IT directors were urged to think carefully before choosing a Web design company following allegations that some firms are passing-off award-winning Web sites as their own designs.
Swedish design company I-D Media said this week it was considering legal action against London Web firm E-novations following misleading claims over the design of the award-winning wallpaper.com site.
A string of Web design firms have claimed responsibility for designing the cutting edge lifestyle magazine site, which recently won awards in London and New York, I-D Media said.
I-D Media is bringing the action after receiving a copy of an e-mail from E-novations e-business consultant Daniel Bard to a potential client listing the site as one of E-novations' previous Flash Web site designs.
"We have sent them a letter of claim and have asked them to provide us with a letter apologising in writing. If that does not come through, we will take legal action," said agency I-D Media, which designed the Wallpaper site.
Another design agency, Hyena, is also threatening Bard with legal action over the e-mail which suggested that E-novations had designed the insurance Web site Evandale.co.uk.
Hyena, which completed the work for Evandale, said it was shocked to discover that E-novations appeared to be claiming responsibility for other people's work.
Hyena managing director Emmanuel Ohajah said he had instructed his solicitors to bring legal action against E-novations, unless the company desisted with its claims.
I-D Media urged IT directors not to take claims made by Web designers at face value but to ask customers for references before choosing a Web design company.
"There are people who are claiming to have designed sites that they have not designed. The best thing is to talk to two or three clients and check it out," said a spokeswoman.
E-novations said in a statement that the e-mail was not meant to imply that it had designed the Wallpaper and Evandale sites, but that it had listed them as examples of good design.
"We were not trying to claim credence for the work, only to demonstrate the creativity from the two exceptional design agencies whose signatures are clearly obvious on the Web sites," said E-novations.
"The e-mail clearly stated: 'some of our previous sites'. We included some of our clients and we completed the list by adding the address of www.wallpaper.com as a 'Flash example' only," it said.
Bard refused to comment.