Friday, February 26, 2010

Pobox Best Practices: Changing ISPs

We want you to get as much value as you can out of your Pobox account. Pobox Best Practices will share our methods for using Pobox features for common problems, tips and tricks from other customers, and the ways Pobox staffers use their accounts to manage their own email.

One of the most frequent tickets we see at Pobox Customer Service is, "Help! I just changed my email address, and now I can't log in to Pobox!" Ouch. But the bigger problem, as we see it when we're helping you, is that your Pobox account didn't make that seamless.

One of the best features of a Pobox address is the ability to change your forwarding address, whenever you want, without having to tell all your friends and contacts about your new address. Most people change where they read their mail every 2 years. (If you're sick of your current provider, you can always keep your mail at Pobox by upgrading to a Mailstore account.)

It's no big deal if you're switching between Yahoo and Gmail (or back again), because both addresses will stay open. But, if you're switching from Comcast to Verizon, your access to your Comcast mailbox gets cut off with your last bill. So, how can Pobox help smooth the transition, and make sure you don't lose any mail?

First, as soon as you get your new address, log in to Pobox, and add it as one of your forwarding addresses. (All Pobox accounts can forward mail to up to 5 places.) Don't wait until your current forwarding address goes away. In fact, don't even remove your current forwarding address from your Pobox account just yet.

Now, your mail is going to two places. Why? We know your email is important to you, so you'll want to makes sure your mail is actually arriving at your new address. You may not have the address you thought you did. (I once had a support agent over the phone set up my address as vanessa.canon@example.com, instead of vanessa.cannon... took 2 calls for them to figure out what was wrong.) Your password may be wrong, and so even though the mail is getting there, you can't log in to read it. No matter what the reason, losing access to email has been known to cause irritability, headaches, bloating and irrational behavior.

So, go ahead and send a test message, from your old account to your Pobox address. It should show up in both of your mailboxes. If it doesn't show up in the new address (and it isn't in a spam or junk mail folder), let us know. But this way, you still have access to your email while we work out any problems with your new address.

Also, if you keep old mail, like most people do, you'll probably want to move it to your new address. This is really easy if you're using an email program like Outlook or Mac Mail. Just set up a second account for your new address. Then, when both accounts are set up, just drag and drop the files from your old account, to your new one. Your email program will move everything for you in the background! If you have a lot of mail, don't shut down your computer. It could take a while for everything to get moved.

Once you know you have access to all your existing mail at your new address, kill that old account! Log in to Pobox and remove it as a forwarding address. Send a nasty cancellation letter. Go and leave a bag of your shredded old bills on their doorstep. They were hoping to lock you in with your email address, and they would have gotten away with it, too... if not for your meddling Pobox address!

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