Monday, October 15, 2012

Doofus Of The Day #649

Today's award goes to a French telephone company, not only for its initial billing mistake, but for its response when queried.  The BBC reports:

A woman in south-west France, who received a telephone bill of nearly 12 quadrillion euros, has had the real amount she owed waived - after the company admitted its mistake.

Solenne San Jose, from Pessac outside Bordeaux, said she received a huge shock when she opened the bill for 11,721,000,000,000,000 euros [about US $15,192,760,200,000,000 at current exchange rates].

This is nearly 6,000 times France's annual economic output.

. . .

The phone company, Bouygues Telecom, initially told her there was nothing they could do to amend the computer-generated statement and later offered to set up instalments to pay off the bill.

In the end, the company admitted the bill should have been for 117.21 euros only, and eventually waived it altogether.

There's more at the link.

What do they mean, "nothing they could do"?  The entire world's annual GDP is only about $65 trillion!  It'd take the total combined economic output of every nation on earth for well over two centuries to pay that bill!  Just what sort of "instalments" did they have in mind?



BobG said...


I'd like to see how they would set up installments to pay that amount.

Roger Ritter said...

Perhaps "Bouygues" is pronounced "bogus"?

Anonymous said...

How about a thousand Euros a month for the next trillion years?

Steve D said...

On the positive side, think of the profit the company would make in only a few seconds.

Old NFO said...

LOL, to err is human, to REALLY screw it up takes a computer!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

I work for a company that does business with Bouygues, and yes, we do pronounce it "bogus" when the bigwigs aren't present.

Shrimp said...

The response of the phone company (nothing we can do to amend the computer generated statement) reminds me of something my father used to call a "logic tight compartment"--logic can't get in; logic can't get out.

If the computer says you owe that amount, it must be right, because computers can never be wrong. Never mind that they can be wrong, since they are designed, built, programmed and operated by humans, who can be wrong, and often are.