May 24 2004. The OFT has received a number of complaints from businesses that have been cold called by domain name registration agents attempting to pressurise them into buying domain names. Typically, the agents inform the business that a third party is interested in - if not on the brink of - registering close variants of their name. A very short timescale is then offered for the business to pay to register these domain names with the agent before the third party is able to.

If businesses have doubts about the reliability of a domain name offer, the OFT recommends that they contact their internet service provider (ISP), their usual domain name registration agent, or their local Trading Standards Service, who can advise on a course of action. If they think they may have been misled, businesses should complain to their local Trading Standards Service in the first instance.

More information from the OFT on 0845 7224499.