Website Update Error – 90.000 Euros in Revenue Lost
One small mistake and nothing works anymore - it’s a familiar scenario for everyone who works in the IT industry. This is exactly what happened to an insured IT service provider in this real damage event: He switched off all the contact forms on the website of a bus travel company with a wrong mouse click. The travel company was of course anything but thrilled and demanded 90,000 euros in compensation from the IT service provider.
Website Update with Glitches
Website maintenance includes not only regular updates (e.g. certificates, cookies or plugins) but also minor or major improvements from time to time. That’s exactly what the homepage of a bus travel company needed, for whom an IT service provider insured via exali has been working for years. They wanted the update to contain some design adjustments and usability improvements in order to make it easier for customers and interested parties to use the website.
But after the IT service provider had completed the update and configuration, all of a sudden there were no customer inquiries. No booking inquiries, no catalogue orders and no other contact - for several days. As it turned out, it wasn’t due to a sudden lack of interest in the bus travel company, but to an error in the contact forms on the website. The contact options were simply no longer accessible to website visitors after the update.
Trust Is Good - Checking Would Have Been Better
Such a serious error should have been noticed immediately, but since the changes involved only small adjustments, the IT service provider didn’t bother with the necessary follow-up checks. He neither checked the website and the system himself, nor did he ask the customer for a detailed test, as is usually the case after IT updates. So the website was completely idle for three days until the employees at the bus travel company started investigating and came across the missing contact forms.
Due to the failure of the contact forms, the company experienced missed inquiries for trips and catalogue orders and considerable damage to its image. The loss of sales was ultimately valued at almost 90,000 euros - and the travel company wanted this reimbursed by the IT service provider.
It’s not just small errors when updating a customer website that can endanger your business: Cyber attacks on your or your customers’ systems can also pose a great risk. You can read more about this in our article IT Risks: Lessons Learned and Precautions For Your Business.
Professional Indemnity Insurance Covers the Damage
Fortunately, the IT service provider had taken out Professional Indemnity Insurance through exali. So he immediately reported the case to one of our account managers, who forwarded the case to the insurer. Since the claim by the company was justified, and claims for damages from third parties - such as the loss of profit described - are covered by Professional Indemnity Insurance, the damage was covered by the insurer.
This case shows one thing very well: Even a small mistake can have expensive consequences - and a compensation claim of 90,000 euros can quickly jeopardise the financial existence of self-employed people, freelancers or small companies. So it important to insure your business.
Daniela has been working in the areas of (online) editing, social media and online marketing since 2008. At exali, she is particularly concerned with the following topics: Risks through digital platforms and social media, cyber dangers for freelancers and IT risk coverage.
In addition to her work as an online editor at exali, she works as a freelance editor and therefore knows the challenges of self-employment from her own experience.