What follows is a blog post we made from September 2014. This is still happening today, two years later, in September 2016.
I believe there is something fishy going on with auDA taking Australian domain names off people, and then NETFLEET selling them over and over again.
Here is my open letter to NETFLEET – I wonder if they will do the right thing?
To NETFLEET MANAGEMENT,
On the 2nd of September I paid Netfleet $64.25 for the domain name FLYBYS.com.au
auDA sent me an email saying I was not entitled to the name because it is on a “prohibited misspellings” list.
I made you, NETFLEET, aware of this in an email to Mark in your support team.
I emailed Mark at Netfleet that if auDA was taking the domain name from me, I would be seeking a full refund in accordance with the Trade Practices Act 1974. Particularly on the grounds that I have wrongfully had my goods (domain name 2-years) and services (2 year license) taken from me within a month of purchase.
On the 16th September, Mark replied:
Every registrar in Australia allows these domains to be registered. The problem is we, Netfleet, have been charged by the registry for this – they won’t refund us either.
I hope you understand we are bound by this policy auDA have and can’t change it.
I replied to Mark that I would still be needing my full refund, and Netfleet would have to seek their own refund from the registry.
About 7 days went by, and then my FLYBYS.com.au domain name stopped working.
On the 24th September, I emailed Mark asking what was happening with my FLYBYS.com.au domain name – as my website DNS was no longer working and the rights to the name had been taken away from me.
Mark wrote on the 26th September:
AS the domain is in pending delete as per instruction we received from auDA, DNS will not work until you can resolve the issue with auDA and they instruct us to undelete the domain
Yesterday, 26 days after I purchased my domain name for a two-year period – on the 28th September, I saw NETFLEET were offering FLYBYS.com.au for sale again on their website. THIS DOMAIN NAME IS MY DOMAIN NAME – I PAID $64.25 for it on the 2nd September.
I did not bid on the domain name BECAUSE I ALREADY LEGALLY PURCHASED IT earlier in the month and was not going to pay for something I already owned, twice.
NETFLEET has decided not to issue me a refund, but instead have taken my money and are now DOUBLE DIPPING.
I can see on the NETFLEET website (11:15am on the 29th September) that Netfleet has just SOLD MY DOMAIN NAME for $102 ($53 plus $49 premium listing fee) to a new customer.
I wonder if this customer was made aware that the FLYBYS.com.au domain name was taken from me by auDA for being on a prohibited misspellings list before he/she purchased it?
I wonder how many times NETFLEET has sold this domain name over the last few years?
I wonder how long it will be before the new owner of FLYBYS.com.au is issued a “prohibited misspellings list” order from auDA?
If NETFLEET has sold this domain name twice a month for the past year – as NETFLEET has just done in September 2014 – knowing full well that it is on the auDA prohibited “misspellings list” this will mean Netfleet has made $1992 profit and sold “goods” and “services” to Australian Business Name holders whilst knowing full-well that the domain name will soon be taken off the customer by auDA, allowing NETFLEET to sell it over and over again.
I wonder if auDA know that Netfleet are doing this?
Imagine if NETFLEET sell this domain name for ten years, selling it to naive customers who don’t know it is on auDA’s prohibited misspellings list. NETFLEET would make nearly $20,000 off a name they know they can just resell over and over again.
This would be like a real estate agent selling government land to an unsuspecting victim. Taking the customers money. Then telling the customer, “Oh sorry – this land belongs to the government, you can’t have it – and sorry – there’s NO REFUNDS.”
People wouldn’t stand for it. Just like I’m not standing for this now. And the Australian general public will not stand for this once they are made aware of it either.
I wonder how many “prohibited misspellings” domain names NETFLEET is selling over and over again to the general public?
I notice MACDONALDS.com.au just sold for $22 plus $49 today on NETFLEET. I wonder how many times NETFLEET has sold this domain name?
Isn’t MACDONALDS.com.au just a misspelling of MCDONALDS.com.au ?
On NETFLEET’s own website, you list the following as part of your agreement:
In the event that this agreement constitutes a supply of goods or services to a consumer as defined in the Trade Practices Act 1974 (Cth) or any other national, State or Territory legislation (the Acts) nothing contained in this agreement excludes, restricts or modifies any condition, warranty or other obligation in relation to this agreement and the goods and you where to do so is unlawful. To the full extent permitted by law, where the benefit of any such condition, warranty or other obligation is conferred upon you pursuant to any of the Acts, our sole liability for breach of any such condition, warranty or other obligation, including any consequential loss which you may sustain or incur, shall be limited (except as otherwise specifically set forth herein) to:
1. in relation to goods
i. the replacement of the goods or the supply of equivalent goods or payment of the cost of replacing the goods or acquiring equivalent goods;
ii. or the repair of the goods or payment of the cost of having the goods repaired;
2. in relation to services:
i. the supplying of the services again; or
ii. The payment of the cost of having the services supplied again as in each case we may elect.
I would like you to honour your own agreement.
1. In relation to the goods I received (digital goods – my domain name) and then had taken away from me with no monetary compensation – I would like the full payment of the cost of replacing the goods reimbursed to me.
Netfleet should also approach the registry that sold this name to them for their own refund.
2. In relation to the services I received, (2 year license of the domain name) – I would like the payment of the cost of services I have not received refunded to me immediately.
What NETFLEET is doing with auDA prohibited misspellings domain names is a disgrace. I have purchased 37 domain names from NETFLEET so far. I won’t be purchasing another one through your service until you issue me with a full refund for the FLYBYS.com.au domain name you knew would be taken off me by auDA.
The fact that auDA have wrongfully taken this domain name off me because it appears on a prohibited misspellings list is a separate matter. FLYBYS is not a misspelling of FLYBUYS. Flybys is it’s own word and the fact that auDA think they can block this domain name from anyone owning it by putting it on a “list” they have just created out of thin air just because a massive corporation owns a similar name is ridiculous.
Apart from a full refund, in future, I am letting NETFLEET know that all future domain names I purchase from your site will also require a full refund if they are wrongfully taken from me again.
I’m looking forward to hearing from you.
Domain Broker Australia