User to IT: It's your fault, not mine

An end-user complains of email problems but refuses to help solve the issue, which turns out to be the easiest fix of all

At the company where I work, we have a user, "Jane," who thinks she can do no wrong. A problem is never her fault. She doesn't need to be trained or given any pointers. She knows it all and is quick to blame her lack of understanding on IT folks or IT problems.

For months she's badgered me as to why she can't get email from a particular person outside the company. If she sends an email to them, they reply. If they send a cold-call email, she doesn't get it.

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About a month ago, she said she was sick and tired of it and sent me a nasty note. I asked if she verified her email address with the sender. I asked if the sender got a bounce message. I asked if the sender had an IT contact we could call to troubleshoot. Of course, she didn't do any of it.

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A couple of weeks ago, I repeated the same list when she complained again. She said, "Why is it always someone else's problem?" I just replied that our systems are fine, and if she would do any of the requested items, that's what I'd need to figure out what's going on. Again, I was ignored.

Just yesterday Jane sent me an email that she "solved" it.

The person outside the company had sent another cold-call email and had just so happened to copy another user inside our network. Jane didn't receive it, but her coworker mentioned it. Upon further review, it turned out that the outside sender sent it to a wrong address for Jane. What a miracle! Problem solved!

This person has been sending to the wrong address for a year, and Jane is just now figuring it out. They definitely would have received a bounce message, but maybe it got caught in their spam filter, or they just ignored it. But you'd think after that amount of time, Jane would have contacted this person to verify her email address -- at the very least.

Another piece of the puzzle: Jane also gets automated orders from a system that she has to process. A rep from our supplier called to tell me that Jane was having problems getting emails that contained these orders. I asked him to send some tests to me. No problem. I gave them Jane's email address and they sent tests to her.

It turns out she's giving out her own email address incorrectly, though she's been with the company for several years.

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