Clients with e-mail addresses called me today because they weren’t receiving any mail. The online tools provided by Pac Bell to work with e-mail accounts showed no problems. Outlook could check the mailboxes. But mail addressed to those mailboxes was bouncing.

After hours of head-scratching and banging on desks and shuffling endlessly around SBC voicemail hell (and never, ever talking to a live human being), we discovered by accident that the e-mail addresses had been turned off without warning because they hadn’t been migrated to Yahoo-hosted mailboxes.

Well, heck, all it took to turn the mailboxes back on was migrating the accounts. That meant filling in personal information that will be used for incessant advertising. It meant trying to find all the places to uncheck boxes on a long page announcing the junk mail newsletters, telephone solicitations, and postal junk mail that will start to arrive soon. Once I changed the POP and SMTP server entries in Outlook to new settings that were buried in a poorly designed support page, the accounts were working just fine!

It was hell.

SBC’s relationship with Yahoo is a disaster, as viciously anti-consumer as anything I can think of in recent memory. At the same time, SBC is pushing relentlessly to eliminate all of its customer support. If you have a choice, sign up for Internet service with someone – anyone – else!

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