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RE: [registrars] Network Solutions Settles FTC Charges

  • To: "Registrars Constituency" <registrars@xxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: RE: [registrars] Network Solutions Settles FTC Charges
  • From: "Bruce Tonkin" <Bruce.Tonkin@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 30 Sep 2003 11:36:37 +1000
  • Sender: owner-registrars@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Thread-index: AcOG7kxwAmBAhGh4RLSHolmZhFRJpQABNFlQ
  • Thread-topic: [registrars] Network Solutions Settles FTC Charges

See also:

For the final court order.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bruce Tonkin 
> Sent: Tuesday, 30 September 2003 11:01 AM
> To: Registrars Constituency
> Subject: [registrars] Network Solutions Settles FTC Charges
> From: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2003/09/networksolutions.htm
> Network Solutions Settles FTC Charges
> False Solicitations Allegedly Duped Consumers to Transfer 
> Domain Name Registrations
> Network Solutions, Inc. has settled Federal Trade Commission 
> charges that its deceptive marketing practices unlawfully 
> tricked consumers into transferring their Internet domain 
> name registrations to the company. The terms of the 
> settlement permanently bar Network Solutions from 
> misrepresenting that a consumer's domain name is about to 
> expire or that the transfer of a domain name is actually a 
> renewal. The order also requires the defendant to pay 
> consumer redress pursuant to the terms of a previously 
> settled class action lawsuit.
> Network Solutions is the largest of more than 100 companies 
> that compete to provide domain name registration services to 
> consumers. These companies, called "registrars," help 
> consumers establish the addresses for their Internet Web 
> sites. Consumers choose a second-level domain name for 
> generic top-level domain names such as .com, .net., and .org 
> (e.g. www.networksolutions.com) and Network Solutions 
> registers that domain name with the appropriate "registry."
> The FTC's complaint alleges that, as part of its marketing 
> campaign, Network Solutions mailed solicitation notices to 
> consumers that appeared to be expiration notices from the 
> consumers' current registrars. The notices allegedly stated 
> that consumers' domain names were about to expire, and that 
> Network Solutions was offering to "renew" their domain names 
> for a fee. 
> The FTC alleges that these notices were deceptive for two 
> reasons. First, the notices claimed that the consumers' 
> domain names would soon expire, but failed to disclose the 
> actual expiration dates of the consumers' domain names - 
> which were, in some cases, months or years in the future. 
> Second, the notices offered to "renew" the consumers' domain 
> names without disclosing either the identity of the 
> consumers' then-current registrars or that accepting the 
> offer would cause the domain name to be transferred to 
> Network Solutions. The FTC charges that the notices tricked 
> some consumers into transferring their domain name 
> registrations to Network Solutions - often at a significantly 
> higher price.
> The stipulated order permanently prohibits the defendant from 
> misrepresenting that: a consumer's domain name registration 
> is about to expire; the expiration date of a registration is 
> near or on the date by which a consumer must respond to the 
> Network Solutions solicitation; and that the transfer of a 
> domain name registration is only a renewal. The settlement 
> also requires the defendant to state clearly and 
> conspicuously in any written or oral communication with 
> consumers the date on which the consumer's registration will 
> expire. The order also requires Network Solutions to pay 
> consumer redress in accordance with a class action lawsuit it 
> recently settled. Finally, the settlement contains standard 
> recordkeeping provisions to assist the FTC in monitoring the 
> defendants' compliance. At the time that the solicitations 
> that are the subject of the FTC's charges were mailed, the 
> company was doing business under the name "VeriSign."
> The Commission vote authorizing staff to file the stipulated 
> final order was 4-0-1, with Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour 
> not participating. The order was filed in the U.S. District 
> Court for the District of Columbia on September 11, 2003, and 
> was entered by Judge Ricardo M. Urbino on September 12.
> NOTE: This stipulated judgment and order is for settlement 
> purposes only and does not constitute an admission by the 
> defendant of a law violation. Stipulated judgments and orders 
> have the force of law when signed by the judge.
> Copies of the stipulated judgment and order are available 
> from the FTC's Web site at http://www.ftc.gov and also from 
> the FTC's Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 
> Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. The FTC 
> works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and 
> unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide 
> information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To 
> file a complaint, or to get free information on any of 150 
> consumer topics, call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP 
> (1-877-382-4357), or use the complaint form at 
> http://www.ftc.gov. The FTC enters Internet, > telemarketing, 
> identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into 
> Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to 
> hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in 
> the U.S. and abroad.


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