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  1. Whitey Fisk says:

    It’s a shame, because Mandy came and she gave without taking.

  2. RobinB says:

    Can you change email settings to automatically send those emails into the trashbin??

  3. Same thing happened with my parents and my dead grandpa, care of VitaminShoppe or one of the others.

    Poor guy never even got that penis enlargement he was planning on…

  4. RandoX says:

    @RobinB: Seriously? Maybe it’s time to work on your reading comprehension. Let’s try this again:

    He has set up email filters to block the email, but like an intelligent virus the email changes its signature to bypass the filters.

  5. MikeB says:

    What criteria is being used for the filter? What address is it coming from? What info is in the header? This is not a blame the op post, but maybe there is some tweaking that could be done to rule to filter out these emails while they wait for the address to get off the list.

  6. chiieddy says:

    It’s unfortunate your mother lost her dog. However, I can’t blame 1-800-PetMeds here. How were they to know? They had a subscription and are removing the user from the list within the prescribed time (10 business days) to do so. It’s unfortunate, but I can’t see how they are to blame.

  7. freshyill says:

    @RandoX: What, do they keep sending from different domains or something?

    Blocking everything from isn’t exactly hard, no matter how shitty your email client is.

  8. EBounding says:

    Has she tried clicking the “Unsubscribe” link in the e-mail?

  9. EBounding says:

    @EBounding: You idiot, it says she did.

  10. Skellbasher says:

    I’d assume that all these emails are coming from the same source domain.

    If not, post some headers from these emails and we can come up with a filter to help stop them.

  11. FatLynn says:

    Maybe on the opt out form they could ask why you no longer wish to receive their e-mails and then they could expedite the ones that say “my pet died”.

  12. timmus says:

    Holy cow… that sucks. I had the same problem after partially completing an order on

    Here’s one idea…
    1. Create a GMail account.
    2. Use your ISP’s mail control panel and forward all email to that GMail address.
    3. Use GMail’s spam filters and/or create a special filter to block stuff from Petmeds.
    4. Check email at GMail.
    5. Problem solved.

    I know you’re doing filtering anyway, but I find that GMail’s filters are a bit better at this. If that doesn’t do it, you may have to be more creative with your filtering keywords. Also you should check the IPs to see if they’re coming from the same email company (I doubt PetMeds is using a botnet, and if they are, that’s a whole ‘nother story).

    I actually use GMail scrubbing with my small business server, forwarding stuff to GMail to be cleansed, which then forwards back to a hidden address on my server where I then check it. My spam problem has dwindled to almost nothing.

    If that sounds like too much work, then you should do it anyway and consider it as investment that gives your mom another layer against spam, phishing, and 419 emails.

    On another note, I was getting ready to buy some Frontline for tick control. PetMeds sounds like it’s very spam-friendly, and I’ve seen a lot of businesses who operate that way and make tons of cash buying and selling customer data, something I do not agree with. I will definitely not be doing business with them.

    And boy, as far as your mom goes, they picked the wrong person to mess with!

  13. timmus says:

    my comment did not appear, trying again

  14. EBone says:

    It’s sad, but she’s going to have to wait the 7 to 10 days to be removed from the mailing list. That’s it. 1-800PetMeds just isn’t going to have a staff of email address changers on hand, OVER MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND, to remove dead pets immediately from their subscription list.

    This comes from someone with two dogs and three cats.

  15. dualityshift says:

    It’s her own fault for having a live pet in the first place. Aibo’s can still be found on ebay.


  16. PølάrβǽЯ says:

    Get mommy a Gmail account.

  17. IphtashuFitz says:

    @chiieddy: 10 days to remove an e-mail address from a list is a crock of sh*t as far as I’m concerned. There are plenty of mailing lists out there that you can unsubscribe from in literally seconds. On top of that, a company that sells medication for pets should recognize that a lot of their customers are going to lose beloved pets eventually and that those personalized e-mails may cause this sort of distress in owners. For that reason alone they should have a well designed opt-out system that takes minutes instead of over a week.

  18. Disturbedearth says:

    I lost my Mother to cancer several years ago. I started getting all of these harrrassing CC and collection calls from a couple of her creditors about late payments and delinquent accounts.

    With the first couple I tried to explain the situation but they insisted on “original” copies of death certificates, of which I only had a couple, and all this other crap.

    Not exactly being in the mindset of compliance – I began encourageing them to continue try and track her down.

    The balances were very low and my hope is they spent way more money trying to track her down than what she owed.

    Sorry for your loss – automated marketing is pretty common but Spam blocking should do the trick fairly quickly.

  19. fluiddruid says:

    The failure to unsubscribe through their automated system is bad, but their abuse of customer information is worse.

