We have a client whose previous IT left on very bad terms. He also left NO documentation, credentials, or account information. This client's GoDaddy hosted email just stopped working last week. We found out that the card on file does not belong to the Company Owner and the Rogue Employee has not been paying. They didn't leave, and won't provide, information to let the Company Owner access the account.
We contacted GoDaddy support and have gotten nowhere since last Thursday. All we know is the account is in "Pending Deletion" status and they won't even let the Company Owner or us pay the balance to prevent them from losing their data. We were told to go to changeupdate.com but that cuts us off as soon as it recognizes the client's Domain is on a different Registrar.
So, basically, we have a client whose orders come in via email. She's been without them for about 4 days. She's facing losing all records of those orders if the accounts are deleted, and GoDaddy's Support has given us no means of getting the client access to their account. We can provide her ID, proof of ownership of the Company, whatever is necessary but we have not been given a point of contact or procedure that makes sense.
The last thing we heard from our GoDaddy Support contact is they could request a change to the primary email on the account with the current holder. However, this person has a history of non-compliance and acting in a way that results in harm to the business. Surely there must be a process for dealing with Rogue Employees.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
I am not an attorney and this is not "professional advice."
From what you shared it sounds like the current email account is in the ownership and hands of the ex-employee.
I would think this also means the domain is registered by the ex-employee as well.
Is this the case? If so, you probably already know your client is in a very tough situation.
If the company owns the domain, they could easily set up a new email account and replace that address on the website.
But if they don't, that means the whole online asset belongs to the ex-employee. The company is then open to danger in misrepresentation and lost sales, as the public will believe this continues to be the official site even if the company puts up a replacement. Of course, the company can then sue for damages, but that's a road neither party ought to want to go down.
So if the ex-employee owns the domain, and therefore the email account, your client could talk to an attorney. A letter sent to the employee under the attorney's letterhead, noting the dangers of defamation and misrepresentation and demanding the handover of the asset or exchange for a fair monetary value, may be useful. If the ex-employee is accustomed to high pressure, this approach may result in nothing.
There is an ICANN dispute resolution policy that may be useful. Your client may also call the FBI. Yes, that seems melodramatic, but after inaction from the initial attempts at least one person did this and apparently started getting results:
However, the reality of the matter is that if your client had the ex-employee register the domain under their own name rather than the company's, there is not much they can do beyond praying and retaining a lawyer. I'm inclined to agree with the information herein:
If the business owner registered the domain, they stand a much better chance of recovering the asset. I hope that is what happened here.
This is a cautionary tale all should heed. Never allow someone else to register a domain for you...no matter how great your relationship may currently be.