The Federal Court has ordered Internet Registrations Australia (IRA) to pay refunds to thousands of customers duped by false renewal notices.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) took IRA to court in September for distributing renewal notices that looked like invoices for payment - a practice which the ACCC asserts is misleading and breaches the Trade Practices Act.
It is not the first time the domain name service provider has been in trouble for disreputable practices but the ACCC has secured a permanent injunction in an attempt to stop it happening again.
IRA came to the attention of the ACCC following a string of consumer complaints and inquiries about unsolicited domain name "renewal advice" notices. They had been distributed to approximately 70,000 recipients, many of whom had no existing relationship or prior dealing with IRA.
The Federal Court order also requires IRA to implement a trade practices compliance program and to pay some ACCC costs.