14 votes

How to deal with a stupid email situation?

My spouse and I own a condo. The property management company that the home owners' association hired is generally mediocre (which is a huge step up from the usual scenario where most are actively awful). They do a reasonably good job of keeping us informed, but they way they do it is hilariously bad. Every email they send is sent as a .jpg and a .docx file with no actual text in the message. My email client renders it and I can read it, but it makes all of their emails unsearchable, and it makes filtering beyond the basic "emails containing address x" impossible.

I've asked them personally several times both electronically and in writing to please stop sending such correspondence and just send a regular email. (I honestly don't care whether it's plain text or HTML, just so long as it's searchable and filterable.) But it's so far been to no avail. I brought it up at the last HOA meeting and they agreed to also include their messages as text in the body of the email, but they don't. If I'm really lucky they'll have one or two sentences in text, but the rest is a .jpg and a .docx (or .pdf) of the actual body of the message. I've tried to explain that this is bad for people with disabilities and may even run afoul of the Americans with Disabilities Act, but they didn't seem to care.

It's not clear to me how one ends up sending emails in this form. I don't use any Microsoft products, which they probably can't comprehend, but I suspect this is some sort of Windows thing. Does anyone know how this happens and why? And more importantly, does anyone have suggestions for getting them to stop?

6 comments

  1. ShroudedMouse
    Link
    What would Andy Dufresne do? How about bouncing every inaccessible email back to them with a note explaining the issue? Even if they don't respond, it's the start of a paper trail you can use if...

    What would Andy Dufresne do? How about bouncing every inaccessible email back to them with a note explaining the issue?

    Even if they don't respond, it's the start of a paper trail you can use if you choose to take the issue up with the relevant authorities.

    Thanks Andy!

    12 votes
  2. [3]
    spit-evil-olive-tips
    Link
    If they're this technologically incompetent...does the way they've set up the mailing list block reply-all? If not, transcribe every email to plain text (manually if it's easy enough, or using OCR...

    If they're this technologically incompetent...does the way they've set up the mailing list block reply-all?

    If not, transcribe every email to plain text (manually if it's easy enough, or using OCR software) and send it as a reply-all, with a simple preface like "converted to plain text for the benefit of anyone who uses a screen reader or other assistive technology to read their email"

    5 votes
    1. [2]
      bilbodwyer
      Link Parent
      I don't think this solves the problem though - it removes the onus from the company because now someone is doing the work they should be doing for them.

      I don't think this solves the problem though - it removes the onus from the company because now someone is doing the work they should be doing for them.

      10 votes
      1. joplin
        Link Parent
        I agree, but it is an interesting thought. I mean at some point they're either going to wake up and do things right or they're not, so it doesn't hurt to have an alternate solution just in case....

        I agree, but it is an interesting thought. I mean at some point they're either going to wake up and do things right or they're not, so it doesn't hurt to have an alternate solution just in case. I'll keep this in mind, but I don't really have the time to set up something like this right now.

        3 votes
  3. [2]
    wcerfgba
    Link
    Has anyone else raised this as an issue? Perhaps if more people complained then the company would be more inclined to fix the issue. At least it would provide an anonymity set so if you do report...

    Has anyone else raised this as an issue? Perhaps if more people complained then the company would be more inclined to fix the issue. At least it would provide an anonymity set so if you do report this to whoever you are supposed to report ADA violations to, they can't go "oh it must have been @joplin" and retaliate. If enough other owners in the HOA care, the HOA could threaten to move to another company if they don't fix it.

    4 votes
    1. joplin
      Link Parent
      I brought it up at the last HOA meeting, and it didn't really seem like the other owners were really aware of the distinction. (Though, it was hard to tell because I attended via phone.) It's...

      I brought it up at the last HOA meeting, and it didn't really seem like the other owners were really aware of the distinction. (Though, it was hard to tell because I attended via phone.) It's entirely possible I'm the only one who knows how to use all of my email app's features and the other owners don't ever search or filter their mail. Or maybe they just don't care about the property management company, so it's no big deal to them?

      3 votes