If you changed your address with change-my-address.com, then Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson has good news.
Ferguson’s office on Monday announced that operators of the address-change website will pay $3 million to consumers nationwide to resolve complaints of deceptive practices.
The nationwide list of beneficiaries includes some 20,000 Washington consumers who purchased the defendants’ services. They will receive roughly $18.95 each unless they have already received money back.
Change-My-Address.com is an Ohio internet-based business that offers online change of address services.
Ferguson alleges Change-My-Address.com defendants used deceptive business practices, most notably, by failing to disclose the total $19.95 charge billed to consumers for change of address services.
“Consumers deserve clear, straight forward information before agreeing to buy any service or product,” said Ferguson in a press release. “Companies that use deceptive business practices to earn a profit like Change-My-Address.com will be held accountable by my office.”
A recent investigation showed here were 500 complaints against the defendant at the Ohio Better Business from consumers across the country. At least 22 complaints came from Washington consumers.
When the consumer filled out the appropriate address and forwarding information on the defendants’ website form and clicked “continue” to complete the transaction, he or she was taken to the page requesting payment information.
The defendants programmed the payment information page so that it automatically jumped down to the middle of the page where the credit card information was requested.
This jump allowed the defendants to deliberately obscure the top of the payment page which said, “To prevent fraudulent address changes and to cover the cost of processing and handling, you authorize us to charge your credit or debit card a one-time $19.95 fee.” Consumers had to manually scroll to the top of the page to view the disclaimer.
The Washington and Ohio attorneys general each filed lawsuits under their state consumer protection laws in 2013 against the defendants. The states’ settlements provide relief for consumers nationwide, regardless of their state of residence.
As part of a settlement, Change-My-Address.com has agreed to: provide up to $3 million in refunds disbursed among all affected consumers nationwide; disclose the actual full change of address service charge; disclose Change-My-Address.com is not affiliated with the USPS; and pay attorney costs and fees.
The defendants are required to email all consumers who haven’t already received a full refund. The defendants may also try to contact the consumer by U.S. Mail if email contact is unsuccessful.