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Warning to Domain Names NZ .net offer misleading

Media Release

Issued 8 October 2003-04/046

Commission issues warning to Domain Names NZ - .net offer liable to mislead

The Commerce Commission has formally warned Australian company Domain Names NZ that an offer it sent to New Zealand businesses regarding the .net domain was misleading and at risk of breaching the Fair Trading Act.

In July this year, Domain Names NZ sent unsolicited letters, styled as an invoice or renewal notice, to businesses that had existing New Zealand domain names similar to those being offered in the letter.

Businesses that contacted the Commission believed that the letters gave the impression that the recipients were required to pay the specified price to secure continued registration of their existing domain name, or that they had agreed to acquire the services of Domain Names NZ, when this was not the case.

Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said that by warning Domain Names NZ, the Commission was sending a wider message to all business that if they receive any form of correspondence from the company they should look carefully at all details before paying any money.

Ms Battell also said that action was also being taken by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission against Domain Names Australia Pty Ltd for similar alleged breaches of the Trade Practices Act.

“Despite its name, Domain Names NZ has no New Zealand base and is an Australian entity,” Ms Battell said. “Mail sent to Domain Names NZ at Albert Street in Auckland was redirected to, and handled by an Auckland ‘Virtual Office’ company, and was forwarded to an address in Australia,” she said.

The Commission understands that Domain Names NZ and Domain Names Australia Pty Ltd are affiliated companies.

In August this year, the Commission alerted the public that it was aware of a mass mail out by a business trading as Domain Names NZ, and strongly urged caution when dealing with the organisation.

The Commission received in excess of 100 contacts from people who had received correspondence from Domain Names NZ.

Commission media releases can be viewed on its web site

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