Regarding com.au domain name licences

Posted by on 2 April 2001

WARNING - .com.au Domain Name Licences are for 2 years and must be renewed for each 2 year period.

Be WARY of offers of longer Licence periods

It has come to auDA's attention that some .com.au domain name suppliers are informing consumers that, through that supplier, they can license, or renew the licence, for a .com.au domain name for periods ranging from 2 to 10 years.

.com.au Licences are for a FIXED PERIOD of 2 years and must be renewed at the end of the period. The service that consumers are being offered is NOT a licence for a longer period. It is a service to renew your licence for you at the end of each 2 year period. So, if you pay for, say, a 6 year renewal the supplier will then pay the Registrar every two years for the renewal until the 6 years is up, with no need for action by you, the customer. This amounts to a renewal of 2 years and pre-payment of two further 2 year renewals after that.

It is auDA's view that such a service is fraught with difficulty and consumers should be wary and act only after careful consideration of the following points;

  • If the supplier goes out of business during the period, they will not be able to process your renewal for you even though you have paid for it in advance. So, you will have to renew yourself or through another supplier and pay the cost of renewal AGAIN. You will have lost the money you have pre-paid.
  • A domain name licence may be revoked if the licence holder no longer meets the eligibility rules. In future, it is possible that a renewal might be rejected because the applicant no longer complies with the rules. If that occurs, there is no guarantee that you will be able to recover the pre-paid sums from the supplier.
  • auDA believes there is every likelihood that .com.au domain names (and others) will be significantly cheaper in 2 or 4 years time than they are today. Accordingly you may be paying more for your domain name renewal than you need to.

It is critical that consumers carefully read the terms and conditions of any offer prior to agreeing. These terms and conditions may include such clauses as;

'The customer acknowledges that domain name registration and renewals are undertaken by the Registrar for a period of two years and that the Supplier acts only to apply to renew or register those domain names each time that a renewal is required and will not be responsible in the event that the Registrar fails to renew the domain name.'

and;

'The customer irrevocably waives any claim that it may have against the supplier with respect to any decision by the Registrar to refuse to register the domain name and agrees that the fee paid shall be non-refundable in any event.'

You can contact auDA, the self regulatory body that governs the .au domain space and sets policy in respect to domain names, for further information, by emailing info@auda.org.au.

If you believe you have been misled or deceived in respect to purchasing or renewing your domain name licence to your disadvantage, then you may contact the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC). The ACCC is responsible for administering the Trade Practices Act 1974, which contains prohibitions against certain types of misleading or deceptive conduct. Contact details are athttp://www.accc.gov.au