1&1 Internet – charging for domains they no longer hold

As a web developer, I groan inwardly whenever a new client comes to me with a domain they’ve registered with 1&1 Internet. Why? Because 1&1 are notorious not only for cheap domains and hosting, but also for terrible support, and mis-charging. Or perhaps that should be fraudulent charging.

Twice recently I’ve had clients of mine ring up and say that 1&1 had invoiced them for domains which they had transferred to me. In one case, the domain in question was transferred to me over TWO YEARS previously. That particular client had just ignored their invoices, believing them to be mistaken, until he got a solicitor’s letter! At that point, he rang me to ask what was going on.

Luckily, in all cases, I could prove that I held the domains for the clients. All I had to do was go to www.whois.com and look up the domain, which clearly showed that my web hosts were the registrars for the domain NOT 1&1, and that the domains were pointing towards my servers I gave this information to my clients, and they went back to 1&1 with it.

1&1 pretended not to know anything about it, still claiming that they held the domains, but then had a change of heart and reversed the charges to my client ‘as a matter of courtesy’. Humph, not bloomin’ likely. More like they knew they were in the wrong.

Googling for this type of scenario shows that there are many more complaints about this behaviour. People keep falling for it, and 1&1 preys on the fact that people are generally ignorant about this sort of thing. It’s out and out fraud, and I’ve no idea how they manage to get away with it. I guess they’ll keep on getting away with it too… so web developers like myself will keep having this problem.

The problem is that 1&1 sell domains and hosting cheaply. And they have a large marketing budget, buying double-page spread adverts in glossy magazines. Their prices seem too good to be true… and indeed they are.

So the moral of the story is, if you want to buy a domain, come to a small company like mine, not a marketing leviathan like 1&1. We might be more expensive that 1&1, but we won’t rip you off, now or in the future.

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