back to article Tiscali sues BT for 'defamation and falsehood'

Tiscali has kicked off legal proceedings against BT, after the telecoms giant sent letters to the Italian-owned ISP’s customers earlier this month. The personalised marketing letter, a scan of which can be viewed here, referenced a story written in January this year by The Register that first highlighted that the UK arm of …


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  1. Steve

    Just write to the BT customers

    "Following media reports suggesting that BT might be a bunch of unscrupulous eavesdropping marketeers, we recently approached a number of BT customers, and pointed out the benefits of our service,”

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is it defamation to say

    That both companies are shit?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    A BT spokesman dismissed Tiscali’s allegations. “Following media reports suggesting that Tiscali was up for sale we recently approached a number of Tiscali customers, and pointed out the benefits of our service,” he said. “We believe this is a legitimate and reasonable business practice - comparative marketing is an important aspect of a competitive market.”

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Not fair...

    I didn't get one :-(

    Although this is rather naughty, as BT wholesale the side which leases the local loop to Tiscali, and BT Broadband (or whatever they're called now) as supposed to operate as completely separate entities. So how would the broadband side know who the Tiscali customers were?

    If Tiscali really want to see some falsehoods, maybe they should hang around their own support forums where they'll see denials of packet shaping all day long, yet no explanation why http seems to work fine, but anything slightly exotic seems to crawl. I don't just mean p2p, I can't even use pop3 to my external email servers between 5pm and midnight! I daren't raise another fault report as this is the best it's ever worked, and I remember how bad it could get if they poked about with the wrong thing!

    Paris? Cos even she has more of a clue than Tiscali support.

  5. Chris Campbell

    Re: Just write to the BT customers

    Indeed! I'm sure there's some more damaging headlines about BT on the El Reg, for a start ...

    "BT's secret Phorm trials open door to corporate eavesdropping"

  6. alphaxion


    well, I got a letter from pipex business instead asking me to sign up with them - I'm a nildram (once dominion of pipex, now tiscali) customer, tho I have been noticing a dramatic drop in quality of service since tiscali slimed their way into their pants.

    p2p traffic is getting blocked during peak times - packets are being reset!

    they tried to foist tiscali DNS servers onto us under the guise of "new DNS servers", I refuse to touch tiscali DNS servers after their use of typo advertising...

    Line speed takes a tumble during peak hours, further than they used to.

    All in all, I'm currently scouting out for a new ISP - not been on the market since about 2002 :S

  7. Matt Eagles

    To the lawyers....

    Did BT get permission to reproduce El Reg material in their marketing/scareware effort? If not I'd suggest joining in the legal party.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Only if it isn't true.

    So you're probably on safe ground. Allegedly.

  9. Dave Culley
    Paris Hilton

    Tiscali should worry about their customer service before suing BT!

    Had an ongoing problem with my Mum's broadband, nothing since the 29th March. BT came out last Friday (first time we could get Tiscali to send an engineer), fixed the problem in 30 mintes (exchange was setup wrong, so it wouldn't have worked).

    This all came about after we tried to upgrade to Tiscali 8mb (£15 a month) from 2mb (£19 a month). It had been working fine for 4 years before that.

    We're now told that 8mb won't work (BT says it will, but I can't be arsed any more) at their exchange.

    Initial support told them to cancel and re-subscribe to fix the issue (which, in hindsight, probably would have sorted it). After putting in a complaint to the ISP watchdog and pestering the forums, UK support in Milton Keynes started calling but it still took another 6 weeks to get BT out and get the problem sorted.

    Compare that to PlusNet who my wifes grandfather uses. Modem turned up, didn't work, got straight through to support, explained I'd tried a different router etc, BT out within a week and everything sorted.

    Needless to say once we've sorted out compensation, it's off to PlusNet for my Mum.

    Paris, because surely she's the only person daft enough to sign up as a new Tiscali customer.

  10. Mark Baker

    Tiscali = hopeless

    I don't know how else to describe a company that's been sending me a bill telling me I'm £12 in credit for the past six months, despite repeated phone calls where they promised to shut the account and finally admitted that there was 'nothing they could do' and that it would "sort itself out eventually".


  11. Edward

    What??? Sue the bastards.

    Normally I'm the first to accuse Tiscali of dumbfuckary, but in this case BT really has behaved scandalously.

    How did BT get the Tiscali customer data? BT Wholesale is supposed to be a totally separate entity, if they're sharing data it is in direct contravention of the Anti-Trust ruling made against them...

  12. Chris Cheale

    What??? Sue the bastards.

    It's possible Tiscali sold it to them (or some other third party that sells email lists)?

  13. Paul Buxton


    "How did BT get the Tiscali customer data? BT Wholesale is supposed to be a totally separate entity, if they're sharing data it is in direct contravention of the Anti-Trust ruling made against them..."

