questionshave you heard about the mail back movement?

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I have not heard of this, but the primise that the bank's outgoing mass mailing is free to them is ridiculous. The US Post Office may be run poorly but not that poorly.

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They get bulk rate discounts but it definitely is not free. I love the idea of writing "Return to Sender" on this crap but I would be afraid it would fall into the wrong hands.

You can opt out of junk mail by registering here:

https://www.optoutprescreen.com

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@nortonsark: This is very true. However I think the real point lies in the fact that we can cause the credit card companies to spend more money and, in turn, support our US Postal Service by sending them back. :)
Also @ohcheri, when we say "send back" I was thinking of yoinking out the no postage necessary envelope inside and just sending it back to them empty :) (At least most of the ones I've seen have "no postage necessary" since the company figures if they have someone signing up, it's worth the extra quarters and nickles)

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Certainly sending the empty envelopes back will cost them a little bit of money (not much, but some). But don't waste your time including little "protest" notes, as those will never be read.

http://consumerist.com/2011/11/sending-back-cute-messages-in-pre-paid-credit-card-envelopes-isnt-going-to-occupy-wall-street-one-bi.html

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OK so we make things more costly for the companies to get back at them. Me thinks that the sneaky bastards will find a way to charge more and therefore making it more costly for me. Am I missing something? Honest question.

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@dmaz: That sounds like a great idea! They do have to pay for that postage and it helps the post office. I'm on board with this :-)

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@mohicus: yup they're just gonna start passing along a stamp charge now. $5 every month to cover their expenses. it's lose-lose with em

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@mkentosh No that is not how that works. They (banks and junk mailers) pay third class (bulk) rates for everything they send. Third class mail, cannot be return to sendered, that service is only good on first class and higher mailings.

What you want to do is open it up and see if there is a "prepaid" return envelope in side. Should say something like no postage required if mailed in the US on it. If there is you fill that up with non-sense scrap paper and throw that back in the out going mail. That is what costs the mailers extra money.

Plus it keeps the postmen in business as well as the people who open up those envelopes.

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Sending junk mail back does not help the post office. The USPO delivers at a loss and tries to make up for it by selling collectables and stationary. Putting more trash in the system causes more harm to your tax-supported delivery service than the banks.

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You guys really need to think these things through. So a whole bunch of people do this and it really increases their marketing costs. Do you think they're just going to absorb said costs? Or would they pass it onto their customers in higher fees, etc?

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I actually recommend this for all junk mail. If someone includes a postage paid envelope, I believe that they want me to reply, and I do. I fill it as full as I possible can with other random bits of paper, and never ever forget to include the pieces that they sent me that had my name on it. I often circle that part so that they'll know who sent it back. I've substantially reduced the amount of random junk mail I get by this method.

While they certainly don't read any notes you write, they will take notice, especially if you are consistent. Many companies now send out crap without a return envelope, which means that I will go to the extra bother of calling them. Service calls cost them money.

Banks have privacy policies where you can limit (but unfortunately, not block completely) the crap they send to you, and the info they share. It's still worth the effort to set up.

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@samstag: While I would agree that delivery a birthday card to my grandma is not making money for the USPS, I'd have to believe that the economies of scale in delivering hundreds of return envelopes to one place would do a good job of offsetting delivery costs. Especially if each envelope is stuffed with a pound of paper. USPS must be making money devlivering it to us in the first place, otherwise why would they make their carriers haul arounds tons of circulars each day?

@tucnguyen: As someone who does not carry a credit card balance and avoids fees at all costs, I'm not too concerned about their overhead as much as my own. It takes time and effort for me to sort the 90% of my mail that is trash and shred all the documents with my personal information. I used to get at least one solicitation from Amex each day until I started sending them back. I no longer get anything, so maybe my defiance has saved customers money through lower G&A costs.

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@samstag: Wrong. USPS makes the vast majority of its money on bulkrate mailings. Seriously, it's their most profitable venture.

First class mail, especially the requirement that it be delivered everywhere, is what costs the post office the most money.

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@jro2020: OK, That was what I was looking for and I think it's a great idea!

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@tucnguyen: Let's finish this particular line of reason...
All you've said is true, but it doesn't end here. These mailings, and the necessary postage, are advertising expenses, and as such can(and I'm sure WILL) be written off- deducted. Who do you think makes up the difference for these unpaid taxes?
Maybe it'll get their attention, but the system is seriously flawed and it's NOT in our(citizens and taxpayers) favour.
Change, governmental and corporate, needs to happen.
But it's not going to be painless.

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@havocsback: Ummmmm.... advertising expenses are tax "deduction" for business the same way they would be for individuals. They lower net taxable income. There are no special over the top tax breaks for these types of overhead expenses. Stockholders and lenders certainly do not want to see a company with zero net income, so there's not some evil macro-corporate stragegy to waste money on advertising to avoid taxes.

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@havocsback: Dude - stay on topic. Don't turn this into an anti-gov Occupy BS post.

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@mikecris: Point is, it's NOT going to cost them money they can't recover. But it DOES take tax dollars out of the system, yes, by the same system you and I use. However, do you believe for a moment that you'd get away with showing little or no income in a single tax year? I've performed work for more than 1 accounting firm/attorney that legally did just that.
All that aside, while this 'movement' has been given a name, this has been going on for a long time. I recall my dad bringing home mimeographed sheets from work with much the same program in the '70's, courtesy of the Union. Yes, it's all political, whether we like it or not.

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@havocsback: Accounting and legal firms are LLPs and taxed like individuals. Lawyers also have a lot of clients who never pay them and write-off a lot of revenue, so it wouldn't surprise me if they sometimes have $0 net income at the end of the year, especially in times like this. And you are allowed to show negative taxable income on your return (with a loss carry-forward). I myself have done this in the event of an investment loss in a small business venture that I supported in an attempt to boost the economy and create jobs. Without such incentives provided by the taxing authority, it would greatly increase the risk for indivual investors and hinder our economic growth.

Anyway, what's you take on mailing back junk mail? Good idea or epic fail?