|Will Web Designer Be Held Responsible If Their Client.|
What is the risk of registering domains for clients?
I am a freelance web designer working for hundred of sites that I registered for my clients using my own credit card and hosting their sites at my server. The registrant names and addresses are under my clients.
As the number of sites under my management is growing, it is very difficult for me to keep track on them. What I am afraid is that what is going to happen if one day one of my client does not deliver the goods that he is supposed to sell or committed fraud or something illegal e.g. selling pirated DVD instead of original. I know that customers who paid through credit card can always charge back if they are not satisfied. But will I be responsible if my clients get sued or something like that?
Thanks for your advice.
[edited by: Mistra at 3:26 am (utc) on Nov. 29, 2006]
|I am a freelance web designer working for hundred of sites that I registered for my clients using my own credit card and hosting their sites at my server. The registrant names and addresses are under my clients. |
Those 2 points are already potentially against you.
Registrars consider the listed registrant as the legal name holder of the domain name, no ifs ands or buts...
...even if you paid for them with your credit card.
If any of your clients decide to pull a fast one over you, they could contact the registrar in question, follow their procedures to gain access to their respective domain names, and eventually have complete control over them. And you'd be left with nothing except bitter memories.
Have you made any written or electronic agreements of any sort with your clients? If not, you'd better get it done right away, especially with a lawyer who specializes in these things since you've already gotten knee deep.
Additionally, get your credit card off their respective records. If any of them is set to autorenew and one of your clients screw you, you don't want them getting an extra free year off your hard work.
This is just at the top of my head. I'll probably post later when I return.
If you are NOT the registrant, and you are in NO WAY affiliated with the merchant bank account that is processing the credit card transactions, there is no chance any suit brought against you would stick.
However, people can name whomever they want in lawsuits and if someone is angry enough to sue, they'll probably cast a wide net just in case anyone named feels the urge to throw some money around to get their name off the suit.
So, as long as it is clear who owns and operates the site, I would be really hard pressed to believe you could be held accountable for the misdeeds of your clients, but just be aware that anyone can name anyone in a lawsuit. If you are served and you legitimately had nothing to do with it, just retain counsel and have him/her contact opposing counsel. That's usually all it takes to get it handled. They're not going to waste effort persuing you if it's clear you had nothing to do with it, you've lawyered up, and you're not a deep pocket anyway.
Hope this helps!
I'm no lawyer, but if a site does bad, it'll be the manager of the site who is responsible, not the person who happens to own the domain name.
However, if the domain is in your name, it may appear that you are the manager.
The sensible solution would be to sell the domains to the people you bought them for. I'm amazed, in fact, that they've allowed you to hang on to them - I wouldn't have!
If you did it to trap them, then that same hold puts you in the frame. Get rid. Morally and practically the safest solution!
|The registrant names and addresses are under my clients. |
I think there some confusion about the setup you're describing, but if you're saying the domains are registered in your client's names, then IMO you're safe. Even if you were listed as a technical contact for the domain, you would never be dragged into it unless the client was selling drugs or something.
|I think there some confusion about the setup you're describing, but if you're saying the domains are registered in your client's names, then IMO you're safe. Even if you were listed as a technical contact for the domain, you would never be dragged into it unless the client was selling drugs or something. |
That is exactly what I had in mind. If the registrant is not responsible for any misdeed they made, then why the domain registrars have separate columns for admin contact, technical contact, and billing contact.