December 13, 2008

We're, and We Fail

Don't you just hate it when an advertised email address fails? Particularly so when you've sent the email to notify a company about a problem with their web site? It's surprising how some quite large companies fail to pay proper attention to the basics, and I came across a perfect example today.

I've just booked a trip with Jet Blue, and wanted to add a car rental reservation to the booking. Let's ignore for the moment the tedium of having to enter the same details twice due to a lack of integration between Jet Blue and TravelNow, as the price of lower-cost flying. Alas, when I click the "printable version" link after completing the rental reservation I see a pop-up window saying "Unrecoverable error: if this persists please email". Being a good web citizen and having a certain fellow feeling for anyone who struggles to keep the Intarweb working I dash off an email with the URL and my reservation details, only to receive the following missive:

Oh well, these things happen in the best-regulated domains, I guess. An email to postmaster should sort it out. I mean after all, RFC2821 explicitly says
SMTP systems are expected to make every reasonable effort to accept mail directed to Postmaster from any other system on the Internet. In extreme cases --such as to contain a denial of service attack or other breach of security-- an SMTP server may block mail directed to Postmaster. However, such arrangements SHOULD be narrowly tailored so as to avoid blocking messages which are not part of such attacks.

so that's bound to work, right? Wrong:

So I guess the lesson here is "we don't care if there's anything wrong with our web site, and we haven't bothered testing our customer feedback channels". If this company has stockholders, they should be asking questions.

Yes, I have verified my own domain's webmaster and postmaster addresses. I thought it would be a good idea before I made this post. Can you say the same?

Edit: A colleague pointed out that I had amused her by including a typo in the email address, which I have now fixed. So I am not as good at checking the basics as I'd like to be myself ...

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