Why can’t I transfer my domain from 1&1?

I’ve had an account with 1&1 for, oh, many years. Never for hosting but simply for domain handling – specifically artiss.co.uk.

However, needing to install SSL on this domain, my host (Tsohost) can only do it if the domain is hosted with them and 1&1, well, they won’t give me SSL because I don’t have the domain hosted with them. So, the easiest solution was to move the domain to Tsohost.

Sadly, 1&1 have made sure this process isn’t easy.

To make a transfer you have to specify an IPS tag, which dictates where the domain is registered. Theoretically, all I need to do was is get 1&1 to switch my domain to this tag. Theoretically. They give me 2 options – close my entire account or cancel a specific domain. The first is preferable and I went through all the screens before finally entering my IPS tag. I then got this screen…

So I tried the option to cancel a specific domain. Same error. A different browser. Same error.

As it directs me to check their service status I did but it showed no issues so I tried the second option – contact them. I phoned them and spoke to a foreign lady (I didn’t catch her name), who was pleasant but appeared too hesitant to give me any confidence. She muted me for quite some time before coming back and telling me I should receive an email asking me to confirm my cancellation. I got this and clicked on the link in the email, which cancelled my domain. There was nothing to say it had been transferred so I asked about this and was told this was already in progress. Again, the lady was hesitant and imbued me with no confidence – if this wasn’t true I was likely to lose my domain name. After I hung up the phone I reversed the cancellation.

This time I turned to Twitter and, I have to say, I was feeling less than impressed. Maybe I’m being cynical thinking this could be on purpose but showing an error page when people try to cancel their accounts feels a pretty mean way to go about business.

I DM’d them all my details and they told me..

Hi, I have sent this to our Domains Team. They will take care of the transfer for you. They would also be in touch.

That was Friday. Today, Monday, I’ve still not heard anything. Now, at first that may not seem to be a big issue as it’s just one working day. What you need to realise though is that I wanted to make the transfer ON Friday and it’s 1&1 that are preventing this – and they shouldn’t be. Allowing a domain owner to transfer ownership is a right and is no different to a mobile network not allowing you to transfer phone numbers. Rather than something that 1&1 will get around to in their own good time, this should be serious “we’d better sort this before we get into trouble” business.

Nominet manage the companies who are allowed to sell UK domains and, needless to say, if they believe that companies are not allowing owners to transfer, will punish them, even to the point of preventing them from providing domains in future.

You can go via Nominet to change the IPS Tag, although this is a chargeable service, but this won’t close my 1&1 account, so I’d prefer to use the 1&1 route. However, signing into Nominet throws up an interesting issue – my site is not listed under my email address. If you perform a ‘whois’ on my site it shows 1&1 rather than my details, which I thought may have been the issue, but according to the 1&1 site I don’t have the option to have private registration on my domain. So, right now, that option doesn’t even appear to be open to me.

And, the thing is, I don’t believe this issue is isolated to me – I suspect EVERY customer who tries to transfer their domain with 1&1 right now is being prevented. Yet, their service status still doesn’t show any problems. Is this a sly way to prevent automated transfer whilst promoting that you offer it?

1&1 have one more day. Tomorrow I go to Nominet. Let’s see what the next 24 hours bring.

A Few Minutes Later…

I published this post and then chased up 1&1 again (as I had also done on Saturday, but had no response). Within minutes I not only had a reply but a result – in my inbox was awaiting a confirmation to cancel my account but also a separate one to confirm the transfer was taking place. When I spoke to them on the phone on Friday I hadn’t received the latter, so it sounds as if I was right to be suspicious.

The transfer has now taken place and my account has been cancelled.

Hi David, apologies for the Delay. The Domains Team work Mon-Fri.

Which was interesting to know. Not that I contacted the domains team – my chase on Saturday was to their support Twitter account but, then again, they don’t work the weekend either. Either way, it’s curious that a modern hosting company doesn’t provide essential support over the weekend. Oh well, better without them I guess?

2 responses

  1. Richard Read avatar
    Richard Read

    Hi David. I’m having the same issues with 1and1, there not allowing me to transfer away a domain to NAMECHEAP-INC.
    Its been 9 days now. And as you know what should be a 5min job, is not. I know you got there in the end. And hopefully i will to. However do you think there are more people like us? And do you have links to their blogs? I would like to build up case against 1and1 mal practice.

    1. Hi Richard. Did you ever build up a case? We are having issues with Ionas.

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