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Ohio AG sues local address change website

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Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine has filed a lawsuit against the Cincinnati-based company called "Change-My-Address.com," after more than 600 complaints from all over the country.

Dewine claims the Montgomery business, which helps movers change their address with the Postal Service, is "misrepresenting" its services. He says it charges between $9.95 and $29.95 for a service that is either free, or costs just $1, through the US Post Office.

The suit claims the company violated Ohio's Consumer Sales Practices Act.

Consumer Confused by Site

Back in October, we spoke with Belinda Warren, who recently moved to a new condo in Fairfield Ohio, 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 told us the site "has recently complied with the BBB" request, adding wording to clarify that it is not affiliated with the Postal Service. And he said it is upfront with its fees.

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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