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    My host lost my .com, where do I stand?


    I am in a real tangle here. My host had an error on their billing system. A domain renewal came around and when I paid the bill it did not get assigned to the domain renewal. The domain lapsed, the 30 day cooling off period lapsed and now someone has bought the domain name.

    Normally my host sends me emails to remind me of looming expiration dates. They did originally, where I paid the outstanding balance. But as the renewal date approached I received no reminders, I received no reminders during the 30 day period and received no notification of the loss of the domain.

    The domain formed part of the strategy for growth for my business. I always buy domains as pairs - .co.uk and .com and the loss of this .com is a massive blow.

    As I understood it I paid my balance off to zero each time it was asked of me. I put all my trust in this company to act as the registrar for my domain names. They have really let me down.

    Where do I stand on getting this domain name back? Is there any responsibility on this company to get it back for me? A customer service person has already told me that it will be my responsibility to get this back myself. That cannot be right surely?

    Incidentally the company in question is WebFusion. They bought out my original host of many years XCalibre. Since the takeover their service has been awful, and I would not recommend them to anybody.

    Please can someone with some knowledge of the legalities of this situation offer me some advice. Many thanks.
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    I think you really have no recourse on getting the domain back except by working with the new owner. If it lapsed and it was then purchased it is legally theirs. You might have recourse on your host if you can prove you paid for the renewal, but that may be difficult, and in the end all that's going to do is get you a damage settlement and won't help get your domain name back. With domains that I care about I keep tabs on whois. If the expiry is approaching and you don't take action yourself I'm sorry to say but you share in the culpability since you didn't follow through and make sure it was renewed before the expiry date. The bottom line is someone else now owns it and it's now your responsibility to get it back. Unless there is malicious squatting or trademark infringement the owners don't even have to talk to you. If you can prove these things (trademark/squatting), call a lawyer.
    Last edited by medialint; December 28th, 2010 at 05:32 PM.
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    Originally Posted by medialint
    you share in the culpability since you didn't follow through and make sure it was renewed before the expiry date.
    Well I thought I had fulfilled my responsibility because I had paid my bill on time. I can't be a registrar myself can I? I can't go and register domain names. They have to be done through an agent don't they? I thought that was how it worked. I this case WebFusion were the agent, and as I said I put my trust in them to act on my behalf.

    We all know how hectic running a business can be, especially trying to get a small one off the ground, and in these difficult times. I am not making excuses, but what I am saying is I bet if I was some massive company paying loads for this service then this would be a different story, with the host/company bending over backwards to put it right.

    Time after time I've seen WebFusion just not care about their customers.
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    Well I thought I had fulfilled my responsibility because I had paid my bill on time. I can't be a registrar myself can I? I can't go and register domain names. They have to be done through an agent don't they? I thought that was how it worked. I this case WebFusion were the agent, and as I said I put my trust in them to act on my behalf.
    Yes indeed, that's why you might be able to recover monetary damages if you took them to court. The problem is, in a lot of cases it would cost more to take them to court than you would recover.

    We all know how hectic running a business can be, especially trying to get a small one off the ground, and in these difficult times. I am not making excuses, but what I am saying is I bet if I was some massive company paying loads for this service then this would be a different story, with the host/company bending over backwards to put it right.
    Actually big companies have lost domains before, although perhaps not under identical circumstances (most cases are failure to renew at all). Even in these cases the registrar could not return the domain to them, the company had to take action to get it back themselves. If the company has a trademark claim on the domain then it is almost always possible to get it back for relatively cheap. However, if they don't, then they usually end up having to pay a large sum of money to buy it back from the person who registered it; if that person is even willing to sell it.

    The hosting company has no power to put it right (assuming that by "put it right" you mean return the domain to you). As you said, they are merely an agent. ICANN controls the actual domain records, and you are not a client of ICANN's. As far as ICANN is concerned, one of their clients let the domain expire and another of their client's registered it afterwords. They are not going to reverse that transaction for any reason other than a trademark violation, so your host can't return the domain to you even if they wanted to.
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    If you get even one notification that you should renew your domain name, then you can not blame on the web hosting provider. Please also note that the domain name is your property, which is not owned by the web host. This means that you are responsible for the renewal.

    However if you paid your renewal fee prior to the expiration date and the renewal has not been processed because of any technical problems on the host's side, then they should pay the redemption fee and to get you domain name back to you. We have had 2-3 issues like this within the years and paid the redemption fees for customers, because it was our fault. I know other hosting providers that did the same!
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    Originally Posted by fcolor
    However if you paid your renewal fee prior to the expiration date and the renewal has not been processed because of any technical problems on the host's side, then they should pay the redemption fee and to get you domain name back to you. We have had 2-3 issues like this within the years and paid the redemption fees for customers, because it was our fault. I know other hosting providers that did the same!
    This is exactly what happened. So they have credited my account with the amount it cost to renew it. I phoned them this morning, having written a formal complaint around Christmas time. I was told they would not be able to get my domain name back. Is there a legal obligation to pay the redemption fee or is it a "good will" gesture on behalf of your company?
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    Is there a legal obligation to pay the redemption fee or is it a "good will" gesture on behalf of your company?
    It would be a good will gesture. They have no legal obligation to pay the person who now owns the domain to buy it back (I assume that's what he meant by a "redemption fee", because that is literally the only way your registrar could get the domain back in this case).

    Additionally, I can virtually guarantee that in the Terms of Service agreement you agreed to when you registered the domain they have some clause that says you won't hold them liable for damages in the event of a technical glitch that causes the domain to not be renewed. That doesn't mean you can't sue them for damages and win, it just makes it a bit harder.
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    Its true that you have paid the bill on time to renew your domain and because of the mistakes of the hosting provider you are suffering today. Th bottom line is the domain has been purchased by some other people now and you can not claim it back. The only thing you can do is to register a different domain with similar name with the good hosting providers.

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