Another Australian domain name reseller has been penalised for seeking to deceive domain name holders into paying for new domains they did not intend to acquire.
The Federal Court of Australia this week gave a number of orders to Domain Register Pty Ltd after finding it had engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct.
Perth-formed Domain Register Pty Ltd sent 437,819 forms to more than 300,083 .com.au domain owners between January 2011 and May 2014 offering to supply a .com domain name registration for two years for $249.
The court found the new domain names being offered were deceptively similar to those already owned by the recipients and that the forms were deliberately designed to look like invoices or bills for the renewal of held domain names.
The court revealed 9851 recipients of the dubious notices purchased .com domain names that they did not subsequently renew.
The court ordered that for six years Domain Register not send unsolicited notices containing domain registration offers for similar domains to those already owned by the recipient without including the words “This is not a bill. You are not required to pay any money” in a prominent place on the face of the notice.
Domain Register was also ordered to offer $249 refunds to the 9851 “invoice” recipients and publish public notices in The Australian, The Herald Sun, Daily Telegraph and Courier Mail newspapers, as well as on its own website that detailed its deception, subsequent penalties and how misled buyers could request a refund.
The same domain registration scam has been carried out under at least two other company names.
Earlier this year the Federal Court ordered two domain name registration companies and director Steven Bell, also known as Steven Jon Oehlers according to the ACCC, to pay a combined $1.95 million for attempting to dupe Australian customers between November 2015 to April 2017.
Domain Name Corp and Domain Name Agency, also trading as Domain Name Register, sent about 300,000 unsolicited notices to customers that resembled renewal invoices for the recipient’s existing domain name, also requesting $249.
The full Domain Register judgement can be read here.