A company called, "Domain Registry of America" (droa.com), is just one of several companies that routinely sends out phony domain renewal letters. These invoices appear to be legitimate. If your domain name is registered through Earth Plaza, do not fall for their overpriced and misleading scam.
Their intent is to trick you into actually transfering their domain names to DROA (who charges nearly twice what Earth Plaza does for your domain renewal).
For a few years now, millions of people have been victims of a domain name renewal scam by Domain Registry of America (DROA). We have discovered over the course of time that many of our very own clients have been preyed upon. The good news is, thanks to the Federal Trade Commission, you have a way to fight back, and more importantly to get your money back.
What’s the scam?
Domain Registry of America will mail you a letter requesting that you renew your domain name before it expires by returning the payment slip with your check or credit card information for the desired renewal term. The letter is meant to appear as a renewal notice when it is actually a solicitation to register your domain name with DROA and leave your current registrar (Earth Plaza/Tucows).
When the transfer away from your current registrar occurs, your nameservers may also be changed. This means your website will not be live on the Internet – DROA doesn’t tell you this part.
One of the other things they don’t tell you are that if you fall for their scam, and then realize it after you have sent payment and try to stop the transfer, you will still owe them $4.50. You will also still owe them $4.50 if the transfer fails through no fault of your own such as because of a registrar lock, or their own error. DROA is also accused of agreeing to credit consumers upon request, but not issuing one in a ‘timely manner’.
How do I recognize a domain name scam?
DROA is not the only game in town. There are many domain name and Internet scams out there. They know that they won’t get everyone to fall for this. However many people do and that brings them plenty of cash.
Beware of any email or letter you receive that is written in a ‘hurry up’ or ‘act now, or else’ fashion. Scammers aim to create a panic so that you think, “oh no, if I don’t do this now, I’ll lose my identity on the Internet. You will not lose anything unless you do not renew your domain name through your current registrar before your domain name expiration date.
How do I fight back?
If you receive one of these letters, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission whether or not you ever made a payment to DROA. The notice will be reviewed, and it will be judged to see if DROA is meeting the requirements of the FTC’s ruling.
How do I get my money back?
Contact Domain Registry of America at (866) 434-0212 or via email. They must credit your credit card within seven business days according to the 'Truth In Lending Act' (TILA).
The Federal Trade Commission stipulated that upon consumer request DROA must refund any payment remitted to them, and compensate eligible consumers an additional $6.00 per domain name transfer to assist with fees incurred when transferring back to their original registrar. If you file a complaint with the FTC you may be entitled to additional redress if you experienced any loss of business or business expenses due to DROA’s scam.
Can Earth Plaza help me?
Although we can’t contact DROA or the FTC for you, there are other ways we can assist you. If you receive a notice from a company other than Earth Plaza, and you are unsure of its validity, please feel free to contact us and it will be our pleasure to assist to ensure you are not a victim of a scam.