Comcast Won't Stop Sending You Junk Mail Because "You Might Move"

UPDATE: Comcast has now removed Brad from its mailing lists for really reals.

Reader Brad is fed up with junk mail from Comcast. He asked the company if it would be possible to be taken off the junk mail list to which Comcast replied, “We are unable to remove a non-active account from the mailing list. The reason being is, if or when you move out of this address, we would not be sending offers and possibly prevent the new owner from receiving a special offer,” and that would be a crime against humanity, we suppose. Is there a way to get Comcast to stop sending junk mail? Brad’s letter and our response, inside..

Dear Consumerist Editors and Readers,

I’d like to share my Comcastic experience with asking Comcast to stop sending me junk mail. I get more from them than any other source. They first told me it would be taken care of, but after some time of receiving more and more Comcast junk mail I called back, and they said, “No, we can’t take you off our mailing list, (get this…) because you might move.” !!!! (Documentation below)

A received no reply to my “feel-free-to-contact-us-if-you-have-any-more-questions” follow-up. I forwarded this Service Rep’s email to Comcast’s web persona, Mr. Frank Eliason. He seems very responsive in his twitter posts and in an interview I heard. But unfortunately, after about 10 days I have received no reply.

How can I stop receiving unwanted mail, if Comcast says, “We don’t care what you don’t want, we’ll send it anyway in case you move”?

-Brad

Comcast’s letter:====================

Hello Mr. Brad ********,

Holly was correct in stating we are unable to remove a non-active account from the mailing list.

The reason being is, if or when you move out of this address, we would not be sending offers and possibly prevent the new owner from receiving a special offer.

I hope this answers your inquiry. Please feel free to contact us if you have any more questions.

Thank you for choosing Comcast.

Sincerely,
Chenise
Comcast Customer Care

One approach to stop Comcast’s junk mail is to submit a “prohibitory order against sender of pandering advertisement in the mails,” also known as form 1500. This form was originally drafted to stop mail that customers found “erotically arousing or sexually provocative.” Despite the non-sexual nature of Comcast’s mail, this order can still be applied. Once this form is accepted by the USPS it would make any further junk mail a violation of this order. The major problem with this is that the USPS is notorious for not enforcing the orders, in which case you are back to square one.

Another avenue that might be worth investigating is Comcast’s self-appointed go-to guy for unresolved issues. Scott Westerman, an area Vice President for Comcast, writes in his blog:

But at the base of it all is our desire to build great customer relationships, one at a time. That’s our common passion at Comcast.

If you have an unresolved issue, we want to hear about it. Our local teams are the first best resource. 1-800-Comcast will connect you with the office that serves your area. But if the chain of command isn’t working, you can directly connect with us, via email at we_can_help@cable.comcast.com or @comcastcares on twitter.

We’re listening.

Scott Westerman
Area Vice President – Comcast
scott.westerman@comcast.net
@comcastscott on Twitter

Additionally, our readers always have some tricks up their sleeves. What are some of your tricks for stopping junk mail?

(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. weakdome says:

    Yes. The way to stop getting junk PROMOTIONS is to sign up for SERVICE. Then you get junk OFFERS!

    Seriously, this happens to me. I don’t have cable TV, and I “borrow” wireless internet from a friendly neighbor (and split the cost!) So Comcast mails me weekly and even stops by my house once every month or two to try and sell me service. It’s sad, really. They must be so lonely.

  2. JN2 says:

    Mail it back to them. “Return to Sender”.

  3. ilikemoney says:

    Try this out: [officeofstrategicinfluence.com]

    Even if they don’t stop, you’ll get the satisfaction of wasting their money on unnecessary postage.

  4. comcastcares says:

    This message is for Brad,
    Brad,
    We did have you removed when we received the email. I apologize that no one was in touch with you to let you know. It may take up to 60 days to take affect, but please feel free to reach out to me if you have trouble in the future!

    Thank you for the opportunity to assist!

