When I hired a local company to design my website they charged me a low one-time fee and a monthly maintenance. Sounded like a great deal at the time, but now I'm not happy with it and I want to go with another company. The problem is the 1st company registered my domain in their name and they refuse to transfer or sell it.

My company is BUILT on this site. I feel it is mine. They have me over a barrel and say they don't have to release me from my contract?

What can I do? I'm one of around 50 companies in town that are having this issue.

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    As far as the registration company is concerned you have zero rights to the domain since it was never registered in your name unless your business name is trademarked. If the business is trademarked then you can contact the registration authority of the domain type i.e TLD ICANN, ccTLD NOMINENT etc, if not then your going have to speak to a lawyer but at the end of the day those 50 companies should of never let that individual or business register the domain on their behalf, he is responsible for the renewal costs, also the registration contact is in his name, it's going to be hard Jul 13 '13 at 21:08
  • To get anything done about it, the best you can do is put pressure on the company or individual to release it. Jul 13 '13 at 21:08

This is one of those areas where lawyers get involved.

Are you in a nation/state that operates under rule of law? Read the fine print in your contract, there has to be specific language that gives them the right to keep your registered domain. Do the laws under which businesses operate there allow them this right?

Are you a registered business, how long have you been in business and is your business name a service mark or trade mark? Law may give you leverage against theft of your business name.

You have 50 businesses, therefore a sizable warchest and body of people to pull from. You don't have to do it alone. Don't skimp by hiring a rubbish attorney's office.

Stack Exchange cannot give you the specifics, an attorney well versed in your local/state/national law is the only entity capable of giving you that advice.

And next time around, have someone knowledgeable in looking for gotchas look through the contract before you sign it.

A sign that was on the wall in our automotive shop, pertaining to cheap parts, has application everywhere: "The bitter taste of low quality is long remembered, the sweetness of low price is soon forgotten."

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