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there’s a peck with an acorn pointed at me

I own a number of Internet domains, which is not news to anyone who knows me. It is my exclusive right to brag about the following domains: elyograg.org, elyograg.com, elyograg.net, elyograg.info, atory.org, itory.org, lowerlights.com, and lowerlights.info. There are also a number of other people’s domains that my server handles. My wife has khimera.org. I handle DNS and email (but not webhosting) for erinat.com and DNS for marvthegrate.org.

When I registered my first three elyograg domains, it was with Network Solutions, who at the time held a monopoly on the business. When my domains came up for renewal the first time, I chose DomainDirect. They were not the cheapest, but TUCOWS advertised them, so I felt it was probably a reputable choice. The registrations were $30 for two years, significantly cheaper than the $35 per year charged by Network Solutions. I later moved lowerlights.com from Network Solutions to DomainDirect as well. GoDaddy was around at the time, but their cheap price actually scared me away, thinking the company probably wouldn’t be able to maintain its business and would probably go under before too long. Had I known anything at the time about GoDaddy’s founder, I would not have been worried and my life would now be much simpler.

When my personal domains again came up for renewal, I asked around for opinions, and was told about 1&1 Internet, offering domains for $5.99 per year. I moved my domains there, opting for only one year to give them a trial run. I encountered all sorts of technical weirdness and irritations with their admin interface, but I plowed my way through it and was eventually able to get things working. Of the three domains, elyograg.net was actually a new registration because I had previously let it expire. The other two were transferred from DomainDirect, and therefore had expiration dates a few days later than elyograg.net.

In the meantime, in the process of helping friends with their domains, I became better acquainted with GoDaddy, and found that their admin interface was wonderful. The one time I ran into an issue, it was quickly fixed with a phone call. Contrary to my initial fear about the company failing because their price was too low, they are very successful, claiming to be the world’s largest domain registrar. Earlier this year I registered new domains (khimera.org, itory.org, and atory.org) with GoDaddy.

I decided that in the middle of June 2005, when my 1&1 registration was about to expire, I would move to GoDaddy. Unfortunately, June became a very busy month for me. Aside from working and sleeping, I had very little time to think about anything. This is where my problem begins.

One June 19th, I received an invoice from 1&1 for elyograg.net, which had an expiration date of June 14th. They had charged my credit card for a renewal. I had reported the credit card they had on file as lost (I later found it), so it was no longer valid. For some reason the charge went through anyway. I initiated the transfer process for the three domains on June 20th and was able to finally get the confirmation faxed in on the 21st. I purchased two years of registration for each domain.

I didn’t think about it again until July 18th, when I received another invoice in my email, billing me for another year on elyograg.org and elyograg.com. I was annoyed by this, because I had transferred the domains nearly a month before. On July 21st, I got a message saying that the debit had been declined (apparently the bank finally got a clue), and that the domains would simply expire if I did not make the payment, so I figured it was done and I wasn’t going to worry about it.

On July 26th, I got a reminder message about the missed payment, this time threatening to send the matter to a collection agency and add a service fee of $18.95 on top the the $11.98 outstanding amount. I wrote to them about it. It took them two days to respond (7/28), asking for my customer number and name, which actually had already been included in the original message. I responded to that, and got another reply FIVE DAYS LATER on August 2nd saying that I still owed them the money because the billing period started on June 19th, and I had initiated my transfer one day later on the 20th. I double-checked the invoice, and found that this was indeed the case.

I then looked closely at my domain’s WHOIS data, checking the expiration date to see what my two years of registration with GoDaddy had done to it. The domains expire in 2007, which means that 1&1 had not extended the expiration date, and therefore had no reason to expect to be paid for it. I also looked at the expiration date for elyograg.net, which I had already paid 1&1 for (the charge cleared my bank on June 24th), and discovered that it too expired in 2007. They haven’t delivered what I’ve already paid for, and they are trying to bill me for additional services which they have not delivered.

I wrote all this in an email to 1&1 and sent a BCC to the abuse and support addresses for GoDaddy. At this time I have not gotten a response from 1&1, but GoDaddy did respond. My email conversation with them gave me two pieces of information – they cannot get involved in a billing dispute with another registrar, and it will not be possible for 1&1 to extend my expiration date.

This situation has left me feeling ripped off. I will be calling 1&1’s billing department to discuss the matter.

By elyograg

Faced with the choice between changing one's mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy with the proof.
-- J.K. Galbraith

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