Is this the most expensive typo in history?
We’ve all made typos in the past but I bet your typo wasn’t as expensive as this one.
Typos, where you misspell a word or put in a wrong word by mistake, are fairly common. This particular typo though was incredibly costly as it resulted in a company going out of business, 250 people losing their jobs and the government having to pay £9 million in compensation.
Back in 2009 Mr Davison-Sebry, the MD and co-owner of Taylor and Sons Ltd was enjoying a holiday in the Maldives when he received a phone call asking why his company had gone into receivership.
Receivership is very often the first stage of a company going out of business. It typically occurs when a company is suffering financial difficulties and an independent “receiver” is called in to run the company instead of the directors.
Taylor & Sons Ltd was a successful company. It had been established back in 1875 and was doing very well so why the call to the MD asking why his company had gone into receivership?
Well it turns out that Companies House (the organisation in the UK that publishes official notices about companies) had issued a notice saying that Taylor & Sons Ltd had gone into receivership.
Unfortunately for all of the people involved with Taylor & Sons Ltd, it was a typo by Companies House and the company that had actually gone into receivership was Taylor & Son Ltd and not Taylor & Sons Ltd.
Companies House rectified their “one letter mistake” within a few days but it was too late. There was a snowball effect as one supplier after another heard about it and despite being told that Taylor & Sons Ltd was financially secure, they terminated the orders and cancelled the credit agreements.
Within 3 weeks all of the company’s 3,000 suppliers had cancelled agreements and would not supply the company anymore.
The end result was that Taylor & Sons Ltd lost all of their suppliers and as a result couldn’t produce anything for their customers so they ended up going out of business.
The end of a 140 year-old company and all due to a one letter type.
The directors were understandably unhappy about this and took Companies House to court where they were recently successful in their case and won nearly £9 million in damages.
That was probably the most expensive one letter typo in history.