Doofus Of The Day #1,065

Today’s award goes to Bouygues Telecom, a telephone company in France.

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.

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

. . .

The former teaching assistant said she “almost had a heart attack. There were so many zeroes I couldn’t even work out how much it was”.

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.

In case you’re interested, that bill amounts to US $13,821,872,040,000,000.00 at current exchange rates – almost US $14 quadrillion.

Isn’t it typical of such companies that, when called out for their mistake, instead of admitting their error, they offered a payment plan?




  1. @Peteforester;

    I once got a suggestive and threatening letter from the IRS claiming I hadn't paid $500 I owed them. Fortunately (and it really was luck; I'm not organized) I could find the cancelled check. When I called them the woman,an I spoke to didn't want to admit the possibility of error. But when I said, "I have the cancelled check in my hands" she kind of gulped, said "we'll amend that" and hung up.

    Of course the government's problem is partially that the procurement cycle for computers is so long and complicated (Thanks Congress!) that massy of their computers can't talk to one-another.

  2. I got a Demand Letter from the IRS for back taxes but none of their statements were correct: I paid estimated taxes on one item and the other was part of my IRA so not taxable. I replied with documentation and references to my electronically filed return and declined payment. The response letter 'gently' suggested I pay them anyway because I'd owe penalties if I lost.

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