Australian travel franchise Flight Centre has commenced proceedings against Datalex, an Irish web developer, alleging breach of contract and misleading or deceptive conduct. It’s a pretty standard commercial dispute, with a slight twist: a non-existent product. The facts run something like this: developer promises to deliver customised Fancy New Booking System by a certain date, said system currently being used by Big Co X, Big Co Y and Big Co Z; date passes with no sign of said FNBS; plaintiff learns that FNBS is somewhat less advanced than hoped — that it doesn’t, in fact, yet exist, and it turns out X, Y and Z have never heard of it either; plaintiff pays more money for developer to finish building aforesaid FNBS, or ends up getting someone else to do the job; everyone winds up in court. Allegedly.
[Datalex] said its product was being used by large travel agencies such as American Express, Trailfinders and Thomas Cook. … Flight Centre signed a ”master licence and services agreement” with Datalex to provide the database and booking engine … Datalex had said it could deliver within 12 months. … Flight Centre alleges it subsequently discovered [that] Datalex … products were not being used by large travel companies. It says several severe defects in the travel agent sales tool were evidence the product was still being developed - a fact Datalex later conceded. Flight Centre also accuses Datalex of delivering the product late and without all the required functionality.