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  1. #1

    PLEASE HELP!!! About To Lose Our Domain Name

    Hi All,

    I am new to this forum and I hope some of you can help me out with this unfortunate situation.

    We had a few domain names registered with 1and1 with auto renewal. for some reason our account became past due and was terminated after 8 weeks. We were never notified about any issues on our account although 1and1 keeps claiming that they sent us emails.

    Anyway, the story starts a couple of weeks ago when we noticed that one of our sites is down. A quick investigation showed that the domain name has expired. When I called 1and1 they told me that the account is terminated and only way to retrieve the domain name is by redeeming it for $40 into a new account. 10 minutes later I already emailed them the form and payment info and within 24 hours the domain was retrieved into the new account.

    We tried to transfer the other active domains but were unable and were told by 1and1 that we have to wait until they expire and redeem the as well.

    3 days ago the domain names were expired. I submitted the redemption forms and hold and be hold. I got a reply from the redemption department telling me that they are unable to redeem the domain names because there is a balance due on the account and that I should call the billing department.

    I called the billing department who told me that the (old) account is black-listed due to a small balance that was never paid. I offered to pay the balance and any fees associated but the agent said they cannot receive any payments on the old account.

    So, my situation now is that they would not let us redeem the two expired domains and they would not allow us to rectify the balance due and basically they are forcing us to lose the domain name to the public.

    We are a small business and don't have much funds to spend on lawyers and I am really concerned that we are going to lose the domain that we've been promoting for the past 3 years.

    I would greatly appreciate any help and advice.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    11,521
    That's really odd that you are offering to pay the balance on the account and pay the redemption fees and they aren't willing to work with you.

    Have you asked to speak with a manager or senior management?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Techy View Post
    That's really odd that you are offering to pay the balance on the account and pay the redemption fees and they aren't willing to work with you.

    Have you asked to speak with a manager or senior management?
    Yes it is very odd.
    I spoke with someone called Damien Christopher who presented himself as the highest escalation authority in the billing department. He refused to further escalate it and was pretty rude on the phone.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,974
    A couple of questions...

    What country are you based in? (1&1 operate in many different places)
    Are these GTLD domains (com/net/org etc) or country code domains?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Lubeca View Post
    A couple of questions...

    What country are you based in? (1&1 operate in many different places)
    Are these GTLD domains (com/net/org etc) or country code domains?
    1. I'm located in the US
    2. one of the domains is GTLD and the other is country code (us)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    905
    Have heard bad stories about 1and1 support. In your case, I don't think anyone could help you except 1and1 or a legal action. Meanwhile you can backorder the domain so that you have higher chances to get it when it becomes available for public.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    UK
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    1,974
    Quote Originally Posted by bluemanta View Post
    1. I'm located in the US
    2. one of the domains is GTLD and the other is country code (us)
    I was hoping you were going to say something like "I'm in the UK and they are .uk domains"... in which case I could probably have given you some advice. With .uk domains you can always go over the registrar's head and force a registrar change with the registry. You can't with .com domains AFAIK. I don't know what the situation is with .us - but you may want to talk to the registry (Neustar Inc) to see if they can intervene.

    Also... if those domain names are really valuable to you had you considered consulting with a lawyer? There are specialist domain name lawyers out there.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by bluemanta View Post
    We tried to transfer the other active domains but were unable and were told by 1and1 that we have to wait until they expire and redeem the as well.
    This part is strange. The way as 1and1 act here is like those active domains wouldn't have any legal owner disregarding the fact that as long domains are registered they belongs to someone. What if you would try to transfer them away before expiration? Domains was registered under your name, correct? In my opinion you shouldn't left them to expire with 1and1.
    Last edited by Spirit; 03-11-2011 at 09:52 PM.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Lubeca View Post
    but you may want to talk to the registry (Neustar Inc) to see if they can intervene.
    Not sure I understand this statement. Isn't 1&1 the registrar? or are you suggesting that Nuestar manages the actual registry?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lubeca View Post
    Also... if those domain names are really valuable to you had you considered consulting with a lawyer? There are specialist domain name lawyers out there.
    Yes we started to seek legal consultation for both saving the domain names and possibly suing 1and1. I am also trying to contact ICANN to see if they can help

