For various reasons I’ve changed my email address. For people, this could happen for various reasons – a change to a vanity domain, moving email providers or loss of access for some reason.
When this happens, you’re left with a mountain of online accounts, which you now need to change. In my case, because I use a password manager, it was easy to identify the accounts, so I set out to do it. As well as password change I’ve taken the opportunity to get accounts closed that I no longer use (and, for retail sites, I have no order history). However, it’s all been made incredibly tricky by a large number of sites with bizarre rules or, simply, a lack of functionality.
Let me take you through what I found…
Quite a lot of sites don’t provide the ability to change your email address and you have to contact their customer support to request it.
Moonpig got back to me quite quickly to say they will change it, but it would take 28 days to do so. No reason was given as to why, not that I think there was one.
This website has the honour or providing the worst experience. Their primary website looks very modern and well made, but there’s no option to change your email. Head into the Support option and you’re suddenly transported to a website that wouldn’t look out of place about 20 years ago.
They tell you that the email can be changed via an account management site but direct you to a login page that doesn’t accept my credentials, despite the fact that I’d already just used them on their main site. So, not able to log into that, I go down the route of requesting an email change from their support.
Except, they demand proof of who you are, via a copy of an official ID – passport, driving licence or birth certificate. Over the top for an email change? Oh yes. Not doing it.
Some sites are quite open that they neither allow it or will do it for you. Examples include McDonald’s, Tile and Jo Malone.
So, why is this a problem? If you don’t have access to your old email account any more, you wouldn’t be unaware of any communication sent out, including access attempts and orders made (tip: make sure you always remove payment details from these accounts!). However you look at it, it’s a security issue.
Asda won’t let you change your email either. I asked for details on why this was the case….
You’re not able to update your email address as it’s your log in.
That’s a statement of fact rather than a reason, so I pressed for further information…
You are unable to change your email address because this links your account to the system
Which doesn’t advance the conversation either.
When it comes to retailers, you’ll find that most, even if they force you to set up a new account, will then transfer over your existing orders and close down your old account for you. But not Asda. I have orders and even royalty points.
H Samuel is another company that won’t allow me to change my email, as revealed in a chat with their support team…
We are not able to change the details on your account David due to security reasons
I pressed them further on why this is a security issue.
your account will have your personal information so we are unable to change any details for you David
Which makes no sense, as I can go into my account and change everything about my profile, including my password. So why would changing my email address be the only concern here? I told them as much, very politely, and they never replied. Which is rather rude for online chat.
Won’t talk to me
A lot of sites I’ve had to contact, to request assistance, I’ve no reply from. Some are pretty amateur sites, where I’m not even sure if they’re still in active use. But HP, Giphy, Melitta, Premier Inn and Hermes are also in this list. I’m having to spent a lot of time chasing these companies (if I can get through to them at all) for a simple account change.
The above is troubling, as I have a right to have my information deleted, so websites simply not responding is not great. But, assuming best intentions, it may be that they’re busy or simply haven’t seen my request, rather than are just ignoring it.
Except for one company – APC. I’ll be posting about them separately but, in their case, they’re refusing to delete my data. Not because of a moral or legal objection. But because they don’t know how to.
A lot of sites take your change of email as a reason to re-subscribe you to email newsletters, which is something I’m really, really not happy about. And when I say “a lot”, I mean most – I’ve never been so busy with having to unsubscribe.
Where’s the account gone?
There have been a few instances where I’ve gone to sign into a recorded account and been told that it doesn’t exist. Maybe the password is wrong? So, I go to reset it and either it tells me the email isn’t on record (which is a security issue, btw – naughty sites that do this!) or no password reset email turns up. Basically, I have no account. But I did. It concerns me that this has happened.