Pensioner refused emailPensioner's 'offensive' name at fault

01 December 2005

Pensioner Herbert Humphreys was refused an email address because his name was 'offensive'.

Herbert, aged 89, outraged the sensitive filters of his internet provider Tiscali when he asked for an email address using his surname.

Tiscali said the name contained 'a word which is considered offensive', and later upped this to a 'profanity'.

Perplexed, Herbert asked Tiscali to explain, but staff seemed reluctant even to utter the offending word.

Herbert said: 'It took a huge effort to persuade them to disclose this gem. They said my name contains profanity, as it includes the word hump.'

We quizzed Tiscali about a list of other benign surnames, such as Butterworth, which might offend its profanity filter, but it declined to answer.

We asked whether, since Humphreys was unlikely to offend, it could override its filter. It said it could handle a large number of email subscriptions due to automated procedures and bypassing these was inefficient - so it wouldn't do it. And that was the b*ttom line.