Yahoo Won’t Let Me Reclaim My Old E-Mail, Hasn’t Purged It Either

Ben was caught in the Great Yahoo Purge of 2013. The company figures that you’re not going to come back for the webmail address that you registered in 1999, and decided to “reclaim” usernames that hadn’t been used in a very long time for reuse. The problem was that Ben’s ID was still in the system, but not available for him to sign in to.

“My account was ‘reclaimed,'” he writes, “but it still has all of the associated data and is not even available for new subscribers.” Oh, dear. He tried to sort this out with Yahoo support, but the representatives he spoke to didn’t understand why this was a problem. They suggested that he register for a new account.

That would be a good idea if it solved any of his problems. It doesn’t. He still had an old account floating around that he couldn’t access but that wasn’t purged either. His information was still in that account. He still didn’t own his old Yahoo ID and e-mail address, which was kind of the point of all this.

He wasn’t getting anywhere with Yahoo. You’d think they’d be delighted that someone still wants to use their service, since apparently employees themselves don’t. so he asked us to. We reached out to Yahoo, and they told us that they would check out the situation, but couldn’t share customer details with us. That’s fair.

Meanwhile, on Ben’s end, mysterious things began to happen. He received some kind of automated reset message at his alternate e-mail address. He tried to log in, and miracle of miracles: it worked. He logged in. Ben and his old account were reunited at last.

What happened to his account? Yahoo can’t tell us. Is there a way to get your own account out of limbo without enlisting Consumerist to chat with the public relations department? Maybe. Ben thinks that it was our prodding that got Yahoo to fix his account, not his own customer service fight.