Have You Encountered Any Leap Year Bugs?

Have You Encountered Any Leap Year Bugs?

Leap year might be a great excuse for a sale, but it’s also the kind of event that can break date-based systems. Have you encountered any tech problems due to February 29?

Friend of Lifehacker and former Gizmodo editor Nick Broughall tweeted that he’d run into one such problem:

So, couldn’t charge my chiro to the health fund because the system doesn’t recognize today’s date. Come on world, leap years aren’t new…

That doesn’t mean every tech problem that happens can be attributed to the date. The Commonwealth Bank suffered an overnight ATM outage, but assured customers on Twitter that this wasn’t related to the date.

But Nick’s experience shows it can be a problem (just as daylight saving and the year 2038 can). Encountered any examples of your own? Tell us in the comments.


  • I shared the health insurance problem at the physio this morning. Couldnt charge through my provider as the machine doesnt think the date exists… also couldnt pay for the whole consultation correctly cos Commonwealth EFTPOS systems were also buggered.

    You would think a developer could foresee something 4 years in the future. But I guess if its not in the specs it dont get built.

  • “A Queensland Rail spokesman said (the clamp) had never failed before and it was unclear why it suddenly broke away from the post, sending 25,000 volts of electricity through the signals and switching equipment.”
    And it was all fixed by 9am with only a 3.5 hour outage.
    This outage was a stunt designed to allow Translink to grant free transport on the next day because of the discovery that their GoCard system is unable to handle the extra day in February.
    Other similarly affected systems are some EFTPOS systems in New Zealand, Commonwealth Bank and HICAPS health funds claims and payments system.

  • The HICAPS service which provides EFTPOS-like terminals to allow you to claim private health fund rebates from optometrists, physiotherapists, chiropractors, dentists etc, would not recognise the date 29/02/2012. I’m an optometrist, and when my staff put claims through with yesterday’s date, no problems! Luckily you can manually ‘change’ the date of service, otherwise we would have been stuffed! Funny thing is, it didn’t happen four years ago?

  • Medicare on the HICAPs machine asks for the date in DD/MM/YY but private health asks for DD/MM, and assumes that 29/02 is a mistake – even though the machine voluenteers that date -_- I work as at psychologist’s office, I also put private health through as the 28/02 but worry that that’ll bite someone in the arse at some point

  • I only became aware of the bug today (Friday) when the retic went off a day early because the controller thought it was Saturday. This occurred even when the controller has a year setting which was set to 2012.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!