Angry unmetered customers accused of inciting abuse

Customer desperately seeking compensation finds himself in hot water

A disgruntled ex-customer of disbanded ISP IGClick has been accused of breaching the Human Rights Act for publishing the private telephone number of one of the directors.

In common with many unmetered ISPs, IGClick went belly-up in November last year, leaving customers stranded with no refund of their £80 joining fee. Angry customers found it virtually impossible to contact the company to register their complaints.

Mike Ashworth claims he was responding to a need when he published the home telephone number of a systems director at IGClick named Horgan. "The reason I published the details was because people were having difficulty contacting anybody and it seemed prudent to allow them to contact someone especially if they were considering legal action," he says. Ashworth is heading a group of around 15 customers who intend to take IGClick to court.

John Harris of law firm Austin, Ryder and Company is acting on Horgan's behalf and takes a different view. He claims Ashworth is inciting others to abuse and is therefore in breach of the Human Rights Act.

"What Mr Ashworth has done is creating problems for the private life of the Horgans," he says. "From Mrs Horgan's point of view something has to be done." Since receiving the letter on Thursday, Ashworth has temporarily removed the address from his Web site.

He denies that he intended to cause distress to Horgan's family. "It was not my intent to encourage malicious calls and if people have misused the information then that is regrettable," he says. He believes the case highlights a major problem for people desperate to seek recompense from failed unmetered ISPs. "Membership of ISPA is not mandatory and they are all bark and no bite. Oftel is not involved in regulation of the ISP market so there is a huge grey area," he says.

IGClick has also withdrawn its ADSL service and is currently in negotiations with BT to transfer customers to another service provider. If this fails users stand to lose up to £1,000.

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