    Multiple marketing emails in a week are completely inappropriate regardless of the situation. I do not expect my email address – which I give to place an order, for that transaction – to be used whenever a company wishes. Similarly, if I bought something at a store and started getting junk mail from them this often, I would be angry, too.

    My company has almost entirely sworn off email marketing because of its negative perception. When we do, it’s from an opt-in (not an opt-out – people actually have to check the box that they want promotional emails), and only done maybe once or twice a year.

  20. SkokieGuy says:

    I blame the poster. You are expecting a business, who exists to make money, to be sensitive to the needs of a pet owner.

    That is unrealistic, unless you’re dealing with a business that specifically caters to pet owners….oh right, nevermind.

  21. mgy says:

    Take your dog on a picnic?

  22. TMMadman says:

    @Whitey Fisk: But they sent her away, oh Mandy!

  23. OnceWasCool says:

    You don’t have to put up with that crap.

    Contact the FTC about them. []

    The FTC has an email address set up for people to forward spam email to them according to the Can Spam act.

    Every junk email you get, forward it to

    NOT a joke, read about it at


  24. el_smurfo says:

    1-800PetMeds sends more spam to my account than any other business. I only check my “spam” hotmail account every few weeks, but they are usually grouped in 3-4 messages just days apart.

  25. Black Bellamy says:

    Oh Christ dogs are fungible just get another Mandy and keep feeding her more pet meds!

  26. Mistrez_Mish says:


    I love taking my dog on picnics! We even make a picnic lunch just for her and then run around with her in the park for hours. Good times

  27. Garbanzo says:

    I tolerated the email I got from 1-800 PetMeds until they sent me one “addressed” to my dog along the lines of “Bowser, tell your mommy that…”

    Ick. Ick. Ick. Ick. I unsubscribed about 30 seconds after that email landed in my inbox.

  28. Noris says:

    I hate when people argue emotions when it comes to dealing with a problem. Crying does not lend anything to an argument. I also have a hard time being able to quantify “emotional distress.” Either there’s a problem with a company or there isn’t. Someone’s emotional response really has no weight on the situation.

    This is similar to that issue with the drag-racing Comcast trucks. The issue was emotionally charged, yet few failed to realize that Comcast does not tell its drivers to drag race. Was Comcast responsible? If they failed to check driving history, fail to reprimand drivers for reckless driving, etc… then sure. Otherwise, Comcast really has no power over its employees doing stupid things the first time.

    The same thing goes here. It’s very unfortunate your mother lost her dog. Is it reasonable for PetMeds to know that your mother’s dog died? No. Psychics aren’t real. Did she fail to uncheck the box? Yes. That’s completely on her. Is it reasonable for the company to take 7 days to take you off the mailer? The law seems to think so. You think it’s unreasonable, but don’t explain why. Do you know how a mailer works? Can you explain how much work it would take to not mail her the information? If you don’t know of the process, I can’t say that your opinion has any merit.

    So far, PetMeds seem like any average, mediocre company and hardly some terrible monster like Paypal or BoA. Also, to the infinite people who didn’t read the story, this isn’t spam. She had a business relationship with the company and failed to uncheck the correspondence box. RTF Story next time.

    Congratulations on using this forum and your position here to voice this complaint though.

  29. coan_net says:

    Not really sure why this is a consumerist issue – or why to blame 1800-petmeds.

    They signed up to receive e-mails (well did not uncheck box when they signed up, which most people now days know that means getting their e-mails)

    Plus it sounds like Petmeds have a easy system setup for them to unsubscribe – but like everything, it takes a few days (7-10 as the phone support told them)

    So why is this a consumerist issue again? Maybe after 10 days of unsubscribing and the e-mails continue, then that may be a consumerist issue – but I don’t see why this story is here, sorry.

    That would be like me buying a pet toy from Amazon, but upset once it got here because the pet got hid by a car a few hours earlier. HOW DARE AMAZON SEND THAT!

  30. Garbanzo says:


    UPDATE customers
    SET email_opt_in = 0
    WHERE customer_id = 8765432

    would take two seconds after someone presses the unsubscribe button on the web-page even on a very laggy database. They’re taking 10 days to remove the address not because they don’t have employees working on the holiday weekend but because their marketing department has decreed that the company will continue to send ads to unwilling customers for the maximum legal time.

  31. Noris says:

    Does anybody have Jay’s email so I can tell him how this post fails in so many ways?

  32. RandoX says:

    @Garbanzo: But, of course, you’re using parameterized arguments to avoid a SQL injection, right?

  33. BuddhaLite says:

    Seriously. Get the fuck over it. My wife had a miscarriage last year and we still get free samples for formula and diapers. Yeah it sucks but they’re not doing it to offend you. They don’t know any better. The company isn’t sitting there laughing while sending the email hoping you’ll cry.

