5.7.1 smtp;554 5.7.1 Access denied when auto forwarding mail


I have an urgent problem I need to solve before my brain explodes with frustration.

we have 2 exchange servers one front end and one back end. Both are running server 2003 with exchange 2003 SP1. The front end is the standard edition and the back end is the enterprise edition. On the backed I have a SMTP mail connector to forwad all outgoing mail through our external 3rd party spam / anti-virus filter company.

The Problem:

We have some users that have there mail forwarded to an external email address, for eg. hotmail.com as well as receiving mail in the default mailboxes. This is set up using contacts and then adding this contact to the forwading address under exchange general / delivery options in AD. The check box to deliver to both mailboxes is checked.

This forwading works fine if a user internally sends an email to a user who has this option configured. However if someone externally send an email to this user the message is delivered to there exchange mailbox but the contact address generates the following NDR :

 Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients.

      Sent:      11/05/2005 11:57

The following recipient(s) could not be reached:

      TESTMAIL on 11/05/2005 12:00
            You do not have permission to send to this recipient.  For assistance, contact your system administrator.
            <enterprise.XXXXXXXXXX.com #5.7.1 smtp;554 5.7.1 Access denied>

it is happening to all users who are having there email auto forwarded.

I have checked that the check for Autoforward mail is checked under Internet message format / advanced.

We also have Filter receipients who are no in the directory check. This is found in receipient filtering in message delivery properties.

If anyone has any idea on what could cause this. I would be VERY grateful.

Thanks in advance

Who is Participating?
(In the late evening...and during an outage window)
Clear the Automatic Reply and Automatic Forward checkboxes.  
Force AD replication
Stop Routing Engine
Start Routing Engine
Start SMTP
Check the Automatic Reply and Automatic Forward Checkboxes.
Rinse, lather, and repeat if necessary...just kidding.
Force AD replication
Stop Routing Engine
Start Routing Engine
Start SMTP

Test with several mailboxes and several addresses.
Another note:  If you have a cluster, pause the nodes before you restart the SMTP and Routing Engine Services (and use cluster administrator to manage the services)...that way you won't have a failover.

Fortunately, and confirmed via Google search, your brain can't explode from frustration...  You, however, could have a frustration-fueled aneurism burst or have a nervous breakdown.  Either of which are not going to be pleasant.
Humans may forgive and forget...but a Google search does not.
Yes, I am trying to lighten the mood =^)  ...this can be frustrating.
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