auDA has a complaints process that helps ensure the .au domain is trustworthy and fair. 

The complaints process is laid out in section 3 of .au Domain Administration Rules: Licensing

What you can complain about

All complaints must be related to the responsibilities or obligations of a Registrant or Registrar under the auDA Rules. This includes issues like whether a person is eligible to hold a domain name, or the actions of a registrar regarding a particular .au domain name.

All complaints must be related to the responsibilities or obligations of a Registrant or Registrar under the auDA Rules. This includes issues like whether a person is eligible to hold a domain name, or the actions of a registrar regarding a particular .au domain name.

You may need to act quickly to submit a complaint as time limits can apply - find out more here

What you can't complain about

  • Consumer issues, website content and issues relating to web hosting - these should be referred to the appropriate government agencies;
  • A cancelled domain licence;
  • A decision made by auDA in the Public Interest.

auDA at its discretion may not accept any complaint or request for a review of any decision that is frivolous, vexatious, or not made in good faith.

If you are trying to gain control of a domain name, we recommend you lodge a complaint under the .auDRP policy or take legal action against the registrant.

The complaints process

auDA has a four-tiered complaints process. Here we'll give an overview of each tier.

1. Initial complaint

In all instances, whether about a registrant, domain name or registrar, a complaint must be first lodged with the registrar of record. Registrars are best placed to deal with complaints about domain name licences for which they are the registrar.

You can find the registrar of record for a domain name with a WHOIS search.

The registrar has 30 calendar days to resolve the issue.

When the registrar has made a decision, they must inform you of the decision and of the reasons for that decision, as well as of your right to a review of that decision.

2. Review of a registrar decision

If you're unhappy with the outcome of a registrar's decision, and have exhausted all avenues of redress with them, you can then request a review of the decision by auDA.

If a registrar has decided to cancel the domain licence in question, you have have five calendar days to request a review of the decision.  

For other matters you have 28 days from the date of the registrar decision to request a review.

Provided you've submitted all the necessary information, auDA then has 28 days to make a decision. 

auDA may revoke, affirm or vary the decision or hand it back to the registrar for reconsideration.

Once auDA has made a decision you'll be informed and the reasons for it, along with information about your right to request an internal review of auDA's decision.

More information: Requesting a review of a registrar decision

3. Internal review of auDA's decision

If you are affected by a decision made by auDA, you can apply for an internal review of that decision.

A request for a review must be lodged within 48 hours of receiving auDA's notification of the outcome of auDA's review of a registrar decision.

The internal review will be conducted by someone not involved in the original decision and more senior to the person who made the original decision.

In your application for an internal review you'll need to include all the original complaints, decisions and reasons, along with your reasoning for requesting a review and the outcome you're seeking.

If your application is valid, auDA will put on hold any decision made earlier until it has completed its review and let you know when you can expect a decision.

The reviewer may affirm, vary or revoke auDA's decision made in the review of the registrar decision.

You'll be notified of the outcome of the review and the reasoning, as well as your right to lodge a request for an external review.

More information: Requesting an internal review of auDA decision


4. External Review - Licence Review Panel

External Reviews are conducted by the Licence Review Panel, which is made up of people who can not be employees, directors or consultants to auDA or a registrar.

Applications must be lodged within 10 days of receiving the decision of an internal review. 

Applications must include all previous decisions and correspondence along with your reason for requesting a review and your desired outcome.

There is a fee to lodge an application for an external review which must be paid within three days of submitting an application or the application doesn't move forward. 

Once you've lodged an application, you'll receive a confirmation of receipt within 7 days.

Provided you've paid the fee and included all the required information, the requested will be forwarded to a member of the Licence Review Panel for consideration.

It's important to note that the Licence Review Panel can only review the case based on the material provided, and cannot take into consideration any material not previously provided to auDA as part of the complaints process.

The panel has 10 days to reach and advise you of the outcome. The panel may affirm auDA's decision, set it aside and make its own decision, or refer it back to auDA for reconsideration.

More information: Licence Review Panel(including fee information)

Rights of applicants

A Person has the right to pursue any cause of action under Australian law in respect of a complaint made to a Registrar or .au Domain Administration. However, a Person who commences proceedings will no longer to be able to bring a complaint under the Licencing Rules in relation to the same subject matter.

Category: Complaints and disputes