How to Temporarily Fix a Gmail and G-Suite bug that’s ignoring reply-to headers for Contact Form 7 and Gravity Forms
Some months ago Contact Form 7 users noticed that their incoming emails ignored the reply-to field. This occurred only to Gmail and G-Suite accounts and caused their form email replies to be sent to their own email addresses instead of the email address of their site visitors.
We noticed the same issue in our own contact and WordPress Hacked Fix Request forms which use Gravity Forms. Apparently, this isn’t an issue specifically related to CF7 or GF so we had to do some research before finding a workaround.
It seems that this issue was first reported in the Gmail Help forum in a thread started last November under the title of Gmail fails to reply to reply-to email address not known. To date, it’s received more than 190 replies so there is no doubt Google knows about this, yet they haven’t released an update fixing the bug.
Interestingly enough, this bug was initially present only in the Web UI version of Gmail and G-Suite but after the recent Gmail Android and IOS App update it’s not present in there as well.
Currently, there are 2 workarounds to make the reply-to field work again in your Gmail or G-Suite email replies.
Adding the plus(+) sign next to your email name
This workaround is the same if you’re using the Contact Form 7 plugin or Gravity Forms. It’s a simple one since you only need to go to your “from email” field and add the plus(+) sign next to your email name and just before the @ symbol.
So in this case if your “from email” is [email protected] it should be changed to [email protected]
Use different emails for your “from” and “to” fields
Next workaround requires you to change the “from” and “to” contact form fields so they are not the same. For example, if the “from” field is [email protected] then the “to” field should be [email protected]. You can also set your “from” field as [email protected] and use your current one as “to” field.
More reading about affected user’s comments to Google:
WPRepublic comment on this bug
The reply-to bug first appeared 3 months ago and Google, apart from documenting the bug,(it took them more than one month to acknowledge this issue) has yet to provide an update which will fix it.
This is one of the many cases where a company cares more about adding more features to its services rather than making sure they run without issues and incompatibilities. Sometimes you may notice the same attitude under the WordPress plugin and theme ecosystem, fortunately, there are only a few similar cases, where service providers don’t care enough to support their old clients and give more attention to acquiring new clients and adding new features.
A WordPress Maintenance and Support service could be useful in filling in this gap by offering solutions to any issue related to self-hosting WordPress sites fast, and without breaking the bank.