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  1. #1
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    Unhappy Domain won at auction and reversal

    Here is a peculiar case I am facing with a leading Domain Auction site. There was an expired domain up for auction at this leading site and I bid on it. I remained the highest bidder and finally won the auction. My credit card was charged for the bid amount and soon the domain was transferred in to a new account created by the auction site under a leading registrar of domains. I then got my visiting cards printed for that name, pointed the domain to the main site and began all work towards launching the site under the new name I had acquired (because I already own the .co and the .biz domains under the same name) and as this was a .com domain I bid for it as it was being released under auction.

    Now comes the sad part which made me really angry not knowing how to react.

    I received an email from the Domain Auction site that they are reversing the auction and the domain will be taken back from me. No specific reason was given and said that as per terms and conditions they could take back the domain as and when they want, even after I win an auction and domain is transferred in my name!!! Really, this is scary. I am really surprised that a domain name that expired in July was not renewed by the person holding it. I won the auction in late August. Around 45 days after domain had expired. And now after around 10 days of winning the auction (hence after expiry around 55 days had passed) I am told that the auction is being reversed?

    Is there any legal provision through which I could claim back the domain?

    Thanking everyone in advance for the suggestions they give.

  2. #2
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    Probably not - if you have a trademark on the name you may be able initiate a domain dispute with ICANN. It sounds like very dubious behaviour from the registrar . If it's who I think it is, in my case when I've won auction names I transfer the domain out as soon as possible to a different registrar as the auction one has a bad reputation, but this advice is of no use to you now unfortunately.

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    Hi @eastcoast. Thanks a lot for your response. Yes, I too would have transferred the domain elsewhere, but it was under Registrar Lock (as after domain name win you cant transfer domain to another registrar for around 30 odd days). Yes, this is the first time I am facing this issue, because I have used another auction site and never had this issue after winning a domain. I have also found 100's of threads that point out that this auction company and domain registrar do this on a regular basis. When I pointed that out to them, they said these are one off incidents and never usually happens. I also pointed out that how come after a domain expired and 55 days had passed, the registrar can re-claim the domain. I am already seeking legal option in this regard as I strongly believe that once a transfer took place in my name, I am the legal owner of the said domain and the Registrar should have no authority to take it back from me without my permission.

    Will see what options I have and if anyone has any suggestions, it would help me take my case forward.

    Thank you for the help

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    Foozle Reducer ServerStorm's Avatar
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    Hi,

    Before you spend to much money on legal angles, please first carefully read the terms & conditions of the bidding contract. Make sure that (for what you understand of the language in the contract) that they clearly stipulate the right to do what they have done. If it is not clear or simply not outlined, then you may have a legal case; otherwise you will be wasting your money.

    Steve
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    Well their terms and conditions state that any domain at an auction may be taken back before, during and after the auction. After the auction and transfer to my name? After the auction means that according to them. What I had imagined is that after the auction means once I win an auction and before its transferred to my name. I understand that before transferring the domain to my name they can very well prevent the transfer as its still in their possession. But this domain was taken back from me after a full 10 days after it was transferred to my name. I strongly feel that as I am the legal owner of the domain once transfer of the domain takes place in my name, they cannot take it back from my account without my approval.

    Say for example, after say a year the auction company thinks that they want the domain back they have every right as per their terms and conditions, because it says before, during and after the auction. Legally, what one would feel after the auction is that after a person successfully wins the auction and the time before its transferred to the winners name. Once the domain is transferred in the winners account, the auction company as well as the previous registrars rights over the domain cease to exist according to me and without my (new domain owners) authority the cannot take back the domain.

    What do you feel about my argument?
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  6. #6
    Foozle Reducer ServerStorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaagare View Post
    Well their terms and conditions state that any domain at an auction may be taken back before, during and after the auction. After the auction and transfer to my name? After the auction means that according to them. What I had imagined is that after the auction means once I win an auction and before its transferred to my name. I understand that before transferring the domain to my name they can very well prevent the transfer as its still in their possession. But this domain was taken back from me after a full 10 days after it was transferred to my name. I strongly feel that as I am the legal owner of the domain once transfer of the domain takes place in my name, they cannot take it back from my account without my approval.

