Dan and his wife were getting hit by two pieces of junk mail from Citi almost every day. One to him, and one to his wife. He couldn’t figure out how to tell Citi to stop, until he remembered the online service with the little blue bird that goes “Tweet, tweet.”
Somehow, a political group Jeff happens to disagree with got hold of his e-mail address, and started sending him junk mail. Then another got his address. And another. He’s not sure how he got on the lists, but he wants right-wing groups to stop sending him stuff and sharing his e-mail address with each other. How?
One after another, they keep popping up at his door. Brad didn’t ask for them and doesn’t know why they’re there. Over 20 have showed up in the past three months. Sometimes three of the little envelopes of annoyance appear a week. They’re credit card offers from Capital One, who seem keenly desperate to acquire Brad. Each of them gets sneakier and sneakier with fewer identifying marks on the outside until they almost look like regular mail from a real person. However, “What’s really been accomplished,” writes Brad, “is I now have a strong opinion about a brand that I never previously cared about either way.”
Reader Sean got an odd notice from AT&T. It had “Receipt Enclosed” written on the outside of the envelope. He thought that was strange as he hadn’t used AT&T for a few years. Recently someone had tried to charge some unauthorized items on his credit card so he was worried that someone had bought AT&T service using his info. See, that’s how they getcha! By preying on that nagging doubt that maybe, just maybe, the letter is for real.
Reader Michael reports he got a funny little green postcard in the mail telling him he had a package waiting for him. It said that he should call this toll-free number to schedule a pickup. Suspicious, he Googled around and it turns out that if you call the number they try to pitch you on vacation rentals. The “package” is simply a packet of brochures pimping their services
In this world where even dogs and toddlers can be pre-approved for credit cards, it’s important to register the names of loved ones who have passed on in order to get junk mail in their name to stop arriving. The Direct Marketer’s Association maintains a free “Deceased Do Not Contact List” that friends, family members and caregivers can used to stop the name of someone who has passed on from being passed around by junk mailers.
Theoretically, a 16-year-old shouldn’t be on the mailing list for unsolicited credit card offers. Neither should a 13-year-old. Yet companies just can’t stop sending solicitations to J’s teenage daughter–even after J. specifically opted her out of the offers. Permanently. Or so the family thought. Now they’ve started up again, and J. isn’t sure how to make them stop.
Dustin says Chase usually checks in with a couple credit card solicitation mailings a week, but decided to step up its game in the past couple days, cramming his mailbox with seven letters advertising zero percent balance transfers.
Here’s an excellent example of how a company will put more effort into getting you to notice its junk mail than any important account related information. David says this happens to him all the time, and it’s usually a serious notice (as in “impending disconnection”) thanks to a recurring billing error.
Last month Chipotle put out a call for customers to forward 500,000 junk email messages to firstname.lastname@example.org, pledging to donate $50,000 to charity in return. Now the maker of foil-wrapped burritos has upped the ante, asking for another half million male enhancement and fake dating site queries in order to hike up its donation to $100,000.
Noel discovered what the “Beyond” in Bed Bath & Beyond stands for — the point past reason it intends to stretch his patience when he requests to be taken off its junk mail list.
Tor has a simple request. He wants companies to stop wasting paper and sending him printed catalogs. He would also appreciate it if companies would stop selling his name ad address to each other in order to send him even more catalogs. This is a tall order–well, at least it is for Crate & Barrel.
The letter was from “Motor Vehicle Services.” It warned Serra that his car’s manufacturers warranty is expiring. It accurately listed the monthly payment he was making on his car, and the number of payments he had made. It was even written in that typewriter font beloved by mechanics and bureaucracies. But it wasn’t from the Department of Motor Vehicles, it was a piece of extended warranty junk mail gussied up to look official. Here’s the letter:
G. writes that she placed an order from Adam & Eve, a venerable seller of adult merchandise. Discretion was crucial, since G. has packages sent to her at work instead of her home mailbox. Fortunately, this company ships packages in unmarked boxes. They do not, however, practice the same discretion with their promotional mailings, which caught G. by surprise.
David wants to know why Terminix won’t stop sending him mail. He just wants to them to leave him alone. The company received his requests to stop sending mail…and instead started sending junk to him and to his imaginary wife. This was not helpful.
How important is the element of surprise? Do you want to be surprised when you receive a gift? When people are about to throw a surprise party for you? What about when you accidentally learn that your boyfriend is about to propose…thanks to a stray piece of junk mail?
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?
We know that the newspaper industry is suffering. Subscribers are fleeing, ad revenue is down, and things are generally dark and terrible. However, this does not mean that it is a good idea to throw sacks of junk mail on the lawns of people who won’t subscribe to your paper. It will not endear you to them. We’re looking at you, Baltimore Sun.