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Spirit View Post
    This part is strange. The way as 1and1 act here is like those active domains wouldn't have any legal owner disregarding the fact that as long domains are registered they belongs to someone. What if you would try to transfer them away before expiration? Domains was registered under your name, correct? In my opinion you shouldn't left them to expire with 1and1.
    They wouldn't let us transfer them when the domains were active and unfortunately now the domain names has expired.
    not only the issue with retrieving the domains but our site is down as well as our email system. We are completely paralyzed and no one at 1and is willing to understand this and do something about it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,974
    Quote Originally Posted by bluemanta View Post
    Not sure I understand this statement. Isn't 1&1 the registrar? or are you suggesting that Nuestar manages the actual registry?
    Neustar is the registry. They are the ultimate authority for .us domains.

    You need to understand that there are some fundamental differences between GTLDs and ccTLDs. GTLDs are directly regulated by ICANN, ccTLDs are not. To complain about a ccTLD registrar I would go to the registry, not to ICANN.

  12. #12
    Not sure of all the technicalities involved so that could change the whole situation. For example was this domain part of a hosting acct ? Like "free domain" or "free domain for life" kinda deal ?

    If it was, then it's probably registered under 1&1's name. Which could be real problem for you. If it was actually registered by you. Think you should check with ICANN about it. Cause believe even after a domain expires it's supposed to be shelved for a free redemption period by the owner. Like 45dys or something after it expires. Then there's supposed to be another 30dy period where the owner can redeem it for like a $100 charge.

    So check up on it by googling about it eh ? Once it goes through all that stuff above. That domain expires and goes back into a pool. Which it can then be auctioned off to whoever.

    Since I don't know the details and by no means am I a domain registration guru. Cannot really say. Though might honestly go talk to a lawyer about it and see if you have a case for cyber squatting, esp if it's got a registered trademark or summin in it. Also just on general principle. ESP if they are screwing with you and didn't really notify you had a problem.

    Would start filing hella complaints ... With your secretary of state, FTC, consumer protection agencies etc. Also the BBB, although last time I checked 1&1's status on the BBB was in a weird state/status. Don't think or know if they're a member. Can't remember, but even if they aren't, file a BBB complaint about them.

    BBB is supposed to moderate complaints between businesses and consumers. Even if the business in question isn't a BBB member. Also just my opinion on this. Definitely take your hosting business elsewhere. If you're being honest about the situation. Then they totally screwed you around. Snatching a businesses domain away. Is not something that should be taken lightly. Then telling them you have to give us X amount or this and that.

    Again if you're on the level. Would definitely turn up the heat on 1&1. Contact them and mention the word lawsuit quite a few times with everyone you speak to. Law is a quagmire though. If they know you're serious they'll probably do a little more to resolve the situation.

    If they are incorp out of delaware or one of the other corp havens. Could see if being a real pain in your butt to even take legal action. Those places are corporation friendly. Meaning they have things set up real nice for corps who incorp out of them. But not consumer friendly in the way they handle disputes for the corps.

    Though honestly if it occurs in your state. Then really should fall under it's courts juridiction. Unless they have a clause hidden in their TOS stating spec disputes will be handled by X states laws. Sighs, I'm not an attorney so I better quit playing one. I was a tad bit gangsta in another life. So know a fair amount of criminal law though.

    1&1 ... Never even came close to making it on my list of web hosting candidates.

    Gd luck, sounds like a really aggravating situation.
    Last edited by checkingthisout; 03-13-2011 at 03:35 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    5,866
    I think you are not going to get any help from 1and1. They are basically a bunch of morons. I think a lawyers letter might go a long way in straightening things out. But it should be from a lawyer well versed in Domain Names. Of course you need to be quick, because it's hurting your business.

    You might point out to them that they didn't mention the matter of the small balance due on the old account when they advised you to wait for them to expire. And the fact that they say it's impossible to pay that balance. So what use was it to wait for them to expire? This might get you at least some sympathy from them.

