Don't pay for a free service

Published On: Jun 20 2014 11:30:39 AM EDT
Updated On: Jun 25 2014 06:20:00 AM EDT

Every year over 40 million people move. In addition to making sure your household items move to your new house, you also need to move your mail. It is a simple process, but there are pitfalls.

A consumer left this angry voicemail with a company:
"I'm calling because your company Lagistas Incorportated has the state ups -usps website which charges $20 to people are making a change of address requests. I am wondering why it is that you feel you can take advantage of people like that. I would be more than happy to alert as many people as I can that your company is just a big scam and all I want is my money back."

That consumer paid $20 for something that could cost nothing.

"You can do that change of address directly with the postal service for only $1 online or come into your local post office and submit it in person for free," said U.S. Postal Inspector Frank Schissler.

Here is the problem: many people do a random search for "change of address" and wind up on one of a number of sites run by businesses. They might appear to be connected to the United States Postal Service, but they are not.

"Your credit card is being charged anywhere from $29 to $39 dollars for them to change your address," warned Schissler.

Consumers have complained about various sites, including ChangeMyAddress.com, that charge $1 upfront then later tack on additional fees for services.

"It is not illegal for them to charge these additional fees but people need to be aware they don't need to pay them if people go directly to the Postal Service website," advised Schissler.

In fact, earlier this month, it was announced that 16,000 Ohio consumers are entitled to refunds from ChangeMyAddress.com. The refunds are part of a settlement of lawsuits that attorneys general from Ohio and Washington State filed in 2013 against the site.

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