I've registered a domain name with OldRegistar. I've used the private whois information option, that meant the admin contact was set to a proxy email address that forwarded to my real email address.

I've transferred the domain name from the OldRegistar to the CurrentRegistar. The CurrentRegistar never updated the whois information, i.e. the admin contact was still set to the proxy email address. I didn't notice this and the CurrentRegistar never reported any problem to me.

Eventually, the OldRegistar deactivated the proxy email address.

Now, I have a client request to transfer the domain from the CurrentRegistar to a NewRegistar, but I can't do it. The transfer request is being sent to the admin contact of the OldRegistar proxy email address and that address no longer exists.

I've contacted CurrentRegistar in order to update the whois information and use my real email address for the admin contact. They say they can't do it because any change in the whois needs to be approved by the current admin contact, i.e. again an approval link is being sent to the inexistent proxy email address.

I've contacted the OldRegistar and asked them to reactivate the proxy email address. They say they can't do it.

So I've ended up with a domain name associated with an inexistent admin contact and nobody seems to be able to fix this problem.

What are my options to fix this?


This registrar does not have a self-service portal with a login that you can use to update the WhoIs information yourself? If not, your registrar will have a procedure for doing this, but you'll have to jump through hoops to get it.

In the past, in the days before self-service portals for this stuff, I had to send a certified letter, via registered mail, to the registrars office. The letter was on an official company letterhead, included details of the situation (in this case, a previous employee had registered a company domain under their personal account and then gone AWOL). We included proof of our company registration, and that the domain matched our company registration (and the domain was still actively pointing to the company website).

It took time and patience, but we got the domain back. You need to navigate the red tape and bureaucracy of these companies, but if the company is so small that they don't have a self-service portal, this might be easier than you think.

  • "This registrar does not have a self-service portal with a login that you can use to update the WhoIs information yourself?" It has a backoffice where I can edit the whois information, however it gives me an error every time. I have been in contact with them more than a week and they say they can't fix anything. The reason they give, is that the errors are caused by the inexistent admin email contact. – dfreire Nov 22 '17 at 16:37
  • @dfreire that’s kind of my point. I guarantee you they will have a procedure for dealing with this. You just need to keep pushing until you get someone who gives a shit. There’s no way this has never happened before. – Mark Henderson Nov 22 '17 at 18:27

What domain is it? A ccTLD or a gTLD? If a gTLD your registrar is bound by its ICANN contract which states:

3.3.2 Upon receiving any updates to the data elements listed in Subsections,, and through from the Registered Name Holder, Registrar shall promptly update its database used to provide the public access described in Subsection 3.3.1.

(and covers all administrative contact data, including e-mail address)

With the registrar not acting to change the invalid email address you are now in fact yourself breaking the rules as the data must be correct and if it is not the domain can get suspended, see this part of the same contract: A Registered Name Holder's willful provision of inaccurate or unreliable information, its willful failure to update information provided to Registrar within seven (7) days of any change, or its failure to respond for over fifteen (15) days to inquiries by Registrar concerning the accuracy of contact details associated with the Registered Name Holder's registration shall constitute a material breach of the Registered Name Holder-registrar contract and be a basis for suspension and/or cancellation of the Registered Name registration.

Since december 2016 there is however also a new "transfer policy" that may apply to administrative contact e-mail address change, if the registrant did not have previously an e-mail adress.

But note in this policy that the transfer can be authorized by the administrative contact or the current holder. So the transfer can get through even if the administrative e-mail address is wrong.

So if you are in this case and the registrar still refuses to help you, you may contact ICANN directly at: https://forms.icann.org/en/resources/compliance/complaints/registrars/standards-complaint-form

And if your domain was in a ccTLD, well I lost my time as all of the above does not apply to ccTLDs (but in the same idea, if the registrar is unwilling to help you may try reaching over the registry handling your domain)

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