    Frank Eliason
    Comcast
    @ComcastCares on Twitter
    We_Can_Help@cable.comcast.com

  5. flyairdave says:

    It’s Crapcastic!

  6. newmanium says:

    You should try what Kramer once did – it’s bound to work.

    Collect all of your junk mail from comcast (and others), drive down to your local comcast office, open the front door and throw the junk mail in the lobby. Then scream, “hey, how do you like getting it back?”

  7. hardisonthefloor says:

    @JN2:

    i do the same thing.

    just take a big black sharpie and write “return to sender” across the front. they may not actually send it back, but they at least take it away for you.

  8. PinkBox says:

    My cable service constantly sends me junk mail wanting me to subscribe to their phone service.

    Very annoying, since I’ve told them many times that I am not interested. I have no need for it.

    The kicker is that when I call in because of service problems, they try to sell me their phone service. HELLO! If your service is giving me problems, I’m definitely not going to expand it!

  9. TouchMyMonkey says:

    @hardisonthefloor: Actually, they’re required by law to send it back. Whether they actually do so is another question, but there is a postal regulation that covers this.

  10. balthisar says:

    @HurtsSoGood: May not apply to bulk rate, commercial material, though.

  11. backbroken says:

    How do you know when your company is screwed up? When you have a virtual monopoly with a product everyone desperately wants, yet you must flood the media with advertising in order to sell your product.

  12. SkokieGuy says:

    This is so screwed up because Comcast and most direct mail marketers buy lists of new homeowners and new renters.

    They know damn well when a new prospect in in a residence.

    I wonder if you contact a company and request no contact multiple times if you can sue for harassement (small claims court?) or take out a restraining order?

  13. lewisb says:

    Was the junk mail being sent specifically addressed to OP? Or was is being sent to “current resident”? (I.e., only the address, not the resident’s name, was on file.)

    While extra paper to throw away isn’t welcome, “current resident” mail at least has fewer security/id theft issues associated with it, unlike the pre-approved, pre-filled-out credit card applications that get sent to people at addresses where they no longer reside…

  14. rdm says:

    Would greendimes take care of this?

  15. tedyc03 says:

    @ilikemoney: It would be funny if it worked – the USPS is wise to this scam.

  16. bilge says:

    I gave Comcast a call a few months ago to stop getting junk mail. It took a few transfers and nearly 45 minutes of waiting, but the junk mail did stop. I think the apocalypse is just around the corner.

  17. JeffIowa says:

    I tried this a couple of years ago and it seems to have worked. I opted out of marketing with the three credit agencies. You can try this link [www.ftc.gov]
    and follow the instructions. I may miss out on a great solicitation every once in a while, but I honestly don’t care. As a comparison, my wife did not opt out, and from January to now of this year, I have enough solicitations to fill a very large shopping bag (and that doesn’t include the credit card offers I used to start my fireplace this winter!) If you aren’t a current customer of a business, it should stop almost all junk mail in a couple of weeks.

  18. stevegoz says:

    Seriously, at least five bucks out of each month’s cable bill must go to their “creative,” printing and mailing costs. I get what seems like an offer a week for more service!

  19. ibored says:

    Yea its annoying but in all hoensty I have a similar problem and my response is simply toss them in the trash and smile. They are spending approximately $0.84 a week recruiting somebody who has perfectly good (in fact better) TV with satellite. Hey its there money…think, if they are sending this to 10000 peopel a week thats $8400 they could have spent on empowering and properly training CSRs or by raising salaries to recruit more competent workers.

  20. brainswarm says:

    For a while, I was receiving THREE copies of each Comcast ad. Somehow my apartment number was in their system three different ways: A-15, 15-A, and just 15.

  21. dorktopia says:

    @rdm:
    Greendimes? Psssssht.
    Those punks took my money and promptly did nothing with it. After a couple nagging emails, time went by, I got lazy and never did straighten it out (dammit!)
    But they are worthless.

