The spam filter ate my contract.
That’s what happened to the president of a telecom dealer in Cobb County, Ga., who recently bid on a local and long-distance service contract for the school district. But unlike the popular dog-homework excuse, the spam filter really did eat his contract.
Or so, that’s what school officials say. Mike Russell, president of Elite Telecom Services in Kennesaw, says he was surprised that his bid made in February on the five-year school district contract didn’t win. When Russell inquired with the school district, he was told an e-mail clarifying the terms of the bid was never received, and so his offer was not considered. Russell’s formal bid was produced in hard copy, but the school district e-mailed Russell back asking for a number of clarifications and insisting those clarifications be made via e-mail.
All of the clarifications requested by the school district, including issues such as maintenance and escalation policies, were clearly spelled out in the initial bid, Russell says.
When Russell was told the clarification e-mail – actually sent by ITC Deltacom, the communications provider for which Elite is a dealer – was never received, Russell produced a copy of the e-mail and a return receipt issued by the school district’s server. That’s when the school district found the missing e-mail trapped in the spam filter.
Russell asked for his bid to be reconsidered, which he points out came in at $250,000 a year below the winning BellSouth bid, and has been denied.
Given that all other e-mail communication with the school district regarding the bid was not trapped by its spam filters, Russell says it’s very hard to believe that this one piece of e-mail was sent directly to the quarantine folder.
Russell alerted news outlets to make public what he calls the “inadequacies and deficiencies” of the school district’s handling of the bidding process. In response, Russell says the school district has suggested he bring them court, a process Russell says that a small business such as his could not undertake.
Cobb County board of education officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.