Like much of what we do these days, you can change your address pretty conveniently online. But watch out! There are web-based companies that pay to get top billing in search results.
An Internet search for common address change-related terms brings up sites that look just like they belong to the US Postal Service—but they’re actually look-alike sites that will take your money and do little or nothing for you. One such company is Cincinnati-based Change-My-Address.com.
Consumers who used that website to update their addresses complain to the BBB that their addresses don’t get updated and the company doesn’t refund their payments.
Change-My-Address.com is the first result listed if you were to search “change my address,” “forward my mail” or “USPS change of address” through Google. Change-My-Address has a fine print disclaimer stating it has no affiliation with USPS, but it’s easy to think otherwise because of the company’s misleading tagline, “USPS® Change of Address Form. Fast & Secure Mail Forwarding.” Many people pay for the service assuming it is an official USPS site.
BBB received over 300 complaints about this company in the past year.
Change-My-Address.com asks consumers to submit their change-of-address request and credit card information for $19.95. Consumers have complained to BBB that their addresses are not getting changed, yet they are still charged and aren’t able to get refunds.
“I Googled ‘Change your address USPS.’ This site said USPS about four times,” said Karl Pfluger of San Antonio. “I didn’t think anything about it. Later I figured it out and got online and saw several people had the same problem. The ad is deceiving, but they never even provided a service and I’m not sure they even have the ability to.”
Consumers can change their mailing address for free at post offices or by requesting a form from a mail carrier. Or for $1, they can fill out an online application at usps.com, the official website for USPS.
BBB recommends consumers use official sources when updating personal information to avoid paying unnecessary fees and to reduce the potential for identity theft. For more information, please visit austin.bbb.org.
BBB has the following tips for consumers who are seeking any product or service online:
- Do your research. Enter the name of the website in a search engine with words like review, complaint or scam and find out what other consumers are saying.
- Double check. Make sure you have the right website before you enter information or make a payment. Scammers rely on typographical errors and similar-sounding web addresses.
- Go to the post office. Filling out a form online is convenient and only costs $1, but if you can stop by a U.S. Post Office, you can get a change of address form and fill it out at no cost.
- Start with trust. Check the company’s BBB Business Review at bbb.org before making a purchase to see its BBB rating, complaint history and details about the company.