Yahoo! charging $35 renewals for domains even after you leave (Update: Happy Ending)

Did you flee Yahoo! domains after it upped its .com renewal fee to $35? Even though it's no longer your registrar, it will attempt to run the renewal transaction and invoice you if it cannot. This shady practice is not unknown among domain registrars, but I never expected Yahoo! to sink to it.

When it upped the tab to more than three times the standard rate, I transferred my domains to Godaddy.com, cancelled the domains at Yahoo! and moved on.

A couple of days ago, I received a "Past-Due Payment Notice" from Yahoo! Customer Care which says it attempted to bill for renewal of a domain, even though it is no longer the registrar. Moreover, it invoiced for the payment and claimed that the DNS would be interrupted if I didn't cough up.

Worse, I discover upon logging in to my old Yahoo! account that it successfully charged for another domain, transferred to GoDaddy months ago.

Soliciting and processing renewal payments for domains in this manner is a well-known fix. I receive similar invoices by mail, now and again, from no-name scammers: the idea is to trick you into transferring registration to their own company.

$35 for a dot com is bad enough as it is, but using invoices to trick leaving customers into returning–or simply running the transfer automatically using old billing info–is unacceptable.

(Especially cute is how it usually sends all correspondence to your account's primary email address, but renewal receipts only go to the Yahoo! email address that you never check.)

Update: Yahoo refunded my dough without any trouble, and my phone agent was helpful and cheery. This is nice, even if the fact remains that they shouldn't have taken it in the first place.

Published by Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.

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9 Comments

  1. My current hosting service told me, when I switched from Yahoo to them, that Yahoo does this all the time. I got a specific cancellation notice from Yahoo, and I will hang onto it for proof.

  2. It’s illegal if it doesn’t state that it’s not actually a bill. Or at least that’s what a judge told me once. (No, I wasn’t standing in front of him in court.)

  3. I am glad you posted this. Since my charge info for Yahoo was expired, they had to wait for new info, and I used the opportunity to run away.

  4. Did the same thing to me in July just automatically took the $35 using my old billing info for a domain I’d transferred to GoDaddy a few months before. I issued a charge back with my CC company … got my money back about a month ago.

  5. Thanks to BoingBoing for alerting me to this extraordinary fee hike. I was never alerted to this rate increase and I certainly don’t want to stay with them for that price! I started the transfer of my domain just last night, and my renewal with Yahoo isn’t due till the spring, but as extra insurance, the billing charge info they have on file is out of date — and I’m not updating it!
    This is one of the first times I can say that browsing the web saved me actual cash.

  6. Sounds familiar. This happened to me a few years back. I switched to godaddy after that. The incident was so repulsive and took so long to rectify that the brand “yahoo” not only leaves a bad taste in my mouth but on some unconscious level i see them as the ‘Enemy’ – or worse…’EVIL’. I know it isn’t fair to paint the whole company with a single brushstroke after only one bad experience but since I’m a flawed human I don’t mind. Better than a flawed corporation.

  7. Grr… Yahoo did this to me too! – TWICE. First time I thought “oops. i didn’t cancel in time” and was stuck with their new charge plus a $35 charge from my bank b/c I didn’t have enough funds to cover the transaction. Today – I check to see if I have enough money to pay rent. $13 short thanks to Yahoo! and I have a feeling I won’t be able to get my money back before the 1st of the month.

    It’s really sad. I looked up to Yahoo until they messed up the whole domain thing. I didn’t even mind them raising the prices since I am free to choose a new registrar. But this is the THIRD time they have messed my domains up.

  8. A belated thanks, Rob, for posting this. I got on a domain transfer to a different service right away, and escaped Yahoo successfully.

  9. Yahoo sucks. $35! That’s highway robbery. Ridiculous. I’m trying to transfer my domains from Yahoo to Officelive, and having trouble doing so. I might just cancel them, which sucks, but there’s no way I’m going to pay them $35 for a domain name.

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