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  1. #1

    Domain Hijacked by Registrar Reseller

    I could write a book on this, so I will try to make this short and to the point.

    In the beginning of December 2007 I had to make changes to a local police Crime Stoppers site I help with. The site is hosted and the domain is registered through ProNIC Solutions (pronicsolutions.com) (I know, I know, don't register and host at the same company... now I get it). It has been over 2 years since the site was last updated and neither I nor the local police have the username/password to make changes to the site. Even though I sent many, many emails and opened many, many "support tickets" they never gave me the credentials. Eventually, I contacted my credit card company and put a stop on future charges from ProNIC Solutions for all of my accounts, and requested AND RECEIVED (!) a charge-back for the month of December on the Crime Stoppers account. Sweep the hosting portion under the rug. I am done with that.

    Now I am trying to transfer the domain (plus others I have with ProNIC) to another registrar that may actually service their customers. So I initiate the transfer and the new registrar needs the EPP codes. Since I pay separately for the hosting and registration from ProNIC, they technically should help with this since I have paid for domain support. I requested the EPP codes on December 18 and I get responses stating the request is going to be sent to the Billing Department and there is a 24 to 48 hour response time. But this has been almost five complete days now.

    So now I continuously send support tickets to ProNIC and I get responses like: "Stop submitting duplicate tickets" and "you will have to await a response from our Billing department about this issue." I know that may be too much but what else can I do? I have even contacted eNom (who ProNIC registers through) and they just tell me to deal with ProNIC. ProNIC has now blocked my IP apparently, because pronicsolutions.com doesn't resolve anymore from my primary location but still works from my office.

    My question is basically, what can I do? ProNIC has also done this to a friend of mine that I recommended to use ProNIC over three years ago. Now he can't get access to the domain either, and can't move his site elsewhere.

    What can I do?

    Thanks for reading and for any ideas you may have....

    By the way, Bert Kammerer used to frequent this site and he is the "head" or owner or something of ProNIC Solutions. I even found his personal website and sent an email to the address listed to beg for help and I never heard back. I only sent one email to that address.

    Brennen

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    India
    Posts
    858
    You can contact the registrar and ask then move/push your domain to another reseller who is more helpful.

  3. #3
    Thank you for the response! I assume you mean eNom and not ProNIC when you say registrar... right? I have already contacted eNom about this, however I didn't ask to move or push the domain, I asked for the EPP codes. I'll ask to be moved.

    When I did ask for the EPP codes, it seemed eNom thought that I hadn't paid for the domains as they kept mentioning "billing issues". These domains are all paid at least through July of 2008.

    If asking to be moved doesn't work, is legal action a possibility?

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by trbtl View Post
    and requested AND RECEIVED (!) a charge-back for the month of December on the Crime Stoppers account.
    While I understand the reasons behind that, unfortunately that's really one of the worst "mistakes" one can do when issues like this occur.

    I've personally dealt with that a couple of times. Not once has it ever been pretty.

    Legal action is indeed a possibility. And it's one that doesn't necessarily guarantee anything, especially when the provider is prepared to defend themselves.

    Only thing I can say is to somehow get in touch with the provider and settle any dues with them. Whatever happens, try not to lose your cool about it and try to work with them.

    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    218
    Who owns the domain(s)? Is it registered in your name or have pronic registered it in theirs? (very naughty!)

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Zan View Post
    Only thing I can say is to somehow get in touch with the provider and settle any dues with them. Whatever happens, try not to lose your cool about it and try to work with them.
    Admittedly, I would say I have already lost my cool with this. I have been dealing with problems from ProNIC since December 3, 2007 and the whole time the Crime Stoppers people have been breathing down my neck about getting this page up/edited.

    But here's the thing: There aren't any dues to settle with ProNIC! I have paid up completely. That's what really irks me. I would completely understand if I owed any monies on any accounts and they weren't helping me. I own a business and I would do the same. But I don't owe anything and neither does my friend who has been locked out of his domain accounts for months. He just doesn't have the financial means to take legal action. So for his sites he lets his credit card get automatically debited every month, and the sites stay up, he just can't (ever) move them anywhere. Cha-Ching ProNIC! What a great business idea!

