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How to Get Help When You Have a Problem with Your Registrar

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Please note: this advice refers only to generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) and does not apply to country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs)

ICANN successfully introduced competition in the registrar marketplace which has resulted in over several hundred ICANN-accredited registrars now offering a range of registration services. Go to for a complete list of ICANN accredited registrars. Registrants have the option of simply purchasing a domain name, or purchasing a domain name that includes a package of services such as web hosting services, domain name proxy services and other related services. With this range of registrar services available to the public, comes a range of customer service offerings. Registrants have found that some registrars offer 24 hour live customer service assistance, while others only offer customer service via e-mail. Accordingly, registrants are encouraged to carefully research a potential registrar before entering into a contract for registration services to determine if the potential registrar meets the needs of the registrant.

In keeping with ICANN’s goal of promoting and encouraging competition in the registrar marketplace, the Inter-Registrar Transfer policy provides a straightforward procedure for domain name holders to transfer their names from one ICANN-accredited registrar to another should they wish to do so. The policy also provides standardized requirements for registrar handling of such transfer requests from domain name holders. You may view the inter-registrar transfer policy at

ICANN is the private, not-for-profit technical coordination body responsible for coordinating the unique assignment of Internet domain names and IP addresses. ICANN is not a government agency. ICANN has a contractual relationship with all accredited registrars that clearly sets forth the obligations of accredited registrars, (See If a registrar fails to adhere to any of the terms of the RAA, ICANN may pursue all remedies available to it under the RAA, including termination of accreditation.

If you have a complaint that concerns a matter addressed in the RAA, you should contact ICANN for assistance at In summary, registrars are obligated to provide the following customer service related services pursuant to the Registrar Accreditation Agreement:

  1. Registrars must adhere to consensus policies ( e.g, Inter Registrar Transfer Policy, Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy, Whois Data Reminder Policy, Whois Marketing Restriction Policy, Restored Names Accuracy Policy and the Expired Domain Deletion policy.
  2. Registrars must timely populate Whois data
  3. Registrars must timely submit updated registration information to registries.
  4. Registrars must provide public access to Whois data.
  5. Registrars must require all Registered Name Holders to enter into a registration agreement that includes specific provisions.
  6. Registrars must investigate reported inaccurate contact information.

ICANN’s mission does not include resolving consumer complaints that fall outside of the RAA. Complaints about a registrar’s performance that cannot be resolved with a registrar and fall outside of the terms of the RAA may be addressed by private sector agencies involved in addressing consumer complaints (i.e. The Better Business Bureau, by law enforcement agencies or by governmental consumer protection entities (i.e. The International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network ICANN does not address consumer complaints pertaining to the following matters:

  1. Spam complaints
  2. Website content complaints
  3. Failure to timely answer phones
  4. Failure to timely respond to e-mail messages
  5. Over billing/ Multiple billing
  6. Computer viruses

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Domain Name System
Internationalized Domain Name ,IDN,"IDNs are domain names that include characters used in the local representation of languages that are not written with the twenty-six letters of the basic Latin alphabet ""a-z"". An IDN can contain Latin letters with diacritical marks, as required by many European languages, or may consist of characters from non-Latin scripts such as Arabic or Chinese. Many languages also use other types of digits than the European ""0-9"". The basic Latin alphabet together with the European-Arabic digits are, for the purpose of domain names, termed ""ASCII characters"" (ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange). These are also included in the broader range of ""Unicode characters"" that provides the basis for IDNs. The ""hostname rule"" requires that all domain names of the type under consideration here are stored in the DNS using only the ASCII characters listed above, with the one further addition of the hyphen ""-"". The Unicode form of an IDN therefore requires special encoding before it is entered into the DNS. The following terminology is used when distinguishing between these forms: A domain name consists of a series of ""labels"" (separated by ""dots""). The ASCII form of an IDN label is termed an ""A-label"". All operations defined in the DNS protocol use A-labels exclusively. The Unicode form, which a user expects to be displayed, is termed a ""U-label"". The difference may be illustrated with the Hindi word for ""test"" — परीका — appearing here as a U-label would (in the Devanagari script). A special form of ""ASCII compatible encoding"" (abbreviated ACE) is applied to this to produce the corresponding A-label: xn--11b5bs1di. A domain name that only includes ASCII letters, digits, and hyphens is termed an ""LDH label"". Although the definitions of A-labels and LDH-labels overlap, a name consisting exclusively of LDH labels, such as"""" is not an IDN."