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TalkTalk lawyers target PlusNet

TalkTalk lawyers target PlusNet

TalkTalk lawyers target PlusNet

On Thursday we wrote about TalkTalk's rather shabby attempt to copy our Polish initiative. We had a couple of interesting developments to this story late on Friday afternoon. Firstly a Carphone Warehouse employee had the guts to post a comment on the site. I was pleasantly surprised by that and have to commend Stephen from TalkTalk on his response. However, Carphone's lawyers were not quite so amused :-) So at about 5.30 on Friday afternoon we received the inevitable email from the legal department asking us to change the blog. We'd made the mistake of posting a screen-grab of their site including their logo. A rookie mistake, and my red hands are held high in the air over that one. But we then got accused of Passing Off, which got a collective roar of laughter from the second floor of PlusNet towers. Because if there is one company in the world we really don't want to imitate, it's TalkTalk.

Dear Sir It has been brought to our attention that the logo TalkTalk is being displayed on the blog: (hereinafter the “Blog”). A print screen of the Blog is also attached below for your convenience. The logo TalkTalk has been created by and belongs to, The Carphone Warehouse Limited (“CPW”). CPW has never consented to the displaying of the logo TalkTalk on the Blog. This amounts to copyright infringement and we are entitled to start legal proceedings against you. We hereby request that the TalkTalk logo is immediately removed from the Blog. Furthermore, comments posted on the Blog make direct reference to the TalkTalk website and a hyperlink labelled “TalkTalk” (the “Hyperlink”) has been posted on the Blog. However, this Hyperlink re-directs Internet users to a commercial website that is not the TalkTalk website, or that is not associated with TalkTalk or CPW. There is no doubt that Internet users seeing the Hyperlink will believe that it leads to the TalkTalk website where this is not the case. Such misrepresentation damages the goodwill we have acquired under the brand name “TalkTalk” and amounts to the tort of Passing Off. We hereby request that you immediately remove the above-mentioned link. In view of the urgency of this matter, we are contacting you by email and we request that the above requests are complied with, and we receive written confirmation of this fact, promptly. Should you not comply with this request, we reserve our rights to use this correspondence on this issue of costs and to take further action without delay. We look forward to your prompt response. Yours sincerely. XXX Group Legal - IP Department
Now I'm no lawyer. But I fail to see how linking to a comparison on an independent review site is 'Passing Off'. Perhaps any PlusNet customers who are budding lawyers can advise us on this? :-) The further thought occurs that perhaps TalkTalk would be better off spending their time addressing the reasons why 4,163 of their customers rated their service as 44%, rather than legal sabre-rattling.
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13 Comments
Grafter
I think their problem is the wording of the link. "I happened to be looking at several competitor websites today and noticed something rather amusing on the TalkTalk website." The link actually goes to the comparison site, not to the TalkTalk website as it suggests.
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Im no expert and im on Tiscali. But isn't Plusnet unknown compared to TalkTalk? why would that be?
Hi John, I'm not sure what your question means I'm afraid. We're certainly not as well known as TalkTalk as we haven't spent hundreds of millions on advertising. However we have been a quality ISP for more than 10 years. Have a look at these two links if you are interested in finding out more about our company history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plusnet http://www.plus.net/features/timeline_1997.shtml
Grafter
"But we then got accused of Passing Off, which got a collective roar of laughter from the second floor of PlusNet towers. Because if there is one company in the world we really don't want to imitate, it's TalkTalk." Hear hear.... :-)
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Why can't plusnet advertise so much if they are so good....looks to me that you have lots of problems and are just as bad as Sky and Virgin. http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/telecommunications-services/plusnet-1/191804/ http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?automodule=blog&blogid=38&showentry=400 Plus both links you ppsted are regulated by you im guessing. What a crap company. I think you should imitate TalkTalk, maybe you might be as sucessful as themHuh?
Community Gaffer

We don't usually spend money on advertising to gain customers. We gain them based on our reputation and other customers referring them to us. I've taken a good look at those two links. The first one is very old, from 2001 and the second quite out of date from 2006. Take a look at the PlusNet website and you'll see that we are very clear about any included costs such as router or activation charges. If you want to see what some of our customers currently think of us, click on "forums at the top of the website and browse some of the threads in there. Thanks.

