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Charter accidently deletes 14,000 e-mail accounts

The cable operator is offering affected customers a $50 credit to make amends.

Dude, where's my e-mail?

That's what thousands of Charter Communications customers asked on Monday when the company inadvertently deleted 14,000 active e-mail accounts, according to an Associated Press story published on Thursday.

Officials at Charter believe a glitch in software during routine maintenance caused the e-mail accounts to be deleted. The company is offering $50 credits to customers who were affected.

A company representative told the news service that there was no way to retrieve the messages, photos or other attachments that had been sitting in people's in-boxes when they were deleted.

Anita Lamont, the Charter spokeswoman who spoke to the AP, explained how the mistake happened. She said Charter gives each broadband subscriber a free e-mail account. But since many people use other e-mail addresses, the company routinely deletes unused accounts. On Monday, some active accounts wound up being deleted with the inactive accounts. Lamont said it had never happened before.

Charter provides broadband Internet, TV and telephone service in 29 states. The company has about 2.6 million subscribers to its broadband Internet service. The customers affected by the e-mail deletion were spread throughout the country, according to the AP story.