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Honourable Citizen?
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Need info about "domain slamming" & "Domain Registry of Canada"

I'm the person who registered a .org domain for a non-profit organization that I'm involved with. I've been paying the bill annually with a credit card, it was last paid Nov 2009 and is good until Nov 2010.

The whois info has the mailing address of our treasurer on it. I haven't seen a copy of the bill yet but apparently she was sent something to do with our domain and she paid it. Unfortunately she didn't talk to me first. She said it looked like a government bill.

Today I received an email about our domain from "the Domain Registry of Canada" through an email address at namejuice.com. They're asking me to "complete the transfer" of our domain to them from NetNation by going to their website and giving them an "EPP code". I don't know what an EPP code is, I assume it would be my password with the current registrar.

Of course, I won't do anything like that. From what I can tell our domain remains unaffected and no transfer can occur unless I authorize it. But looking around the net I've found that apparently some transfers have occurred, even without permission and that the paying of their scam bill serves as authorization.

Does anyone know anything more about this sort of thing and whether or not our domain would safe?
 

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Premium Member
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A lot of companies are sending out bills that look like fake renewals with info mined from the domain name registry. They need more info than they have to actually transfer the domain name. Just cancel your "service" with them to make sure they leave you alone. Shouldn't be conflicting info out there as to who you're registered with.
 

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Honourable Citizen?
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
A lot of companies are sending out bills that look like fake renewals with info mined from the domain name registry. They need more info than they have to actually transfer the domain name. Just cancel your "service" with them to make sure they leave you alone. Shouldn't be conflicting info out there as to who you're registered with.
Thanks MF.

The whois info shows that we're currently registered with NetNation, our actual registrar. I don't think we'll get back the $40 or so that our treasurer paid out on the scam invoice.

I'm hesitant to contact Domain Registry of Canada at all, in case my acknowledging them or contacting them might somehow give them some basis for authorizing a domain transfer. Maybe this was in another jurisdiction, but I did read that simply paying their bill counted as authority, based on the fine print.

The awful part about this is that the Domain Registry of Canada is a legal domain registrar/web hosting company, doing business legally in Toronto. They should be shut down and fined into bankruptcy for engaging in these kind of deceptive practices. Our treasurer isn't internet savvy and had no way of knowing this wasn't a valid bill. They scammed a non-profit with negligible resources out of a bit of money we could have put to better use.

Another question that some ehMaccian might have an answer to is do these "domain guard" services provided by some registrars actually offer any protection?
 

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I used to receive notices of this sort from that company and Verisign in the U.S. They were very carefully worded to indicate that they did not currently hold the account--that they were in the business of protecting the domain should it lapse, or some nonsense like that. Thankfully the person who received it asked: "Should I pay this?" I remember that the registration price was at least three times what they were currently paying.

I added these tags to this thread--"Domain Registry of Canada Scam"--to expand the growing list of sites exposing their scumbag marketing.
 

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Honourable Citizen?
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I used to receive notices of this sort from that company and Verisign in the U.S. They were very carefully worded to indicate that they did not currently hold the account--that they were in the business of protecting the domain should it lapse, or some nonsense like that. Thankfully the person who received it asked: "Should I pay this?" I remember that the registration price was at least three times what they were currently paying.

I added these tags to this thread--"Domain Registry of Canada Scam"--to expand the growing list of sites exposing their scumbag marketing.
Tags, good idea! Thanks MF. Ours was 4 times what we pay for our domain. Fortunately the treasurer didn't opt to pay for their multi-year "deal" including a huge "saving".

I found a copy of one of the deceptive bills sent to a web site owner online:



I printed that out and showed it to our treasurer and she said that was what the one she paid looked like. Unfortunately she didn't read the disclaimer or didn't understand what it meant. She doesn't even understand what a "domain" is, so she was prime fodder for this scam.

When I have some time I'm going to look into what official avenues of complaint we might have. I'm also going to contact the company and let them know what I think of them and their scummy business practices.
 

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Premium Member
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What are you going to complain about?
What you posted clearly states what this is about and also says this is not a bill.
One doesn't have to know anything about "domains" or anything technical to understand that.
 

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Honourable Citizen?
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What are you going to complain about?
What you posted clearly states what this is about and also says this is not a bill.
One doesn't have to know anything about "domains" or anything technical to understand that.
It's clearly deceptive and designed to look like an invoice. It obviously designed to confuse, not clarify their intention.

"Clearly stated" would have meant in large text along the top rather than buried in the text. I don't know if this is exactly like the one our treasurer received, but it fooled her and someone else she asked about it. She commented that she thought it came from a government body and the fact that it had my name and email address, as well as our organization's address on it made her think it was legit. She wasn't aware that this info is available publicly on the whois database. It also contained a lie, in that our domain was not due to expire, unless 6 months from now means due to expire.

