Jon needs help in getting out from under a pile of junk mail. He writes that after falling for a psychic scam, his grandparents have ended up on mailing lists advertising every scam imaginable. They receive about one hundred pieces of mail per week. He wants to stop the deluge, but isn’t sure how. Can the Consumerist hive mind help him?
Long story short, my grandma fell for one of those mail-fraud psychic scams (Maria Duval – they prey on old people!) and now my grandparents seem to be on every mail scam list possible. They’re on a fixed income and cannot afford to get duped again. I’ve tried explaining it to my grandmother, but it’s largely lost on her. She really believes that there is a psychic out there who will give her advice or that she will win some international lottery. Is there a way to stop this?
They are regularly getting 100 pieces of garbage mail a week that looks somewhat official. It’s obvious that it would fool most elderly people into thinking it’s a legitimate cause or company.
I’ve thought about contacting the company that is handling their direct mailing, but I can’t find out exactly who it is or if they’d even stop it.
Any rock-solid advice? Would a generic cease and desist letter even help?
If he can figure out where to send it to, it would be a good idea for Jon’s grandparents to file a prohibitory order with the U.S. Postal Service. These are intended to stop unwanted pornography from arriving in people’s mailboxes, but case law has made the definition of “offensive” pretty broad in this case.
Here’s what a prohibitory order does:
The prohibitory order forbids the mailer, his or her agents, or assigns from making further mailings to the designated addressees, effective on the 30th calendar day after the mailer’s receipt of the order; directs immediate deletion of such addressees from all mailing lists owned or controlled by the mailer, his or her agents, or assigns; and prohibits any sale, rental, exchange, or other transaction by the mailer, his or her agents, or assigns, involving mailing lists bearing the names of the designated addressees.