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Old 03-25-2012, 05:34 PM
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Question Owning a client's domain name - hosting domain and later selling domain name-legalies

Ok, here is how everything started and what has happened. I hosted a clients website and email addresses for a year or two during which time he decided that he wanted to own the addresses himself. I told him that I would sell him the domains, actually just transfer them when they were expiring b/c we had spent $100 for one year and 3 domain names. I told him that it might be a little more difficult to administer if he had a seperate account than mine and I had to change hosts and such. I explained the in-and outs of domain ownership and he decided he didn't want to deal with it.

After about a year or so he decided he wanted to change business names and told me a number of them. I liked one of them a lot so I checked if the domain was available and I bought the same 3 that he had with his old business name - but with the new name. I figured that I would sell the if he didn't want to keep them and they were only $1 each at the time. When I told him that I got the domain names that helped him decide upon business names so now I was garunteed a customer.

After a few years of hosting he has been very late with paying bills and I am getting tired of invoicing 5-6 times and sending emails politely asking for a response. I do my utmost to help him out and he seems like he does not appreciate things. I do data recovery on all his HD's for 1/10 of what he is now paying another shop that is closer (he moved 1 hour away from me).

So, I want to suspend his website and threaten suspension of his email (but I won't suspend email, just thought it might get him moving). I want to know where I stand with ownership of the domain names. Does he have any claim to them or can I rightfully sell them to him or another bidder if I put them up for auction. I'm at the point of cutting ties and going separate ways and if that is done, I would like to get something for what I have done (too much to list) for little to no payment. I feel that I should be able to sell the domains for at least market value as he could have registered them himself but he never wanted to deal with it and knowingly employed me to handle all of this with no understanding that he was owner of them or that I would relinquish ownership for no fee.

So, can I sell/auction these domains?
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:50 PM
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anglian anglian is offline
 
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Tricky, What does your TOS say about the domain ownership?
I always register the client as owner, and myself as tech/billing admin, so if I get hit by a bus they still have their domain name.

If your client has paid you for the domain registration then technically they have the right to that domain. If you want to sell the domains then you should wait till they expire and reregister them.

I would put a suspended page on their site saying that the "site has been suspended, contact billing@somedomain.com" this basically lets everyone know that they have not paid and in my experience normally gets a quick payment.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:40 PM
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If you are listed as the "registrant" then you are the domain owner. If you are just "admin" or "technical" then you are not the owner.

If you are truly the owner, and customer isn't paying, absolutely suspend their account. I have had one instance of a customer in the past that for FOUR MONTHS didn't pay their hosting bill. My nice side went away and I suspended their page. Within an hour they called and paid.

Suspending a page sucks, which is why it is absolutely the last resort for me, but nothing prompts customers to pay like having service suspended.

Now, if they have a complete copy of all their website files and databases, then a new domain name and hosting company will get their site up and running again, but if the company has business cards with their domain name on them then if you suspend their account/re-direct the nameservers on their domain they will pay up QUICK.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:08 PM
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Well, I just created a "suspension of services" page and I hope I don't have to post it tomorrow. I am the admin, support, owner, contact, etc of the domains so they can't transfer the domain and keep the name. I know they have their business cards made with this specific contact info but I have heard that it may not be legal to suspend email addresses, is this correct? I would think suspending email would get them on the ball pretty quick as well.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:10 PM
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You can suspend e-mails if they have not paid. It's part of the hosting account after all.

Again, what does your TOS say about this?
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anglian View Post
You can suspend e-mails if they have not paid. It's part of the hosting account after all.

Again, what does your TOS say about this?
I have no TOS with this customer. We started working together when I was employed as a tech and I was just doing this to help him out. We were also pretty good friends so that's why no TOS.

I'm going to have to have him sign one as he is almost a year behind in hosting fees.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankman1989 View Post
I'm going to have to have him sign one as he is almost a year behind in hosting fees.
I would firstly send an mail, giving him 48 hours to pay, and also mention that if it is not paid then his account will be suspended, which will result in their e-mail not working and they will be charged a $25 reconnection fee.

Then give them the 48 hrs and if it is not paid suspend everything

Give that a go.
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Old 03-25-2012, 09:33 PM
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This is what I put on a suspended site page

"This website has been suspended.
If you are the owner of this website, please contact the billing department as soon as possible.
If you are not the website owner, please do not contact MY BUSINESS, as we will be unable to discuss anything regarding this website's suspension with you.
Tel: 01394 XXXXXX
E-Mail: billing@mydomain.com"
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Old 03-25-2012, 11:04 PM
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Once paid I would transfer the ownership to him an just move on. Dont be a jerk about it, but it doesn't sound like they are a customer you want.
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