I’m using 1and1 as a registrar for one of my domains (steadyrich.com). This was registered with them on 21st Jan 2016 and I had turned off auto-renew as I have done on all the domains I own.

Move forward to 2017, and suddenly on 2nd Feb, I get a message from Cloudflare that the nameservers for this domain have been changed! That was when I realized that this domain was due for renewal, so I immediately logged into the 1and1 control panel to check what was going on.

Imagine my surprise when I could not even find the domain under any of the settings on their control panel. 

For a moment I was truely puzzled whether I had ever registered this domain with this service (sometimes it gets a little hard to keep track of 10+ domains that I have), but then I looked up the invoice records in the dashboard and for sure they said that I had registered the domain a year ago.

In complete violation of ICANN rules, they had deleted my domain, and changed the nameserver from what I had set.

  1. No renewal reminders BEFORE domain expiry were sent to me
  2. Expired domain was not placed into grace period and obviously no reminders were sent on the same

If it were not for CloudFlare I would not even have been aware of this!

Violation of multiple ICANN rule!

ICAAN has explicit rules governing domain renewal and 1and1 has violated ALL of them in this instance.

  1. Registrars are required to send renewal reminders 30 and five days before (and five days after) the expiration of a domain name. The registrar must display on its website the methods for sending these notices.
  2. Once your domain has expired, it will be in Auto-Renew Grace Period (for 0-45 days), followed by a 30-day Redemption Grace Period. At the end of the Redemption Grace Period, you will not be able to renew your domain name. Your domain name will be released for registration by third parties.
  3. Domain names that are in the 30-day Redemption Grace Period can be redeemed (or renewed) before the end of the Grace Period. If you tried to redeem (or renew) your domain name that is in Redemption Grace Period, but were unable to do so, the registrar may be in breach of the Expired Registration Recovery Policy. Your registrar must provide three renewal notices and allow a domain in Redemption Grace Period to be redeemed (or renewed).

So I put in two strong complaints to ICANN regarding this compliance issue on their website, and sent a mail to Sebastian Gonzalez, Head of Customer Service ([email protected]) on 2nd Feb.

Subsequent to the above mail, I received a rubbish mail from 1and1 customer care as follows, which conveniently forgot to mention that the problem was that 1and1 was in violation of compliance regulations, and instead pretended that it was my problem. I ignored this mail.

Today I received the following mail, which made a bit more sense, but of course still no apology for having screwed a customer.

To which I replied:

What next?

Well, I’ll wait for 1and1 to reply on my offer to transfer the domain away from them.

I have also tweeted on this issue and will follow up with more tweets, posts and reviews to create awareness of this extremely serious issue.

I am also waiting to hear back from ICANN, and finally I reserve the right to sue 1and1 for damages.

Issue resolved - March 1st 2017

  • 1 and 1 reinstated my domain in their control panel and they waived off all fees for the same
  • Then they allowed me to transfer the domain away from them
  • ICANN also followed up on both my complaints to closure. Its fantastic that ICANN provides this excellent service and follow ups to closure. Without a strong regulator, companies always run rough shod over individual consumers who have no bargaining power.