One of the tasks on my “to do” list before leaving Switzerland is to change my address with the post office. It can be done at any time, so I attempted on Thursday of last week. The woman assisting me with my exit from Switzerland (yes, it’s so difficult to get out of here that I have 4-5 people helping with various steps of the process) told me it was cheaper to do it online, so of course, I chose that option. (FINALLY…ONE thing that can be done online!!)
I logged into the post office website only to find that my address needed to be confirmed. A day or two later, I received an email telling me that my address was confirmed, and that I would receive a letter in the mail with a confirmation code. Another day or two pass before said letter arrives at my home. Then, I log back into the website, enter the confirmation code, and proceed to input the details of my change of address.
A few too many steps in the process for my liking, but so far, nothing too surprising. But of course, I should’ve known it couldn’t be this easy.
In the U.S., you pay (or used to pay 2.5 years ago) $1 to change your address, and I assume that’s just to confirm that it’s actually you. Guess how much it costs to file a change of address in Switzerland?!?!? 90 CHF!! I kid you not!
One pleasant discovery after the shock wore off? They accept some major credit cards on the website, including American Express and Visa. I put in my card details and received an error message. I tried again. Same thing. I tried another card. Same thing. This happened over and over again until I finally gave up and decided I would go to the post office in person. So much for hoping a website would actually work in 2016!
After work today (a full week after originally starting this process), I went to the post office. First off, the woman helping me asked that we speak English instead of French, because she’s from the German-speaking part of Switzerland, and her French isn’t good. Then, we go through all of the information, and she tells me I have to pay 102 CHF! Say WHAT?!?!? I told her this is 12 CHF higher than online where I originally tried to pay. She apologized and said a lot of people have problems with the website. (At least we know it wasn’t user error.)
In the end, I changed my address, but we’ll see if the U.S. Postal Service will even deliver mail addressed to Mégane. When I told her that’s not how I spell my name, she said that’s how it is in the system. I also asked to speak to a supervisor about the price discrepancy, but that wasn’t an option either. I’m welcome to call the customer service phone number.
So, to recap…if you’re ever changing an address in Switzerland:
- Be prepared to spend a week on the process (or go directly to the post office in person on the first try, since you’re going to end up there anyway)
- Be prepared to pay more for a less convenient experience
- Don’t ask for your name to be spelled correctly or for the new address to be formatted in the way mail is addressed in the U.S. This would be asking too much.