd party app involved, although I do see the same behavior when I use a 3rd party app such as Outlook). If in Outlook I forward mail in my Charter account to my Comcast account, I see the mail enter my Charter Outbox, then leave my Charter Outbox, but never appear in my Comcast Inbox. The mail acts as if it is actually going somewhere.

    I was on the phone again this morning with Comcast support (Level 2, I think the person said). As expected, the response I got was that Comcast has no problem and the issue must be with Charter. My response is that I really don't know where the problem lies but I am working with both providers as best I can to resolve the issue.

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    Actually, the IEEE is "The Institute of ..." not "International ..." Sorry.

    It is an international org but does not have International in its name.

  • HT_Greenfield
    HT_Greenfield Posts: 604 Contributor

    I sent a test message to [email protected] from both my outlook.com as well as my charter.net email accounts and rather immediately received a bounceback from resimta-h1p-037562.sys.comcast.net via [email protected] basically saying "no such soul" (Elvis has re-entered the building) but i'm with you now, my brother, because i'm still waiting to hear back from sys.comcast.net via [email protected] and i will let you know if/when i do. ☘️

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    As another data point, my brother-in-law who lives in upstate New York can send mail to my comcast accounts. He has Roadrunner Spectrum. His address ends in rr.com not charter.net, however. Comcast assures me they are not blocking any charter.net addresses.

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    The DHCP address that I got from charter appears in the Spamhaus ZEN black list. I have no idea what this means.

    I got my IP address by just searching for "What is my IP address." Also it is the IP address I see when I log into my router.

    I got the black list info by entering my IP address into https://mxtoolbox.com/SuperTool.aspx

    Charter is unfortunately unhelpful. The quote I got from Charter support is "There is no way to assign this issue as it does not involve accessibility of services. And would not be able to further escalate the issue."

    I would suggest that my charter email not working involves "accessibility of services" but I have not been able to convince Charter support of that. The Charter support person suggested I contact the manufacturer of my router (why is that even relevant?)

    Can anyone provide advice on this?

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    The DHCP address that I got from charter appears in the Spamhaus ZEN black list. I have no idea what this means.

    I got my IP address by just searching for "What is my IP address." Also it is the IP address I see when I log into my router.

    I got the black list info by entering my IP address into https://mxtoolbox.com/SuperTool.aspx

    Charter is unfortunately unhelpful. The quote I got from Charter support is "There is no way to assign this issue as it does not involve accessibility of services. And would not be able to further escalate the issue."

    I would suggest that my charter email not working involves "accessibility of services" but I have not been able to convince Charter support of that. The Charter support person suggested I contact the manufacturer of my router (why is that even relevant?)

    Can anyone provide advice on this?

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    As a result I cannot send email to my comcast email accounts from my charter accounts.

  • HT_Greenfield
    HT_Greenfield Posts: 604 Contributor

    Double-check it here 🔗https://check.spamhaus.org/ and, if true, attempt to remediate accordingly and then, either way, wait for it to cool off which it supposedly will, by and by.

    If true, i gather that the byzantines have more of a problem with it than Spectrum does because, otherwise, you wouldn't be able to send at all and would get an AUP 1220-1250 bounceback whenever you tried.

    🔗https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/understanding-email-error-codes

  • HT_Greenfield
    HT_Greenfield Posts: 604 Contributor

    Double-check it here 🔗https://check.spamhaus.org/ and, if true, attempt to remediate accordingly and then, either way, wait for it to cool off which it supposedly will, by and by.

    If true, i gather that the byzantines have more of a problem with it than Spectrum does because, otherwise, you wouldn't be able to send at all and would get an AUP 1220-1250 bounceback whenever you tried.

    🔗https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/understanding-email-error-codes

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    Yes, I had already performed that check. Yes, it is true. But still no error message.

    Charter support has often been helpful, but unfortunately not this time. The last Charter support person actually told me to contact my router manufacturer because she thought that my router assigned my internet facing IP address. She was very pleasant but honestly I don't think she knew what an IP address was.

  • William_M
    William_M Posts: 943 ✅ Verified Employee Moderator

    I've merged your posts as they are about the same issue. All residential IPs are dynamic which are automatically listed on some blacklists. It is completely normal and would only cause issues if you are trying to host your own mail server, not just sending email through IMAP and it would definitely not stop anything from being sent through webmail. This would impact all of our residential customers if it were the case.

    It does not sound like you are having any issue accessing your email, and that the service we are providing is fully functional with the exception of your difficulty sending emails to just this one provider. As the emails are going to your sent folder and you are not receiving any bounceback I do not believe this is a Spectrum issue and you should contact Comcast for further support.

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    I have reached out to PLUG (the Portland Linux Users Group). I do not really understand the response I got. Please allow me to include it here. This is Portland, Oregon.

