A couple of years ago I ordered a domain, and I used it to test some things. So for clearance, I paid for it. I asked if I could use a webserver for testing and they agreed and gave me a free webserver to use, for a non-discussed period.

I used it, but after a couple of years I didn't use it anymore. When I got an invoice to pay, I thought that if I didn't pay it the domain would not extend and the webserver would be shut down. After that I did not look at the domain/webserver anymore, I've got an email that reminded me that if I didn't pay my domain would be deleted/sold and that was it. After that I didn't got any messages from the company.

After a while I was going to the website, and it was still online, I looked if I could still log in to the webserver and I could still log in and modify it. I have since sent other emails to the company and received no response.


Is it legal to use the domain/webserver? I don't pay anymore and have received no invoice. Could I be required to pay for all the years I had the domain but did not pay for it?

Note that I live in the Netherlands.


It is rather unclear what the facts are, and the legal answer would depend crucially on those facts. My understanding is that you bought a domain from a provider, and they allowed you to use a web server for some period. It also appears that you don't have a clear understanding of the contract, which may have been made online and you might not have retained a copy of the agreement (which would allow you to look at the terms).

The assumption that failing to pay substitutes for explicitly cancelling a service is incorrect. If under the contract you agree to pay a certain amount per year, then you have been racking up charges for some time, and you would need to actually cancel. Ultimately, they could take you to court to force you to pay what you owe, although usually there are less drastic intermediate steps. In court, they would produce their documents to show that you owe money, and your attorney would somehow counter, perhaps by alleging that you had a good-faith belief that the contract had been terminated. It is possible that they simply messed up and failed to send you an invoice earlier, which could explain the lack of invoice. At any rate, the fact that you haven't gotten an invoice does not legally entitle you to avoid paying for the service, whether or not you use it.

On the premise that they haven't taken back the domain (seems like they didn't), you can legally use it. However, if you do use it, then that would trash any claim that you believed the contract had been terminated (to argue "I thought it had been canceled" entails "and thus I didn't use the service").

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