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A client of ours is trying to transfer a .co.uk domain name away from her current web company. They are trying to charge her upwards of £100 for the transfer.

I know that transfers of a .co.uk domain are free, so they have no costs to recover on their side by making the transfer. (or only £10.00+VAT for Nominet Transfers)

Is this justified? Are they allowed to charge?
She's satisfied all accounts on their end, so they're not witholding in lieu of payment for services.

FYI. In a whois lookup, my client's name is the under the registrant name heading, but with their company address under the registrant address section.

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4 Answers 4

Shame on the registrar company that asks for 100 pounds to let the domain being transferred away. I can see ominous clouds drifting on their business, they'll get hundreds of dreadful reviews on the web.

Your should ask them to read their terms of service TOS to see if this 100 pound charge is due. I'm not a UK lawyer so I don't know if in UK an agreement is valid even if it asks for money in case you break it before its natural ending date. In Italy is legal, some phone company asks for money if you break the agreement before its natural ending date.

Look also in the .co.uk Nominet Good Practice Terms to see if it says something about this issue, in worst case you can always open a complain procedure about them.

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The compulsory IANAL applies here, but seeing how this question could easily end up being more of an on-line petition than one we can properly answer, I though I ought to support your cause. It is getting ridiculous how much some registrars will charge for a simple click-of-a-button administrative procedure.

Is this justified?

In broad terms and without actually seeing the contract, I'd wager that it's not. The transfer itself is extremely simple to do and something that is done all the time by tens of thousands per day (the number is a wild guess, but you get my meaning). It shouldn't cost more than your ballpark figure of roughly £10. If however your question is regarding the morality of charging so much for it, then the answer should be a clear and resounding NO!

Are they allowed to charge?

Speculating here, but most probably they are, and is buried somewhere in the fine print of the contract. You should gain access to it and check for yourself though. Or link to it so we can digest it for you. They're probably excusing the total cost by splitting it into different categories that this procedure involves. That's how they make the costs associated with the contract to appear to be reasonable when you're signing it, but end up the way they did. People should be warned of such weasels (I could think of other names to call them) and you should name the web company involved in your question, so we all know who to avoid in the future.

Cheers!

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I think charging is completely wrong, and I'm tempted to name the company, however, I don't think anybody on this site would look twice at their style of business - cheap, nasty, out-of-the-box web packages. My client thought she was getting a good deal until she tried to get out of it! –  Dan Hanly Feb 28 '13 at 17:16
    
@danielhanly.com - With SE ranking so high up in search engines, opinions here are highly influential. Just saying... ;) –  TildalWave Feb 28 '13 at 18:15
    
@MarcinWolny - Thanks for correcting my formatting! I used quote format as it's quoted from the question, but you're right it looks clearer now than it used to. Cheers! –  TildalWave Feb 28 '13 at 18:28

To be honest this would have been in the contract when the domain was purchased and is a tradeoff for getting it cheap in the first place. If you don't like the terms don't do business with companies like this. You can't really complain about their practices afterwards. Whether they like it or not the client is probably going to have to cough up what they agreed to pay and in future be more careful about what they sign up to.

I've seen far worse when companies unscrupulously hold onto domains and basically blackmail small businesses into staying with them but likewise I've seen web companies that do extra work to make things easier in the future and then get ditched for some other opportunist to take advantage of their effort.

Companies will try to protect their business and as long as they make them clear at the start, then any terms are reasonable because you have agreed to them.

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Usually, the fee that is charged at the time of transfer is the renewal fee. In most of the cases, If you transfer a domain name from one registrar to another, you get a one extension.

That is why the renewal cost is always equal to the transfer fee.

There is no transfer fee but the registrars usually charge a certain amount as transfer fee which is nothing but the renewal cost.

You as a customer will get a +1 year free with the transfer.

However, if a registrar is charging an amount which is much more that the renewal fee or if you are not getting a +1 year extra along with the transfer, then it is not justified.

In such a scenario, you can write an e-mail to the Registry directly.

The Registry for .CO.UK is: Nominet

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