I was dismayed a few weeks ago when I contacted a client because it was time to renew his domain name. He was utterly convinced he had already paid his renewal. I called in to have a look at the invoice… turned out it wasn’t an invoice at all. Domain Name Group had sent him a notice which had been craftily designed to look like an invoice, in fact it was an offer to register his domain name as .net.au rather than .com.au.
The dirty rotten scammers have just sent ME a similar notice for the renewal of the domain name for this blog and I can so easily see how many less-than-tech-savvy domain owners could be duped by these guys. To add insult to injury, they are “charging” $245 – about five times the usual going rate for an Australian domain for two years’ registration. The real danger of course is that the confusion these b*stards cause could be very dangerous for businesses where they neglect to register their real domain name. This is likely to lead to all sorts of problems including the loss of emails for a few hours at best, or even perhaps much longer before they realise the problem.
The authority responsible for Australian domain registrations are aware of these guys and have talked about them on their website here: http://www.auda.org.au/consumeralert/ca-09052011/.
The big frustration is that these guys haven’t technically broken the law, so there’s no use reporting them. Their notice LOOKS like an invoice, but the heading at the top says “Domain Name Available” rather than Tax Invoice. Smart but nasty.