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#23934 - 10/26/12 09:33 AM Unintelligible computerised response
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
We were asked to put a purchase order number on an invoice and send it by email to the accounts department of a BIG company. Request complied with, exactly as asked.

The response was:

Quote:
Dear Vendor,
We have received your email with errors. Your email was not processed!
Please correct the errors and resubmit your email. If you have any questions contact ***** Accounts Payable.

Date received: 24.10.2012

The following error(s) occurred receiving your email:
PDF file 0 is a doublet to invoice with barcode '23101231005810'


The PDF file to which they refer, is the invoice.

The next day I sent it again (baffled) with accompanying text that I did not understand "the errors".

The response was:

Quote:
Dear Vendor,
We have received your email with errors. Your email was not processed!
Please correct the errors and resubmit your email. If you have any questions contact **** Accounts Payable.

Date received: 25.10.2012

The following error(s) occurred receiving your email:
PDF file 0 is a doublet to invoice with barcode '23101231005810'


There is no previous invoice from us with any such barcode, but I can not get past their Computer Says No.

Any ideas? "Contact us" on their website is next-to-useless. They're a world-wide company. Thanks.

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#23935 - 10/26/12 10:09 AM Re: Unintelligible computerised response [Re: Bensheim]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Off the top of my head and in no particular order…
  • Was the PDF extension appended to the file name?
  • How was the PDF created? Print to PDF, Direct PDF output of an application (if so what application)?
  • Did you attach the original PDF to the second message or did you re-create the PDF file before you re-sent it?
  • Have you considered submitting the invoice as the text of the email rather than as an attachment?
  • Assuming you are sending this via Mail, are you sure "Send Windows friendly attachments" is turned on?
  • Did you use 16 bit characters/fonts in the invoice or did you stick with the standard 8 bit fonts and character set? {*]By any chance was the invoice a scanned image and if so had it been edited in a PDF editor?

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#23936 - 10/26/12 10:26 AM Re: Unintelligible computerised response [Re: joemikeb]
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Off the top of my head and in no particular order…
  • Was the PDF extension appended to the file name?
  • How was the PDF created? Print to PDF, Direct PDF output of an application (if so what application)?
  • Did you attach the original PDF to the second message or did you re-create the PDF file before you re-sent it?
  • Have you considered submitting the invoice as the text of the email rather than as an attachment?
  • Assuming you are sending this via Mail, are you sure "Send Windows friendly attachments" is turned on?
  • Did you use 16 bit characters/fonts in the invoice or did you stick with the standard 8 bit fonts and character set? {*]By any chance was the invoice a scanned image and if so had it been edited in a PDF editor?



Hi Joe

1. Yes, it's still on the desktop, I'm looking at it.
2. Print to PDF
3. Re-created PDF before sending
4. No, I often send invoices as PDF attachments: never failed before
5. Yes, send windows friendly is the default
6. We have no scanner here.

plus this: the first time I emailed a PDF invoice to this company, there was no problem. They emailed me back acceptance, with a barcode string of numbers which means nothing to me and which I do not use.

I have checked that barcode string of numbers against the one in the current refusal emails (above). They do not match in any respect.


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#23937 - 10/26/12 11:53 AM Re: Unintelligible computerised response [Re: Bensheim]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: Bensheim
... the first time I emailed a PDF invoice to this company, there was no problem. They emailed me back acceptance, with a barcode string of numbers which [do not match] the one in the current refusal emails (above).

It's quite possible the company changed (part of) its procedure somewhere along the line. Alternatively, the duplicate number is due to an error. Either way, it seems futile to keep trying this door. You mentioned their "Contact Us" option is next-to-useless. I take it that's another email address. If its a phone number, how about that? Is there anybody you've dealt with before you could contact?
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alternaut moderator

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#23938 - 10/26/12 01:09 PM Re: Unintelligible computerised response [Re: Bensheim]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
It seems unlikely that they actually compare every single PDF to every single other PDF that flows through their system; for a worldwide company, that would involved maintaining a huge and costly database containing every single PDF invoice they have ever received, which would be a mammoth undertaking.

What seems at least a bit more plausible to me is that they check for duplicates by storing a hash or checksum of each PDF they receive, just as antivirus programs don't store a copy of every virus in their database--they store a signature, and look for files with the same signature. If that is the case, then what's happening is a collision, just like a false positive on a virus scan.

