Demon Internet is threatening to take legal action against rival company UUNET (formerly Pipex) over what it alleges is a "dirty tricks campaign".
The altercation stems from an article published in the Daily Telegraph in December last year which stated that Demon customers could find themselves waiting for up to a month before receiving their Email.
The article quoted Malcolm Muir, Demon Internet's technical liaison manager, as saying the company had underestimated demand for its service over Christmas and that things could get a lot worse before they got better.
Demon has asked the Daily Telegraph to print a retraction.
Demon alleges that negative articles about the company published in the national press have been picked up by UUNET, a rival ISP, and sent to potential customers.
James Gardiner, a Demon spokesman, claimed: "What they're doing is taking snapshots of our public announcements out of context. They are making any technology issues/problems we may encounter look like the norm."
But David Barrett, head of corporate communications at UUNET, denied any wilful dirty tricks campaign against Demon.
He said the company was "looking into" the allegations.
"This sounds like a PR stunt (by Demon) to me. We do not rubbish the opposition," he added.
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