According to the financial results that Sky put out this morning they spent £36M on advertising in three months!!!!! @John Also visit www.thinkbroadband.com, which is an independent website, and see what folks think of PlusNet and TalkTalk which will give you a more balanced view. You might also be interested in looking at our monthly customer satisfaction survey: http://community.plus.net/blog/2008/01/22/customer-satisfaction-results-from-december-2007/
Moderator
Sky also made a loss according to BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/7229818.stm
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@John Why should Plusnet advertise when largely as a result of word of mouth and comparison sites they have grown by over 10% in the last 6 months. We've all seen the results of companies chasing big growth and then not being able to cope with the resulting support queries.
@John How are you defining the success of TalkTalk? I could sell broadband at a loss and get loads of customers onto a cheap deal, but would that really be successful?
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Why can't Plusnet use the money they make, to advertise more...beacuse they crap as stated in Uswitch...is this the word of mouth your on about...2008 might i add! "They have imposed a download limit without reducing their charges. Originally I was paying for unlimited downloads, now it is unlimited downloads subject to a fair usage policy which is another way of introducing a download limit." OR "I only get 1Mbps instead of 8Mbps advertised. Access is often slow. The email server is unreliable. The email filtering is poor. Remote email access is poorly designed and slow." OR "Poor Customer service, poor download speeds, poor connection reliability. Keeps providing account details to spammers so email address becomes horrendously spammed!" OR "Customer support has all but disappeared and they tend to threaten you with a big bill from BT to run line tests." The great Plusnet....yeah right!
@John, I could quite easily retort with 2 negative Talk Talk quotes for each of the quotes you've posted but I won't as there's little point. I'm not sure what URL they're from but even if they were posted in 2008, many of the issues referred to are from way prior to that. Yes, we've had our ups and downs but who hasn't? The subject of Neil's post though it about Talk Talk's implementation of their Polish site which I don't think anybody can deny is lacking? Especially when placed side by side with ours:- http://community.plus.net/blog/2007/06/21/polska-twarz-plusnetu/ Our accounts come with clear download policies that are linked to when registering an account. We haven't marketed accounts as unlimited since 2005 AFAIK. If you want to know more about our download policies then take a look here:- http://www.plus.net/support/broadband/quality_broadband/traffic_prioritisation.shtml Download speeds are obviously dependent on line conditions and distance from the exchange. That's why we have the following at the base of our product pages: "Why ‘up to’ 8Mb? * Broadband is described as ‘up to’ 8Mb because download speeds will vary depending on your telephone line and location. * The average speed on up to 8Mb broadband is 5-6Mb. BT Wholesale estimates that 78% of customers will achieve download speeds of 4Mb and above. * Download speeds will vary significantly in the first 10 days after connection and then will become more consistent." This recent BBC article might be of interest to you: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/7151132.stm Regarding remote email access, that's provided using the popular open source client SquirrelMail: http://www.squirrelmail.org/ Regarding customer support, I'd say it's up there with the best. We won/were nominated for a few awards last year: http://community.plus.net/blog/2007/07/03/plusnet-best-overall-provider-in-national-survey/ http://community.plus.net/comms/2007/09/26/plusnet-wins-another-award/ http://community.plus.net/blog/2007/10/25/another-award/ http://community.plus.net/blog/2007/09/28/plusnet-win-the-cup/ I'll leave it at that but if you want an overview of what else we got up to last year (good and bad included) then take a look here: http://community.plus.net/blog/2007/12/19/what-have-we-done-this-year/ Yes we've had problems in the past, but these problems have no bearing on whether or not we advertise. We're growing, we're making a profit and people are referring our services. Chuck in the odd award for our our trophy cabinet here and there and we can't be doing that badly! Rgds, Bob
Plusnet lost their way after takeover by larger company. Still charging lots more for inferior service.