People who paid much more than they expected to change their mailing addresses have some money coming back.
An Ohio company that runs two change-of-address websites will refund money to customers who may have been misled into using their service—thinking they had landed on the official U.S. Postal Service website.
Change-My-Address.com and Change-of-Address.us are run by Form Giant of Cincinnati. The sites charge $19.95 for the service, which the USPS provides for just a dollar. According to lawsuits filed by the states of Ohio and Washington, that price was never clearly disclosed.
"This company deceived consumers into thinking they were paying one dollar for the change-of-address service, when in reality, they were charged much more," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in a statement.
Last year, CNBC reported that complaints were pouring in about Change-My-Address.com.
At the time, the company told CNBC it provided generous "value-added services" for that $19.95 fee, such as special offers from major retailers.
But that price was not disclosed on the home page. Instead, it stated that the customer would pay a "one dollar processing fee charged by the USPS for submitting an online address change request."
The true price was hidden at the top of the payment page. Customers didn't see it because when that page loaded, the pricing information was cut off.
When CNBC shared the findings with law enforcement, it resulted in a joint investigation by the attorneys general in Washington and Ohio. Investigators were able to read the source code to see why the payment page didn't load properly.
"It was done deliberately, so the page would load midway and the consumer would not see the price," said senior counsel Paula Selis, who runs the high-tech unit in the Washington state attorney general's office. "You had to purposely scroll up to the top to see that you were going to pay $19.95. And how many people would do that?"