    And just for my own info, why would it be particularly bad to get a charge-back (for hosting only) for December? Just because that would make them angry and harder to deal with? I'm sure that's the case, however I am sick of big companies where you can't ever talk to anybody on the phone or face to face and they treat their clients like they don't need them. I deal with my clients in person and I would never dream of treating them the way ProNIC does.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewcy View Post
    Who owns the domain(s)? Is it registered in your name or have pronic registered it in theirs? (very naughty!)
    The domains are listed with my name as the Registrant, Admin, and Tech names. However, I contacted eNom and they stated "The domain is listed as owned by Pronic." So I guess I don't know who owns the domains. Any ideas as to why that may be?

    And thanks for the thoughtful responses, I really appreciate everyone's help....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    .INdiana
    Posts
    2,451
    you say you're paid up completely, and you charged back December's hosting fees.

    but it appears you used their hosting services in December.

    if you used their hosting services in December, and charged back the December fees, wouldn't that make you a fraud?
    Sneaky Little Hobbitses

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by CD Burnt View Post
    if you used their hosting services in December, and charged back the December fees, wouldn't that make you a fraud?
    You make a good point, however I am not able to access the site, in any way, to make changes to the site itself or the domain.

    I guess I thought of it like this: If you rent a Post Office box, you get a key. You go to the Post Office and insert your key into your box and get your mail. If you go one day and your key doesn't work but mail is still delivered there, should you continue to pay for it? Besides, when I paid for the hosting, part of the service they advertise in return for paying the bill is support. They surely didn't provide that.

    Maybe a better analogy would be if you took out advertising space for your company, month to month, in the local newspaper. You create an ad and it is printed in the newspaper. Also, you are told that you can change the ad at any time (like a website) and it will appear in the next newspaper issue. Next month, your office phone number changes and you want to change the ad to reflect that, but the newspaper won't let you change the ad. If the newspaper continues to print the ad with the wrong info, should you continue to pay for it?

    I will say that I didn't request a charge-back for the other sites I have with ProNIC. These sites are still up and I can't get into them either, however I really don't need to get into them at this time. My credit card company was ready to give me a credit for all accounts (and for past months!) and I told them not to. I'm trying to be completely fair with this. If my client was unhappy, for whatever reason, I would issue a refund.
    Last edited by trbtl; 12-23-2007 at 04:59 PM. Reason: added better analogy...

  9. #9
    Before thinking of legal action.. read up on their TOS.. perhaps they have a clause.. ?
    Sam Johan,
    Founder - CEO,
    PureInsure - Insuring The Hosting Industry.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    218
    Quote Originally Posted by trbtl View Post
    The domains are listed with my name as the Registrant, Admin, and Tech names. However, I contacted eNom and they stated "The domain is listed as owned by Pronic." So I guess I don't know who owns the domains. Any ideas as to why that may be?

    And thanks for the thoughtful responses, I really appreciate everyone's help....
    Thats good then, you own them therefor pronic have no legal right over them. Enom would have said they 'owned' them in the very loose sense of the word that pronic registered them so are the owner admin of that particular domain.

    In a situation like this go direct to icann, explain the situation that your current registrar isnt being co-operative and they will be very willing to help out (they may ask for proof of domain ownership) ultimately they are 'in charge' of all the domains and will be able to transfer the domain registrar to whoever you choose. Drop them an e-mail im sure they will help.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    5,866
    Quote Originally Posted by trbtl
    I contacted my credit card company and put a stop on future charges from ProNIC Solutions for all of my accounts, and requested AND RECEIVED (!) a charge-back for the month of December on the Crime Stoppers account.
    You haven't a hope in hell of getting any transfer completed after making a chargeback.

    Quote Originally Posted by trbtl
    Sweep the hosting portion under the rug. I am done with that.
    You may be able to do that but unfortunately you webhost doesn't. As far as they are concerned you owe them money for December. Whatever the source of that revenue.

    Quote Originally Posted by trbtl
    My question is basically, what can I do?
    You need to speak very nicely to someone from billing and agree with them that once you pay your bill they will unlock the domain and give you the auth codes or login username/password. Whose email address is in the admin contact in the whois?

