back to article 123-Reg customers outraged at automatic .UK domain registration

Customers of 123-Reg are experiencing a familiar feeling of annoyance, this time over a decision to automatically register them for .UK domains, which they will then have to pay for after two years. In a letter sent to customers, seen by The Register, the company said the domains will be available to manage from November 2017 …

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Furtehr reason to leave

I believe Mythical Beasts was the suggestion on here last month

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Well I'm pretty happy with it - I got an email this morning to tell me they're registering danielmcintyre.uk automatically for me because I hold danielmcintyre.co.uk and this is a freebie for the first 2 years. After that it's like what? About a tenner a year if that? Man some people are only happy when they have something to whinge about.

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Joke

is that danielmcintyre.uk or danielmcintyre.co.uk the notorious spam, phishing and malware hosting site.

I hear you do constantly updated lists of torrents for free downloads to music and unreleased films.

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See what I did there....

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No problem.

I'm going to* sign up you for every free trial I can find on the Internet that turns into an auto-renew pay for package after a period of time, is that okay?

"Hey, it's only a tenner." is the refuge of those people who took a tenner without permission.

I don't even let people send me an email unsolicited, what makes you think I allow an existing supplier to sign me up with a product I didn't ask for, that's publicly visible, carries my name and/or trademark, will be registered to me as the responsible user, and which will ask for payment at some point (if it doesn't just auto-renew with the base contract, like such things sometimes do) without my explicit consent?

Hey, man, did you like your U2 album?

*P.S. not a threat, you understand, I don't prank people. It's to show my point.

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According to the whois database, they did not register danielmcintyre.uk for you, though.

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is that danielmcintire.co.uk or danielmcintyre.co.uk the notorious spam, phishing and malware hosting site.

See what I did there? Same difference.... Not a new problem.

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"same difference" ????

seeing on these very pages the abitrary expansion of the techie "same / diff" saying into the gormless (and meaningless) "same difference" hurts my eyes. I think I need hops-and-barley-based recovery medicine at lunchtime.

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Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

This makes unsolicited goods something that the supplier cannot demand payment for. This is 123reg trying to indulge in inertia selling ... so if they renew the domain without the customer saying they want it: then they are acting illegally.

Not that acting illegally seems to bother many businesses these days.

If they grab the money from your bank account: just get the bank to reverse the charge and let 123reg whistle for their money.

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Re: Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

One time I actually received a parcel from a supplier that I hadn't ordered.

Inside was a ton of random stuff that I had not ordered or had any need for.

I phoned the company. Told them. Phoned them again. Told them. Etc. Recorded details of every call. "Someone will come and pick them up".

They came to collect many months later, and I told them: "Sorry. They're mine now. I sold them."

They argued. At which point I passed over to my barrister-in-training wife who ended the conversation rather quickly after she pointed out the relevant laws.

Basically after (60/90?) days, if you have notified the company of their error, they become your property. So we flogged them on eBay.

But to be honest, I don't WANT the .uk to become my property. I'll don't see how you can force someone to take possession of something, nor how you can do that without their consent just by having an opt-out. "I have a ton of old fridges. They're yours now. Remove them by the end of the week, they're stinking up the place." That's not how it works.

Were I a 123-Reg customer (haven't been since they screwed me over several times when paying customers demanded I use them), I'd fold this into my "pet legal / complaint project" folder. I don't mind sending emails/letters back and forth arguing about the legality of it. And, no, I won't be "opting out". I'd wait until they made it my property and deliberate never click Accept on anything they pushed my way, and then complain my backside off when they claimed it was mine.

Pretty much, it's a nice stress-relieving, intellectual pursuit backed by the satisfaction of pretty much winning every time and costing these companies more money than just leaving me alone or doing what I reasonably asked would have cost them.

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Re: Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

I'll don't see how you can force someone to take possession of something, nor how you can do that without their consent just by having an opt-out.

There commonly isn't an opt-out. Like when Virgin raise their charges yet again, and throw in something you never asked for and will never want.

Dammit, even the notorious Microsoft Tax has long been an annoyance for many.

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Re: Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

"Basically after (60/90?) days, if you have notified the company of their error, they become your property. So we flogged them on eBay."

Surely if actually sent to you then they are "unsolicited goods" and are your property for free anyway?

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Re: Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

"Surely if actually sent to you then they are "unsolicited goods" and are your property for free anyway?"

Only if you can prove they were meant for you as a speculative sale. The law allows for errors and mistakes, hence the "cooling off" period where they can arrange collection. If you don't notify them and just keep them for yourself, you could be accused of theft although the sender would have to demonstrate a reasonable mistake was made and a reasonable attempt was made to contact you. It's like finding a tenner in the street. Legally you should hand it in to the police and if it's not claimed they should offer it to you after whatever time period the law allows for.

A while back I found a sports bag full of tools (looked like plumbers stuff) in the front garden the morning after a number of cars/vans had been broken into overnight. Handed it over to the police in case they could use it as evidence or if the owner reported it missing. A few months later they phoned up and asked me if I wanted it since it was now "abandoned" and could be legally mine if I so wished. I declined in this case.