    Say for example, after say a year the auction company thinks that they want the domain back they have every right as per their terms and conditions, because it says before, during and after the auction. Legally, what one would feel after the auction is that after a person successfully wins the auction and the time before its transferred to the winners name. Once the domain is transferred in the winners account, the auction company as well as the previous registrars rights over the domain cease to exist according to me and without my (new domain owners) authority the cannot take back the domain.

    What do you feel about my argument?
    Hi morally what they did is wrong; however unless the stipulated a time frame where they taken back 'after the auction', then they could argue that it is clearly in the T&C where they state they can do this, so they could win because of vagueness in their contract. On the other hand you can argue your point as it is quite clear that you had taken possession and the transaction should be complete. I'm just suggesting that the contract may weight it on their side so it is not clear cut that you would win.

    Steve
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    I'd look for domain dispute legal case precedents, if they do this on a regular basis then undoubtedly others will have taken them to court - I'd research if any such cases have taken place and see what the result was before proceeding.

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    Thank you everyone for your response. I think this is done more on a regular basis than one off incident. A search on the web resulted in 100s of such auction reversals and I also see some auction reversals taking place after 80 days of winning and transferring the domain! In that case too the buyer / winner of the domain said that as it was under domain lock he could not transfer it elsewhere and just when the period was about to end (domain lock period) they reversed the transaction and refunded the bid amount. I am really surprised that ICANN is not doing any thing in this regard because for me once a transfer of domain takes place and is transferred in to my name the old registrar loses control over it and only I should be able to decide what to do with the domain. I am already approaching higher authorities and lets see how this turns up. Will keep you updated. In the meantime if any one has had such an experience or would like to share any legal points kindly do so it would help me and others like me who face such an issue.
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  9. #9
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    I would do more research on this ... just sounds wrong

  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast steveorg's Avatar
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    I just stumbled across this thread. I'm a little frightened! A .com domain won at auction was transferred to my name a few days ago. Now in the cp, I see that it is locked until November 21. I had planned on moving it to a different registrar sooner.

    I've owned the .net version of the domain and had planned on switching over to the .com. The domain will be used to support a soon-to-be-launched mobile app. The concern is that the app will link to the domain and there will be considerable SEO activity starting soon. I'd hate to have to waste the .com and just have it forward to the .net, but see little choice if my ownership is at risk.

    Any thoughts on the actual riskiness? The auctioneer/registrar is GoDaddy if that is of any help. Actually, I'm not sure why the name of the auctioneer has not been mentioned. If despicable business practices like this aren't exposed, they have less reason to clean up their act.

    Steve

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    Certified Ethical Hacker silver trophybronze trophy dklynn's Avatar
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    steveorg,

    Domains are locked for a number of days after any transfer (I thought it was 30 days rather than the apparent 60 days) so I'd not be concerned over what you're seeing.

    Regards,

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  12. #12
    SitePoint Enthusiast steveorg's Avatar
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    Thanks dklynn,

    Does that mean that the domain cannot be reclaimed?

    Steve

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    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveorg View Post
    Thanks dklynn,

    Does that mean that the domain cannot be reclaimed?

    Steve

    GoDaddy is a domain registrar and you presumably registered the domain through them as a new domain. That makes you the first owner of the domain and so there is no prior owner to try to reclaim it. The person who opened this thread purchased a domain at auction from some one who had previously owned the domain and that person decided to reclaim the domain before the end of the transfer period.
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    SitePoint Enthusiast steveorg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by felgall View Post
    GoDaddy is a domain registrar and you presumably registered the domain through them as a new domain. That makes you the first owner of the domain and so there is no prior owner to try to reclaim it. The person who opened this thread purchased a domain at auction from some one who had previously owned the domain and that person decided to reclaim the domain before the end of the transfer period.
    Perhaps you missed them from my original post
    Quote Originally Posted by steveorg
    A .com domain won at auction was transferred to my name a few days ago.
    Maybe I should have been more specific that it was an expired domain auction.

