Domain registrar asks domain registrants to pay up after reseller doesn’t pay the bill.
A reseller of domain name registrar InternetX didn’t pay for its customers’ registrations, and now the registrar is asking domain registrants to foot the bill.
The company sent an e-mail to customers of one of its resellers that demanded payment for domains the customers already paid for, or face deletion of the domains:
Dear Sir, dear Madam!
At the registry, which is in charge of this TLD, you are registered as the owner (Owner-C) of the domain(s)
[domain list deleted]
The provider / ISP (SIA CREDIT, Dmitrijs Fjodorovs, Riga) who had the domains registered with us, failed to settle any payments. As a goodwill we had offered an extended deadline, which he again failed to meet.
In order to settle the question where your domain(s) will be administered hereafter / in future, we would like to request you to get in touch with us immediately. Since the annual fee is currently not being paid by your contractual partner / our reseller, the domains need to be paid by you. Otherwise -according to ICANN rules- the domains will be deleted.
Please keep in mind that as the owner of the domain(s) you have agreed to the Terms and Conditions of that particular registry – hence you need to fulfill your duty with due diligence. Additionally we’d like to inform you that a domain can be disconnected resulting in the non-availability of the domain. *In case we do not receive any response from your side, .de domain(s) will be given to DENIC into transit at the next payment deadline. You will then receive a letter from DENIC (only if .de domains are involved) to which you should respond in order to prevent the deletion and transfer to a third person. *In case we do not receive any response from your side regarding any other domain but a .de, we will delete the domain at the next payment deadline. In this case at once!
For aforementioned reasons, please get in touch with us until Monday, October 19th 2009. Please keep in mind that a delayed response might lead to a deletion of your domain(s).
Please contact us by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org !!!!
This may not be a big deal to U.S. domainers — but apparently this is hitting a number of large European domainers who hold thousands of domains with the reseller.
Beyond the customer service side of asking registrants to pay for someone else’s contract dispute, InternetX’s citation of “ICANN rules” is incorrect and may get the registrar in hot water, says domain name attorney John Berryhill.
Berryhill points to section 3.7.4 of the registrar accreditation agreement, which states
“Registrar shall not activate any Registered Name unless and until it is satisfied that it has received a reasonable assurance of payment of its registration fee.”
Berryhill says that InternetX had the obligation to secure assurance of payment from the reseller prior to activating the requested domain names. Failing to do so may be a breach of its registrar accreditation agreement.
“Whenever a registrar screws up, they’ll make this reference to ‘icann rules require me to hit you over the head with a bat’,” said Berryhill. Often times, these citations of ICANN rules are either incorrect or misleading.