124-Year-Old Company Ruined By Typo

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Think making a typo doesn't matter? Think again. Someone's single letter typo cost legal fees of up to £9 million ($13.6 million) and ended a 124-year-old family business.

What was the offending typo in question? The letter "s."

In February 2009, Welsh engineering firm Taylor & Sons learned that Companies House, the UK government's registrar of companies, had recorded the company as having gone bust. It hadn't, but Taylor & Son, a completely different company, had.

The mistake was corrected after three days, but the damage to Taylor & Sons had already been done. The false details had been passed onto clients, suppliers, and credit lenders. Orders were cancelled, contracts were lost, and credit from suppliers was withdrawn. Specific losses included Taylor & Sons' best customer, Tata Steel, which was worth £400,000 ($607,000) a month, and a potential £3 million ($4.55 million) contract with the Royal National Lifeboat Institute.

"We lost all our credibility as all our suppliers thought we were in liquidation. It was like a snowball effect," former managing director and co-owner Philip Davison-Sebry told The Telegraph.

Within two months of the typo, Taylor & Sons went into administration (similar to Chapter 11 bankruptcy). Davidson-Sebry sued and won. On Tuesday, the British High Court found the government liable for the demise of the business, which could leave taxpayers with a £9 million ($13.6 million) legal bill.

That is one costly typo. Let's hope Companies House has some money leftover to hire a good team of copy editors.
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