    "I do not believe that it matters if your home IP is blacklisted or not. That is because the sender is Charter with their IP, not yours. Charter needs to make sure that their IP is not blacklisted, and they like do (sic). Why rolling the boulder up hill like Sisyphus? This is waste of your time. The wise thing to do is not to use ISP email at all and use third party such as fastmail/protonmail/gmail/outlook/... anything, but the ISP - as suggested here by number of people. If you still have a problem, that would be worth debugging and resolving. If you switch the email provider, make sure to update your email with your ISPs, so that they can reach you."

    Conclusion ... mail addresses provided by ISPs are notoriously unreliable?

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    William_M,

    Thank you for responding. I am not hosting my own mail server.

    I have had and am having discussions with Comcast. Comcast Support (so far anyway) points to this as a Spectrum problem.

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    William_M,

    I realized that my last comment sounded as if I did not believe you. I do believe you. I honestly think this is a Comcast issue. I am having significant difficulty convincing Comcast support of this. I have made some progress in that direction. I have talked on the phone (2X might be 3X) with what they call CSA, their advanced support team, with no resolution. I am not the only person experiencing this behavior. I know of at least one other residential user who cannot get their charter email accepted by comcast email. My suspicion is that there are many others.

    Thanks for merging my posts. When I first started on this forum, I had some difficulty using it (I'm better now). I saw the Comment box greyed out and so tried a brand-new post in the hope that I might that way get a better response. And later I didn't know how or if I had the privilege needed to merge posts. Thanks for doing it. Good job.

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    Willam_M,

    Charter (Spectrum) says

    Charter mail works with all providers except one.   Charter is unable to send to only one provider. Hence it is that provider’s (Comcast’s) problem. Using webmail, no error messages.

    Comcast (Xfinity says)

    Comcast mail works with all providers except one. Comcast is able to receive from all providers except one. Hence, it is that provider’s (Charter’s) problem.     Using webmail, no error messages

    Do you see a similarity between those two arguments?

    My experience tells me that in cases like these it is usually the receiver's fault. Hence, I lean to it being Comcast's problem.

    Comcast and Charter do not play well together. That part is certain.

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    I've been testing by sending mail from my <primary charter account> to my <primary comcast account>.

    Yesterday and today I sent 50 mails from charter to comcast. 6 got thru. 44 went I do not know where. No error messages.

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    Honestly, this now appears to work. But I don't know for how long?

    Does anyone know why this happened? Will it happen again?

    When I tried to send email, I got the following error message:

    <start>

    Sending of the message failed. An error occurred while sending mail. The server responded: impout008.msg.chrl.nc.charter.net cmsmtp <my IP address, the DHCP address assigned to me by Spectrum) blocked. Please see https://www.spectrum.net/support/internet/understanding-email-error-codes for more information. AUP#Out-1020.

    <end>

    The referenced site describes AUP#Out-1020 as

    <start>

    This email account has limited access to send emails based on suspicious activity. Blocks will expire based on the nature of the activity. If you’re a Spectrum customer, contact us to remove the block.

    <end>

    The “contact us” is just the Spectrum chat, which is unhelpful. If I talk to an agent, she says that they cannot help me and that I must contact Spamhaus. Spamhaus tells me on their site that if I do not have my own mail server (I do not), my ISP (Spectrum) must provide a request to unblock. Spectrum says they cannot help and I must follow Spamhaus directions (which are to contact my ISP). It appears that I am stuck in circular logic here.

    What’s important here though is that the IP address listed in the error message is my personal DHCP address provided by Spectrum, not the IP address of the Spectrum server. That seems strange. I do not run a mail server. My email should appear to come from the IP address of the Spectrum mail server.

    Spectrum tells me they cannot change my IP address. But it is DHCP? Why cannot Spectrum terminate my DHCP lease and renew it with a different address? If I locally kill my DHCP lease, and renew it, I just get the very same IP address, not a new one.

    I saw this problem with Thunderbird on Linux and Outlook on win10. I can send via web mail. However, because I see the issue with two different email clients on two different operating systems, I do not think this is a problem with the email client.

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    Earlier I got a comment from @William_M

    <start>

    All residential IPs are dynamic which are automatically listed on some blacklists. It is completely normal and would only cause issues if you are trying to host your own mail server, not just sending email through IMAP and it would definitely not stop anything from being sent through webmail. This would impact all of our residential customers if it were the case.

    <end>

    But yet I get an error message as if I am trying to send from my residential DHCP address?

  • Lyn_T
    Lyn_T Posts: 303 ✅ Verified Employee Moderator

    Good evening @LoryDawson

    Thank you for keeping us posted on this. I am sorry you are still noticing this concern. The particular error message you are getting is known for:

    This email account has limited access to send emails based on suspicious activity. Blocks will expire based on the nature of the activity.