  34. Rhynoo says:

    Cry me a river! Get a new dog and e-mail account.

  35. RogueSophist says:

    @Garbanzo: Your dog’s name is Bowser? Sweet.

  36. Garbanzo says:


    Not, really, sorry.

  37. Lambasted says:

    I guess it is not considered spam if you add yourself to a company’s mailing list. However, many companies like Borders Books and A.C. Moore abuse the privilege and are relentless in sending out member emails. I get several a week from them. I don’t want to completely unsubscribe from receiving their coupons so what I do is filter their emails to delete upon arrival until I need a coupon. Then, I turn the filter off so I can receive the coupon email, and turn it back on when I am finished.

    Now I am not bombarded by their emails unless I want to use them for my purposes.

  38. Jay Slatkin says:

    I am not blaming 1800Petmeds. This is a problem that occurred because of happenstance. The reason to highlight the problem was to try to find a solution through the commenters. If you see any blame that *I* put on 1800petmeds you are hallucinating.

  39. Wormfather says:

    @Jay Slatkin: But someone needs to make the bad man stop.


    Problem is, we live in a zero sum society, someone is always to blame, two cars merging into the same lane. Blame. Smoke and get lung cancer, Cigarette Company. Blame. Meteor falls out of the sky and kills the girl you’ve been stalking. Blame.

    It’s a vicious arrow man, vicious.

  40. Cache22 says:

    @coan_net: (And others):

    For all the comments saying to just opt-out of emails, or just unsubscribe, I can say from experience that opting out or unsubscribing does not work. I ordered one item from them a couple years ago and still get email. (I ended up adding them to my server’s spam filters … if I had more time on my hands I would probably document the emails and unsubscribe attempts and sue in small claims, would be an easy win.)

    1-800-Petmeds completely ignores opt-out and unsubscribe requests.

  41. OP here, thanks for all the helpful comments. I never thought of trying Gmail to sort this out, but I’m going to give that a shot.

  42. Peeved Guy says:

    @Jay Slatkin:
    The reason to highlight the problem was to try to find a solution through the commenters

    Having read the comments, it seems to me that the consensus would be that you’ve already found the solution… unsubscribe. If, in 10 days or so, you mom is still receiving the emails, then come back and we’ll talk.

  43. Noris says:

    @Jay Slatkin: I think the point was to draw attention that this letter did not deserve front page (even if from a forum moderator) and that your judgment that it did deserve front page was incorrect.

  44. bologna_wallet says:

    Oh Mandy, you came and found me a turkey. On my day off of work-y

  45. stacye says:

    As another suggested, you can try submitting your complaint to the FTC. But I find this more effective:

    Send an email to every department of 1800petmeds you can think of.,,,

    In the email let them know that what they are doing is illegal, and you will be contacting the FTC if your name is not removed from their list. This usually gets a response from someone.

  46. Buran says:

    @Noris: You’re wrong on the Comcast employees. Your actions are in your employer’s name while you’re on the clock and while operating company equipment.

    This is totally different and is an example of a company harassing a no-longer-willing-to-be-marketed-to former customer because the law says they can, not because it’s the right thing to do.

  47. snazzycarrot says:

    @Noris: Hmmm…I have a hard time being able to quantify ‘deserving front page’. Perhaps being a moderator carries a few perks. An occasional indulgence like this doesn’t really bother me. Perhaps a bit of relaxation is in order.

  48. xnihilx says:

    I had the exact same problem when my pet rock died.

  49. noquarter says:

    @Jay Slatkin: If you see any blame that *I* put on 1800petmeds you are hallucinating
    The hell I am. Did you not write the headline:
    1-800PetMeds’ Relentless Spam Email Makes Your Mother Cry

    You turned what could have been a reasonable discussion of spam filtering into a mud fest with your shit-journalism headline. Note: MY mother is not crying, and 1-800PetMeds did not MAKE the OP’s mother cry. Also, nothing in the post indicates that their emails are either relentless or spam. They were solicited, albeit accidentally, and a total of three have been received.

    This entire thread has been worthless, and it’s all due to your stupid headline.

  50. Pylon83 says:

    Incredibly well put.

  51. Dobernala says:

    I used to be a customer of TracFone. After I changed phone providers, I clicked the ‘unsubscribe’ link in their promotional emails to request that they stop sending me those emails. It had no effect. I kept getting emails for over a month. Kept clicking the link and kept getting an unsubscribe confirmation but the emails never stopped.

    The only way to get off was to email their abuse department and threaten to submit every single email from there on to all the spam blacklists I could think of.

    The emails ceased from that point on.

  52. TVGenius says:

    @chiieddy: Yeah, another whiny post when nothing has been done incorrectly.

    What’s next, a post about how someone’s still getting junk mail for their relative that died yesterday?

