USPS Starts Online Change of Address Service

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The U.S. Postal Service yesterday debuted MoversGuide.com, the nation's first official online change-of-address service.


The service, launched with Imagitas, Waltham, MA, a government services company, lets consumers change their address online and gives access to products and services needed to plan, move and settle in to their new homes.


The service is available at no cost to consumers or the government. It is available via www.usps.com 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


"MoversGuide.com takes the stress out of moving for the 41 million Americans who relocate each year by saving them valuable time and money," postmaster general Jack Potter said.


Potter, with deputy postmaster general John M. Nolan and Imagitas CEO Brett Matthews, premiered MoversGuide.com at an event held at USPS headquarters in Washington.


At MoversGuide.com, consumers can change their address online directly with the postal service; connect utility services; create a customized moving checklist; buy online moving-related products; and obtain information about schools and local services as well as motor vehicle and voter registration.


About 17 percent of the nation's population moves yearly. The USPS said it spends more than $1.5 billion per year processing undeliverable-as-addressed mail. Of that $1.5 billion, $438 million is spent forwarding mail and $768 million is spent returning mail to the sender.


Though a goal of the program is to help eliminate UAA mail, MoversGuide.com will be unable to do this in and of itself, Nolan said.


"This does not reduce the amount of mail that is forwarded," he said. "But what this successfully does is make it so easy for people to get this information in, and then standardizes that information to the point where we can ensure accuracy in our processing."


MoversGuide.com could generate revenue for the USPS because it will allow private-sector companies that sell moving-related products to pay the agency an upfront placement fee or an acquisition fee on products they sell for being a part of the program.


This model is used in the USPS hard-copy Mover's Guide that Imagitas and the USPS created eight years ago. The Mover's Guide is a change-of-address package that includes forms and move-related advertising. Since 1993, customers have used more than 500 million Mover's Guides, including more than 80 million in 2000.


Last week, MoversGuide.com began its online change-of-address function in Maryland, Massachusetts and Virginia. More states will be added shortly. The service is scheduled to be available nationwide Nov. 10.


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