“Yes, the letter did in fact go out like that,” pensions office spokesman Wolfgang Buschfort confirmed on Wednesday.
He said that the pensions office worker had accidentally copied a customer number into the form, rather than the amount outstanding.
In fact, the woman from the Schwarzwald in Baden-Württemberg should only have been billed for a number in the low three figures.
Fortunately the mistake was spotted before the impossible figure was debited from the woman's bank account – meaning that the only trace of it was the heart-stopping length of the number on the paper copy.
“As far as I know, this is the only time anyone has been called on to make such a large incorrect payment,” Buschfort said, adding that a service with 26,000 employees would inevitably make mistakes.
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