Something that is trending today on “Domain Name Wire” is that one should never allow a web developer to register a domain name on behalf of a client.
You can read the whole article here: https://domainnamewire.com/2019/09/24/how-to-give-your-developer-access-to-just-one-domain-at-godaddy/
Firstly any bonafide web developer should have a contract between the client and themselves outling all their terms. If the client then defaults on his monthly payments then the web developer has the right to keep hold of the domain name untill payment is settled.
The web developer on the other hand should release the domain name when the contract is terminated otherwise he/she could face legal action.
It is all based on trust and it cannot be a verbal agreement (gentlemen’s agreement or hand shake) it has to be a written one signed by both parties. The developer may not trust the client or visa versa, so that it is why it is very important to have a contract in place and should the web developer get run over by a bus as in the ‘Domain Name Wire’ article the contract is evidence that the agreement is in place. I am sure if in case the web developer disappeared off the face off the earth this piece of paper could be used as evidence. One would have to prove that the web developer was not responsive i.e emails or snail mail letters. This could then be presented to the domain registrar for the application to transfer the domain name. I was actually in this situation once where the client refused to sign a contract, he defaulted and he ended up owing me money which he still has not paid me to this day. I actually wrote about it: https://ukdomainbrokers.ukwebsitedesigners.co.uk/2017/09/23/disgruntuled-ex-website-client/
Here is a ‘SAMPLE CONTRACT’ that you could use, feel free to download it and ammend it to your requirements.SAMPLE-LANDING-PAGE-CONTRACT-2019-1
To continue with the saga should you allow a web developer to register your domain name I will go into some scenarios and what you can do to get your domains back.
If a Web Devloper Refuses to Transfer
Providing you have not missed any payments and there are no disputes with the web developer you can enforce your contract and go to a solicitor. Sometimes a letter threatening legal action can suffice if the web developer is being difficult.
Your Web Developer Could Go Bust.
Providing you have a contract in place, you can in case it is the web devloper that goes into adminsistration go to the hosting company or go to nominent and show proof of admistration of a hosing provider/web developer and they will be able to sort it out for you.
Know who is the Hosting Company Provider.
If in the case that the web developer goes into administration, the web developer at the beginning of th contract should provide you with the hosting company details. This is part of GDPR and you have the right to know such information.
If you have any disputes with your website designer over the management of your website then you should sit down and discuss this with him or her.
If things have gone wrong to the point of no return.
You should first write a formal letter (not an email) to the web developer and give him her 14 days from the date of your letter to transfer the domain over to you otherwise you will take legal action. You can then contact your solicitor and show him your contract and the copy of the letter and any correspondence you may have from the web developer.