Sometimes, typos are just annoying things that need to be fixed. Other times they can cause us a whole lot of embarrassment.
You might not realize, though, that in some cases, a simple mistake can also cost companies a whole lot of cash – and these 7 really take the cake.
7. A family out of business.
Taylor & Sons, a family engineering business, had been in business for 124 years when the British government’s registrar of companies reported they were going out of business.
They weren’t – Taylor and Son (no s) were – but even though the typo was corrected within 3 days, the damage to their reputation was irreparable and they went out of business for real just 2 months later.
They sued the government, and won $17 million.
6. An overvaluation that won’t stop.
In 2019, a staff member in Wasatch County, Utah, dropped a phone on a computer keyboard and accidentally valued a house for hundreds of millions dollars more than it was worth: 987 million dollars instead of 302,000 dollars. The typo caused an overvaluation of $6 million for the county as a whole, and led to revenue shortfalls in five county taxing entities.
Taxpayers are on the hook for the $543 million dollar difference until 2023.
5. That’s some return on investment.
A bottle of rare booze, Allsopp’s Arctic Ale (brewed in 1852 and preserved) would fetch around $500,00 at auction, but one eBay user found out the hard way that you have to spell it right – he listed his bottle as Allsop’s in 2007 and only got about $300.
4. Erotic travel destinations not available.
In 1988, the Yellow Pages advertised for Banner Travel’s “erotic travel” options instead of “exotic travel” options. The owner claimed the error cost her 80% of her business and sued Southwestern Bell for $10 million dollars.
3. One heck of a deal.
In 2006, Alitalia Airlines accidentally offered flights from Toronto to Cyprus for just $39 (it was supposed to be $3900). They sold 2000 tickets before they corrected the error, but they honored the mistaken price – and lost $7 million in the process.
2. Somebody totally got fired.
In 2005, the Roswell Honda car dealership mailed 30,000 scratch-off tickets to potential customers. One of them was supposed to contain a $1k grand prize, but someone screwed up and every single ticket was a winner.
They were unable to pay out $30 million, so they gave everyone a $5 Walmart gift card instead – a mistake that cost them $150,000.
Or $149,000, I guess, since they expected to pay $1k at the start.
1. A comma worth $38 million bucks.
In 1872, the U.S. government passed a 20% tariff on foreign imports, but exempted “fruit, plants tropical and semi-tropical for the purpose of cultivation.”
It was supposed to be just fruit plants, not fruit and plants, but it was passed into law incorrectly, so the government lost about $2 million in tax revenue (almost $40 million by today’s standards).
I’m glad none of these were my fault.
Have you ever made a truly terrible typo? Tell us about it in the comments!