Text messages received overnight on Wednesday confused thousands of mobile phone users in the US.
The messages were sent on Valentine's Day, but bizarrely arrived eight months later, carrying Wednesday's time stamp.
The issue occurred across all major carriers in the US, and affected both Apple and Android devices.
Syniverse, which provides services for major telecommunications companies, placed the blame for the error on an "internal maintenance cycle".
Thousands of T-Mobile, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon customers rushed to Twitter to air their frustrations over the confusing error.
Some complained about awkward messages being sent to their ex-partners, while others were left shaken after receiving messages from a relative or friend who had since passed away.
"I just got a text from my best friend's phone, the only issue is she's been dead since February," complained a customer on Twitter.
"I got a random text last night at 3am from my Dad saying 'I love and support you' but he said he had no recollection of sending it and doesn't remember ever writing it," added another.
Other users claimed that messages from as far back as two years ago had been received.
In a statement on its website, Syniverse apologised to the 168,149 customers who were affected by the mishap, assuring them that the issue has since been resolved.
"While the issue has been resolved, we are in the process of reviewing our internal procedures to ensure this does not happen again, and actively working with our customers' teams to answer any questions they have," said William Hurley, a company spokesman.