An Australian Internet domain registration company will pay $250,000 into a compensation trust fund following complaints from the US indicating it has engaged in "misleading and deceptive" conduct.
Internic Technology allegedly misled customers all over the world into believing they were dealing with the US government-contracted Internet domain registrar InterNIC operated by US-based Network Solutions.
After receiving several complaints from the US Federal Trade Commission, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) began legal proceedings against Melbourne-based Internic and its director Peter Zmijewski.
"In this case, the ACCC had alleged that Internic and its director misled consumers by using an almost identical name to the exclusive registrar of second-level domain names in the .com, .net, .org, .gov, .edu top-level Internet domains [the InternetNIC] and by operating a Web site at www.internic.com," ACCC chairman Allan Fels explained.
Internic Technology charged consumers from Australia, the US, Canada, France, Norway, Spain, the UK, Switzerland and Germany between $US220 and $US250 to register more than 13,000 domain names prior to May 1998. At the same time, the US-operated InterNIC's registration fee was between $US70 and $US100.
The proceedings culminated with the Federal Court decision to prevent Internic Technology from using the name "internic", which also binds the company to place $250,000 in a trust fund that will be used to refund all consumers who registered a domain name at the internic.com site prior to May 1998.
Internic has until July 1 to deposit the money into the ACCC-monitored trust account. The refund process is scheduled to start on August 14.
Internic Technology could not be contacted last week.