An Auckland business manager is fuming after having thousands of important sent emails deleted without warning by her internet service provider.
Charlotte Rutherford, IT manager for a local civil drain laying company, had an email account with Orcon which allowed her to store up to 100 megabytes of data.
Rutherford admits her company had been well over its storage limit for many months but said Orcon never contacted her asking for data to be removed.
"They never put in writing that we needed to lower our data levels. They never asked us to get the limit below the 100 megs (megabytes)," she said.
Eight weeks ago, Orcon suddenly deleted 2000 of her sent emails and a month later wiped another 3000. The emails were all business-related and sent between August 2008 and February 2012, Rutherford said.
As the company's IT manager, she took "full responsibility" for not backing the data up but her gripe is around why Orcon did not contact her first.
"It's my mistake. I never considered that a massive company would delete our data without giving any warning.
"But I had no opportunity to back it up," she said.
Even after the 5000 emails were deleted, Rutherford's account was still over its limit. It would have at least made some sense if Orcon had deleted her emails to the storage limit, she said.
When the first 2000 emails were deleted, it took three days for Orcon to respond to her phone calls, Rutherford alleges.
Countless emails later, she said the company had not been able to retrieve the lost data.
"In the end they came back and said the emails are gone and we can't get them back."
Rutherford has now cancelled the account with Orcon and shifted her business to Vodafone and Gmail.
In an email to Orcon, she said: "I am unwilling to continue dealing with a supplier who so wantonly deletes our personal information and has no ability to supply policies, procedures or processes to explain how and why this could have reasonably occurred."
Rutherford wants Orcon to pay the costs of having an external technician migrate all the company's data and she has sent the ISP two invoices for $628.77 and $279.45.
Orcon has offered to pay the latter amount.
Rutherford is keen to see Orcon clarify how it deals with customers who have exceeded their storage capacity.
"I want Orcon to get some policies and procedures in place."
She has also offered to carry out an exit interview with them as well.
"I want them to make sure they learn out of this process."
Orcon said it had been in contact with Rutherford regarding compensation.
"We apologise for the inconvenience caused to one of our customers.
"Our engineers have done everything they can to recover the emails, but unfortunately they are not retrievable," said a company spokesman.By Ben Chapman-Smith