  22. samurailynn says:

    My work receives two copies of every Comcast advertisement, and we receive them 3-4 times per week. I haven’t bothered with trying to have it stopped, I just toss them in the recycling. It’s such a waste though, and it really makes me never want to do business with Comcast.

  23. TheNerd says:

    I personally don’t mind the junk mail. I get the satisfaction of knowing that they wasted their postage on me, and I simply toss it into the recycling bin without even looking it over, that way not even the paper is wasted!

  24. warf0x0r says:

    Fill out the form at the post office that types it as obscene matterial.

  25. Uncle_Dave says:

    How about sending a change of address card to Comcast and put down the Comcast address as the new one?

  26. Inglix_the_Mad says:

    @TheNerd: I personally don’t mind the junk mail. I get the satisfaction of knowing that they wasted their postage on me, and I simply toss it into the recycling bin without even looking it over, that way not even the paper is wasted!

    I am offended by it wasting my time to sort through it. I usually just grab something colorful form the ad itself and close it back up, tossing it in the mailbox for pickup.

    On the other hand if the brick trick were to work, I’d love to do that instead.

  27. Skipweasel says:

    Is the commercial lobby in the US too strong to allow a Mailing Preference System like we have in the UK?

    Here you go online or ring up the MPS and ask not to have any more junk mail. It doesn’t stop at once, as it takes a while for lists companies have bought to be purged, but after about six weeks you get next to no mail. Firms with whom you have a commercial connection are allowed to mail you, but must stop if you ask and certianly if you’re no longer doing business with ‘em.

    Even better, we have the same for telephones – the TPS works really well – apart from overseas calls which are starting to sneak through with VOIP bringing the cost down.

    I can’t remember when we last had a bit of junk mail – not this year at least, and no UK originated sales calls for about as long.

    Time to lobby your political representatives!

  28. lim says:

    There may also be options to at least get fewer if they’re being a pain about not removing you completely, but it will most likely take talking to someone live like bilge did.

    @HurtsSoGood: I work at a catalog company and we get them back alright, I see them marked as return to sender, deceased, stop sending me (cursing) catalogs you (cursing cursers). Sometimes we get a little envelope from the post office with the back of the catalog in it.

    The problem is the customer number and usually the address gets covered up by the post office stickers or markers (so the machines don’t send them back to the same person again I guess) so we have no way of knowing who wants off the list unless the full catalog with the order form still inside reaches us, but we mostly get a lot of just the back page or clippings. Writing to get off the list also doesn’t work well if you don’t include the customer number. Just giving the address may end up with a situation like brainswarm‘s.

    Calling with the number works best for us catalogs, we don’t end up creating duplicate accounts and you stop getting mailings. Not positive about other types of direct mailings though.

  29. Overheal says:

    collect all the junk, find your nearest group of Zealot Environmentalists, and give them the pile of crap along with the address of comcast HQ.

    Just sit back and watch them fling their own feces at the front door.

  30. Junk mail costs me $.

    I receive so much junk mail at my business that my office mail-lady spends a good half hour each and every day just sorting out the junk from legitimate mail. And I am a small business. I can’t imagine the amount of junk mail at a big business.

  31. artgarciasc says:

    @NameGoesHere:

    Haha! Northland Cable does this also.
    I have cable internet and nothing else in my house.
    No Cable Tv, No landline, No satelite.
    GF and i do have cellphones.
    When my net goes down i have to use my cell to call support.
    Majority of times they tell me they just have to reset the mac address or something.
    When i do call and say “make this quick, reset my mac address cause i am wasting my minutes”
    The answer always jumps to, how about we sell you VOIP phone service, so your minutes can be saved?
    Dumbass, how am i supposed to call if my net is down?

  32. AnneofAndover says:

    If the mail is addressed to Brad and not Resident it would be forwarded if he moved, thus making their reasoning entirely more ridiculous than it already is.