View Full Version : Recalled e Mails - what do they mean?

26th Aug 2016, 19:27
As a Trustee of a local charity I am in the middle of a battle with an energy provider. We are claiming back a significant refund on an extraordinary bill which, we claim, was due to a faulty meter. Our evidence includes the fact that the meter stopped working altogether shortly after and then, a month later, went into melt down. The delivery for a replacement meter had been given as 2 months!

I have just received an e mail from the provider offering to credit it us with the minimum amount we have claimed but then, 7 minutes later, I received another e mail saying that XXXX XXXXXX recalls her e mail ref YYYYY .

Both e mails included the usual caveats about disclosing to 3rd parties etc.

This is important to us as I had already started proceedings with the Ombudsman and this e mail contains a statement which, in the opinion of every electrical engineer I have consulted, shows a high level of dishonesty or incompetence from the provider. This is because they claim that the meter melt down was caused by overload. We question that as the meter is protected by fuses which should prevent this. If they do not, the system is not fit for purpose. We have also monitored the current load using a clamp meter and have never seen more than 30 amps (fuse is 100 amps)

My question is, can a "recalled" e mail be used against them and can I pass it on to the Ombudsman?

A friend of mine did suggest that I reply saying that I am glad that she can "recall" (remember) a mail she sent to me only 7 minutes ago. I may do this just for fun.

26th Aug 2016, 20:15
Delete the recall.

What recall??? ;)

Pontius Navigator
26th Aug 2016, 20:24
The recall was initiated either by the sender who had made a mistake, had second thoughts, or intended to improve an offer. More likely it was at the order of the manager.

Can it be used? Of course, they sent it. There are lots of instances of a company denying something when copies of messages later emerge.

26th Aug 2016, 20:52
In a way, a recalled email can have more importance than the replacement(s) as the original states the original intention.

27th Aug 2016, 16:10
... "the usual caveats" most certainly can not be binding on you. They ate not worth the electrons that carried them.

27th Aug 2016, 16:46
You can't retrieve a posted letter.
You can't unsay something said.

27th Aug 2016, 18:53
As expected, some very helpful answers there. Thank you all, the battle continues.

27th Aug 2016, 20:04
In a hypothetical situation, If an email was sent and the record still exists, then some evidential weight to the email can be assigned. The extent of the weighting depends on the conditions under which the email was stored, communicated and protectively marked against unauthorised access.

If it was printed, it might have slightly more weight (perhaps 30-40%) than if it remains as an electronic record. (A single, signed, paper letter, addressed to you, dated and presented to court, would attract a high level of evidential weight 90% or more)

At the time the email was sent, it became your actual "record of note" and you became responsible for storing, and acting on it. If it contains an offer, that offer stands on it's own merit at that time.

As G-CPTN states, the email cannot be recalled since to recall an email is to gain access to your personal record of note and retrieve/delete it which would be illegal.

However if they cannot recall the 1st email, and a subsequent email is sent, withdrawing the first offer, then it is likely that the 2nd email would be counted as a separate transaction record, which I would expect to be covered by their corporate policy allowing such withdrawal.

But what do I know, all usual caveats apply.


Pontius Navigator
27th Aug 2016, 20:22
Remember the telephone tapping trials, deleted emails that were recovered from hard drives count.

27th Aug 2016, 23:49
(1) Once an email is sent it's out of the sender's control and could be in the public domain, just like a letter or a text.

(2) There's little point recalling an opened email. The idea is to recall it before the recipient has opened it.

28th Aug 2016, 07:00
If an individual is operating inside a corporate network, where the administrator has allowed recalls of email sent to other Users within that network, Users can recall and delete that email, however that email will undoubtedly exist elsewhere on the corporate email server/network as a record of note.

A corporate user attempting to access a private users email, who is NOT operating on the same client/server environment can only use another email to withdraw an offer. A "recall" would not be possible. Saying that one is "recalling an email" in this situation has no relevance but may be meant to intimidate. It may be more appropriate to say "disregard my last email" which is of course not the same.

Allowing this type of "recall" has very little standing, since one could recall any promise or offer going back many years, possibly after a sum of money has been transferred.

But, as we know, large corporate legal departments have a bottomless pit of money, to ensure that they keep what they perceive to be theirs.

Good Luck


Mr Optimistic
28th Aug 2016, 18:09
Can't see why you shouldn't send it to the ombudsman. The company can hardly claim confidentiality in a regulated industry with the ombudsman. They may or may not choose to use it of course. Our council now burden the internet with half understood 'official' markings and a para or two of text. I just ignore it. If they think it is sensitive information they should either require me to agree to a non disclosure clause or not send sensitive information out into the public domain. And this is the Highways Dept. Some dope making g up policy beyond their comprehension.

28th Aug 2016, 21:09
It depends on the mail client you've got. Some will delete the original if you open the recall (usually Outlook), others just treat them as separate emails and won't touch the original. I'd say give them to the Ombudsman.

The legal standing of email disclaimers is somewhat dubious in any case (http://www.out-law.com/page-5536). Given that they're usually at the end of the email, you might not get that far anyway, so those that say anything about "received in error" are too late because you've already seen the content before seeing the bit that tells you not to read it.

They might get you on a copyright claim if they try hard enough, but that doesn't stop you telling others what was in the email provided you don't use the exact wording), and if the legal process requires the original you can hand it over.

28th Aug 2016, 21:31
The 'recall e-mail' is (as far as I know) a Microsoft outlook internal option.

The way it works (at least back then) on an internal corporate net is if the recall is sent before someone opens the original they never see it or the recall. I think what happens if it has been opened depends on where your local cache is stored and other options.

This does remind me a a humorous (to me not the hapless sender) occurrence at a startup company I was consulting at a long time ago. I was using a Linux machine/mail client so Microsoft rules did not apply.

One morning scanned e-mail and as usual ignored one to whole company from "picky admin aid" who was always sending notes about re-using coffee cups to save money and the like. A few minutes later I saw "picky aid would like to recall ..." followed by another and then one from her boss saying to please ignore/delete the mail if you had received it.

Although I mostly ignored her e-mails at this point I had no choice but to give in and open it to see what was in it. Turned out it was an offer letter for a senior engineer complete with salary and stock option details, obviously of great interest to existing staff.

This explains why many smart companies have a dummy AAA or similar entry in their e-mail directory to keep an errant mouse move or key click that moves to top of a list from selecting 'all-company' e-mail list.

Also is a good example of the best way to get people to look at something is to tell them not to.

29th Aug 2016, 21:04
Email and a subsequent one with a different story show to an Ombudsman they haven't a F***** clue what they are doing..................... keep and use em all.

30th Aug 2016, 13:56
Thanks a gain for more good advice. I responded to the "recalled" e mail and I have just got a response saying that it was recalled because my name was incorrectly spelt.

Loose rivets
30th Aug 2016, 14:45
Suggest replying: Mmm . . . doesn't look wrong in the Snipping Tool photo I have of it. :E

Or even the Witnessed Snipping Tool photo.