  15. #15
    SitePoint Enthusiast steveorg's Avatar
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    I decided to go straight to the source and ask GoDaddy telephone support. The guy seemed surprisingly knowledgeable.

    He said that the domain is only transferred to my account after the last redemption opportunity of the previous owner. That means that nothing can happen to take it away. Unfortunately, he wasn't willing to put that in writing and he could not point to specific language on the site that backs him up. Oh well. I guess I'll just take my chances and assume that I'm safe.

  16. #16
    Foozle Reducer ServerStorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveorg View Post
    I decided to go straight to the source and ask GoDaddy telephone support. The guy seemed surprisingly knowledgeable.

    He said that the domain is only transferred to my account after the last redemption opportunity of the previous owner. That means that nothing can happen to take it away. Unfortunately, he wasn't willing to put that in writing and he could not point to specific language on the site that backs him up. Oh well. I guess I'll just take my chances and assume that I'm safe.
    Hi Steve,

    Please don't consider your safe until your safe. As the original OP did this and is causing them a lot of grief. If possible, don't do anything meaningful with the domain until it clears. Keep it, but don't put a live site on it.

    Regards,
    Steve (too )
    ictus==""

  17. #17
    SitePoint Enthusiast steveorg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ServerStorm View Post
    Hi Steve,

    Please don't consider your safe until your safe. As the original OP did this and is causing them a lot of grief. If possible, don't do anything meaningful with the domain until it clears. Keep it, but don't put a live site on it.

    Regards,
    Steve (too )
    Hi Steve too (has anyone complimented you on your name lately?),

    I should have mentioned that I couldn't find any language in the GoDaddy TOS that gives them a right to take back the domain after expiration. I suspect that the original OP's problem was with another registrar. Too bad we don't know for sure!

    This is the only TOS language on the topic

    "By bidding on the Expired Domain Name, Buyer acknowledges and agrees that if Buyer has the winning bid, the transfer of the Expired Domain Name will not be completed until after the expiration period is complete."

    "For domain names that are registered with Go Daddy but designated as Expired Domain Names and listed using the Auction format, change of ownership will not be completed until forty five (45) days after the original date of expiration (approximately ten (10) days after the close of the Auction)."

    It doesn't explicitly say they can't take it back, but since they use the word "completed", it doesn't seem that they have wiggle room. This is definitely past any redemption period, including the period where the original owner can pay $80 to get it back.

    A shallow search didn't show any problems with GoDaddy on this issue, which is more reason to believe that they are not the abuser. (Not that GoDaddy is above this stuff!)

    The 60 day non-transfer policy is common among registrars per the GoDaddy support person. Somehow, it's supposed to help prevent domain highjacking. I confirmed that this is also the policy at 1&1.

    Steve

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    Foozle Reducer ServerStorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveorg View Post
    Hi Steve too (has anyone complimented you on your name lately?),

    I should have mentioned that I couldn't find any language in the GoDaddy TOS that gives them a right to take back the domain after expiration. I suspect that the original OP's problem was with another registrar. Too bad we don't know for sure!

    This is the only TOS language on the topic

    "By bidding on the Expired Domain Name, Buyer acknowledges and agrees that if Buyer has the winning bid, the transfer of the Expired Domain Name will not be completed until after the expiration period is complete."

    "For domain names that are registered with Go Daddy but designated as Expired Domain Names and listed using the Auction format, change of ownership will not be completed until forty five (45) days after the original date of expiration (approximately ten (10) days after the close of the Auction)."

    It doesn't explicitly say they can't take it back, but since they use the word "completed", it doesn't seem that they have wiggle room. This is definitely past any redemption period, including the period where the original owner can pay $80 to get it back.

    A shallow search didn't show any problems with GoDaddy on this issue, which is more reason to believe that they are not the abuser. (Not that GoDaddy is above this stuff!)

    The 60 day non-transfer policy is common among registrars per the GoDaddy support person. Somehow, it's supposed to help prevent domain highjacking. I confirmed that this is also the policy at 1&1.

