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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The Tuesday Twat(s)

No. 80. Canadian Online Companies

Yes, I'm in a bad mood.

With my pending exit from this continent looming, I have decided to take advantage of being over here to do a spot of travelling. I've decided to nip south of the border and fulfill a long-standing ambition to visit the Smithsonian Museum(s) in Washington DC.

Since I will need flights and accomodation, I decided to use to do so. On the plus side, I got flights (leaving Canada early in the morning and returning late at night to maximise the vacation), two nights at a seedy motel 2 miles from Capitol Hill and all the museums, and airport transfers for C$550. Not bad at all.

On the down-side, the buggers won't let me pay for it!

I've hit the great Canadian online "you don't have a Canadian credit card" wall of resistance. I've noticed that Visa is only international... outside of Canada. Seriously. I first had this problem booking flights home for christmas with I had to do all sorts of shit, like photocopying and faxing my UK credit card and passport before they would accept my reservation. Relatives hit a similar block when they tried to get to send me birthday and christmas presents. I tried to reserve some stuff online... same thing.

I tried to phone in the credit card number - but even the supervisor didn't understand what my problem was. "Just use your Candian card".
"I.. don't... have.. a... Canadian... Card"
I have a Canadian bank account ("We don't take cheques sir, we are an online company").
I have a CIBC "convenience card" (That isn't Visa or Mastercard, sir. You can only use it in ATMs")
I have a Canadian address ("We need the address the card is registered to").

Why is this? I'm told that this doesn't present a problem in Australia or New Zealand.

Finally I gave up and switched to I booked precisely the same trip, using the same flights and same hotel (then also added a couple of sight-seeing tours) for £300 (actually slightly cheaper by my maths). I went to pay and found that on if I were, for example a Canadian, I COULD SELECT A NON-UK CREDIT CARD.

Visa - accepted everywhere. Except Canada.




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