    I would of course immediately move any web hosting and domain registrations you can to a new Web Host and new Registrar, ASAP. 1and1 are the worst in the industry, for both web hosting and domain registration. Remember that you should always separate your web hosting from your domain registration. Then it's a simple matter to move hosts, when your host doesn't control your domain.
    Signature Under Construction.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Lubeca View Post
    Neustar is the registry. They are the ultimate authority for .us domains.

    You need to understand that there are some fundamental differences between GTLDs and ccTLDs. GTLDs are directly regulated by ICANN, ccTLDs are not. To complain about a ccTLD registrar I would go to the registry, not to ICANN.
    Thank you very much for the suggestion. I did contact them and they are going to escalate the issue to their legal department to see if 1and1 violated any of the agreements with them or with ICANN.

    They also sent me information about initiating a formal dispute through the .us registry.

    I am not sure what all this would yield but I keep trying.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by checkingthisout View Post
    Not sure of all the technicalities involved so that could change the whole situation. For example was this domain part of a hosting acct ? Like "free domain" or "free domain for life" kinda deal ?

    If it was, then it's probably registered under 1&1's name. Which could be real problem for you...
    I only used them (thanks god) for registering the domain names. I believe in keeping the domain registration separate from the hosting.


    Quote Originally Posted by checkingthisout View Post
    ...If it was actually registered by you. Think you should check with ICANN about it. Cause believe even after a domain expires it's supposed to be shelved for a free redemption period by the owner. Like 45dys or something after it expires. Then there's supposed to be another 30dy period where the owner can redeem it for like a $100 charge.

    So check up on it by googling about it eh ? Once it goes through all that stuff above. That domain expires and goes back into a pool. Which it can then be auctioned off to whoever.
    The domain names are in redemption period now. however 1and1 would not let us redeem or transfer them because they put our account on their internal black list. They wouldn't even let us redeem the domain names into a new account that we opened with them.

    Quote Originally Posted by checkingthisout View Post
    Since I don't know the details and by no means am I a domain registration guru. Cannot really say. Though might honestly go talk to a lawyer about it and see if you have a case for cyber squatting, esp if it's got a registered trademark or summin in it. Also just on general principle. ESP if they are screwing with you and didn't really notify you had a problem.
    I went through all of our email archives (including spam and trash folders) as well as obtained the email log files from our hosting company. There was not a single email from 1and1 in the past 2 years. In addition, when researching for help on Google, I stumbled upon numerous incidents where people complained they did not receive notification from 1and1. Looks like a pattern to me.

    Quote Originally Posted by checkingthisout View Post
    Would start filing hella complaints ... With your secretary of state, FTC, consumer protection agencies etc. Also the BBB, although last time I checked 1&1's status on the BBB was in a weird state/status. Don't think or know if they're a member. Can't remember, but even if they aren't, file a BBB complaint about them.
    Good ideas.. I will get on it right away.

    Quote Originally Posted by checkingthisout View Post
    BBB is supposed to moderate complaints between businesses and consumers. Even if the business in question isn't a BBB member. Also just my opinion on this. Definitely take your hosting business elsewhere. If you're being honest about the situation. Then they totally screwed you around. Snatching a businesses domain away. Is not something that should be taken lightly. Then telling them you have to give us X amount or this and that.
    I couldn't agree more.

    Quote Originally Posted by checkingthisout View Post
    Again if you're on the level. Would definitely turn up the heat on 1&1. Contact them and mention the word lawsuit quite a few times with everyone you speak to. Law is a quagmire though. If they know you're serious they'll probably do a little more to resolve the situation.
    I tried threatening them with law suit, both verbally and by email. they don't seem to care about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by checkingthisout View Post
    If they are incorp out of delaware or one of the other corp havens. Could see if being a real pain in your butt to even take legal action. Those places are corporation friendly. Meaning they have things set up real nice for corps who incorp out of them. But not consumer friendly in the way they handle disputes for the corps.

