Dreamhost billing cock-up shocks customer bank accounts

What a difference an '8' makes

Customers of the Los Angeles-based web hosting provider Dreamhost awoke to an unwelcome pang in their wallets today. A late-night accounting cock-up caused every customer to be charged a year's worth of truant payments when the wrong date was slipped in its automated billing program.

On Dreamhost's blog, the provider pinned the troubles on "this guy" for the payment cycle boner. The unnamed identified employee accidentally ran the company biller for outstanding charges as of December 31, 2008, instead of 2007. In the company's own message to its customers: "wreaking the havoc that we are so sorry you had to be put through."

Emails from unhappy customers have made their way to El Reg and of course comments on Dreamhost's blog telling woeful tales of an it-seemed-so-convenient autopayment billing method gone bad.

The tear-jerkers come from customers overcharged by about $250 on already overdrawn bank accounts and facing hefty overdraft charges. Others managed to get away with only a few confusing emails courtesy Dreamhost demanding lots of money.

The provider is currently working to resolve the issue. Dreamhost says customers don't need to contact their credit card company or bank about the billing error — although if facing overdraft charges, we personally would recommend otherwise.

As of this morning (11:00 AM Pacific time), the problem remains unresolved. ®

Update

A Reg reader points out the culprit is very-much named and publicly eating crow. A more detailed description of his accounting adventure can be found here.

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