I'm getting some (maybe 5%) email address imports rejected with the message "Matching this contact based on the de-dupe rule would cause an external ID conflict" The email addresses in question can be updated in the UI without a problem, and I can't see that adding these rejected email addresses could cause any conflict. The supervised dedupe rule is 'Name and email'. What's the cause of this error? (Changing the dedupe rule to bypass the problem doesn't work so I'm thinking this might be a bug) Civi is at 5.11.0.

  • Andy - I can't spot that you stated the obvious, so i will ask, does your 'import' of emails contain a field for External ID?
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 21:23
  • Yes it does, should have said.
    – Andy Clark
    Commented May 14, 2019 at 21:24
  • can you set up a dedupe rule for External ID and use that instead? i don't quite follow what is happening tbh since if you are importing External ID then that is the field it should be matching on, and it should not be overridden by a dedupe rule imo
    – petednz - fuzion
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 4:18
  • 1
    I added an External ID dedupe rule but same result. Looking at 8 examples, 7 of them were adding a home email address when there was already a main email - perhaps this is a clue. I set 'No duplicate checking' and retried - and all were rejected as duplicates! Something wrong here...But all these emails can be added without a problem using the UI.
    – Andy Clark
    Commented May 15, 2019 at 12:01
  • I get this as well with an external ID dedupe rule, seems like a bug.
    – Andy Burns
    Commented Jun 11, 2019 at 14:43

1 Answer 1


I had the same outcome when I imported external ID, first, last name and a physical address update. My dedupe rule only contained 'external ID'. When I removed the first and last name the import worked.

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