An Australian domain name registrar and its director are being taken to court over a recent mail-out that has been deemed "likely to mislead".
The Australian Domain Name Authority (auDA) brought proceedings against Domain Names Australia and director Chesley Rafferty on August 18, in a "representative action" on behalf of Australia registrants who received the mail-out.
New Zealand registrants also received the mail-out from Domain Names Australia's subsidary, Domain Names New Zealand. (See Domain name scammer old hand).
AuDA CEO Chris Disspain says the legal action is not related to the New Zealand situation, although auDA and the Commerce Commission of New Zealand have been in touch over the matter.
"There will be a consumer alert issued and a further announcement later on, possibly next week."
The mail-out looked like an invoice and offered to secure the .net.nz equivalent to the registrant's .co.nz domain name.
AuDA also sought an interlocutory injunction restraining DNA from using the funds received as a result of the mail out, however the judge concluded that there was insufficient evidence to show that the proceeds were likely to disappear as auDA fears.
The court has reserved its decision.
Rafferty had already been in court over a similar matter in 2002. That campaign landed Rafferty in hot water with the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission). The ACCC is currently investigating whether Rafferty's latest business dealings breach the Federal Court Order prohibiting him from engaging in this kind of business
The Domain Name Commissioner Debbie Monahan says she has been discussing the issue with the Commerce Commissioner however no decision has been reached on what action to take as Rafferty is not based in New Zealand. The offices of DNNZ are redirecting mail and calls to Australia.