Freeserve, the free Internet provider set up by high street electronics group Dixons, is suing AOL for slander and malicious falsehood.
Freeserve alleges that Compuserve, which is owned by AOL, was telling customers that Freeserve?s free Internet acces was only a temporary strategy and that it would soon be charging for the service.
The remarks were allegedly made by Compuserve?s customer service staff in a bid to persuade customers to continue paying its #17 a month charge, rather than defect to Freeserve.
In a statement, Freeserve said that, ?At the end of 1998, Freeserve became aware that some Compuserve customers who were calling Compuserve in order to transfer to Freeserve, were being told by Compuserve?s customer service personnel that they should not do so because Freeserve would be charging for its service in the future. This was blatantly untrue.?
Freeserve has file a writ against AOL in the High Court and is seeking an injunction to prevent Compuserve staff repeating the claim.
The claim, however, is unlikely to go to court. Dixons said the company is now ?satisfied? that AOL staff will not make any further statements that could be defamatory against Freeserve.
Both parties have declined to comment on whether Freeserve is seeking compensation.
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