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My current provider let my domain expire. I paid for the renewal a month in advance, they let it expire, and when I reached out, they ghosted me for about a week and a half. Only resurfaced when I asked for a refund via PayPal.

Naturally, they now claim they need payment again to renew it. I don't have any reason to believe they will do it this time, which is why I'm looking for alternatives.

Do I have any options?

EDIT:

*The domain is a .com

*The registrar is www.publicdomainregistry.com. I've reached out to them. It takes them several days to reply and so far it's been the equivalent of "have you turned it off and on?". They also pointed me to a different registrar.

*I also opened a case with ICANN just because I read on a different post (thanks SO!) that I should do that

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    Is your provider a domain registrar, or a web hosting company that registered a domain on your behalf? Commented May 23, 2023 at 9:57
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    It also depends on what sort of domain - .com? .it? something else? Some domain extensions have a grace period where you can renew, if yours does and the domain is still within the grace period (you can check in whois) then renewing through them is likely your best option. I would then consider moving to another provider.
    – Steve
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 5:57
  • @StephenOstermiller the provider is a reseller
    – hikizume
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 12:39
  • @Steve .com. There's a grace period. Thing is I already paid them once back in April, a month before it expired, and they didn't renew it. They just started replying to my messages when I asked PayPal for a refund, and want me to pay again to get it done. I have very little confidence in them, but I understand it's my best option, unfortunately.
    – hikizume
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 12:41

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It might depend on the domain name space - but in general your options are extremely limited.

What typically happens is that if a domain name is not renewed it goes into a "holding" state during which only the registrar of record can renew the domain name - which means that they control most of the cards here.

If the domain name is not renewed after a stipulated period (3 months is common, but this may vary depending on the suffix of the domain - ie what tld/cctld it is) then the domain name is released back into a pool and anyone can register it. If the domain name is sought after, it can very often be snapped up by someone other then the original owner (how likely this is depends on the domain name and its history). There are services out there which can help you try pick up the domain name as soon as it falls off the registry. (This service is known by different names - domain drop catching, domain sniping. https://www.spamzilla.io/drop-catching-domains/ lists a number of providers that specialise in this)

Its a long shot, but depending on the suffix of the domain name and who the registrar is you MIGHT have some recourse -

A lot - probably most registrars are actually resellers of a registrar. If you registered the domain name through a reseller (which is likely - large registrars don't play these kinds of silly buggers - the risk to them is to high) - and you are very lucky - and very nice - and you can sufficiently prove ownership of the domain name you might occasionally be able to get the actual registrar to transfer the domain name to their registry directly and allow you to renew it.

Most TLD/CCTLD's have a dispute resolution process. This can be expensive and take a long time to resolve but may get you recourse to your domain name. It may be that the threat of dispute resolution might give you a bit of leverage as it might be that the registrar will be penalized by the entity that controls the TLD/CCTLD.

(A TLD is a generic suffix like .com .net .kiwi. A CCTLD is a country code tld - like .uk, .nz, .ru)

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    We would often encourage you to share your domain name here so we can look at it and advise. If you think you may want to use a domain drop catching service this might not be a great idea.
    – davidgo
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 8:55
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    Also, depending on the registry, you might have recourse through them in a similar vein. For example Nominet are particularly good with giving registrants control over their domain names when registrars are less than helpful. Commented May 24, 2023 at 8:56
  • @GeoffAtkins The registrar is www.publicdomainregistry.com. I will update post accordingly. I've reached out to them. It takes them several days to reply and so far it's been the equivalent of "have you turned it off and on?" kind of thing, when I've already supplied an explanation of several screenshots of payment, message exchanges, etc
    – hikizume
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 12:47
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    Looking at their reviews they are a pretty bad company to deal with. The slight silver lining is they are a proper registrar (not a reseller) and they have been around a long time. (icann.org/en/…). As you are between a rock and a hard place, were I in your shoes I might be inclined to take the risk and pay them again for the domain name using a VISA or Mastercard credit card, and if they did not renew it I would do a chargeback - I would also move the domain to a reputable registrar like namecheap...
    – davidgo
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 20:58
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    Or Gandi.net. (Note you may need to wait a holding period of 60 days before you can do this - I'm not certain in your case, and you will need to extend your renewal out another year). I suspect that your registrar is legit, just entirely incompetent and not caring - so their demands that you pay may well be uncaring incompetence and possibly does not meet the bar of deliberate fraud. If that is unpalatable and you are willing to risk the domain name, you may want to escalate with their domain manager whose email address is [email protected] and phone number is +1 2013775952
    – davidgo
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 21:04

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