    Complaining to anyone won't do you any good and will only waste your time when all your efforts should be put into communicating with your webhost. When you get to the point when you decide that has failed, your best course of action would be to buy another domain and put your website up on the new domain and forget about the old domain. Maybe it will drop and become available after the next expiry date.

    Quote Originally Posted by trbtl
    I will say that I didn't request a charge-back for the other sites I have with ProNIC. These sites are still up and I can't get into them either
    Not surprising. They'll be in the same boat.

    Quote Originally Posted by trbtl
    I'm trying to be completely fair with this. If my client was unhappy, for whatever reason, I would issue a refund.
    This'll never happen in the webhosting business. They have provided you with services. If you've decided for whatever reason, not to you them, that's up to you. But you owe them for their services. Irrespective of how poor those services may have been.

    NOW YOU KNOW WHY SEPARATING YOUR DOMAIN REGISTRATION AND WEBHOSTING IS SO IMPORTANT.
    Last edited by stub; 12-23-2007 at 07:17 PM.
    Signature Under Construction.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by trbtl View Post

    The domains are listed with my name as the Registrant, Admin, and Tech names. However, I contacted eNom and they stated "The domain is listed as owned by Pronic." So I guess I don't know who owns the domains. Any ideas as to why that may be?

    And thanks for the thoughtful responses, I really appreciate everyone's help....
    Are you looking at whois.enom.com? If eNomis the registrar, then that's the authoritive WHOIS you should reference.

    If you are listed as the reg and admin contact, then explain the situation to eNom.

    If you are not listed, then you need to get ProNic to list you as the registrant first. It's like a title to a car, you need to be listed as the owner.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by stu2 View Post
    You need to speak very nicely to someone...
    I can assure you that I am very cordial towards them regardless of how perturbed I am with the situation.

    Quote Originally Posted by stu2 View Post
    When you get to the point when you decide that has failed, your best course of action would be to buy another domain and put your website up on the new domain and forget about the old domain. Maybe it will drop and become available after the next expiry date.
    I can't imagine anyone really being satisfied with that outcome. Maybe if the domain is new or isn't really used, but two of these domains have been around for years. If people are familiar with the Crime Stoppers domain (and it's on bumper stickers and signs around town!) then I don't think they want to give it up so easily.

    However, I have contacted eNom again and shortly after ProNIC gave me the EPP keys. At least the keys for four domains out of the five of them so far. Here's to the last one!

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Lewcy View Post
    you own them therefor pronic have no legal right over them.
    While one can choose to believe such a fantasy, that's not what the OP's contract with ProNIC says:

    http://www.pronicsolutions.com/domains/agreement.php

    8. Ownership of Information and Data:

    You agree and acknowledge that we own all database, compilation, collective and similar rights, title and interests worldwide in our domain name database, and all information and derivative works generated from the domain name database. You further agree and acknowledge that we own the following information for those registrations for which we are the registrar: (a) the original creation date of the registration, (b) the expiration date of the registration, (c) the name, postal address, e-mail address, voice telephone number, and where available fax number of all contacts for the domain name registration, (d) any remarks concerning the registered domain name that appear or should appear in the WHOIS or similar database, and (e) any other information we generate or obtain in connection with the provision of domain name registration services, other than the domain name being registered, the IP addresses of the primary nameserver and any secondary nameservers for the domain name, and the corresponding names of those nameservers. We do not have any ownership interest in your specific personal registration information outside of its rights in our domain name database.
    I guess one thing here is some people think a domain name and website hosting are 2 separate services. While they distinctly are, your provider isn't required to treat them separately when you sign-up, and resellers generally do that for billing and accounting conveniences.

    Of course, some people don't have to agree with that. But as long as you register your domain name with a registrar, or a reseller, you're bound to the terms of their agreement.

    I guess ProNIC gave the EPP keys to those separate from your charged-back account, trbtl?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    5,866
    Quote Originally Posted by trbtl
    However, I have contacted eNom again and shortly after ProNIC gave me the EPP keys. At least the keys for four domains out of the five of them so far. Here's to the last one!
    So it's not so bleak as you first mentioned Besides the EPP Codes you will need the domains to be in an unlocked status and you will need to have control over the email addresses in the Whois Admin Contacts for those domains.
    Signature Under Construction.

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