The fight between BT and Tiscali over marketing material sent out by BT looks set to become expensive as Tiscali has apparently started legal proceedings against BT centring around claims "for defamation and malicious falsehood".
Marketing is a competitive arena with marketing companies working on behalf of clients looking for ever more innovative ways of promoting them. The fact that the UK broadband market is getting ever closer to saturation point means firms are trying to attract customers away from other providers and tactics may become uglier. Our thinkbroadband forums see people posting snippets of conversation with sales and retention staff, where a myriad of unbelievable claims are sometimes made.
With the start of the legal process, this dispute between BT and Tiscali looks set to go on for a long time. What has been interesting has been the emails from people who've had the letter supposedly aimed at Tiscali customers, but they've never been a Tiscali customer or taken any service from one of its subsidiaries. The reaction from the public has been less about the content of the letter, but more about how has BT obtained the list of customers. There is big business in firms collating this sort of information and it emphasises the need for people to be careful with whom they trust their contact details.
Any broadband company putting itself in the market for an outright purchase needs to be careful to retain customers to ensure the best possible purchase price and to some extent this may be reflected by the reports from Tiscali customers of sales calls offering attractive broadband deals for signing up to a new 12 month contract. Originally an announcement on a purchaser for Tiscali was expected at the end of June 2008, but at this time everyone is still waiting for news from Tiscali.