    Though honestly if it occurs in your state. Then really should fall under it's courts juridiction. Unless they have a clause hidden in their TOS stating spec disputes will be handled by X states laws. Sighs, I'm not an attorney so I better quit playing one. I was a tad bit gangsta in another life. So know a fair amount of criminal law though.
    Me neither... but it will definitely be part of the investigation.

    Quote Originally Posted by checkingthisout View Post
    1&1 ... Never even came close to making it on my list of web hosting candidates.

    Gd luck, sounds like a really aggravating situation.

    Thank you very much for the elaborated response. you provided some good advice.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by stub View Post
    I think you are not going to get any help from 1and1. They are basically a bunch of morons. I think a lawyers letter might go a long way in straightening things out. But it should be from a lawyer well versed in Domain Names. Of course you need to be quick, because it's hurting your business.

    You might point out to them that they didn't mention the matter of the small balance due on the old account when they advised you to wait for them to expire. And the fact that they say it's impossible to pay that balance. So what use was it to wait for them to expire? This might get you at least some sympathy from them.
    Received a reply from their complaints department. What a joke:

    "...We understand you’ve been upset with the functionality of our products, service, and support. This is something that I can only apologize for. This is an aspect of our service that we're always trying to improve. This is why your feedback is so important to us. We can now look through and see where and if we made mistakes. Then, we can look into making sure that this doesn't happen again. Again, we can only apologize for this frustration that you've suffered. We will continue to work on this to serve you better..."


    Quote Originally Posted by stub View Post
    I would of course immediately move any web hosting and domain registrations you can to a new Web Host and new Registrar, ASAP. 1and1 are the worst in the industry, for both web hosting and domain registration. Remember that you should always separate your web hosting from your domain registration. Then it's a simple matter to move hosts, when your host doesn't control your domain.
    Yeah, I've been following this method from day 1. We only used them for registering the domain names. I'm a big believer in separation rather than putting all the eggs in one basket.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by checkingthisout View Post
    ...If they are incorp out of delaware or one of the other corp havens. Could see if being a real pain in your butt to even take legal action. Those places are corporation friendly. Meaning they have things set up real nice for corps who incorp out of them. But not consumer friendly in the way they handle disputes for the corps....
    First paragraph in their agreement:

    "'Supplier'means 1&1 Internet Inc. a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware, United States of America, located at 701 Lee Road, Suite 300, Chesterbrook, PA, U.S.A. and its assigns and successors in interest."

  18. #18
    Yep, quite a few of the fortune 500 are incorp out of there too. For a lot of reasons. There's some other corp havens trying to compete with delaware now, sighs. They're what's called corporation friendly states.

    That's a really bad sign on the legal front for you ... sorry. Does it specifically say anything about disputes will be interpreted under the laws of delaware, kind of clause ? Doesn't 100% mean they covered their butts. If it doesn't say that specifically in the agreement you accepted. Then they may have left a loophole for ya.

    They can be incorp out of delaware and still be subject to legal action in another jurisdiction. Which is what you want. Cause if they can make you have to resolve it in delaware, you're more than likely screwed.

    Also, did you look into what ICANN has to say about this ? I'm not 100% it applies. Esp if the domain wasn't actually registered under your name exclusively. But there are steps any icann accredited registrar is supposed to take. When handling domain names ... That includes the whole expiration period thing.

    Once again, am not an attorney though. If you actually did everything reasonable to work with them and keep things honest and they've done this. Then that is a really screwed up way for 1&1 to act. It's pretty serious to play games with a businesses domain.
    Last edited by checkingthisout; 03-14-2011 at 11:58 PM.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by checkingthisout View Post
    Does it specifically say anything about disputes will be interpreted under the laws of delaware, kind of clause ? Doesn't 100% mean they covered their butts. If it doesn't say that specifically in the agreement you accepted. Then they may have left a loophole for ya.

    They can be incorp out of delaware and still be subject to legal action in another jurisdiction. Which is what you want. Cause if they can make you have to resolve it in delaware, you're more than likely screwed.

    Also, did you look into what ICANN has to say about this ? I'm not 100% it applies. Esp if the domain wasn't actually registered under your name exclusively. But there are steps any icann accredited registrar is supposed to take. When handling domain names ... That includes the whole expiration period thing.

