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Better Business Bureau says don't pay overseas firms for address change you can do yourself for free

BURNSVILLE — Changing your address with the change of seasons? Entering student housing? Finding a rental in warmer climes before winter? Changing your address is free, and the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota is warning consumers they do not need to pay for that service.

"Changing your address is a very simple process, one the U.S. Postal Service offers for free when you do it in-person at a post office or mailing center," said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota, in a news release. "Online entities who offer to perform this service for consumers — at a cost of up to $40 — neglect to mention this little fact."

Recently, the Better Business Bureau became aware of a website called MyPostalAddressChange.com, which references the U.S. Postal Service prominently on their home page. However, the company — which appears to operate out of Australia — acknowledges in the fine print they are "not affiliated with the Post Office or any other government agency."

The Better Business Bureau has received complaints against MyPostalAddressChange.com, which allege consumers were deceived into believing they were dealing with the U.S. Postal Service. According to the news release, one of the complainants noted that when they typed "U.S Postal Service change of address" into a Google query, this company was one of the top links that appeared.

"Usually the Internet is viewed as a savings tool," added Badgerow. "In this case, it's actually leading to cases where people are spending money unnecessarily."

The Better Business Bureau states in the release that, according to information from the United States Postal Service website, these "change of address" websites charge customers to change an address and, in some cases, the change never gets made. The Postal Service has no affiliation with the businesses that operate these sites. The Postal Service official website is www.usps.com.

The Postal Service does charge $1 for identity verification for customers who change an address online using its Official Change of Address order at www.usps.com. Another option, which is free, allows customers to mail or submit in person a Change of Address order to any Post Office. The order can be printed after it is completed online or picked up at any Post Office.

— Staff reports

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