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The cost of not proofreading can be great

In a previous blog on my website I stated that it can be costly not to proofread you publication. Well, here a few examples of other people’s losses and misfortunes due to failing to proofread.

Case A

I’ll tell you a story about how not proofreading cost thousands of dollars.

This person, let us call them A, spent most of the summer months pitching public relations services to a medical supply company. The marketing director wanted to hire a PR agency but his CEO resisted and after further meetings and much persuasion, the CEO signed a one-year contract. The PR agency’s owner refused to let person A draft the press release and assigned the release to a new employee. The new employee sent the release to this medical supplies client before person A or anyone else could proofread it and in so doing had misspelled the CEO’s name. In anger the CEO tore up the contract, costing person A thousands of dollars.

A similar mistake was made during a fundraiser for a college programme. A previous alumni lent their name to the event and accepted an honorary chair, but unfortunately that person’s name was misspelt on the invitation and that person threatened to resign. It took much apologizing to get them to rescind the threat.

Case B

In 2010 Daily Mail online carried a story with the headline:

Pasta Cookbook pulped over ‘freshly ground black people’ misprint

The Australian publisher had to reprint 7000 cookbooks after a glaring printing error, where “people” was used instead of “pepper”. The total cost to Penguin was 20,000 Australian dollars.

Case C

Some errors are costly. United Airlines accidentally offered mispriced tickets online through its Danish website and had to cancel the reservations of thousands of customers who took advantage of a glitch that would have saved thousands of pounds on first-class tickets: a return trip from Heathrow to New York for two that cost £6118.92 on the British site, was sold for just 974 Danish Krone, less than £100. Several thousand people took advantage of the unbelievably good deal during the two hours it took to rectify the mistake.

Case D

L.L. Bean had delivered its back-to-school catalogue to millions of homes. Unfortunately, that catalogue asked its customers to call a telephone number that was for a Virginia company and not L.L. Bean. The huge disruption in the Virginia company’s business meant that L.L. Bean had to pay an unnamed sum of money to immediately take over the wrong telephone number. It is estimated that it cost them six figures. A catalogue writer thought that a toll-free telephone number should always start with “800” and not the “877” number used by L.L. Bean. Oops, costly!

A few final cases in brief

Air Canada used luggage stickers reading “This Baggage Has Been X-Rated at Point of Origin”.

In 2010, the gift shop at Australia’s Parliament House took delivery of mugs that had been ordered to celebrate Barack Obama’s visit to Australia. However, the mugs, said “Barrack Obama” in large letters and an anticipated revenue of 2,000 dollars was lost.

In 2010, a Chilean man authorized the production of 1.5 million 50-peso coins that misspelt the country’s name as “C-H-I-I-E”. The Chilean mint’s managing director was fired when the mistake was discovered. All 1.5 million of those coins are still circulating to this day.

In 2006, a clerical error may have cost an Italian airline $7.72 million USD. They advertised a flight from Toronto to Cyprus for $39 instead of $3,900. Two thousand tickets had been sold by the time they discovered the error and the airline had to honour the price.

New York City transit system paid $250,000 to replace maps that had a typo in the minimum cost of the pay-per-ride card.

A new water tower in the city of Stoughton, Wisconsin, USA was painted with the word “Stoughon”. The contractor fixed his error at his own expense.

Tattoo artists are sometimes sued for negligence in misspellings that are permanently inscribed on skin. This occurs more frequently than you would think. Some celebrities have suffered errors in their tattoos: Ariana Grande, David Beckham, Rihanna, and Britney Spears are among them, although it is not known whether any financial penalties were involved.

A trader on the Toyko stock exchange in 2005 was too a bit too quick placing his order and traded 610,000 shares at 1 yen each instead of 1 share at 610,000 yen. This mistake cost his firm $18.7 million.

Conclusion

It always pays to take time to proofread what you are producing. If you do not it can cost you dearly.

Photo credit: Lukasbieri / Pixabay

By Stephen York Editorial Services - For academic, business and corporate proofreading

Stephen York is a freelance proofreader with over 30 years' experience in book and journal publishing offering proofreading services to publishers, businesses, organizations, educational institutions, students, and authors. He regularly proofreads in digital format a wide variety of media in an extensive range of specialist subject areas, including business, finance, economics, education, marketing, and real estate.

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