Boingo Wireless has issued a bizarre apology after an internal test email was accidentally sent to customers, which it blamed on its IT system rather than user error.
The global Wi-Fi network operator sent the message, titled "TEST Ad Hoc Template" to customers with an illustrated speech bubble saying, "Hold onto this plan chance receipt. It's worth somethin'."
The email then exposed a "database dump" of 30 fields including account information and credit card expiry. The credit card number was not exposed.
It then told customers: "We have cancelled your recurring monthly subscription, effective today.
"Your Boingo account is now in "As You Go" status, which means that you will enjoy the convenience of keeping your username and password, but you will never be billed unless you actually use Boingo Wi-Fi services."
A "large pool of customers" received the email, which president and CEO Dave Hagan apologised for today.
"Let me start this off with a big, fat apology," he said.
"We're deeply sorry (and more than a little embarrassed) about any email you received over the weekend.
"Please be assured that there's been no change to your account. If it was Unlimited, it still is. If it was AsYouGo, it still is. If it was closed, it still is."
He said that while the email was meant for internal testing only, "the system basically decided otherwise and erroneously sent the test template to a large pool of our customers."
Hagan thanked customers for their understanding "during this awkward moment in email marketing history."
Boingo's Wireless network spans 125,000 hotspots worldwide, including at Starbucks, major airports and hotels.