Most expensive human mistakes

By MSN News Getty Images
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Slip ups that cost a bundle

Last year, a clerk took a nap on his keyboard, causing a $293 million typo and his boss to be fired. Here is a list of simple blunders that created big damage. See gallery

 

Sleepy clerk's nap costs bank millions
 

The mistake: Last year, a bank clerk's quick nap on his keyboard cost a bank millions after he accidentally transferred 222,222,222.22 euros to one lucky customer. The sleepy employee was trying to make a payment of 64.20 euros, but he fell asleep at his desk with his fingers on the No. 2 key. As a result, the clerk's supervisor was fired, but a court recently ruled this unfair and ordered the bank to reinstate her.
 

The damage: $293 million

 

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AP Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta
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Printer can't handle high-tech $100 bill

The mistake: In 2010, the Federal Reserve printed 1.1 billion of its redesigned $100 bills (see a photo of the bill), but the printer botched the job. The new bills cost the government about $120 million to produce and had high-tech features including a 3-D security strip. Those features turned out to be too complicated for the printers, forcing the government to shut down the operation because of production problems and quarantine more than 1 billion of the bills.
 

The damage: $120 million

 

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AP Photo: Antonio Calanni
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Airline accidentally gives customers a great deal

The mistake: Alitalia Airlines' $39 ticket price mistake may have cost the company millions and gave a few lucky customers a great deal. In 2006, a travel website listed a business class flight from Toronto to Cyprus at $39 instead of $3,900. About 2,000 tickets were sold, and Alitalia decided to honor some of the fares.
 

The damage: A possible $7.72 million

 

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AP Photo: Joseph Kaczmarek
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Car dealership makes everyone a winner in this lottery

The mistake: A car dealership in New Mexico wanted to mail out 50,000 scratch tickets as part of a marketing campaign, with one revealing a $1,000 grand prize. But the marketing company hired to produce the campaign accidentally made everyone a winner by giving all of the tickets grand prizes. The tickets were sent with the typo, and the dealership offered $5 Wal-Mart gift cards to all participants.
 

The damage: $250,000 in Wal-Mart gift cards

 

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AP Photo: Katsumi Kasahara
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Broker makes $224 million typo

The mistake: In 2006, a broker for Mizuho Securities in Japan wanted to sell off a single J-Com Co. share for 610,000 yen. But instead, he made a typing error in the system and ordered 610,000 shares for 1 yen each. The broker tried to correct his mistake, but it was too late and the error caused Mizuho's shares to drop.
 

The damage: At least $224 million

 

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AP Photo: NASA: JPL: Caltech
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Metric confusion causes loss of NASA orbiter

The mistake: In 1999, a team of Lockheed Martin engineers used the English system of measurement for a Mars orbiter project while another team used the metric system. This error stopped navigation information from transferring between the Mars Climate Orbiter spacecraft team and the mission navigation team. As a result, the orbiter was lost in space and NASA lost millions of dollars.
 

The damage: $165.6 million

 

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AP Photo: Mel Evans, File
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New Jersey uses wrong year and misses out on $400 million

The mistake: Make sure you follow directions. In 2010, New Jersey applied for the Race to the Top education grant, which provides hundreds of millions of dollars in education funding. The state mistakenly used budget figures from the wrong years in the application and lost out on the grant by just a few points.
 

The damage: Possibly cost the state a $400 million education grant

 

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Getty Images
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Hairdresser enters 1 number incorrectly, loses wages

The mistake: A hairdresser lost two years' worth of wages because of a typing error. Sally Donaldson wanted to transfer a portion of her salary from her bank account to a joint account, but the number she entered was one digit off. For more than two years she mistakenly made a monthly transfer to someone else's account. The recipient withdrew the money from the ATM, and once Donaldson noticed the error, the bank said it was her mistake and refused to give the money back.
 

The damage: $42,000

 

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Reuters: Mark Blinch, File
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Extra comma costs company $2 million

The mistake: One misplaced comma in a contract allowed a company to save about $2 million. Rogers Communications Inc., a Canadian company, thought it wrote and signed a five-year contract with Aliant Inc. to put up cable lines. But Aliant canceled the deal, referring to a line in the document with an extra comma. The contract states that the agreement "shall continue in force for a period of five years from the date it is made, and thereafter for successive five year terms, unless and until terminated by one year prior notice in writing by either party." Aliant claimed the second comma allowed them to pull out of the contract before the five years was up and refuse payment.
 

The damage: $2.13 million

 

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Rex Features: Tony Kyriacou
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Bank accidentally withdraws from customers' accounts ... twice

The mistake: A human error caused 70,000 Nationwide Bank customers to lose money and, as a result, overdraft their accounts. The computer error took payments from customers' accounts twice in one day, and the bank locked their online service, leaving 11.5 million customers locked out and unable to access their cash.
 

The damage: Nationwide refunded their customers' money, but the bank's accountability took a heavy blow.

 

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Wikimedia Commons: Caroline Culler (Wgreaves)
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Yellow Pages printer makes 'erotic' word blunder

The mistake: Banner Travel Services bought space in the Yellow Pages and wanted customers to know that they specialize in exotic destinations. Instead, Pacific Bell printed "erotic," which caused prank calls and a drop in clientele for the travel agency. The travel service company sued, saying the error insulted its clientele and brought the wrong kind of attention.
 

The damage: $10 million lawsuit against Pacific Bell

 

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