first y2k lawsuit hits in london

Vladimir Z. Nuri vznuri at
Mon Aug 18 18:43:15 PDT 1997

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Millennium bomb: Supplier sued over cash

                   MONDAY AUGUST 18 1997

                   By Christopher Adams in London

                   A small supermarket owner in the US is suing a cash
register supplier for
                   allegedly providing computerised tills that cannot
recognise the year 2000.

                   The lawsuit is believed to be the first of its kind.
If it is successful, it could
                   set a precedent with dangerous consequences for the
insurance industry.

                   Mark Yarsike, a supermarket owner in Detroit, is
suing Tec-America, the
                   Atlanta-based supplier of cash registers, because he
says credit cards that
                   expire after 2000 cause the tills to shut down.

                   The lawsuit has wide implications for the insurance
industry as suppliers
                   may be forced to make claims on insurance policies
covering them against
                   the failure of their products to cope with the date

                   Legal experts say insurers might be inundated with
claims over the
                   so-called "millennium bomb", leaving them vulnerable
to losses that could
                   run to billions of pounds.

                   The millennium bomb is expected to cause widespread
chaos because
                   most computers recognise only the last two digits of
a year and will treat
                   dates beyond 1999 as referring to the 1900s.

                   Should litigation escalate, the cost of claims could
be inflated by damages
                   and legal fees.

                   Mr Yarsike owns three Produce Paradise supermarkets
in Detroit. He
                   says the cash registers have failed more than 150
times in two years,
                   causing chaos in his stores and losing him hundreds
of thousands of dollars.

                   Mr Yarsike says his patience with Tec-America finally
snapped two weeks
                   ago. He says that each time credit cards expiring
after 2000 cause cash
                   resisters to shut down, Tec-America comes to fix the
problem. But within
                   hours, the registers fail again.

                   "It's gotten pretty wild in here. A lot of customers
walk out upset and

                   When the card zips through and the modem packs up,
everybody looks at
                   that one customer and says, 'Wow! What did she do?'.

                   "How would you like to have 300 people in your store
and the cash
                   registers don't work with a 10-hour day ahead of

                   Mr Yarsike wants Tec-America to put in a replacement
system. He spent
                   $150,000 on the fleet of registers for his stores and
says it would cost him
                   another $35,000 for new equipment.

                   Tec-America denied it was to blame for the shutdown
of the cash

                   It said responsibility lay with the credit card
industry, which was forced
                   several years ago to establish a format for swapping
data that would
                   recognise the year 2000.

                   The industry's efforts, however, were not completed
until April.

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