Charter Communications acknowledged yesterday that it had inadvertently deleted about 14,000 of its customers' email accounts.
Charter spokesperson Anita Lamont says the deletions occurred during a routine maintenance of email accounts this past Monday that involved deleting e-mails from accounts that had not been accessed in more than three months.
However, roughly 14,000 active accounts were accidentally swept up with the inactive accounts and were permanently deleted. It was only when complaint calls of missing emails began swarming in, Lamont says, that the company became aware of the problem.
Charter has apologised to its customers and has offered each affected customer a $50 account credit.
Additionally, the company says nothing like this has ever happened before, and has vowed to implement different maintenance procedures to prevent similar mass-deletions. In the future, the company says it will store emails from inactive accounts on a separate server for a limited period of time. This way, if Charter's engineering team accidentally snares active e-mail accounts again, it will be able to restore them with all of their files intact.
Charter has 5.7 million customers, including 2.6 million high-speed Internet subscribers, in 29 US states.