    Once again, am not an attorney though. If you actually did everything reasonable to work with them and keep things honest and they've done this. Then that is a really screwed up way for 1&1 to act. It's pretty serious to play games with a businesses domain.
    Well... they definitely protecting themselves. It would be really stupid if they didn't. Although not in Delaware, but they do limit disputes to be handled in PA:

    "...ANY AND ALL DISPUTES AS TO THE INTERPRETATION OF OR ANY PERFORMANCE UNDER THIS AGREEMENT WHICH ARE NOT FIRST RESOLVED INFORMALLY, SHALL BE DETERMINED BY BINDING ARBITRATION IN PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULES OF JUDICIAL ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION SERVICES, INC ("JAMS") AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE RULES OF JAMS..."

    And in addition, they have this in one of their clauses:

    "...Should the Payment Account provider fail to honor such debit, 1&1 may, in its sole discretion, release, cancel, or otherwise dispose of or utilize Your domain name as it sees fit, with no obligation to You whatsoever..."

    Basically they can do whatever they want should your account default payment for any reason. I think as far as their agreement they probably within the allowed framework. The question is if this agreement is aligned with consumer rights or is it a draconian agreement that can be challenged in court. Only a lawyer could tell.

    Ironically... on the top of this page there is 1and1 ad flashing....
    Last edited by bluemanta; 03-15-2011 at 12:25 AM.

  20. #20
    Was curious checked 1&1's BBB status again and it's still in that weird status I mentioned ... not rated. Say's status may be under review. Definitely file a complaint with them. Hopefully the rating is being reviewed thing means they've screwed too many people over and the BBB is debating revoking their membership, if they are a member and/or giving them a really bad BBB rating.

    From all the bad things I've seen about 1&1 around the net. Sounds like they should be rated F. Sighs, anyway good luck with this. Hope they see reason and give your business back that domain.

    update: That's a pretty nasty clause about the domain. Esp since you offered to bring the account balance current with them. Sounds like another sleazy maneuver by a bad hosting company that's becoming infamous.

    Never really checked what Pa's stance is on that kind of thing. Hmmmm, don't remember them being among the haven states. But sorry, haven't checked in awhile on such things. So that may've changed since.

    Ummm if the domain has your business name in it. Would still look up the subject of cyber squatting. Just in general ... sighs. Even if you can't force them to give it back based on that. Could still maybe ruin any chance they have of passing it on to anybody else.
    Last edited by checkingthisout; 03-15-2011 at 12:32 AM.

  21. #21
    But then, according to the Rules for the usTLD Dispute Resolution Policy, set by the registry, there is this clause:

    "...Mutual Jurisdiction means a court jurisdiction in the United States at the location of either (a) the principal office of the Registrar of the domain name in question, or (b) the domain name holder’s address as shown for the registration of the domain name in Registrar’s Whois database at the time a complaint is submitted to a Provider. If neither (a) or (b) are located within the United States, then Mutual Jurisdiction shall lie in solely in the Commonwealth of Virginia..."

    I need to find out if this rule supersede 1and1's own agreement since it comes from a higher authority.

  22. #22
    Sad part is, they know legal action is expensive and time consuming. Esp if you have to arrange to have council in PA. And I'd say sadly if you do some research and Pa, is a corp friendly place. Then would cut your losses.

    You could spend more time, energy and $ arguing with them than it'd cost to build up a new domain for your business. Plus way the law works. Sometimes a person can be made to have to pay the other sides legal fee's or what not. Dunno, fact they don't seem all that concerned. Kind of indicates to me ... They know they have good reasons not to be, ya know ?

    Would still go ahead and let everybody know how they did you and what kind of web host they are. File those complaints and cause them as much aggravation and bad press as you can muster up.

    Hope things somehow come out in your favor. I'm a sucker for the underdog and sleazy corps have always made me wanna puke. Feel free to PM, this seems to have become more a back and forth conversation at this point. Than a forum thread.
    Last edited by checkingthisout; 03-15-2011 at 12:46 AM.

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