01 May 1999

DIXONS’ UNSTOPPABLE FreeServe has issued a High Court writ against US-owned internet rival AOL, charging it with slander and malicious falsehood. The charges cite AOL subsidiary CompuServe, whose customer service staff allegedly told their subscribers wanting to switch to FreeServe that its no-charge policy was only temporary. According to FreeServe: 'This was blatantly untrue.' CompuServe prices range from £6.50 per month for minimal access to £17 for unrestricted time online - excluding call costs. Despite the issuing of a writ, the dispute is unlikely to reach court. Dixons is now 'satisfied' with an undertaking given by AOL that its staff would not make any statements which 'could be considered defamatory by Dixons FreeServe'. All are zip-lipped on the matter of compensation.