I have been receiving an increasing number of phone calls from clients lately, regarding a letter they have received in the mail. The letter appears to be a bill for their domain name, and even though their domain was registered by Temerity, the bill is from a totally different company that they’ve never heard of. It’s no surprise that my clients call me all confused and wondering if they need to pay this other company. The short answer is no!
Unfortunately, marketing tactics by other companies trying to win over business has reached levels that are quite disgusting in my eyes. These companies are using scare tactics and confusion to try and lure clients into transferring their domain name to them from their existing web services provider.
The letters (which aren’t actually an official invoice) are designed to look like an invoice that must be paid. They also contain sentences such as “you must renew your domain name to retain exclusive rights to it on the web” and “if you do not renew now your domain will expire and you will lose it”. To website owners who don’t know the intricate details about domain name renewals, it seems like they must pay this money to this random company or risk losing their domain. And this is not true!
Yes, a domain name must be renewed or it will expire, but the company you registered the domain name with will ALWAYS tell you when the domain name is due for renewal, and will organise this before it expires.
It is frustrating when my clients call up worried they are going to lose their website, because some other company is trying to make a quick buck. What’s more, these companies can charge up to $249 for a domain name that would normally cost $30-60. So they are not only preying customers who may be scared or confused into paying them, they are also ripping them off by charging exorbitant prices! Luckily, most clients have called us, rather than simply going ahead and paying the money.
I have made a complaint previously about these dodgy practices, however was informed that the companies have carefully worded the letters they send out, as to not break any rules. Highly immoral yes, illegal no. So it seems these letters aren’t going to disappear any time soon.
If you’re worried about a similar thing happening to you, there is one easy way to avoid it. If you receive something via mail or email from a company you’ve never heard of, requesting payment for services or renewals, simply call us! We can tell you if they are legitimate or not, and put you at ease, knowing your website and domain name are secure. It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Things to look out for:
- A letter (or email) from a company you have never heard of requesting payment.
- The main culprits: Domain Renewal Group, Domain Name Group, Domain Register
- The letter looks like an invoice but doesn’t say Tax Invoice anywhere on the page
- The wording has a sense of urgency and risk, requiring you to act now!
- The cost seems very excessive
This “scam” has been around for a few years now and it probably isn’t going away. The only thing to do is ignore it, and if you aren’t sure, ask us.