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Re: Unsolicited Goods Act 1971

"Only if you can prove they were meant for you as a speculative sale. The law allows for errors and mistakes"

So if you receive a parcel addressed to you with goods, but no indication of who it's from you just have to keep them for 60 days?

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Anonymous Coward

This is wrong and the terms and conditions should they allow it are unacceptable.

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TSOHOST just did the same thing

TSOHOST just did the same thing. Does this actually come from Nominet?

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We are giving you a .uk domain free for 2 years!

We are in the process of securing nottheactualname.uk and any other .uk domain names you have rights of registration to. These will be available for you to manage from November 2017 and will remain yours free of charge for 2 years.

Why am I being given FREE domain name(s)?

As a .co.uk domain name owner you are entitled to its .uk counterpart until June 2019. After this time, anyone can register these domains and compete with your business.

We do not want you to risk losing your .uk domain(s) to a competitor – so we have taken action to ensure your domains are secure for the next 2 years.

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And so on...

This might mean that I, and my customers, just got about 70 new domain names between us. Also means I need to click "disable auto-renew" followed by "yes I mean it" on about 70 new domain names.

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Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

Vidahost also :-(

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Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

EvoHosting too.

The only concern will be a need for another certificate if I want to SSL the site separately. Other than that I'm not worried as there is currently no auto-renewal.

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Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

All owned by Paragon which is owned by Hosteurope which is owned by GoDaddy. So that's why they're all doing it IMHO.

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Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

"All owned by Paragon which is owned by Hosteurope which is owned by GoDaddy. So that's why they're all doing it IMHO."

Does anybody publish lists of who-owns-who?

It might save a bit of pain on any re-hosting exercise.

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Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

FreeParking sent me an email saying I could have one free .uk domain to match every .co.uk domain I owned. I had to have registered the address by a certain date and some other T&C's. However they weren't doing it automatically you had to claim your free .uk domain. As I don't have any .co.uk domains, i junked it.

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Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

Vidahost also :-(

Yes they did. If you want to 'opt-out' of it you have to click a...

my.vidahost account link in the email which links to...

http://my.volume.email/t/r-l-blah-blah-t/

I always click on every link I receive via email. Especially those that look like someone is going to sell me cheaper Viagra.

Oh. If you access your VidaHost account you do not get the opportunity to tell them to get lost. Best offer is you buy the .uk domain for £5.99

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Anonymous Coward

Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

> "TSOHOST just did the same thing. Does this actually come from Nominet?"

From the article: "Nominet are running a promotion where .co.uk owners can register the corresponding .uk variant for two years for free."

So yes, it's a Nominet "promotion".

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Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

"After this time, anyone can register these domains and compete with your business."

That sounds rather like "nice business you got there mate, it'd be a shame if something happened to it"

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Re: TSOHOST just did the same thing

ECO host have same parent comapny as TSO

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The registrar we use, GetDotted, have offered the free registration. Its entirely optional and opt-in.

That's how it should be.

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Names Co sent the same type of email as well.

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I'm sorry.

Where did they get the data to register the WHOIS for the new .uk domain?

Did they obtain customer consent to use that data for that purpose? Did the customer agree to the terms and conditions of Nominet for use of that domain? Did, in fact, 123-Reg register for these domains without the trademark holder's consent, or provide false representation in doing so?

Oops.

Whether or not it had cost me a penny, there would be a letter winging its way to the ICO if I were a customer.

There's a difference between "we can do that for you" and "we have done that for you" as Apple found out with a certain album.

Just because you give something for free doesn't mean you can just sign me up without my consent.

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They are getting round this by warning users in advance that they can opt out...

So they have not done it automatically but they WILL unless you opt out now.

I got the same email, Im going to let them do it and then disable the autorenew, that way it costs them something and me nothing - nothing more than my time anyway...

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not really. that stull doesnt clear how they trawled the data for a separate product that you have been signed up for.

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"You can opt-out" is not the same, legally speaking, as "You have opted-in".

I didn't opt-in. Therefore you don't have permission.

And once GPDR comes in, it's even more explicit about this to reflect current case-law in this area.

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Anonymous Coward

"A 123 Reg customer poll showed that 90% of you do not want to risk losing your .uk domains to a competitor and expect 123 Reg to do something about this - so we listened to you and have taken action to ensure your domains are secure for the next 2 years."

Survey size? I was never asked.

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Ah, it's interesting, that one. The poll was run for "24 hours" on their "support site" and "attracted 557 responses" (presumably predominately from customers who need support for whatever reason) - it doesn't say all responses were from customers, or .co.uk holders, or .co.uk holders who weren't already aware of the situation (i.e. customers who might appreciate the "protection"). It says "90% of respondents with .co.uk domains" - but not how many of the 557 hold .co.uk domains.

So, benefit of the doubt - let's say every single respondent was a unique customer with a .co.uk who was not aware of the situation. That would suggest 90% = 501 customers. Elsewhere on their website they claim "one million websites use our services" and "over 3 million domains registered". So let's say they have 1 million customers using 3 million domains. Those 501 therefore represent 0.05% of their total customer base. This is described by them as "extensive customer research".

