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06:13 pm: 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.

This entry was originally posted at http://morwen.dreamwidth.org/381041.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


[User Picture]
Date:March 26th, 2012 08:55 pm (UTC)
I had a similar problem about ten years ago, when my flat had 2 addresses. Literally, two, as it was on two streets and previous tenants had used both, after it was built as an extension. I had repeated threats from various bill people, and I repeatedly called them up to explain and told them to look on a map to SEE I was on two streets. I finally sorted out by speaking with the post office, who seem to hold control over a lot of teh data before it is shipped out to anywhere else.
[User Picture]
Date:March 26th, 2012 09:51 pm (UTC)
I wonder how it likes ZIP codes ;p
[User Picture]
Date:March 26th, 2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
Well, that's another matter. You can say "you have to have had a valid UK address for 5 years" as a sensible policy. "You have to have lived in a dwelling for 5 years that has not been subsequently destroyed" is just plain stupid.
Date:March 27th, 2012 12:28 am (UTC)
So you can escape creditors by having your previous address demolished? Yes? No? :( Oh well bang goes that idea.
[User Picture]
Date:March 27th, 2012 10:56 pm (UTC)
As the old proverb goes: There are no problems that cannot be solved by the judicious use of high explosives.
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