Our treasurer is guilty of not reading the whole thing and not talking to me first, but I'm sure she's not the only one who has been taken in by this company's deception.
 

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GA - All I'm saying is that there is no agency I know of which would accept a complaint about this.
Nowhere does it say this is an invoice, throughout the text...even the very first three lines it spells out what this document is about.
If that company really wanted to defraud you, they would have just taken the $40.- and stopped there, but no, they sent you an email about the transfer about your domain name just as they stated in the second line.
That is actually the way you found out about it, wasn't it?
I would just contact them to tell them
a. that there was a mistake made and you don't want to transfer your domain, and
b. you expect a refund.

As to domain expiry notification - I get that from my domain registrar many months ahead as well - several times once a month it seems - all automated of course.
I can imagine, if your domain registration expires, people can grab it and then the old domain owner has a huge problem if it is an active domain.
I have my domain renewal set up on an automatic basis to make sure that doesn't happen - even then I get all these renewal notices.

BTW - I get these types of notices on a more or less regular basis, not from this company, but mail and email solicitations that at first glance look like an invoice. I assume you have never come across one before.
 

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Honourable Citizen?
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
GA - All I'm saying is that there is no agency I know of which would accept a complaint about this.
Nowhere does it say this is an invoice, throughout the text...even the very first three lines it spells out what this document is about.
Doing a little more investigation of this and there are agencies that have taken complaints and labelled this company as being involved in deceptive practices. The Better Business Bureau has given DROC their lowest rating, an F and has many unaddressed complaints made against the company. The Competition Bureau of Canada has previously fined this company and its owner, operating under a former name for "misleading representations provisions of the Competition Act".

If that company really wanted to defraud you, they would have just taken the $40.- and stopped there, but no, they sent you an email about the transfer about your domain name just as they stated in the second line.
That is actually the way you found out about it, wasn't it?
No, I found about it when the treasurer casually commented to me that she had paid the bill for our domain. I told her that this didn't make any sense and while I was waiting for her to get back to me with the details of what she had paid I received the email. I imagine the thinking of the company is that they are treading just to one side of what they think is legally defensible. I'm sure they also think that if I fell for their fake invoice, I might go all the way and transfer control of our domain to them and their astronomical registration charges.

I would just contact them to tell them
a. that there was a mistake made and you don't want to transfer your domain, and
b. you expect a refund.
I've read that some have received refunds from DROC and others have met with frustration. I may try this next week. A mistake was definitely made and that is what they designed their fake invoice to ensure.

As to domain expiry notification - I get that from my domain registrar many months ahead as well - several times once a month it seems - all automated of course.
I can imagine, if your domain registration expires, people can grab it and then the old domain owner has a huge problem if it is an active domain.
I have my domain renewal set up on an automatic basis to make sure that doesn't happen - even then I get all these renewal notices.

BTW - I get these types of notices on a more or less regular basis, not from this company, but mail and email solicitations that at first glance look like an invoice. I assume you have never come across one before.
I've received my domain expiry notifications 60 or 90 days prior to my domain's renewal dates. If I had received a notice from a company I've never done business with I would immediately know something was fishy. Unfortunately the treasurer had no idea who our domain registrar was and had no clear idea even what a domain registration is.
 

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Premium Member
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I think the best you can do is to warn other people that this letter is not their invoice and be done with it. Given the careful wording of the letter in its current form, the company would have to want to give you the money back.
 

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peek-a-boo
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it's clear dirty play by them putting "domain name expiration notice" on the top like that. You immediately assume this is from your domain name registrar, and if you aren't the person in charge of registering but writing cheques, it works even better.

Scam is the right word for this. Even the likes of rogers or bell wouldn't go this far.
 
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it's clear dirty play by them putting "domain name expiration notice" on the top like that. You immediately assume this is from your domain name registrar, and if you aren't the person in charge of registering but writing cheques, it works even better.

Scam is the right word for this. Even the likes of rogers or bell wouldn't go this far.
Yep, Domain Registry of Canada is a total scam. They are also harvesting your information from the WHOIS database, which is illegal to do (in Canada) for the purposes they are using it for. I confronted them about this one time after having gotten a whole handful of these notices at an old workplace (which I thankfully caught before accounting paid them out as thy were going to) and the person on the other end of the line got very snarky and told me straight out that there were other ways of getting your info from the WHOIS database besides doing it directly which is what is against the law, but they did admit that's where the info came from. I requested that they remove us from their mailings AND faxes (they were sending much the same sort of thing as spam faxes at that point) and they flat out refused to remove us -- which I think is in fact regulated, but I could never be bothered to take it further than that as far as finding someone to report them to.

