This from AP in St. Louis: ISP and cable TV operator Charter Communications has deleted the contents of 14,000 customer e-mail accounts.
"We really are sincerely sorry for having had this happen and do apologize to all those folks who were affected by the error," [their spokesperson] said Thursday when the company announced the gaff.
The poor folks who did find their accounts deleted will, however, get a $50 credit. Although I'm guessing some will prefer the litigation route.
AP says that Charter "gives each new Internet user a free e-mail account, but some customers opt to use other accounts instead. So every three months the company deletes inactive accounts" the spokesperson says.
And we're talking more than 2.5 million users, in theory at least.
Bottom line: If you've got an online email account (i.e. not one you're regularly downloading and storing on your computer) then you probably should think about backing that account up elsewhere.