Rogers Communications thought they had an ironclad five year contract with Aliant. However Aliant, being the grammar police that they are, saw it differently. They cited this sentence: 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.” Had the second comma not been there, Aliant would have had to honor the first five years of the contract before anything could be changed. But because of the comma, Aliant cancelled it early and almost tripled their prices, costing Rogers Communications $2.13 million.
People make mistakes all the time. Some, however, are bigger than others. Here are some cases where a simple misspelling, punctuation error, or forgetfulness cost someone millions of dollars.