Get rid of annoying mail by contacting the source


POSTED: Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Question: I have been receiving a sports betting/gambling brochure about every three months for the past few years. I did not subscribe or ask for this mailing in any way that I can recall. Whenever I receive a brochure, I put “;return to sender”; and send it back. But this hasn't stopped the mailings. Do you have any suggestions on how to permanently stop this mailing to me?

Answer: Probably your best option is to contact the source of the brochures and ask that you be taken off its mailing list.

“;I would say the direct approach would probably be the best,”; said Lynne Moore, manager of consumer affairs for the U.S. Postal Service in Hawaii.

Your “;return to sender”; tactic hasn't been working because the mailings likely ended up just being discarded.

Unless a mailer purchased a service requesting returns for address corrections or other reasons to update their mailing lists, the postal service would discard advertising material or third-class mail that was being returned, Moore said.

That would appear to be the case you're describing.

In such situations, writing “;return to sender”; or “;not here”; would not work.

“;It would never go back to the mailer, and they would never be informed of (the recipient's) wishes or of any address correction,”; Moore said.

It's different for first-class mail (what is usually sent as letters or cards).

If the brochures you've been receiving were mailed via first-class mail, they would be returned to the sender if there was an address posted, Moore said.

Another tactic some people use is to put unwanted mail in an envelope, then send it back without postage. But that also wouldn't work.

Without postage, that envelope would be considered a “;nonmail item”; and would be sent to the postal service's mail recovery center, “;where it would be disposed of under postal regulations,”; unless there was something of “;intrinsic value”; inside, Moore said.

Again, first-class mail is handled differently. First-class mail without postage would be returned to the sender for postage due.

You can write to the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service to ask that your name be deleted from the mailing lists of certain direct-mailing firms and nonprofit organizations. Send requests to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512.

However, if the mailer is not a member, this option wouldn't work. That's why Moore suggests just taking “;the direct approach and say, 'Take me off your list.'”;

The mailers “;are paying for creating the mail piece and paying for postage,”; she said. “;I'm sure they're not interested in (mailing) to someone who is not interested in their product or advertising.”;

Question: Has the person who was caught vandalizing Honolulu Zoo windows been to trial yet, or is the trial scheduled in the future? If he did go to trial, what was the verdict?

Answer: Police arrested two juveniles for damaging more than 20 glass panels at six zoo exhibits in July.

The Honolulu Police Department said it can only say it would be conferring with the prosecutor's office “;soon.”; No other information could be given because the suspects are juveniles.


Write to “;Kokua Line”; at Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).