disabled email panic
December 5, 2007 8:03 PM   Subscribe

PanicFilter: Gmail disabled my account, I don't know why, and I'm expecting very important emails tomorrow morning. What do I do?

Asking for a friend:

Gmail disabled my account for no apparent reason and I'm supposed to be getting grad school emails at around 8am tomorrow.

I've sent about 10-20 emails total from that account and have no contacts.

It is approximately 4 weeks old of an account, that I created to have an email address for the specific purpose of graduate school applications and contacts.

I hope I don't lose my emails, I haven't archived anything, but everything that was in my inbox is super super important and grad school secretaries will be sending me emails tomorrow morning.

The only weird thing that I can think of is that I accidentally sent an email with a typo in the address I think and all the sudden my account was shut down. I think I typed ul.edu instead of unl.edu, maybe? That's the only thing I can think of that is anything at all strange.

I'm panicking, what do I do? Is there anyone at Google I can contact about this now? If not, what do I do?
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel to Computers & Internet (17 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
This may be worth trying:

(650) 253-0000, press “5″ for Customer Service or Tech Support

From here
posted by skwillz at 8:17 PM on December 5, 2007

You probably want to read this too.
posted by tracert at 8:19 PM on December 5, 2007

Response by poster: My friend just called the number and it only gave a message with directions to a web page where a ticket could be created (which she already saw and did).
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 8:24 PM on December 5, 2007

Response by poster: Yeah, we've seen that page already, the problem is the very important emails tomorrow morning and that there was no violation of terms at all.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 8:26 PM on December 5, 2007

As mentioned above, call Google.

I don't know what kind of emails you're receiving, but stay calm; surely it isn't the end of the world if you can't access them. (This fellow couldn't access our acceptance email? REVOKE HIS ADMISSION!)

Set up a new email address (obviously not another Gmail address) give your grad school(s) a call and explain that your email address has changed, and any emails need to be re-sent.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 8:29 PM on December 5, 2007

From the GMail Help Center:
What's New
Take the Gmail Tour
Switching to Gmail
Gmail Blog
For Organizations

My account has been locked

If we detect abnormal usage that may indicate that your account has been compromised, we may temporarily disable access. It will take between one minute and 24 hours for access to be reinstated, depending on the behaviour detected by our system.

Unusual account activity includes, but is not limited to:

1. Receiving, deleting, or downloading large amounts of mail via POP or IMAP in a short period of time.
2. Sending a large number of undeliverable messages (messages that bounce back).
3. Using file-sharing or file-storage software, browser extensions, or third party software that automatically logs in to your account.
4. Leaving multiple instances of your Gmail account open.
5. Browser-related issues. Please note that if you find your browser continually reloading while attempting to access your Inbox, it's probably a browser issue, and it may be necessary to clear your browser's cache and cookies.

If you feel that you have been using your Gmail account according to the Gmail Terms of Use, please contact us.

updated 11/29/2007"
Just because your access to the account is blocked, doesn't mean GMail is bouncing your mail. In fact, they're very likely receiving and processing it normally, and your access will be automatically restored tomorrow, simply by the ticking of the clock.

But if you want 24x7 help desk support, and paid accountability for account access and terms, open a paid account with a commercial ISP. A lot of university mail systems don't like free account domains like Gmail and Hotmail, and some of their SMTP methods tickoff Gmail and Hotmail, intentionally.
posted by paulsc at 8:39 PM on December 5, 2007

Response by poster: Friend says: "They are bouncing my email. Any emails sent say my account is deleted and are bounced back to the sender. I checked that recently."
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 9:21 PM on December 5, 2007

Best answer: Don't panic. I am part of the admissions committee for a grad school program so here is my take on things. Do one of the following:

1) Sometime in the morning, call the secretaries and say that your email account suddenly changed and they should update their records. Which they will do.

2) We routinely have applicants that do research in remote places and never get to email in time but are available on phone. So if we don't get a reply, we call. So it's not that you'll just get passed over for not replying soon enough.

3) Is it possible that google will bounce your emails if they disabled it? Find out by sending an email to that address from your friends account. If that's the case, the secretaries of those grad programs will be calling YOU soon to get the records updated.

Good luck, this will all blow over.
posted by special-k at 9:39 PM on December 5, 2007

E-mail is notoriously unreliable. Maybe your friend can take comfort in the notion that a grad school program _ought_ to have a second way of communicating something that important. When I say _ought_, I mean they likely do have an alternate way of communicating -- might be worth looking into.
posted by amtho at 9:42 PM on December 5, 2007

It's annoying. The timing is beautiful, like when you are minutes away from an essay deadline and your printer runs out of ink, or when you're expecting a really important phone call and your battery runs out, or when you have an exam and your bus passes you, so you frantically chase after it, and it stops at a red light and you knock on the door while catching your breath, and the bus driver looks at you, shakes his head while tapping his watch, and drives off. It sucks but it happens.

Simply call the secretaries tomorrow morning and ask them to send the emails to a different address. If anything you'll slightly annoy them but that's it.
posted by 913 at 9:43 PM on December 5, 2007

My moment of zen comes from realizing that, in my work, unlike, say, medicine, no one dies at the end of the day. Relax: the world doesn't end tomorrow.
posted by chengjih at 3:08 AM on December 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


It's not just you. See here, and here. Many of the people in the first link are saying that their accounts are relatively new.

While this doesn't help you much, at least you know that you aren't some isolated case lost in the system. I would imagine that whatever precipitated this will be addressed shortly by Gmail.

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out.
posted by taz at 6:10 AM on December 6, 2007

Also... a Digg thread about this. It looks pretty big.
posted by taz at 6:18 AM on December 6, 2007

Any decent grad school will try various methods of contact
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 8:56 AM on December 6, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the help!

Update: the account was restored today midday. She received an email from them as follows:

Subject: bulk respond (200)

Recently the Gmail team launched several features intended to detect and prevent breaches of our Terms of Use, such as spamming.As a result, a number of users who may have not been acting in breach of these terms were affected. The issue has since been resolved, and these users have had access to their accounts restored. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Thank you for your report.

Gmail accounts may be disabled at any time due to violations of Gmail Terms of Use. Google reserves the right to suspend a Gmail Account or the entire Google Account if Gmail Terms of Use are violated.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 1:39 PM on December 6, 2007

The subject of that e-mail suggests that the "unusual behavior" may have been you using the account to respond to a large group of people.

Google's very non-transparent rules are like American Express. They have rules, limits, and triggers that will cause things to happen... but these change over time depending on what is "normal" use for you... and most of all, Google won't tell you what these rules ARE.
posted by rokusan at 4:51 PM on December 6, 2007

Response by poster: No, I'm pretty sure that the "bulk response" thing is because this happened to a lot of people at the same time and Google was responding to all of the created tickets with one bulk response.
posted by mustcatchmooseandsquirrel at 12:19 PM on December 7, 2007

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