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Handling Bounced Emails

When sending emails through the SmartSpace system, from time to time some emails will get bounced.  That is, they will be returned to you undelivered.

Apart from anything else, it is a waste of resources to be continually attempting to deliver mail that will never reach its destination.  This guide attempts to help you decide when and if you need to delete a record or an email address from your customer database.

When they are returned, there will be a header attached to the email which indicates the reason for the rejection.

The reasons will generally (but not always) fall into 2 categories, Hard bounce and Soft bounce.

Hard Bounce

  • Hard bounces will have an error/rejection code in the range 500-599 attached to it (e.g. 553 Mail from not allowed).
  • These codes indicate permanent rejections, although it is possible that there are some systemic problems causing the rejection which can be fixed.
  • If you can contact your customer in other ways, do so, as it may be as simple as them changing their email address and not notifying you.
  • You should review the rejection header and, if necessary, delete the email address from your system.

Soft Bounce

  • A Soft bounce is one where there is a transient problem and the error/rejection code falls into the range of 400 - 499.
  • If a Soft bounce is received, the Mail Server will usually attempt to deliver the mail again.
  • If a Soft bounce is received back over a week or so, chances are the email will not deliver.
  • If you received a Soft bounce 10 times over a relatively short period, follow up the customer if possible, otherwise delete the email record.

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