    Surely this isn't hard to fathom out. Obviously some greedy grabbing bastard at Tiscali sold it to BT. Not all customers got the letter (as some have posted here) and these are the people who ticked the little box that said "I don't want you to share my data with third parties who we think provide a service that is relevant to you" or similar.

    Although, I must admit, BT can do whatever the fuck they like with people's personal data - the law quite clearly doesn't apply to them.

  14. Jo-mo
    Thumb Down

    Tiscali is piss poor

    My parents have Tiscali at home. It's truly awful.

    During the day the speed can be erratic, and in the early evening it can just completely grind to a halt. They seem to block all bittorrent traffic, 24/7, unless its encrypted, in which case it magically springs to life. USENET is totally unusable/blocked until about midnight, and then I get a trickle of a connection till about 7am. HTTP and FTP is just about acceptable, but for a 2mb connection, the speeds are lame.

    That said, BT can phuck off - I don't see how they're any better, and Tiscali are right to complain about them. If it were my choice, I wouldn't be near either of them

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark Baker

    I feel your pain.

    I'm £24 in credit with Tiscali after closing my account.

    Not only have they failed to send me the balance; but (and this is the surreal bit), they referred my case to a bailiff. So I'm waiting for a burly bloke to smash the door down and leave something valuable behind.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    ... I wouldn't be shocked or surprised if Tiscali had been flogging its customer databases. How else would alphaxion have been targetted by Pipex instead?

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Find it quite funny

    that people are finding Tiscali so bad they are thinking of moving over to Plusnet!!!

    But on the other hand, they haven't lost my email for over 6 months so something must be improving!!

  18. Boring Bob

    What ever happened to a pass at O'level English

    After reading the letter it is clear that BT should be taken to court for offences against grammar.

  19. Vince

    MAC or no MAC?

    From the scanned letter, what is with the bit which says about getting a MAC "or give us your details and we'll help you switch". That sounds a little like someone will bypass the MAC system, which I really hope is not the case...

    That sounds bad, real bad.

  20. Anonymous Coward

    lulz at BT taking an el Reg headline at face value

    *snort* _Media_ *snort*

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Register should sue BT for use of their name

    Before they get listed in Tiscali's complaint.

    Tiscali has improved in lots of areas and remember that a lot of broadband lines are still supplied by BT in those exchanges that have not been unbundled yet.

    BT are complete a***holes and won't get another penney from me.

  22. pctechxp

    All bastards

    Unfortunately whichever ADSL based ISP you use, BT are involved at some point (and your only other choice is Virgin but frankly I'd rather do without)

    There needs to be a company that will make the proper investment to roll out a fibre/ethernet based service, then we could all enjoy Internet access the way it was meant to be as ADSL is shit.

    I got the knowledge but not the capital

  23. Mark

    Please El Reg ...

    ... insert a very prominent link to the 'Phorm files' into the referenced article.

    That way, Tiscali users can find out about two dodgy companies for the price of one. Think of it as a service to broadband users.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    BT = pwned

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    BT Vs. Tiscali

    I was sent one of these supposed targeted mail shots.. But I am a BT customer for broadband and phone and have been for years (work provided), made me giggle anyway as I knew it would be on the Reg within a few days....

  26. Anonymous Coward

    @ alphaxion

    Be* are worth a look...

  27. Parax

    Own Goal?

    So BT intentionally pushes links to one of the biggest Phorm Awareness Sites on the net?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    @ Mike Richards

    Regarding your £credit with Tiscali and the subsequent "Bailiff" situation, might I respectfuly append this thought?

    When the Bailiffs normally arrive it is to "assess" the content of your property, not specifically to remove things. "Value" is somewhere between 1/10th and 1/100th of the true cost of the listed items (so that the Bailiff is confident of being able to raise the sum required).

    in your case, therefore, you should be looking to recieve something in the region of a new dualcore laptop with 120gig HDD and 2 gig RAM (better insist on WinXP if you want to actually use it). Oh, and that's before court fees and summons charges are reverse-charged too... a tidy little Christmas bonus coming your way it seems - good luck.

  29. James Prior

    Pipex letter ..

    I had the letter from Pipex Business, not sure why - I'm a Sky Broadband residential customer.

  30. Anonymous Coward


    Just a thought here for anyone who's getting hammered by bandwidth throttling. A friend of mine (can't remember which ISP) managed to get around throttling by using an external shell account as a socks5 proxy and routing all his web traffic through that.

    Apparently most ISPs only throttle on the standard http/https ports.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 8:08 re: alphaxion

    LMAO - Tiscali ALWAYS use "legal threats" as a first line of defence. They rarely investigate any authenticity, valid argument or, dare I? dare I? oooo I dare ... EVIDENCE. That's why I'm proud to be with Be*

    Shhhhhhhhh, AC mate - don't tell EVERYONE.

  32. david drysdale

    BT and Tiscali

    I got the letter from BT. I'm not even a Tiscali customer and haven't been for 12 months....

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