I am making a website for a local firm in my hometown & we would like to use the a .be webadress. However, the owner of the store has already contacted a webdevelopment firm in 2005. In the end, she decided not go in business with the webdesign firm as there prices were disgracefully high. Nevertheless, the firm has immediately occupied the domain.

Now, I would like to reclaim this domain. I've sent them a friendly e-mail on how they could help us with this issue and if they can transfer this domain. I got a reply from a sales guy, saying charges me 105 euros to take ownership of the domain? Is this normal?

Anything I can do to avoid this cost?

Update: For those who are interested: I called with the firm & they explained me the 105 euros. It's standard for them to hold on to the domain of ex-clients. They explained me they do this to ensure giving ex-clients the change to reclaim their domain after ending the contract. This way, we don't have to negotiate with other parties who possibly charge even more than 105 euros. Of course, it's a lucrative business for their own, but he did not mention that. Also, they said it is because of their SEO reputation, but I did not really grasp that part.

For the 105 euros: this is the price you should normally pay to hold on to the domain. In 2015, the contract with this firm was ended. They extended the domain for three years: 2015, 2016 & 2017. The price per annum is 35 euros. Hence, the total amount of 105 euros.

Seems legit to you guys?

  • The "webdevelopment firm" registered this domain in 2005 (12 years ago)?!
    – MrWhite
    Feb 23, 2017 at 16:01

3 Answers 3


To be honest, I was surprised it's only 105 euro's. Yes, it's more that the €3 is cost them, or the €10 it would cost you to register it.

  • You could get a lawyer, but that would be more expensive
  • You got get some professional to look into it, but that would be more expensive
  • You could try contacting/persuading them, but that'll cost you more time/frustration than it's worth.

I don't think €105 is that much at all (especially for a bussiness). They've spend time on appointments and making an offer, but didn't get the deal. This is a way to regain a some loss, not that uncommon.

Call it a learning experience and proceed. You could try the following, but be prepared for a 'no thanks':

Hi. We think €105 is a bit much for just a domainname, but we understand that you've spend some time to make an offer for [clientname]. We're prepared to pay €75,- and call it a deal.

That might save you €30 euro. If you're lucky they're not in the mood to hussle and just go for it.

Remember: They've allready spend money on your client which won't see again and you want something they have. Its's not very polite, but nevertheless bussiness. Respond accordingly.


As Martijn mentioned, any other courses of action could easily cost more than €105, and the idea that they're recouping costs isn't so far a stretch (though I'm not a huge fan of that argument).

Having been there and done that on the agency side, I can help break down what it's actually costing them. Imagine an agency charging 75-100 per hour, whatever the work; whether it's coding or design or just project management time, that's their rate. They don't want to have to go to the trouble of actually tallying every minute of "just" a domain transfer, so they'll have a fixed cost knowing that it may or not entail the following:

  • Time on the phone/email discussing what you want/need
    • That includes arguing over the costs
  • Time looking up past records to find what was done for you in the past
  • Time confirming that you are actually entitled to represent the same business
    • There's data protection, avoiding lawsuits for giving it to a competitor or angry ex-employee, etc.
  • Determining the new registrar and which steps to take for transferring to them
    • This can be surprisingly inconsistent
    • Every TLD has a different process to keep track of
  • Chasing the client to approve/accept the transfer
    • Can include having to explain every step, sometimes to clients who can barely operate email
  • Contacting the new registrar on behalf of the client because something (inevitably) goes wrong
  • Explaining to the client why suddenly their emails stopped working because they didn't have the right DNS settings with the new registrar

Those are only the ones off the top of my head. They may not all apply every time, and there may be more complications any time. If everything goes right, then you've probably spent around a half hour in total. If anything goes wrong, it's an hour minimum and up to a few days maximum. So you make a call as a business, call it a flat rate of an hour or so, and hope it balances out.

  • Thanks for the answer Andrew. Actually they are just going to change the current e-mailaddress linked to the domain to mine & then I'll just have to trigger an e-mail myself with a transfer code (via DNS Belgium). Not a lot of work in this process for them, it seems. But I do understand your point.
    – BarrieO
    Feb 24, 2017 at 11:53

Last night, i saw some news about Apple bought back icloud.net from a chinese. So, yes, buy the domain may cost 9€ but if you are not the owner then they can charge higher.

Can you check out whois and see if you can access the DNS provider login admin? Like reset the login if the owner has their email there. Then change the NS to another server.

Second alt, post on their facebook. Just let ppl to see how bad they are.

We usually tell our customers that we don't want to own the domains because of this. We too transfer domains to owner if you move from us. Charge just like a new domain, 9€.

Good luck

  • This alone was enough motivation to downvote: "Second alt, post on their facebook". We're adults.
    – Martijn
    Feb 23, 2017 at 14:32
  • Like it is very adult to charge 105 euros to a local store owner (which has no knowledge of webhosting what so ever) for a domain which he requested himself in the past... And when asking for an explanation for the fee, not being able to give a one... I won't say I will post on his FB, but it this is really frustrating to be honest.
    – BarrieO
    Feb 23, 2017 at 14:36
  • "Eye for an eye makes the world blind"
    – Martijn
    Feb 23, 2017 at 14:38
  • Also, OP is talking about a company, so the WHOIS records will highly likely point to that company.
    – Martijn
    Feb 23, 2017 at 14:48

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