Abi (abigailb) wrote,

This is... wrong tool

Found out about this read-your-credit-report service called Noddle, which looks quite interesting. Had a go with it. It asks me for my previous addresses during the last 5 years.

Unfortunately, it makes you enter the postcode for these and look them up in the Postcode Address File. The Postcode Address File contains data about all the valid postal addresses in the UK at the moment. It is regularly revised (perhaps not often enough) with new developments. And when stuff gets demolished, it will get deleted from the dataset.

My last-but-one-flat was so demolished. It doesn't exist in the PAF any more. Neither, as far as I can make out, does the entire postcode or anything at that street number. And so when I come to the field to enter my address in 2007-2009, the system simply won't let me.

I pointed this out to them on twitter, and they apologised, but seem to have missed the point a bit. They say

we use it [the Postcode Address File] in order to ensure that addresses entered are current and valid.

But they're asking for historic data, not current data! This isn't the first time I've seen websites make this mistake. Most of you won't have come across this problem, as demolition of residential accommodation is fairly rare, so it doesn't look like there'll be mass consumer pressure to get them to fix it. But if you care about systems being correct, this might annoy you anyway.

There's another post brewing about the misuse of postcode areas as if they were some kind of useful geographic system, but that's another matter.

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