Dear Patrick R. Donahoe and Paul Vogel,
How many people change their address online versus the old and cumbersome paper way? I wonder if it is much less than expected. I expect it is. I also got to wondering if anyone in the Post Office knew why.
Here it is:
I had to change my address the other day. Finally got a new place to move into and out of limbo. The Post Office was filled with adverts telling me I could do it all online, where it would probably be faster, and more direct. I would get pretty quick e-mail notification, it probably goes straight into the USPS databases, effects my mailing address sooner, doesn’t require someone to enter it in to the database and all that.
How much does it cost for someone to change their address? Online or by paper? I know the paper is more expensive. It has to be produced, first of all, and it can be mailed for free.
But online costs more for me.
But it wasn’t the cost that made me mail in a change of address postcard. Changing my address online costs only a dollar. But it is the way that this dollar is charged.
It sets off my Scammer-Alert radar. Big time.
“Identity Verification: For your security, a valid debit or credit card must be charged $1.00.”
That is a direct copy-and-paste from the website. Look at it again.
….For my security… I must be charged a dollar? After I filled out 4 other pages? My credit-card company might notify me of a single round dollar being charged to my card. It will ping on their professional Scammer-Alert radar. This is exactly how fake web-pages, Craigslist and email scammers operate. They don’t reveal their plan until later in the game when you’re a little bought into the process. I remember coming across a scammer page once which had an “about” section, a “history” and a “who we are” and it still wasn’t real. I thought to myself, if they put as much effort into a legitimate business, they could probably succeed. But all they wanted to do was steal money from unsuspecting people.
I was confused. The web-page was https, but it was also a .com, rather than .org or .gov which did nothing to allay my suspicions, so I did a search. There were a lot of other people wondering if this was a scam, but it appeared that it wasn’t. Which was still confusing. Why would an organization like the United States Postal Office have such a shady tactic? There are a lot of other ways to “be secure”. If you need money, they just say it costs a dollar. Hell, charge five dollars. It has to cost something for you to change people’s addresses, even if you have a vested interest in keeping an up-to-date mailing system complete with correct addresses. People might pay it.
But not if it say “Identity Verification: For your security, a valid debit or credit card must be charged $1.00.”
That’s just stupid. Identify some way that doesn’t make people think your going to steal their credit card information and buy a plasma TV. Charge a dollar in an honest way.
I don’t think government sponsored enterprises are inherently inferior to other enterprises, and I don’t think the Post Office is, on the whole, so inefficient. I have very rarely had problems with my mail, receiving or sending, and it is usually earlier than the estimated time. I am impressed that I can send a letter to New York and it is there in about three days. That’s faster than I could get there if it was the only thing I had to do.
But this is dumb. Sorry. Change it. Now.
Perhaps this is also for Nagisa Manabe, Joseph Corbett, and Megan J. Brennan. Forward it on.