Here are bounce reasons - any ideas on where these might be coming from? it happens consistently.

Contact ID  Bounce Reason   Bounce Type
21  潙牵洠獥慳敧琠桴⁥潦汬睯湩⁧敲楣楰湥獴挠湡潮⁴敢搠汥癩牥摥਺ †樠桯慮湲汯楤獮慀汯挮浯ਊ敒潭整猠牥敶⁲敲畴湲摥琠敨映汯潬楷杮攠牲牯਺ †㔠〵䴠楡扬硯甠慮慶汩扡敬‮桔⁥    Syntax  j
58  潙牵洠獥慳敧琠桴⁥潦汬睯湩⁧敲楣楰湥獴挠湡潮⁴敢搠汥癩牥摥਺ †搠祯楫楩祀桡潯挮浯ਊ敒潭整猠牥敶⁲敲畴湲摥琠敨映汯潬楷杮攠牲牯਺ †㐠ㄲ匠牥楶散渠瑯愠慶汩扡敬‬汣獯湩    Syntax  
294 潙牵洠獥慳敧琠桴⁥潦汬睯湩⁧敲楣楰湥獴挠湡潮⁴敢搠汥癩牥摥਺ †樠㑷楬歮䁳慹潨⹯潣੭刊浥瑯⁥敳癲牥爠瑥牵敮⁤桴⁥潦汬睯湩⁧牥潲㩲ਊ††㈴‱敓癲捩⁥潮⁴癡楡慬汢ⱥ挠潬楳    Syntax  
448 潙牵洠獥慳敧琠桴⁥潦汬睯湩⁧敲楣楰湥獴挠湡潮⁴敢搠汥癩牥摥਺ †猠慰獴晪祀桡潯挮浯ਊ敒潭整猠牥敶⁲敲畴湲摥琠敨映汯潬楷杮攠牲牯਺ †㐠ㄲ匠牥楶散渠瑯愠慶汩扡敬‬汣獯湩    Syntax  
  • I have seen this recently too. It appears to be in the incoming bounce message, though the mailed to email address doesn't appear to be in china. Sure has the appearance of bad char encoding. Apr 16 '15 at 1:28
  • This smells like a character encoding issue, as others have said. You might want to log on to your bounce mail account (assuming IMAP) and look in the "CiviMail processed" folder to ensure the messages are correctly encoded there. Apr 16 '15 at 11:50
  • They are OK in the bounce mail account - here is an example of the returned error message - Remote server returned the following error: 421 Service not available, closing transmission channel. The server response was: 421 4.7.1 [TS03] All messages from (IP address) will be permanently deferred; Retrying will NOT succeed. See postmaster.yahoo.com/421-ts03.html
    – Dave T
    Apr 17 '15 at 10:16
  • Any suggestions on where to look for character encoding problems?
    – Dave T
    Apr 17 '15 at 11:43

Here is a scattershot of potentially useful ideas:

  1. If you look at the contacts' primary emails do they appear as though they may be hosted on Chinese servers?
  2. I believe the bounce reason may come from the response, but the bounce type comes from inside CiviCRM. Perhaps there is an attempt to hack mail transport agents with this??
  3. Alternatively, perhaps there is a problem with character encoding in the mail headers or on your site more generally. Is this a multilingual site? Does your database have utf8_unicode character encoding as its default, or more importantly for all of its varchar text fields when you look at the table structures in phpMyAdmin? Have you moved the database between servers and perhaps not handled character encodings properly during export and import?

if none of this is useful, you might want to get on irc and ask bgm for help with this as he is the lead on internationalisation matters and he also happens to know a bit about email infrastructure.

  • The email accounts are not from China, nor have I done anything consciously to be multilingual. It did seem to start a couple of months ago around the time of 4.5 upgrade - but cannot say for sure that was the timing.
    – Dave T
    Apr 16 '15 at 3:22

Looking at the link to Yahoo's explanation of your error it seems that they are no longer accepting email from your server because they think you might be a spammer. I strongly advise you to check if your server has been blacklisted and to follow instructions on how to get your server removed from each blacklist service it is on. More broadly, have you ensured that all addresses you are emailing have opted in to receiving the mail you have sent (ie you haven't just started emailing a stale old list uploaded from another source)?

If you have trouble getting this resolved you might want to consider using one of the extensions that integrate with a mail delivery service like Mandrill, MailChimp, or Constant Contact. They provide whitelisting services.

  • This is not a spam issue, it is that the error message that is transmitted from the bounce mail account (a gmail account) is converted to the chinese characters when it shows up in Civi report. I just used the Yahoo message as an example of one of the bounces that was delivered correctly to the return account.
    – Dave T
    Apr 20 '15 at 22:07

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