Moving? Beware change of address websites

Don't Waste Your Money

A caution to anyone who may be moving in the next year, or may have a student moving away from home soon.

When you go to file that change of address report, you may want to make sure you're filing it with the US Postal Service ... the real postal service, as one Ohio woman recently learned.

Wanted to use USPS website

Belinda Warren recently moved to a new condo, and thought she'd change her address the simple way, at the Postal Service website.

"I just did a Google search for US Postal Service or USPS change my address. I was going to do it online to keep me from having to run into the post office," she said.

The first thing that popped up on her tablet said "USPS Change My Address," so she clicked it and found a site with a blue banner.

She entered her info and credit card number for verification purposes.

Strange Charge Shows Up

"I went ahead and followed the prompts on the website," Warren said, "and about two weeks later noticed a $19.95 charge on my bank account. And it said it was from a website called Change My Address.com."

She then discovered that the website is a private company, not affiliated with the USPS. So she called them, furious.

"I was really upset. And I asked what services do you provide other than I could have gotten for free from the Postal Service.  And they really couldn't answer me."

BBB Asks for Changes

The Better Business Bureau has 584 complaints about Change My Address.com, and in the Spring of 2013 asked the site to be more upfront.

The company's attorney tells me the site "has recently complied with the BBB" request, adding wording to clarify that it is not affiliated with the Postal Service.

But the site is still confusing to people like Belinda Warren, as are several other similar sites, such as "United Address Change."

That one looks even more similar to the United States Postal Service site. But unlike the USPS, none of these are free.

Bottom line: There's nothing illegal about this, and nothing wrong with offering a service that helps people change their address.

But if it's something you can easily do for free, this may be a case of don't waste your money.

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