Sunday, November 9, 2008

Coca-Cola's customer-rewards program blunder

Coca-Cola recently sent out notices to members of its My Coke Rewards program that it goofed. A software glitch caused it to greatly inflate the number of points that members had accrued from codes they had entered online from bottles and cases of soda they had bought.

I drink a lot of Coke and signed up for the program to get an occasional free case for my trouble. An Oct. 31 e-mail from the Coca-Cola Company informed me that I had 5,068 points. In reality, I had only 121 points -- enough to enter some sweepstakes contests, but that's about it.

For a short time it looked like I was eligible to get 25 fridge packs of Coke (each with 12 cans) or 211 12-ounce bottles of Coke or a five-year subscription to Entertainment Weekly or two Hamilton Beach Toastation toaster ovens.

Coke discovered its error and sent out a correction about seven hours later. An e-mail from "The My Coke Rewards Team" said only the text of the e-mail was wrong and the actual account balances of members did not change.

I would assume that some members had many more points than I did and got outrageously big totals in that erroneous e-mail.

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