Thousands of e-mails have disappeared from cyberspace after inboxes were mistakenly wiped by an Internet service provider.
Customers of AOL all over Britain have been left fuming at the error – with no prospect of getting the messages back.
Jacqueline Fleming lost 2,000 e-mails. 'My stomach started churning,' she said of the moment she realised what had happened.
'There were business e-mails, sentimental ones and even details of my holiday booking.'
To add insult to injury, AOL wiped her inbox again a few weeks later.
Heather Sager lost about 1,500 business e-mails, while AOL customer Robin Harrod lost saved messages three times.
When they tried to ring AOL they were told the firm was not liable for the lost e-mails.
Consumer watchdog Which? is investigating the complaints. It said AOL initially tried to blame customers for the loss of the messages, saying inboxes were too full or computers were faulty.
Although only about ten customers contacted Which?, Ms Fleming said message boards showed many others had suffered the same problem.