Discontent Provider

File this under "We just don't get it." The American Society of Travel Agents has helped create an unusual telephone message that members play for customers on hold--a rant against booking your trips online. About 1,800 of its 26,000 members play the recording. "The Web contains tons of fraudulent misinformation," declares a confident voice. "There's no guarantee that all your reservations will coordinate as you hoped." (Travel site Expedia Inc. insists its error rate is minuscule.)

The 15-second mini-screed concludes with a reminder: "Unlike trying to do it yourself on the Internet, they [agents] have expertise to save you time and money. So why put yourself through the hassle?" Uh, maybe because the Net doesn't put you on hold?