Earlier this month, the Justice Finkelstein of the Federal Court found Domain Names Australia and it's director, Chesley Rafferty, guilty of breaching the Trade Practices Act for Misleading & Deceptive Conduct.
Many of our readers will remember the unfortunately frequent alerts and warnings some time ago about letters from companies like DNA regarding domain name renewals. These letters were formatted to look like invoices, and used language that made it appear that non-payment would result in the loss of a company's domain name, and many confused recipients paid DNA out of confusion or fear of somehow losing their domain.
AuDA, the Australian domain names administrator, bought this action against DNA and Rafferty. This finding represents a major victory, one we firmly support, and AuDA "will now continue to pursue our class action against DNA and Chesley Rafferty to secure refunds for the many thousands of people who have been misled and deceived by these notices" according to AuDA's CEO, Chris Disspain.
Justice Finkelstein agreed with auDA's claim that the notices falsely represented:
- that they were a notice for the renewal of an existing registered domain name;
- that the domain name was due for renewal by the 'Closing Date' referred to in the notice; and
- that the recipient of the notice risked losing their domain name by not requesting DNA to renew it.
The disturbing thing about these specific letters is that most of them were for completely unregistered domain names that were similar to those of the recipient. As a result, many companies inadvertently registered domains that they didn't need at inflated prices.
Given the amount of pain this character has put us and our clients through in the last few years, and the negative effect this kind of behaviour has on community confidence in the internet industry, we're hoping AuDA completes the process and hits DNA and it's directors where it really hurts by getting back some of their ill-gotten money from conned customers.
For more information, visit AuDA
, the Australian Domain Name Administrator.