Please buy Expedia an Atlas…

Following on from Michel Neylon’s on-going battle with Amazon, it looks like the illness has begun to affect Expedia (who may need to buy an atlas from Amazon).

A colleague of mine just tried to book a hotel room in London for a weekend away. She got her itinerary number and had confirmed availability and price and was trying to give her credit card details to pay for the booking.

On Expedia, you have to tell them if you are a UK address or a non-UK address (I suspect that this is to present different address format templates). My colleague selected “Non-UK” and proceeded to fill in her address details.

Until she got to the part where they wanted to capture Country. Ireland wasn’t listed. Neither was Éire, Republic of Ireland, Irish Republic or Southern Ireland (all common alternatives that are sometimes used).

Nepal and the South Mariana Islands were available options though. Lucky for them.

Let me put it another way… the drop down list of countries was significantly incomplete for a company that is operating within the European Union (25 states and counting). Ireland hasn’t been part of the UK since 1922.

My colleague rang Expedia to find out what was going on and to see if the order could be completed over the phone. To her surprise she was told that “expedia can’t take orders from Ireland”. Which is the equivalent of “the computer says no” from Little Britain.

I wonder if the legal eagles who hang out over at tuppenceworth would have an opinion on the legality of Expedia’s business model, which to my mind smacks of an unjustified (and unjustifiable) restriction on free movement of services within the European Union and the European Free Trade Area.

In the mean time, my colleague will be using a different site to book her accomodation in London. Until, of course, “the computer says no”.

(editor’s note: I’ll stick the links ‘n’ stuff into this later).