back to article Congrats from 123-Reg! You can now pay us an extra £6 or £12 a year for basically nothing

UK domain name holders are furious with registrar 123-Reg for automatically charging them an additional £6 a year for a service few of them want or even need. Thousands of .uk domain owners have been informed this week that 123-Reg is "adding advanced protection features" to their domain in the next few weeks. The "upgrade" …

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  1. AGS221

    I opened I support ticket with these robbers about an hour ago having received one of their emails about this for two domains I have never had domain privacy on and have no requirements for.

    I go into my control panel, change the domain privacy settings to NO for both domains, click Save and it changes them back to YES again. Not only did I never want it in the first place, but it cannot be disabled. The domains aren't up for renewal till 2019 and 2020 so guessing they're just hoping users will ignore this and they'll add their stealth charge when the time comes.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      I've just tried this and it's happening to me too.

      123-Reg will never learn.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "123-Reg will never learn."

        They will. What they learn depends on whether punters stay with them.

    2. Richard Winslow 123-reg

      Sorry that you received the email. I made a mistake on the data selection and included those who had enabled the Nominet Whois Optout which was available for Individual/Personal registrations around 2014.

      Only customers who purchased and paid for Privacy will be moved to the new product. Any customers not wanting to be migrated can turn Privacy off within their Control Panel in advance. Those who do not read the email will have an extended period of time to request a refund if the service of Domain Ownership Protection is not wanted.

      There is a bug that I have opened reflecting the older free Privacy which you are referring to which we will get sorted - this will not effect charging in these cases as they are not going to be billed anyhow.

      Richard.

      1. snozdop

        Those who do not read the email will have an extended period of time to request a refund if the service of Domain Ownership Protection is not wanted.

        How about just not auto-opting people in to the service in the first place, and letting people choose for themselves whether they want this "service" (aka money-grab)?

      2. Dave Bell

        I wonder who I should report this to as theft and criminal deception. Action Fraud don't inspire confidence, from the way they handle spam emails. Anyone else?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          theft and criminal deception

          Taking money wthout consent ?

          1. Wayland Bronze badge

            Re: theft and criminal deception

            You consented when you made your first payment. Too bad if you are easily parted from your money. If it really bothered you then you'd go to their office and shoot them. I don't see anyone doing that, so you agreed to the charge.

        2. Alan Brown Silver badge

          "Action Fraud don't inspire confidence, from the way they handle spam emails. "

          Understatement of the century. Utterly clueless responses are the best way I'd describe them.

      3. wolfetone Silver badge

        "I made a mistake on the data selection and included those who had enabled the Nominet Whois Optout which was available for Individual/Personal registrations around 2014."

        So it's a GDPR issue now then?

        Tut tut tut

      4. Spazturtle Silver badge

        Nominet no longer display personal information on whois lookup due to GDPR, so what are you charging for?

      5. blokedownthepub

        "Any customers not wanting to be migrated can turn Privacy off within their Control Panel in advance. Those who do not read the email will have an extended period of time to request a refund if the service of Domain Ownership Protection is not wanted."

        So we're going to get charged by default for something we didn't ask for. It's up to us to make the effort to avoid the charge.

        I received the email last week but don't remember anything about being able to opt out.

        I thought there were laws about unsolicited goods and services.

        BT did this by giving all BT&Sky customers the BT sports channel free, then after a year sent an email saying it would be charged at £5/month, requiring a phone call to opt out of something we didn't ask for.

    3. Naich

      That's not a "Save" button, that's a "Set domains to autorenew for 1 year" button. You have to change them to "Off" and then exit the page without clicking anything else.

      1. blokedownthepub

        That's not a "Save" button, ... You have to change them to "Off" and then exit the page without clicking anything else.

        That didn't work for me. It let me disable one, but not the other two. I have 5 domains but only 3 appear on that page.

        Migrating 5 domains to Gandi. Their domain hosting includes 2 free free mailboxes, which is all I need.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          "Migrating 5 domains to Gandi. Their domain hosting includes 2 free free mailboxes, which is all I need."

          Got to love a company that - on their homepage - tell you that they don't bullshit you.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fygu

      Rygi tuft

    5. SonOfDilbert

      According to 123-reg support guy I have bee chatting to, if you can't turn the privacy off then it's because you previously opted-in to free whois privacy. The guy told me that if this is the case then no charge would be made and you would be 'upgrade' for free. He also told me that you have 30 days after a charge to cancel the 'upgrade' and get a refund.

      Anyway, I think it's time I transferred away from 123.

  2. Sampler

    Oddly timed

    Given I got an update from Cloudflare today on how there privacy conscious minimal cost system is coming along, about a month delayed, but sounds like a lot of 123-Reg customers will happy switch across when it is up and running...

    1. MatthewSt

      Re: Oddly timed

      Seconded. CloudFlare can't get into this soon enough!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No email here

    I have a couple of *.uk domains with 123-reg but the only email I've had from them this week was a marketing communcation asking me whether I would recommend their service to others!

    I'll keep an eye out for this now though, thanks for the warning.

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: No email here

      Haven't had an email either.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: No email here

        they probably realised the emails were making people angry so it was easier not to tell anyone (abd just do it anyway)

    2. HolySchmoley

      Re: No email here

      I've had this email, as has a friend who also uses 123-Reg.

    3. annodomini2 Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: No email here

      Check your spam box

  4. 9Rune5
    WTF?

    Snake oil sales men

    Twenty years ago I needed a cert for my employer's website.

    I don't remember if I was talking with VeriSign or Thawte, but in any case they had a superspecial offer that cost about 50% more and I had to ask about what the benefits were.

