Numerous domain holders in Switzerland have recently received letters from a questionable US company named Domain Renewal Group. In the letter, the company informs the receiver that their domain registration contract will be expiring shortly and must be renewed. The letter (see below) implies that domain holders could lose their domain name if they don’t pay swiftly.
Some Hostpoint clients have received these letters too and we strongly advise against paying any such bills. If your domains are registered with Hostpoint, the terms will be automatically extended and you will receive the corresponding bill directly from Hostpoint. If you were to comply with the demands of Domain Renewal Group, you would be agreeing to a change of provider (‘registrar transfer’) and the American company would attempt to take over your domain. However, this needs the domain holder’s active cooperation because any domains registered via Hostpoint are locked against unwanted transfers (‘domain lock’).
Active for more than ten years
Domain Renewal Group is not an unknown entity. For more than 10 years, the company, under several names including Domain Registry of Europe, Domain Registry of Canada, and Domain Registry of America (DROA), has been searching public WHOIS registers, where domain holders and their addresses are publicly listed. As early as 2001, the Competition Bureau of Canada issued a warning about the firm’s activities, and in 2002 the US provider register.com sued DROA. After a dispute with the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), DROA agreed to repay some fees to affected clients.
Despite massive pressure, the company still shows the same pattern of activities, demonstrated by an entry under the heading “Domain Name Scams” on the English language Wikipedia site.