The biggest problem, aside from the fake invoice style is their name. From their name they sound like they should be the main governing body that handles registrations in Canada or some such and they have fooled quite a lot of people because of that, even more experienced computer folks. Lastly, worth noting, they are also not CIRA approved registrars, meaning they can't even register canadian domain names (despite their very misleading name) as that would have been a valid avenue to file a complaint. I did speak to a person at CIRA who was very familiar with the company name but told me there was nothing they could do about them :(
 

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peek-a-boo
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I would think if enough people complain, something -might- get done. But it is very frustrating.

Perhaps a website devoted to calling out people who have been taken by this scam.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
In the company's previous incarnation as Internet Registry of Canada they were fined by the competition bureau for fooling 73,000 people. They were fined $40,000 which doesn't seem like enough if they got that many people to pay them. They were put on some kind of a prohibition, so they changed their name and carried on.

They run a similar company in the US called Domain Registry of America, which does exactly the same thing. The US Federal Trade Commission has issued some sort of judgement against them, mandating them to facilitate transferring back registrations of people they have tricked. They also have a European company called, strangely enough, Domain Registry of Europe.

It's all owned by a Canadian numbered company. It looks to me like our regulations aren't up to dealing with this properly, which is probably why they're based in Toronto.

Someone is even using the searches for "domain registry of canada scam" to generate domain registration business for themselves. Or maybe this is another arm of Domain Registry of Canada. They have a domainregsitryofcanada . biz (didn't want to generate a link) blog that urges people to try their cheaper registrations.
 
G

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I would think if enough people complain, something -might- get done. But it is very frustrating.

Perhaps a website devoted to calling out people who have been taken by this scam.
The problem is that there's no one to complain to that has any power over this stuff in Canada.
 

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Just lost my detailed comments on the above - I wish ehMac would fix that, but in a nutshell -

Up front I wanted to state that I don't condone the practice of this company, but there are many others doing the same thing, trying to woo customers away from the competition.
The other point was that there is a lot of misinformation being posted.
For instance - Competition Bureau charges were filed because the Internet Registry of Canada stated false information in their letters (you can read the detauls on the CB website) - that's no longer the case - there is no false information in the current letter.
Also, on the BBB website, this company has received 27 complaints over a 36 month period - that's less than one per month which doesn't seem to be excessive. The BBB gave them the poor rating because the company only responded to 6 of those complaints.
As to
Lastly, worth noting, they are also not CIRA approved registrars, meaning they can't even register canadian domain names
The company registers the domains through an approved ICAAN accredited registrar, so the domains that do get registered through them are perfectly valid.

And finally - what I really don't understand with a business - how do invoices get paid without a PO. In my company, accounting doesn't pay anything without a valid PO number on the invoice - no PO. no payment, simple as that.
 

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Tritium Glow
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And finally - what I really don't understand with a business - how do invoices get paid without a PO. In my company, accounting doesn't pay anything without a valid PO number on the invoice - no PO. no payment, simple as that.
Well the Sauce did say it's a non-profit. The "treasurer" in all likelihood is not someone with a professional background in business or business practices.

Sauce, best of luck in getting you money back. Be persistent and perhaps contact the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial affairs.
 

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Well the Sauce did say it's a non-profit. The "treasurer" in all likelihood is not someone with a professional background in business or business practices.

Sauce, best of luck in getting you money back. Be persistent and perhaps contact the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial affairs.
The company offers a refund if the domain hasn't been registered yet with them - so getting the money back less some processing fee should not be an issue.

As to profit or non-profit organization and professional background or business practices - I would have thought it's just common sense to verify that an invoice is valid before it gets paid.
If nothing else, maybe this was a good lesson for the organization.
 

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Honourable Citizen?
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well the Sauce did say it's a non-profit. The "treasurer" in all likelihood is not someone with a professional background in business or business practices.

Sauce, best of luck in getting you money back. Be persistent and perhaps contact the Ministry of Consumer and Commercial affairs.
Thanks. Yes, our non-profit's treasurer is a volunteer, not an accountant and has a very busy life, which is probably why the finer print in the letter didn't get read.

I'm not worried about the money, it was only $40 and fortunately she didn't pay more. I was initially worried that somehow they might have authority to switch our domain based on the mistaken payment, but I don't think that's possible, although I intend to follow up after the holiday Monday. But now I'm just friggin' mad at these SOBs, which might very well fuel some additional effort on my part.
 

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Tritium Glow
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Hear you being pissed. Definitely let them know they tried to screw a non-profit, may expedite things. You're already creating internet awareness of the scumbags, so if you have the energy and will to take it further, they most certainly deserve it. Keep us updated.
 
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