    Turns out that the extra fee entitled the vict...customer to put a "Verified by ..." sticker on the vict...customer's web site. "So you are basically charging extra for advertising your services to my customers?" I asked. The reply was of course enthusiastically enumerating all the benefits of doing exactly that.

    Being young and naive I immediately wrote them off as 'idiots'. It is only now, years later, that I realize I am the idiot for not coming up with similar near-fraudulent schemes. My way results in less income, so there is probably a lesson in there somewhere.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Snake oil sales men

      Honestly never understood such things anyway.

      Does anyone ever click and check them from those icons?

      Is that in any way secure anyway (if the website wasn't in the first place)?

      How many people who don't understand the SSL certificate highlights in browsers, who then go to click on the Verified By... thing then have the first clue about checking that that's actually genuinely FROM the SSL provider in the first place?

      If only all the information required to verify the certificate was somehow included in the certificate itself, and somehow showed itself in the browser as soon as you visited such a secure website, eh?

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: Snake oil sales men

        oh symantec, ive heard of those antivirus people and trust them....

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I want to move away

    I have a .com domain with 123-reg that will be up for renewal next year. Any ideas on who is a reliable, but cheap company, preferably available from the UK? Thanks

    1. wiggers

      Re: I want to move away

      I'm using Tsohost now, seem reasonably low-cost and competent.

      1. No Quarter

        Re: I want to move away

        That's the same company as 123-reg.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I want to move away

        TSO is owned by the same people as 123-reg... just saying

      3. zapper
        Thumb Down

        Re: I want to move away

        Tsohost - you mean that company who used to be Webfusion with decent 24/7 support by phone for dedicated servers, who downgraded everything to web ticket only support, but only business hours, every second saturday 3-4.45pm and Sunday lunchtimes in every 5th leap year.

      4. Richard Cranium

        Re: I want to move away

        Isn't TSO host now part of the same group, HEG?

    2. verno

      Re: I want to move away

      Depends on wht you mean by "availliable from the UK".

      I've recently swapped most of our domains over to gandi.net (I think they're based in France).

      So far no issues, had a bit of a problem transferring one of the domains but that was sorted by their help desk, so far so happy!

      MattV

    3. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: I want to move away

      I've moved all my domains to OVH, who are based in France, not UK, but renewal costs £3.59 per year, and they have an API that lets you do domain validation with LetsEncrypt.

    4. J4

      Re: I want to move away

      If you can reconcile yourself to the slurp implications, google domains has been fine for us, moved earlier this year. Cheap and easy, though we don't have a complex setup and I haven't had to put in any fault tickets yet. We were already on GSuite so felt like we couldn't get any more naked anyway.

    5. Laughing Gravy

      Re: I want to move away

      Tsohost.com

    6. Spasticus Autisticus

      Re: I want to move away

      Express Hosting

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I want to move away

      Another vote for tsohost. I've had a small handful of domains registered through vidahost originally (now rolled into their parent company tsohost) with no problems and good service (responsive ticketing system). Seems the same since they market as tsohost and not had any need to contact them since then (i.e. no problems). As vidahost they offered free web hosting for low traffic small charitable/community sites. I don't know if they still do as tsohost.

      1. Karl Austin

        You do realise that tsohost is the same company right? 123-reg and TSOhost are both owned by GoDaddy. HostEurope bought TSOhost and were then bought by GoDaddy.

        1. katrinab Silver badge

          Is there a list anywhere of all the companies GoDaddy owns?

          Hurley Internet is another one. I used to use them, but I have now migrated everything off them except for a couple of domains that I no longer use and am going to lapse.

          1. Jed T

            try wikipedia

        2. kingwahwah

          I got that email. I read the extremely badly worded email as you have to activate it.

          Godaddy own 123-reg ? News to me.

          I have 100+ domains with them I swore I would never use Godaddy after their anti net neutrality support.

          We are Gsuite so look at Google Domains today.

          Another thing that annoys me about 123 is i'm on direct debit but they put renewals in my basket when I buy new domains via my company credit card.

          1. ZiggyZiggy

            Sadly it's true.

            123 Reg / TSO / Paragon Internet Group / Host Europe Group > Go Daddy

            And there is a whole load of other companies swallowed up on the process...

            The hosting business is at that mature stage where a few big players are swallowing up everything.

            1. Julian Bradfield

              easydns . Been happy with them for decades now, and they're in Canada, not owned by GoDaddy, and have a robust attitude to most things.

              1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

                Second vote for

                easyDNS. They are independent, and have a REALLY good attitude re privacy and such. Decent support.

            2. HashimFromSheffield

              As far as I can tell the structure is specifically:

              123Reg > Host Europe Group > GoDaddy

              Tsohost > Paragon Internet Group > Host Europe Group > GoDaddy

              HEG - the parent company behind 123Reg - acquired Paragon - the parent company behind Tsohost - in 2015, and so both were acquired by GoDaddy when GoDaddy acquired HEG in 2016. No other reason for mentioning this other than this it's good for things like this to be more transparent than they are, and also it vaguely interests me. But yes, GoDaddy owns both 123Reg and Tshost (as well as Heart Internet and a few other relatively popular ones), and the only things separating them are 3 and 4 levels of hierarchy, respectively.

    8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I want to move away

      Mythic Beasts

      1. Chronos Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: I want to move away

        Mythic Beasts

        Exactly what I was going to say. At this point I really don't know why companies like 123reg still exist given that Mythic Beasts are cheaper, have customer support light years ahead of anything this lot can offer, do pretty much everything you could possibly want or as little as you require and know what they're doing.

        That last point seems to be a USP. Quite how the domain name and simple hosting sector got AOLified I really can't fathom.

        1. unimaginative

          Re: I want to move away

          Not well known enough. There are lots of good smaller companies no one uses.

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