There have been a few more exchanges, some less friendly and some more friendly, but each of us is keeping our position: he says I owe him $120 (ish) and I say I don’t.
He has made the domains available for me to take. But he won’t issue a credit for the invoice.
So I’m not taking the domains. I’ve already got another domain name. I got it when we were arguing back and forth and it wasn’t clear to me that I was going to get linuxbutler back before they either expire or in time for the NCF static address change.
I’ve had various bits of advice from different people, ranging from “just take the domain back, you can get the registrars to give it to you” to “report the guy to the police, he stole your domain” to “make a web page about your experience” to “go to small claims court”. He has made the domains available, so that eliminates the “police report” approach.
I’m not really keen on taking the domains back, as that gives him grounds to expect me to pay the invoice.
Anyway, my last email to him was “don’t do anything that will cause you to invoice me”. He wrote back and said that concludes our communications. So I guess he won’t be willing to change my IP address, although the address will change before the domain name expires, and he did do the same kind of change last time it happened. Without charge. I would expect a domain name handler to do that. But, I’m just glad to be out of the business relationship.