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Emails bouncing 'Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender' from three addresses (so far)

edward50
Dabbler
Posts: 11
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎03-02-2021

Emails bouncing 'Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender' from three addresses (so far)

Since 6 April, my emails to three email addresses have been bouncing. My ISP is Plusnet, and I therefore use relay.plus.net as my outgoing server. The only email address I use is a onetel.com address (now operated by TalkTalk), so my incoming server is mail.onetel.net.uk. I rarely use webmail; I read my messages on MS Outlook 2013 on my home PC.
This setup has been working fine for several years until now, and continues to do so except for this problem in sending to, so far, just three addresses. These are my wife's onetel.com address (using the same internet connection as my own), my own address (a test message), and a virginmedia.com address.

Here are the attachments to one of the 'returning message' notification emails:

 details:

Reporting-MTA: dns; avasout01 [84.93.230.227]
Received-From-MTA: dns; xxxPC [51.x.xx.xxx]
Arrival-Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2021 21:55:02 +0100
Final-recipient: rfc822; xxxxxxx@onetel.com
Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 552 5.2.0 W3ZZl56oWJyvKW3aIlGCsq DMARC Verification Failed (TT602)

Last-attempt-Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2021 21:55:03 +0100

untitled attachment:

Received: from xxxPC ([51.x.xx.xxx])
by smtp with ESMTP
id W3aElHkrs1iLSW3aFlOin1; Mon, 12 Apr 2021 21:55:02 +0100
X-Clacks-Overhead: "GNU Terry Pratchett"
X-CM-Score: 0.00
X-CNFS-Analysis: v=2.3 cv=IYUcpVia c=1 sm=1 tr=0
a=b+AqFEgzLk95Kg3gBDJEAg==:117 a=b+AqFEgzLk95Kg3gBDJEAg==:17
a=DAwyPP_o2Byb1YXLmDAA:9 a=_6GpL_ENAAAA:8 a=3pfoXPgmLRG-25sUmTkA:9
a=CjuIK1q_8ugA:10 a=xupg4knwUDYA:10 a=yMhMjlubAAAA:8 a=SSmOFEACAAAA:8
a=XnV7k9czDQapw0k2URkA:9 a=Uy7sMPutf4xMwUxP:21 a=gKO2Hq4RSVkA:10
a=UiCQ7L4-1S4A:10 a=hTZeC7Yk6K0A:10 a=frz4AuCg-hUA:10
From: "xxxxxxxxxx" <xxxxxxx@onetel.com>
To: "xxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <xxxxxxx@onetel.com>
Subject: test
Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2021 21:55:00 +0100
Message-ID: <000001d72fde$1cc9c770$565d5650$@onetel.com>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: multipart/alternative;
boundary="----=_NextPart_000_0001_01D72FE6.7E8E2F70"
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook 15.0
Thread-Index: Adcv3hpqbBvcrAzTR5mNTtOfcnQgSw==
Content-Language: en-gb
X-Antivirus: Avast (VPS 210412-0, 04/12/2021), Outbound message
X-Antivirus-Status: Clean
X-CMAE-Envelope: MS4wfO+JuAVIxrzmgNMITGjV2ijrozyEQFR3PvqcEJvLViPHitN/fBNFEuhHrrbVTSMSIV25EmXx9TMMSuCbFd9ZjKW5W3krvDL6hCLON7uKMAVFno5JpcXJ
h3S6XjQILs64+JKfq82mJqqkvgH2c5doyr4=

This is just a personal email account, no business use or mass mailings involved. I have entered my IP address in a blacklist checker and it is flagged up on dnsbl.spfbl.net and dnsbl.sorbs.net, but I can't think why it should be so flagged, and I don't know whether that is likely to have any connection with the current problem. 

Any ideas, anybody? The only other conceivably relevant thing I can think of is that my email address was pwned some time back, having been compromised in four separate data breaches, the most recent in October 2019. It has since been secured with a long complicated password.

Thank you.

4 REPLIES 4
MisterW
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,562
Thanks: 2,455
Fixes: 183
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Emails bouncing 'Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender' from three addresses (so far

You need to send email your mail via the onetel smtp server and not relay.plus.net. It's very possibly an SPF problem ( see here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sender_Policy_Framework ). The Plusnet server will not be on the list of authorised servers for a onetel.com domain.

edward50
Dabbler
Posts: 11
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎03-02-2021

Re: Emails bouncing 'Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender' from three addresses (so far

Thank you, MisterW. I am sure there is a reason why I have my servers configured in this way. As I can best recall, the onetel server is not available to me as an outgoing server, as I have not been a current TalkTalk customer for almost six years. I am keen to continue using my onetel.com address, as I have had it for 21 years.
Your explanation for how the problem may have arisen seems plausible to this lay user, given the helpful information in your link  - all new to me. Given that this problem has only arisen now - I have exchanged messages with both of the other addresses for years with no trouble - does this suggest that TalkTalk and Virginmedia have changed some settings, or again that some subcontractor that they both use has done so?

Would you recommend going on the TalkTalk community and asking if they could add the Plusnet server to their list of authorised outgoing servers?

MisterW
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 9,562
Thanks: 2,455
Fixes: 183
Registered: ‎30-07-2007

Re: Emails bouncing 'Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender' from three addresses (so far

does this suggest that TalkTalk and Virginmedia have changed some settings, or again that some subcontractor that they both use has done so?

Many mail service providers are starting to tighten up on anti-spam measures and lack of SPF adds to any spam score.

Would you recommend going on the TalkTalk community and asking if they could add the Plusnet server to their list of authorised outgoing servers?

Id be pretty sure that there's no way TalkTalk are going to add the PlusNet servers to the authorised list for their onetel domain.

As I can best recall, the onetel server is not available to me as an outgoing server, as I have not been a current TalkTalk customer for almost six years. I am keen to continue using my onetel.com address, as I have had it for 21 years.

That's the problem with using a free legacy email system I'm afraid. In reality if you wish to have a permanent email address that's maintainable across ISP's then you really need to get your own domain and a paid email service. It' not expensive, my domain costs £8/yr and the email service ( with up to 10 mailboxes ) is about £20/yr IIRC . With your own domain, you are in control of SPF, DKIM and DMARC and can adjust then to add your current ISP mail servers if needed.

edward50
Dabbler
Posts: 11
Thanks: 4
Registered: ‎03-02-2021

Re: Emails bouncing 'Mail delivery failed: returning message to sender' from three addresses (so far

I am sorry, MisterW, not to have responded earlier to your helpful post. There is a happy outcome to this problem. I was wrong to think that I could not use the TalkTalk outgoing server. I posted about the problem on the TalkTalk community and was shown a set of detailed instructions - port numbers, security settings - to set the server up on Outlook 2013. So my address is now secure and functioning, emails no longer getting bounced. I now have the ability to take up your suggestion of getting my own domain and paid-for email service, but I can handle the transition over a period of months which will take the stress out of it.