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And of course it really does depend what the question is. "Are you concerned about the fact that if you didn't register your .uk domain name then a competitor will steal it and post such terrible stuff on it that the PR backlash will drive you bankrupt in HOURS!?"

- Yes I'm really scared

- No I'm a terrorist sympathiser and that is perfectly fine

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Oops, seems like I misread that email then! I saw it the other day and read it as I need to log in and say yes I want it before the two years are up otherwise I could potentially lose the domain to someone else.

Thanks el Reg, potters off to 123-reg...

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Anonymous Coward

I had the same from Netcetera a few weeks ago. Although there wasn't any notification, just an Invoice for £0.00. I had to contact their support to find out what the F was going on.

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i would beacuse that invoice wont be for 0.00 in two years.

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This actually is against UK law and comes under the "Unsolicited goods and services act". As far as the Act is concerned, unsolicited goods and/or services can be treated as unconditional gifts therefore 123-Reg may have quite a few court cases to fight in 2 years time when they ask their customers for payment.

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"therefore 123-Reg may have quite a few court cases to fight in 2 years time when they ask their customers for payment."

If they really are automatically signing you up AND autorenewing with a charge then I can't see they have a leg to stand on to enforce it.

However they might well be simply planning to refund on demand and likely will still make bundles from those who don't notice or decide to keep them....

Signing you up free automatically I don't have a major issue with (although opting in would be better), but the auto renewing for something you didn't specifically agree to seems terribly shoddy.

As I understand it, it is also illegal to sign you up in this way under the Consumer Contract Regulations that came into force in 2014...

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123-reg are pure evil

Used them on and off over the years - you're always getting these surprise sort of bills.

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They're not the only ones (but they are the most irritating)

I've had emails from other registrars doing the same thing.

The interesting difference with 123-reg is that they've signed me for two free years of .uk domains for every .co.uk I have ever registered through them - including ones I had previously let expire because (you know) I didn't want them any more.

So whereas I may have once owned say widgets.co.uk and two years ago expired it (you can't actually say "let it go entirely" with 123-reg), now they're going to register widgets.uk for me. How kind!

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Re: They're not the only ones (but they are the most irritating)

"So whereas I may have once owned say widgets.co.uk and two years ago expired it (you can't actually say "let it go entirely" with 123-reg), now they're going to register widgets.uk for me. How kind!"

That could get even more interesting if it later turns out someone else has since registered widgets.co.uk and now you have widgets.uk and they didn't properly check on the status of your ex-domains.

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Personally whenever I need to pay 123reg (or anyone similar) for a domain I use a virtual credit card, loaded with only enough credit for the transaction. Then, any attempt to reuse it always fails.

Works well for car insurance renewals as well - since they are likely to try to charge your card for another year (at a rip off renewal price, of course) even though you've told them you're going elsewhere.

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Customer retention -> vendor lock-in

By automatically registering the .uk for customers, they increase the number of domains that customers would have to transfer to another registrar should they be inclined to leave 123-reg.

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Re: Customer retention -> vendor lock-in

"By automatically registering the .uk for customers, they increase the number of domains that customers would have to transfer to another registrar should they be inclined to leave 123-reg."

Domain transfer is selective. You only update the IPS tags for the one you want to move...

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Happy

Just to go against the flow...

I would actually be happy if my registrar auto-registered .uk domains for me as it would save me the effort of doing that myself.

I do appreciate why others are not happy and I don't think the .uk was at all necessary. It's just another bastard trick to extort money out of us given that if one doesn't pay someone else will get them. Like many others I don't really have much choice but to claim them.

I'm now going to have to trawl through the spam to see if there's 'something I do want' I missed amongst all the crap that I know I don't.

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Lies, damned lies, and a bit of statistics.

Let's start with the statistics. If it was a properly done survey, it's enough people to get a reasonably accurate percentage. If that's why they chose the defaults they did, the sample size isn't a problem. But it doesn't sound like a random sample, and that's the killer. All the maths depends on the sample being random. There are other aspects, such as the precise wording of the question, that can warp the results, and there are ways of testing for that, but it all depends on random samples.

Oh, and there are ways of deciding if a set of numbers is random, or behaving that way. A good pseudo-random number generator is good because it looks random. But if you used the same seed value, you'd get the same results. Sometimes that can be useful, other times not.

Now the lies. My domain is a ,org,uk and I got the email giving me the offer. It's not a .co.uk and it's not something all that special. If somebody wants the plain ,uk I'm not all that bothered. I set things up in the last century because I suspected something could suffer a mammary orientation challenge, and I felt it was worth having a consistent email address.

So the big lie? You'll never change your ISP

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The list of outages omits the time that they deleted all of the active virtual servers during a clean up instead of the inactive ones.... and the backups that belong to them...

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The most galling bit for me was the subject title:

Important - We have taken action to protect your business' .uk domain name

Needless to say, I told them where to shove their "free" domain name.

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Just move

I got fed up of 123's BS a couple of years ago and just moved all my domains away.

As someone else said, just vote with your feet/money.

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Anonymous Coward

We're talking £12 unless you click a button. Hardly worth getting your tits in a twist.

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