This post should have been a travelogue about my journey up the coast of Oregon and Washington to the Olympic Peninsula (don’t worry, it’s still coming!) but a recent development with my mail forwarding company has thrown life into chaos the past two days.
On Tuesday the 24th I first heard whispers that My Dakota Address (MDA), which has been my (and many other full-time RVers) mail and domicile solution for years was closing its doors at of the end of this month. Having received no officially notice from MDA and seeing nothing on their website, I assumed this was just a rumor or at most an exaggeration. I fired off an e-mail to MDA and got a response back late in the afternoon – the rumors were true. Not only that but they were no longer accepting new mail as of yesterday the 25th.
I waited to break the news because the situation kept changing. There was talk of a different SD mail company buying out My Dakota Address, but that fell through today (the 26th) so it’s now official. My Dakota Address is closing.
This is, quite frankly, a pretty sucky situation to be in. With practically no warning like this it’s
pretty much a guarantee that customers of My Dakota Address are going to lose mail while they get a new mail forwarding solution set up – the process takes time (see edit below!). Not to mention being legally homeless as of August 1st for those using that address as their domicile. I know at least one person who hasn’t even received notification from My Dakota Address yet about the closure, I might not have known myself if I hadn’t heard the rumor and e-mailed the company to ask.
EDIT 7/31: The USPS is implementing a forwarding process so that our mail isn’t returned to sender! The kicker is, we can’t use the online USPS Mail Forwarding tool to set this up. You have to actually physically go in to your nearest Post Office and fill out hard copy change of address card.
The New, New “What to do if you’re affected” checklist (On edit three I think now?)
- Visit your nearest post office after July 31st and fill out a change of address card to get your mail forwarded to a different address. This will allow any mail that’s currently in transit to your My Dakota Address box to be automatically forwarded to a new address so it doesn’t get lost. Use a relative or friend’s address if you don’t already have a new mail forwarding box set up.
If you haven’t gotten the closure e-mail from My Dakota Address yet, send an e-mail to them so you get the rundown on how to receive the last of the mail in your box. They’re no longer accepting new mail, but anything that was sitting in your box prior to the 25th can be mailed to you before the 31st, as long as you have money for postage in your account.
Some people say they’ve gotten refunds for money in their postage account, some haven’t. This wasn’t an issue for me (I actually owed a bit of money for postage) but if it is for you you’ll want to ask about it in your e-mail!
That e-mail from MDA has a list of other South Dakota mail forwarding companies you can contact to move your mail and residency to. My Dakota Address is recommending DakotaPost (formerly known as Alternative Resources) which is one of three options that has been on my South Dakota mail and residency article since I was first preparing to hit the road in 2012. They’ve been around forever and they’ve got a good reputation, so I’m personally going with them. In 2012 I chose My Dakota Address because it was cheaper and I’m on a budget, but it sounds like DakotaPost is waiving their sign up fee for My Dakota Address customers and offering special rates similar to what we were paying. DakotaPost has also stated that they’re holding special office hours this Saturday the 28th from 10 am to 2 pm Central time to help get people signed up. America’s Mailbox and Your Best address also have special deals going to us MDA customers.
Other South Dakota mail forwarding companies (all have good reputations):
Had I known that Escapees now has a South Dakota mail forwarding/residency option I likely would have chosen them, given my satisfaction with the club the past couple years and Escapees’ reputation for speaking out on issues affecting RVers in the legal arena. They’re good people, I highly recommend!
If you’ve been thinking of switching residencies to another state, say for health insurance reasons, now might not be a bad time to do it. To be honest if I was anywhere near Florida I would seriously consider taking this forced opportunity to “move” there for true nationwide health coverage and let Escapees handle my mail forwarding and residency. Something to think about.
Yes, moving to a new county in South Dakota means registering your vehicles in the new county. Your new mail forwarding company should be able to help you with this.
You WILL NOT have to drive back to South Dakota in person to change the address on your driver’s license, all you need to do is send an e-mail to get your address changed in the DMV records – it does not need to physically show on your license! But you can request a new license (for a fee) if you want one.
Don’t remember how setting up mail forwarding/residency in South Dakota works? My how-to article on this very subject is going to be due for an overhaul with all these new changes, but the basics/forms/etc are all still valid!
I’ll keep updating this post as new developments arise!
Lastly, a deep heartfelt thank you to my Patreon supporters and PayPal donators. It’s your support that allows me to drop whatever I’m doing to research situations like these and whip up articles about them quickly to help all of us!
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