03-02-2014 09:13 PM
There’s an ongoing complaint about Office 365’s response to email read receipts and other email tracking.
When an Office 365 user asks for a read receipt, the receipt comes back with a time zone of ‘UTC Monrovia / Reykjavik’ not the readers local time nor the Office 365 users time nor even something like the time zone for the Office 365 servers location.
For example here’s an Office 365 users read receipt from a recipient in Australia:
Sent: Monday, February 13, 2012 9:08:27 PM (UTC) Monrovia, Reykjavik
was read on Monday, February 13, 2012 9:07:50 PM (UTC) Monrovia, Reykjavik.
Both places have the same time zone settings and are top of the time zone list in Windows, which is why it shows up as the default. Reykjavik is a nice place (great soft serve ice-cream) but it’s nowhere near where the sender or recipient are located. Monrovia is the capital of Liberia on the west coast of Africa (not the one in California).
Depending on who you ask, this is either a bug or Office 365 acting ‘as expected’. Naturally Microsoft staff will tell you there’s no problem.
To paying customers it’s a bug and worse, a bug with no fix.
There is false hope given with a time zone change to Outlook Web Apps but that doesn’t fix the email tracking bug.
The problem is in the design of Exchange Server. Office 365 runs Exchange Server in what Microsoft calls a ‘multi-tenanted’ environment meaning the one server handles email for many separate organizations. This is a change from the way Exchange Server was originally designed and developed for many years; i.e. under the presumption that each server handled a single organization. The consequences of change to multi-tenant use hasn’t been fully handled by Microsoft. It seems Exchange Server relies on the time zone setting of the server with no ability for the organization/tenant to customize that.
Now a single Exchange Server can process messages for different organizations in a range of time zones but Microsoft hasn't added all the necessary features to cope. It's an example of Microsoft curious but long-standing corporate reluctance to deal with time zone related matters.
Since this may be a deep-seated issue in Exchange Server it might not be changed very quickly and even then it will be reluctantly done by Microsoft.
All an Office 365 user can do is complain to Microsoft then wait, hope someone will read the complaints and take action.
12-02-2014 10:41 AM - edited 12-02-2014 10:43 AM
so you want BT To refund your Exchange cost, because you don't like to convert UTC time???
I don't actually see a fault..I see a Slight annoyence for you, doesn't bother me, i can't see it bothering that many people, espically seen as Read Recipts are Pointless,
15-03-2014 11:32 PM
I guess if you are not bothered then the rest of the world can sleep safely then, and since you are so obliged to accept faulty software on my behalf!
2 weeks ago
I need the READ RECEIPTS for court as I am building a case to show the person indeed READ my emails and is ignoring me. The timestamp is a SERIOUS ISSUE - how do i fix it?
2 weeks ago
IS THERE A FIX YET?
This is a serious issue for me, as i am building a court case against someone and trying to prove that they are indeed reading my emails yet ignoring me. The timestamp is a problem and it is seriously poor of Microsoft to release such junk for us to bug fix for them.
2 weeks ago
If you have set the Office 365 timezone correctly for your mailbox via the Office 365 Timezone Settings page then you're best contacting Microsoft's Office 365 support directly to let them know that the timestamp is showing incorrect on read receipts.
This shouldn't be an issue however as you can just convert the timezone that appears on the read receipt to figure out the exact date/time read. I don't think this is concrete evidence to bring to court though because the user can simply refuse to accept the read receipt once your email appears in their inbox.