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Singapore Web Hosting Company Receives Threat to Sue for not Renewing Domain

Recently I came across the following post

I have this fantastic client of mine who deposited the domain fees payment directly to our bank account. The client never contacted us about the payment, but when the domain expired she called us up to complain and threaten to sue us for negligence.

Our invoice clearly stated payment via cross cheque and for bank transfers or deposits our knowledgebase states that if you do a bank transfer, email us immediately afterwards.

I gave the client our stance and that for a contract to be effective, there must be an offer, a consideration and an acceptance. We send an offer via the invoice, the consideration being the domain fees but no acceptance was conveyed to us…

Before I go ahead, do note that we are not affiliated with the two entities in any way and that this is just my opinion. We do not have anything against the web hosting company or their client.

So while I understand the frustration of the client who lost the domain, there are three things to ponder here

  1. Wasn’t a reminder e-mail sent to the client to notify him/her of the expired domain?
  2. If the reminder e-mail had bounced or ignored, is that a clear indication that the client is not interested in the domain?
  3. If a company receives an unknown payment from a source, is it the responsibility of the company to figure out who and why the payment is sent?

A reminder e-mail was most likely sent, but it may have been ignored. Or bounced. Or went to a junk mail folder. Our current web hosting company, DreamHost, keeps sending us many reminder e-mails to renew an expiring domain one month before it expires. Even after it expires, the domain enters a Redemption Period where no one else can get the domain for yet another month.

Supreme Court Front

Supreme Court Front

So in this case, the client most likely found out too late. There used to be a time, where a reminder would be snail mailed to the client. When we first started off in the 90s, we hosted with a local Singapore web hosting company who promptly sent us a paper invoice one month before the domain renewal. If we paid, they renewed the domain. If we don’t, it’s a indication we’re not interested in renewing the domain. Now with e-mail, invoices are sent electronically and so are easy to be misplaced.

And with Singapore bank transfers, it will be hard to figure out the source of the payment if the payment was done via ATM Bank Transfer (i.e. physically at the ATM machine). Calling the bank has no use as they would refuse to reveal the source account citing privacy reasons.

So what is the bottom line? Web hosting companies should e-mail their client with repeat renewal notices until they explicitly indicate that they are not interested in renewing the domain. And the client should too stick with one e-mail account and sieve through their junk mail every once in a while as spam filters can always make mistakes.

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