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SnapNames Gets Hit With Class Action Suit Over Shill Bidding

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Some things in life are a certainty. Death. Taxes. Lawsuits. An example: If you steal from your customers for half a decade and then force them to sign a no-lawsuit agreement before you give them their money back, you’re going to get sued.

And that’s exactly what happened to SnapNames. Last week the company admitted that an executive has been bidding on auctions for domain names, driving up prices. Money would be refunded, plus interest, said SnapNames, but customers were required to sign an agreement waiving any legal rights.

Today the Cueto Law Group filed a class action lawsuit against SnapNames. The press release is below.

Sadly, most class action lawsuits result in little money ever reaching plaintiffs – only the lawyers make the big dollars. In our opinion criminal charges should be brought against a wide variety of SnapNames executives as well.

The press release:

Class Action Lawsuit Filed Against Domain Name Provider

Lawsuit Alleges that Domain Name Provider Used Shill Bidders to Manipulate Auctions; may be Tip of the Iceberg in Domain Name Industry.

MIAMI, Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ — A class action lawsuit was filed today in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court on behalf of lead Plaintiff Carlos A. Cueto and others who participated in online auctions for domain names. In the lawsuit, Mr. Cueto alleges that an executive of the company conducting the auctions acted as a shill bidder to manipulate bids. The domain names were auctioned online by Oversee.Net, Inc. subsidiary SnapNames.Com, Inc.

According to the class action complaint, a former vice-president of SnapNames.Com secretly bid on tens of thousands of domain name auctions over the past four years, driving up costs for other bidders. It is alleged that the company executive set up an account on the Defendants’ system under a false name and, under the name, bid in online domain auctions run by SnapNames.Com, Inc. and Oversee.Net. As a result of the internal employee bidding, the suit alleges the prices to purchase a domain name were falsely inflated, leading to higher costs to buyers and greater profit for the defendants.

The class action lawsuit, brought by the Cueto Law Group law firm, is the first nationwide to allege that a domain name provider used a shill bidder to manipulate auctions. “The domain name industry is the wild west of intellectual property because it remains unregulated. The online community has been up in arms over what they feel has been an opaque system that just begs for transparency. It is impossible to know whether you are bidding against someone that isn’t working or affiliated with the company conducting the auction,” said attorney Santiago A. Cueto.

“Domain names are the last frontier for the average person to stake their claim on some very valuable property. The Defendants’ conduct has made it harder for people to do so and we intend to put a stop to this practice, which we perceive as being a major concern in the industry,” added attorney Santiago A. Cueto.

About: Cueto Law Group, P.L. By combining sophisticated legal representation with the efficiency, focus and personal service of a boutique firm, Cueto Law Group has become the firm of choice for class action and complex international litigation, arbitration and transaction matters. You can learn more about Cueto Law Group by visiting the firm’s website at http://www.CuetoLawGroup.com and blog at http://www.IntlBusinessLaw.com.

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