    Steve
    I should be Steve Two

    ...Expired Domain Name will not be completed until after the expiration period is complete...
    Is the line that says you can't take control of it (or really have the rights to it, even though you have bought it at the auction) until the expiration period passes. If the original domain owner contests that they want it then if you are still within the expiration period it will likely be taken back and you will get the price returned to you. IMHO too much wiggle room exists in this contract... yuck

    Steve
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  19. #19
    SitePoint Enthusiast steveorg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ServerStorm View Post
    I should be Steve Two

    Is the line that says you can't take control of it (or really have the rights to it, even though you have bought it at the auction) until the expiration period passes. If the original domain owner contests that they want it then if you are still within the expiration period it will likely be taken back and you will get the price returned to you. IMHO too much wiggle room exists in this contract... yuck

    Steve
    How about Steve Also?

    That's my point. The expiration period has passed, so I should be safe.

    Steve One

  20. #20
    Foozle Reducer ServerStorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steveorg View Post
    How about Steve Also?

    That's my point. The expiration period has passed, so I should be safe.

    Steve One
    Oh, I was not sure if you were talking about the expiration period for the domain to lapse or the limit of Days defined in their T&C? I'm glad that you on on top of this as it causes too many headaches for people... good job!

    Steve (2)
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  21. #21
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    Just a feedback to every one who were following this thread. I even complained this matter to ICANN via their domain dispute form and they redirected my complaint back to the domain registrar and who in turn was ready to transfer the domain only to the old registrar and they keep telling me that as the domain could be recovered it has been rightfully done by previous owner and there is nothing more that the domain registrar can do.

    I am not sure how legally right domain auction companies are but I think if they have every right to take back the domain even after the auction is complete and domain transferred to the new buyers name, whats the use of buying via auction? And this is like say
    I go to an auction company to buy a house, I will the house by bidding, I get it renovated and then call everyone for house warming ceremony. On seeing the house renovated the previous owner says I want the house back and the auction company tries to take the house back from me. This would be totally wrong and not atall possible.

    Hence why is such a thing being allowed in the domain space? This would create unhealty auctions because even after winning there is no guarantee that we would be holding the domain.

    Any thoughts?
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    Foozle Reducer ServerStorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jaagare View Post
    Just a feedback to every one who were following this thread. I even complained this matter to ICANN via their domain dispute form and they redirected my complaint back to the domain registrar and who in turn was ready to transfer the domain only to the old registrar and they keep telling me that as the domain could be recovered it has been rightfully done by previous owner and there is nothing more that the domain registrar can do.

    I am not sure how legally right domain auction companies are but I think if they have every right to take back the domain even after the auction is complete and domain transferred to the new buyers name, whats the use of buying via auction? And this is like say
    I go to an auction company to buy a house, I will the house by bidding, I get it renovated and then call everyone for house warming ceremony. On seeing the house renovated the previous owner says I want the house back and the auction company tries to take the house back from me. This would be totally wrong and not atall possible.

    Hence why is such a thing being allowed in the domain space? This would create unhealty auctions because even after winning there is no guarantee that we would be holding the domain.

    Any thoughts?
    I know this is unfair, but there is nothing regulating this activity. Your examples of homes is regulated and rules are set by the government in most countries. This is not the case for domain auctions; these are corporate entities that make their own rules. Further more, they operate on the buyer-be-ware policy where they say 'If you haven't read the fine print then too bad'

    Steve
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    This is only one of many other dubious activities that seem to be allowed by the powers that regulate domains unfortunately e.g domain tasting and front running

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    Yes, I think Domain Industry needs to come under some basic rules and regulations without which buying domains would really become a scary business. Like from the domain auction where I bought the domain - their rules state

    any domain at an auction may be taken back before, during and after the auction
    So after the auction I am told can be any time duration! I did a search at various forums and found out that some domains have been taken back from the new owners even after a couple of months after the domain was transferred. I had never imagined that someone could take back the domain once its transferred to my name because once a domain is transferred to my name, I become the rightful owner of the domain in legal terms and the domain auction company or the previous owner should really have no say because legally I am now the owner and it should be within my rights whether to give back the domain or not.
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