    Just to clarify, when you use our Webmail option you do not experience this issue. Is that correct? -Lyn

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant
    edited February 6

    Thank you for responding. Web mail works fine. I know that you asked that because you want to consider whether my issue has to do with my email client (third party). I assure you that my issue does not have to do with a 3rd party client because I can experience the issue with multiple clients on multiple operating systems... Apple mail (IOS), Thunderbird (Ubuntu Linux), Outlook win10, Outlook win11.

    Again, I no longer see the issue. Everything (including using my email clients and web mail) now works fine. The problem just went away.

    However, I am somewhat concerned about the info I got from Spectrum support. I do not believe the info I got was correct. The error message I got listed my DHCP address as blocked. Spectrum support directed me to contact Spamhaus. Please understand that contacting Spamhaus is inappropriate for residential DHCP addresses. My DHCP address is used to contact the Spectrum email server and it is the Spectrum server's IP address that is associated with my email. As a Spectrum engineer explained to me

    <start quote> All residential IPs are dynamic which are automatically listed on some blacklists. It is completely normal and would only cause issues if you are trying to host your own mail server. <end quote>

    I had not known that and William_M from Spectrum was kind enough to explain it to me. I am not running a mail server.

    So if my email client is rejected (blocked) when it contacts the Spectrum server, this is an issue with the Spectrum server, not Spamhaus.

    Again, everything works now. My concern is with the "suspicious activity" mentioned in the error message. This bothers me a great deal. What suspicious activity? I assure you that no one in this household is performing suspicious activity. Am I being hacked? Will this problem resurface?

    Spectrum support also told me that they are unable to change my DHCP address. I find that possible but confusing. If I terminate my DHCP lease and then renew it (I need to be root on my Linux system to do this), I get the very same IP address I had before. However, what IP address I get on renewal should be configurable by Spectrum.

    Thanks for your attention. Even though my email is now operating correctly, there may be something bad lurking under the covers that I should not ignore. What is your opinion?

  • davidinPS
    davidinPS Posts: 5 Spectator

    Hi LoryDawson - for the last few weeks, I've been having a similar problem between my Spectrum ISP and sending mail from my comcast.net email addresses. The problem manifests itself when using Outlook or Android/Samsung email client or iPhone to send email from a comcast.net address when connected to Spectrum. IN Outlook, the email just stays in the Outbox; forcing a Send/Receive results in a general error that's undescriptive. On the other devices, we get a similarly vague "Can't send email" message. If I turn off wifi on my phone OR use another network on my Windows PC, I can send emails using Outlook or another mail client just fine. To compound the difficulty in troubleshooting, after about 4 or 5 pm Pacific time, the problem just goes away. Everything works fine from Outlook, phone, iPhone. Until the next morning. Webmail works great, connecting to Xfinity mail via web. Does this sound familiar? Did you get a resolution? It sounds to me like omcast.net is refusing to send emails from an email client on some kind of schedule, but no one admits to it. Thoughts?

  • LoryDawson
    LoryDawson Posts: 19 Participant

    On the Xfinity forum, XfinityAlex was very helpful. Here is XfinityAlex's reply ... (there were several of us with this problem). This is not the first time XfinityAlex has solved a problem no one else could!

    <start quote from XfinityAlex>

    Hey folks,

    I'm going to update all of you at the same time as it was not specific to any of you, or the sender on the other side.

    It looks like at some point late last week, some number of messages from Charter were marked as spam. When a sufficient volume of this happens from a single IP, the platform can institute a temporary block to keep that IP from sending additional messages to protect users. I talked with Charter briefly about it, and we've manually removed the block. Charter also provided a list of outbound IPs, and we've marked the IPs as protected to keep some policies (including this particular one) from being enforced in the future. To further complicate things, Charter may not send Delivery failure notices in all situations, which is why the senders weren't seeing that the messages didn't go through.

    I apologize for this, and hopefully the above action will prevent this from happening in the future. 

    <end quote from XfinityAlex>

    I occasionally still have email issues but they are not long lasting. I have not seen data indicating a schedule during which emails are sometimes blocked.

    I have had Comcast/Charter support tell me that if webmail is successful and my email client is not, then it is an issue with the client. As you may know, that is not 100% true. Working in webmail and not working with the client does indicate a high probability that the client is misconfigured, but that is not always the case.

    Have you checked out the discussion on https://forums.xfinity.com ? From two months ago. Called "Cannot receive email from charter.net email addresses."

    At one point I had my Thunderbird client on Ubuntu declare my IP address as blocked. I did not see that message with Outlook on Windows. Support (I don't remember if it was comcast or charter) directed me to contact spamhaus. My IP address, however, is DHCP; contacting spamhaus is inappropriate for DHCP addresses (I do not have a static IP address and I do not run my own mail server). The problem eventually just went away and has not returned.