  53. kyle4 says:

    @Rhynoo: Have you ever owned a pet or was that a joke? A dog becomes family when you live with him/her for 12 years.

  54. Buran says:

    @noquarter: All you people complaining about how you hate this place’s headlines … why are you still here, then?

  55. noquarter says:

    @Buran: That is not relevant to this discussion. Did you bring it up because you really can’t understand why someone might have dealings with an entity that they don’t think is perfect, or was it just a red herring?

  56. 00exmachina says:

    depending on the filtering software you may want to set it to check the body of the e-mail for PetMed.
    Also you may want to try blocking they by blocking the IP address the messages are sent from instead of blocking a specific address.

  57. ClaudeBalbus says:

    @Whitey Fisk:
    Not funny.

  58. e.varden says:


    What has this to do with is issue, you dim bint?

    Nobody gives a shit about your park-walks with your doggie.

    Go away, you thumb-sucking narcissist. Scram.

  59. Noris says:

    @Buran: Nice logic error. I <3 the ol ‘love it or leave it.’

  60. Buran says:

    @Noris: It’s not a logic error. If you hate the site THAT much, why keep coming? It’s a big Internet.

  61. Buran says:

    @noquarter: No, I deal with things that aren’t perfect but the blame the victim/blame the editor/blame SOMEONE whining is out of hand. I guess we aren’t allowed to express dissatisfaction with commenters around here, only the editors who seem to exist to be complained at.

  62. jimv2000 says:

    Time to block the domain the emails were coming from…not some string in the subject line.

  63. As much as I hate email and vendors that use email, the Mom gave the email addy and dog’s name to the vendor. Blame starts with mom. Give the vendor a chance to remove the email addy. If the addy is not removed then we can start blaming the vendor.

  64. WayneK2 says:

    Forget blocking the domain.

    Set up a new email rule on your computer, to automatically trash anything with “petmeds” in the subject or body. Voila!

    As for “made my mother cry,” I still get snail-mail addressed to my own mother, dead over 2 years, and the rare one for my dad who passed on 8 years ago … I’m sure I’ll be getting things about my pet when the pet goes … that’s what we get for loving someone, it will pass.

  65. nox says:

    so you can’t block the dogs name because she is still talking about the dog actively via email…. yet she can complain about 1800petmeds using her dogs name?

    my mom is just as bad a hypocrite.

  66. @nox: Not so much outgoing e-mail as incoming condolences. A filter that would block the dog’s name in either the subject or body would have filtered out some family e-mail.

  67. Mistrez_Mish says:

    @e.varden: What has this to do with is issue, you dim bint?

    Nobody gives a shit about your park-walks with your doggie.

    Go away, you thumb-sucking narcissist. Scram

    Ouch – that hurt really, it did. I’ve read plenty of vapid b.s. commentary on this site and yes, a nice smattering of pricks who have nothing better to do than try oh so very hard to piss people off. I’m very proud of you, sweetie. You’ve managed not to comment on the article at all and act like a complete douche bag.

    I know, you must be right, it was horribly selfish of me to comment on another person’s comment. I’m very ashamed.

  68. TheKingBoar says:

    @Garbanzo: That was exactly why I was thinking! Seven days to remove a customer is crap. It’s instantaneous to do it, and there’s no need to have a human look over it. They’re just trying to sucker another sale out over the next 7 to 10 days. Even a 386 could do it fast, so there’s really no excuse.

  69. HOP says:

    i send every piece of spam to i just wonder what happens with the info that i send to this address

  70. vladthepaler says:

    Why don’t you just filter out all mail from or mentioning 1-800petmeds?

  71. ElijahDProphet says:

    @vladthepaler: I wonder that myself.

    This reminds me of after my Grandmother died, about 2 or 3 weeks after the funeral we were receiving her mail at my Mother’s address. My Grandmother had a hard time saying no to people, so she had a ton of magazine subscriptions and got a lot of junk mail.

    The creepiest piece of mail we received was from a magazine whose subscription had run out and it said in big, bold letters “Betty, We Want To Bring You Back To LIFE!”.

  72. ShadowFalls says:

    Come on, get over it already people. Don’t blame a company when they have no idea your pet has died. It is only understandable they continue to send emails regarding the said pet if they are under the impression it is still alive.

    Sometimes websites have glitches, talking to a person on the phone may very well alleviate the issue. Their demeanor is important, if they apologize with sincerity it should be good enough.

    If a person cries from seeing their deceased pet’s name in an email, that is another matter. Perhaps your mother needs some sort of help in that regard. Get a new pet to fill in the emotional hole.

    This isn’t really a big problem or the major fault of the company, it should not be treated as such. The headlines on this site are starting to seem more like that of a newspaper these days.