Melbourne, 29 July 2002 – auDA has secured undertakings and corrective action from Internet Registry Pty Ltd after it sent a misleading mail out to hundreds of domain name registrants.
On 8 July 2002, auDA issued a Consumer Alert about a misleading mail out by Internet Registry Pty Ltd.
Following the alert, auDA informed the company that it would commence proceedings under the Trade Practices Act for misleading and deceptive conduct unless the company provided auDA with certain undertakings and took corrective action.
Internet Registry Pty Ltd has agreed to all of the demands made by auDA.
"This demonstrates that auDA is serious about enforcing ethical behaviour in the domain name industry, and is prepared to act swiftly to protect registrants," said auDA CEO, Chris Disspain.
In summary, Internet Registry Pty Ltd has agreed that it will not in future send out material that, insofar as it is false or misleading:
- appears to be an invoice
- represents it has authority to register or renew domain names
- represents that domain names can be registered for longer than 2 years
- represents that a fee of $198 must be paid to register or renew a domain name.
Internet Registry Pty Ltd will also send an email to registrants who have responded to or do respond to its mail out, which clarifies:
- that Internet Registry Pty Ltd is not a registry or registrar licensed or accredited by auDA, nor is it a reseller approved by a registrar;
- that the registration of a domain name cannot be renewed until, at the earliest, 90 days prior to the expiry date of registration of that domain name;
- what the company proposes to do with the registrant's funds pending renewal of the registration;
- that the company will refund the registration fee paid and discontinue/transfer the service;
- that Melbourne IT continues to be an auDA accredited registrar in the com.au second level domain.
In addition, Internet Registry Pty Ltd will include on its web site a corrective statement along similar lines by 30 July 2002.
For full details of the undertakings given by Internet Registry Pty Ltd, see below.
For media contact:
Internet Registry Pty Ltd has given the following undertakings to auDA:
That it will not in Australia or elsewhere, publish, distribute or display material by any means whatsoever (including electronic transmission and/or oral communications) which:
- Represents that it has a pre-existing relationship with a registrant if it does not, in particular, by sending notices in the form of an invoice and by describing its notices as "An Important Notice";
- Represents that it has the authority itself, and itself can provide, the registration or renewal of a registrant's domain name;
- Represents that the registrant's domain name is due for renewal;
- Represents that Melbourne IT has no administrative role in relation to the com.au domain space;
- Represents that Melbourne IT is not a registrar;
- Represents that it can register domain names on the Internet for a period of more than two years;
- Represents that it is necessary to have a "registry key" or password before a domain name can be renewed, if in truth it is not; or
- Represents that the fee that must be paid by a registrant for registration of a domain name is $198.00 for a two year period,
It has also undertaken that it will not supply, or authorise or permit any other person to supply, to any person, in the course of trade or commerce, any further notices in the form of the renewal notice sent to registrants which was the subject of auDA's complaint.
It has agreed to send a clarifying email to registrants, as follows:
"Internet Registry would like to apologise and offer clarification of a mail out that was sent to you on the 25 of June 2002. auDA (the governing body of the .au namespace) feels that certain elements of the mailer are misleading and Internet Registry seeks to clarify any confusion that could have occurred to our clients.
Firstly, Internet Registry operates as a facilitator of domain registrations and is not currently a registry or registrar licensed or accredited by auDA, nor is it a registrar approved reseller.
Secondly, Australian domain regulations currently are such that a domain name cannot be renewed, until at its earliest, 90 days prior to the expiry of that domain name. As such, payments that we have currently received from you will held by us until your domain is able to be renewed.
To prevent any feelings of ill will, Internet Registry will offer a refund of the amount you have paid to us for registration, if you request us to do so within 14 days of receipt of this email (in line with this, after you receive your refund, we will not proceed with your registration. So, if you wish to renew your domain name at a later time, you will need to do so yourself or engage a service provider to register it, and pay the appropriate renewal fees at that time).
Additionally, in the letter you received from us, there may have been confusion about the role that Melbourne IT now has. Melbourne IT whilst no longer the registry operator for the .com.au namespace continues to operate as an auDA accredited registrar for the .com.au namespace.
Internet Registry again apologises if any confusion has arisen for you or your company from our mail out and sincerely thanks you for your understanding."