The deceased costs the US taxpayer billions

Irish Water has caused significant upset by sending out a number of bills to deceased customers. The brand damage this error will cause is significant, particularly for an organisation that hasn’t proved overly popular with Irish consumers since its inception in 2013. 

The shocking faux pas is made more so by the fact that one of the people reported to have been sent a bill died six years previously, 4 years before Irish Water existed. Furthermore, to add insult to injury the letter was addressed to “Tim Montague RIP” meaning that the organisation was aware that the customer had passed away.

Across the pond in the US another news story revealed that its not just commercial organisations that stand to lose huge sums  through unclean data. A CBS News 60 Minutes investigation revealed that nearly $125 billion was disbursed by federal agencies to ineligible recipients. More than $1 billion in farm subsidies and disaster aid was paid to 170,000 dead people over a six-year period. And the Office of Personnel Management Inspector General found just four years ago that $601 million in improper payments were made to federal retirees found to have died over the previous five years. It is not surprising therefore that US Senator Mark Warner has introduced a bill to reduce erroneous payments to deceased individuals.

 Data hygiene is not best practice. It is an absolute must in today’s data driven landscape. It is inexcusable to make mistakes such as these when cost effective solutions are readily available.