Overmatter: Check your cheques

Cheques are just so last century, aren’t they? But not for Overmatter, oh no. So it was exciting to see a cheque doing a very 21st-century social media thing – going viral – thanks to a data file blooper by Northern Powergrid.

Customer Gareth Hughes tweeted a picture of his compensation cheque for loss of power caused by Storm Arwen in November 2021, with a cheque made out for a grand total that began with “two trillion three hundred and twenty four billion…” with the available space in the cheque’s written amount box running out due to the enormous 13-figure sum.

The tweet had more than 57,000 likes at the time of writing, with a priceless reply thread, including this from Twitter user Nad: “Bank it.. then tell them they have to submit refund requests in writing and wait 28 days for it to be processed.. and pay a 1% admin fee .. sorry it’s company policy. Computer won’t let you bypass it.”

Meanwhile the ever-reliable Specsavers social media team quickly jumped on the thread with a typically understated “Hang on a minute…”

It subsequently emerged that 74 customers had received cheques for similarly vast sums, after a data input error resulted in account numbers appearing in the amount field. 

On the bright side for specialist cheque printer Tall Security Print, there was no mention of a “printing error” with Northern Powergrid apologising for the more accurate “administration error”.