hand with gun
At times I feel like I’m a broken record. I keep finding myself saying the same thing to people, possibly using different words or turns of phrase, but the message is essentially the same.
If you register a domain name and pay for it you have certain rights. Of course you also have certain obligations, but most of them aren’t particularly cumbersome.
What I wrote last year still hold true.
Basics:
You are entitled to access to your EPP key for your .com without paying a fee. Registrars should provide that to you in a timely fashion.
If you want to transfer the billing of a .ie domain you DO NOT need to deal with the original IEDR reseller. If you only want to move the hosting you DO NOT need to move the actual billing.
If you want to move your hosting you should be able to do so.
Unfortunately there are no clear guidelines from ICANN mandating how resellers should handle things, so you may need to refer back to the actual registrar that the reseller is using if you run into issues.
We recently had yet another issue with a particular UK company that refuses to handover clients’ domains without levying a wholly unreasonable fee. If that happens to you you should try reporting them to their upstream registrar who may be in a position to take action against them.
Another “old chestnut” is the unreasonable locking of domains by some registrars after a domain has changed hands. While the argument that it is to prevent “hijacking” holds some water it’s also rather “convenient” for them, as they often get another year’s registration fees from clients as a result of the restriction.
ICANN recently clarified a very important policy point – inter-registrar transfers. Hopefully this will be on the agenda at the next ICANN meeting, which is scheduled for June in Paris.
The key point raised is worth repeating here:

A registrant change to Whois information is not a valid basis for denying a transfer request.

One very large US based registrar has been denying transfers for a long time based on this. I won’t name them, but it doesn’t take a lot of work to find out who they are.