Crazy Domains parent fined for misleading ‘free gifts’ promotion
Crazy Domains parent Dreamscape Networks International paid $56,340 in penalties after receiving three infringement notices for false advertising from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The ACCC sanctioned the Singapore-headquartered company for misleadingly claiming that it was offering its ‘three-month website builder’ product and an ‘additional domain name registration’ were free between October 2019 and July 2023.
The web hosting company added the products automatically to a customer’s shopping cart as ‘free’, ‘3 months free gift’ or ‘1 year free gift’ but did not clarify that they come with an auto-renewal feature that would charge customers after the free period ended.
“In this case, consumers may have believed they were receiving a free product in addition to the one they were purchasing because they were not given clear information about ongoing subscription costs for these so-called free products,” said ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver.
In addition, Dreamscape Networks offered a Domain Privacy product to customers purchasing a .au domain name that claims to ‘lock down from hijacking and hides your personal information” between October 2019 and November 2023.
However, consumers that purchased the product were sold a different product that did not hide contact names or email addresses from the public domain.
“As a result of the ACCC’s enforcement action, Dreamscape has updated disclosure around the auto-renewal and cost of its products, and the uses of its privacy products,” said Carver.