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GoDaddy / DomainsByProxy issue

 6:19 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

I received an email last week from GoDaddy.com and DomainsByProxy.com - Apparently they charged me $20 automatically for an inquiry made on one of my domains w/ private whois info. It's regarding an alleged legal issue. I contacted the party who made the inquiry & have not heard back. I also contacted DomainsByProxy.com and have not heard back from them either.

The issue is this - First of all, I didn't know they'd charge $20 for an inquiry! What's stopping people from making inquiries to cost their competition money? Secondly, they charged a credit card that doesn't belong to me - my name is on it, but it's not mine - w/out my authorization. That credit card is not associated with nor was ever used for the domain in question. Third, the party who made the inquiry could have contacted me via my web site in any number of ways.

Their inquiry was baseless. Neither the inquiring party, nor DomainsByProxy.com has responded to my emails. How can GoDaddy.com & DomainsByProxy.com justify charging $20 on top of the yearly fee to simply send an email?

<snip> I have a P.O. Box to protect my privacy, somewhat. But wanted that added security for a few of my domains. Because of this, I'm considering letting all of them go as it's not worth the potential charges and headaches.

Anyone else run into this? How did you handle it? How was it resolved? Or was it?

[edited by: Webwork at 5:03 pm (utc) on Nov. 14, 2006]



 8:04 pm on Nov 13, 2006 (gmt 0)

From their Proxy Agreement:

d. Forwarding Fees

In consideration for (i) handling and forwarding certified and traceable courier mail and certain first class correspondence, and (ii) responding to and dealing with complaining third parties, You agree to pay DBP at the time such services are provided...

e. Additional Administrative Fees

DBP reserves the right to charge a reasonable service fee for administrative tasks outside the scope of its regular services. These include, but are not limited to, customer service issues that cannot be handled over email but require personal service, and disputes that require legal services....

From FAQs:

What are Domains By Proxy's shipping and handling fees?
When Domains By Proxy receives certified or traceable courier mail or legal notices addressed to your domain that requires forwarding, we post an e-mail message to your Domains By Proxy account under the "My Messages" page. The message identifies the sender of the correspondence, the date we received it and a brief description of its contents. You have 72 hours to decide whether you wish to reject the correspondence or have it forwarded via overnight courier or facsimile (or both).

- If you choose to have the correspondence faxed, the charge is $1.50 per page plus a handling fee of $20.00.

- If you choose to have the correspondence sent via overnight courier, the charge is the courier's cost (typically Federal Express standard overnight) plus a handling fee of $20.00.

Seems pretty clear to me. Did you read the fine print before you signed-up with the service?


 9:58 pm on Nov 14, 2006 (gmt 0)

We must have different definitions of "clear"

I just went back and looked up the "Domain Name Proxy Agreement" as if I were adding it to a domain name - Nowhere, that I can see, does it specify $20 or Twenty Dollars (ctrl+f for "20" and "twenty"). So, technically, I didn't agree to that.

I logged into my account on DomainsByProxy & there was nothing under "My Messages" & I never asked for anything via overnight courier. I haven't received anything via Fed Ex, or any other courier, from DomainsByProxy, so why was I charged that much anyway? Your quotes don't mention email correspondence.

Regardless, the bigger issues still stand - How do they prevent abuse via baseless inquiries such as the one in my case? Why did they use a credit card that was not associated w/ that domain name & that they were not authorized to use? Why aren't they replying to emails?

They give themselves 72hrs to reply - I never got a reply to my first, after waiting 72hrs, I'm still waiting on the second and when that 72hrs are up, I'm getting on the phone.

[edited by: Celicaphile at 10:04 pm (utc) on Nov. 14, 2006]


 12:01 am on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

DBP reserves the right to charge a reasonable service fee for administrative tasks outside the scope of its regular services. These include, but are not limited to, customer service issues that cannot be handled over email but require personal service, and disputes that require legal services....

You may argue as to whether or not $20 is "reasonable", but there it is. It's pretty wide-open.

This is like many other open-ended consumer contracts - i.e. your cell phone agreement, most insurance policies, etc. They pretty much have the right to change anything any time they want, and set fees as they see fit.

