Typo causes $7,500,000 mistake

A simple typing mistake cost Dreamhost customers $7,500,000

Matthew Sparkes
17 Jan 2008

A typing mistake caused Dreamhost to accidentally charge its customers a year's worth of non-existent hosting fees, totalling $7,500,000.

"It turns out due to my excessively fat fingers, nearly every one of our customers has been seriously over-billed in the last 12 hours," says Dreamhost founder, Josh Jones, on the company blog.

Instead of running the figures for late December 2007 on the billing payment system, Jones actually ran them for late December 2008 - a small typo, but one that caused $7,500,000 of erroneous payment requests to be immediately sent to customers.

"That super-robust and stable biller did what it was programmed to do, it ran as though today was December 31st, 2008! And what did it see? Well, it saw a whole lot of accounts (essentially all of them) who for some unknown, mysterious reason hadn't been charged at all for eleven and a half months," says Jones.

Dreamhost has now reimbursed the charges placed on most customer accounts, although a small number of refunds have been unsuccessful, claims the company.

"I'm very very sorry, we're very very sorry, and I'm sure you're very very sorry this happened," pleads Jones, before claiming that the company's servers have now been updated to avoid any repetition of the problem.

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