Several Dutch businesses are pressing charges against Trademark Office for advertising fraud.
The company offers domain name registration for € 29.75 per year. Business who accept the deal sign up for a 15 year subscription. The entire fee must be paid in advance. In addition, entrepreneurs are complaining about aggressive collection agencies who apply scare tactics if they protest against the costs involved.
Their lawyer Jeroen Thiele says the way Trademark Office operates is unlawful. He is seeking an official declaration from a judge. Thiele is acting on behalf of 32 victims, writes the Financieel Dagblad (registration required).
Trademark Office’s method
Trademark Office calls SMEs and strongly urges them to register an additional domain name within 24 hours. Another party has shown interest in a domain name that is very similar to the business’s account. Only the extension (.nl or .info) is different. Businesses are told they must decide quickly. Of course, there are no competitors, but a representative from Trademark Office tells the Financieel Dagblad that company is acting within the law.
Fraud Help Desk regularly publishes warnings about domain name scams. We advise businesses looking to register an extra domain name to contact their own hosting provider.