Create the PDF in some other way, rather than using print to PDF (for example, print to PostScript and use Acrobat Pro or GhostScript, or open the PDF in Preview and re-save it, or change some of the content of the PDF). That's the first thing I'd try.
_________________________
Photo gallery, all about me, and more: www.xeromag.com/franklin.html

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#23940 - 10/27/12 06:47 AM Re: Unintelligible computerised response [Re: tacit]
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
Thanks Alt and Tacit for your replies, which are always good.

Since the likelihood of them seeing a thread in the Lounge on a computer forum is infinitesimally small, I might as well say who they are: Bayer, a global corporation (sales in one quarter year over €10 billions).

All our customer are on one-year contracts. Standard procedure is to invite customers to renew about eight weeks before contracts end. The response to my posted invoice was a phone call telling me which purchase order number to put on that invoice, and to email it to a certain address. (I did this earlier in the year for another Bayer customer and it all worked as it should).

This time the PO-number certified invoice was rejected (as above). I emailed the lady who had telephoned me and reported this. She agitatedly said that she was new at the job and didn't know what to do next. My response was that she should make enquiries at her end, as I had done as instructed.

24 hours later having heard nothing further, I emailed a fresh PDF, which was also rejected. I copied the rejection email to her, and to the person named on the invoice (her boss?).

A further 24 hours later, still no response (this all in normal business hours), so I posted here in case anyone could figure out their "error message".

Yes I have checked all junk email boxes at this end.......

What I have decided to do, is to waste no further time on one order from one customer (out of thousands) and let that contract expire. When he wakes up and realises that our product is no longer arriving, he will contact me directly or ask someone so to do. Then I will tell them that their computer systems repeatedly reject my invoice which was requested; and that it is to be hoped that not many of their other worldwide suppliers suffer similar frustrations in billing them!

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#23941 - 10/27/12 07:56 AM Re: Unintelligible computerised response [Re: Bensheim]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Sounds like a plan. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if you'd be contacted by the clueless lady or her office before your actual customer does. Either way, you may still make that sale.
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alternaut moderator

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#23985 - 10/30/12 10:25 AM Re: Unintelligible computerised response [Re: alternaut]
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
Having a few minutes to spare (although I've given up on this) I just tried Tacit's idea, having made the invoice into a PDF by print to Postscript.

Quote:

Create the PDF in some other way, rather than using print to PDF (for example, print to PostScript and use Acrobat Pro or GhostScript, or open the PDF in Preview and re-save it, or change some of the content of the PDF). That's the first thing I'd try.


The computer generated response was immediate, viz:

Quote:
Dear Vendor,
We have received your email with errors. Your email was not processed!
Please correct the errors and resubmit your email. If you have any questions contact Bayer Accounts Payable.

Date received: 30.10.2012

The following error(s) occurred receiving your email:
Email attachment 'ps' is not allowed. Please attach only pdf or p7s files to the email.
Email contains no pdf document (invoice). The email must contain at least one invoice!


Going to the Postscript>Pdf invoice, when I make the extension .pdf, it won't attach, and won't open either.

I'm only reporting all this in case it helps someone else.

EDIT: I've decided to terminate this bloke's contract a week early, in the faint hope that that generates a human being response. <rolls eyes>




Edited by Bensheim (10/30/12 10:27 AM)

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#24001 - 10/31/12 12:24 PM Re: Unintelligible computerised response [Re: Bensheim]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
A .ps isn't a PDF. You can use many tools (like the free GhostScript) to turn a PS into a PDF. The point is to create the PDF in a different way, to see if it really is an issue where the company is storing a hash of the PDF and you're experiencing a false positive.
_________________________
Photo gallery, all about me, and more: www.xeromag.com/franklin.html

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#24144 - 11/12/12 08:41 AM Re: Unintelligible computerised response [Re: tacit]
Bensheim Offline


Registered: 08/16/09
Loc: UK
For completion, just to report that this lot paid up, without having once referred to any of my emails of distress. The money just turned up (silently) in our bank account.

I don't hold my breath for any improvement on their procedures next year.

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Moderator:  alternaut, cyn