The only real recourse you have is to terminate the agreement and choose not to do business with them.

Well, what do you expect for $10/year?

Yes, anybody who wanted could absolutely cost you a ton of money. Just make a bunch of phone calls, send a lot of certified letters, and make a lot of legal threats. With or without basis.

If you have more than a small handful of domains, it's cheaper and probably at least as secure to simply get a P.O. Box ($35/year), seperate voice mail($25/year - even free now with at least one VOIP service), and disposible email address service($10/yr). OK, a handful and one digit of domains.


 12:13 am on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

In the part you quoted, it refers to "the scope of its regular services" ...if this is the reason their service exists - to be an intermediary - wouldn't this fall w/in the scope of its regular services? It also states, "customer service issues that cannot be handled over email" - the correspondence was handled over email & by no other method, therefore that doesn't apply to me.

I might write the $20 off as lesson learned if it came out of one of my accounts, but they charged a credit card they have no business using w/out my authorization.

That's the main problem. That and that they cannot answer a single email w/out referring me to the general manager who doesn't answer any of those emails.

I will definitely not be using them again as I do already have a P.O. Box, but I'll have to remove my name from the whois info since sites like zabasearch exist...

[edited by: Celicaphile at 12:17 am (utc) on Nov. 15, 2006]


 5:24 am on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

The moment you checked that box beside the "I have read the service agreement and agree to its terms", you're bound to them no matter how you feel about it.

You don't even have to use their privacy services. Read the first few paragraphs of their service agreement at their main site and you'll find a similar provision.

And before you consider disputing the billing charges, be aware that registrars treat such as fraud unconditionally. They'll lock and suspend access to any account that bore the credit card details.

If you don't agree with any of their terms, move your domain names elsewhere.

<Snip - Shameless plug removed. ;-P )

[edited by: Webwork at 10:00 am (utc) on Nov. 15, 2006]
[edit reason] Ahem . . Shamless plugs are unforgiveable even amongst buddies. [/edit]


 4:41 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

I have the agreement I accepted printed out and saved as a pdf - As I stated previously, there is no mention of a $20 fee in those terms for anything that has transpired in this case. I'm not going to dispute the charges w/ the credit card company, but since I didn't authorize that charge, I would hope they would choose to refund the money.

I'm glad it wasn't a client's credit card, otherwise it probably would have been disputed. The card belongs to my parents & was used for a site I did for them quite some time ago. It was never used for the domain in question.

Like I said, I might have written it off as lesson learned, but it's not the terms I have a problem with - it's the fact that the terms don't mention the fee and/or it doesn't apply to me. As far as I can tell, there was no reason to charge me, and, again, they had no authorization to use that card.

I pay a yearly fee for them to provide the service & they state that there are additional fees for anything beyond email correspondence, which there was not. The $20 fee isn't mentioned in the agreement I accepted. It may be in their FAQ, but it doesn't apply to me.


 7:37 pm on Nov 15, 2006 (gmt 0)

Hey, thanx for this post celicaphile, & thanx jtara for posting the T&C wich i apparently didn't read when i added privacy protection to my domain purchases ( hyuk). Since i'm not a professional webmaster yet, making real money, my cruddy day job could've wound up paying for someones Lexus over at Domains By Proxy. B>$
( Actually it's probably a valuable service if you can afford the overnite etc.!)
You can go right into your account there & cancel their service. Then go back to GoDaddy & change your contact info. There's a security feature here though that you must agree to, that they ignore any request for transfer of the domain for the next 60 days after the change of contact info ( not cancelation of service though.). So you can't cancel privacy, change whois, & then change registrars( if you still need to.), at least right way.


 9:03 pm on Nov 16, 2006 (gmt 0)

It may be in their FAQ, but it doesn't apply to me.

You can think it doesn't apply to you. But the registrar doesn't have to see it that way, especially when you've agreed to all their terms the moment you registered your domain name with them.

Their terms are "ambiguous" enough to cover whatever they see fit. You can probably complain to the powers-that-be, but don't expect anything positive.

If it indeed results into a UDRP and if you win, remind them to kindly refund you. ;)

(sorry for the shameless plug, WebWork!)

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