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How To Reduce unwanted Postal Mail


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HOW TO REDUCE UNWANTED POSTAL MAIL Thanks to Jack Nelson of Vienna, VA for putting this together There is a little-advertised means of stopping unwanted postal advertisements from reaching your mailbox. It is a law, and it is under the United States Postal Service (USPS)auspices.

This is the only method of stopping unwanted mail at its source where you do not have to pay money other than postage. And, it is the only method found to be nearly 100 percent effective.

Pursuant to federal law (Title 39 USC § 3008), a postal addressee who receives an unsolicited (or solicited) advertisement offering for sale matter that, in the addressee’s sole discretion, is “erotically arousing or sexually provocative,” may, by completing PS Form 1500, obtain a prohibitory order from the USPS directing the mailer of the advertisement to refrain from making further mailings to that addressee. The key phrase is highlighted. For example, if a pizza advertisement strikes you as sexually provocative, you can use the Prohibitory Order process to stop the mailings.

Should the mailer (vendor) continue sending mail after receiving the USPS Prohibitory Order, the USPS turns the matter over to the United States Department of Justice for prosecution. The U.S. Department of Justice is responsible for prosecuting violations of postal related laws.

While the law, the form and the USPS instructions for using the form were originally intended for sexually explicit and provocative mail, the U.S. Supreme Court, in its decision Rowan vs. U.S. Post Office Department, 397 U.S. 728 (1970) ruled that the law under Title 39 USC § 4009 (now 39 USC § 3008) includes all unwanted commercial mail. Thus, PS Form 1500 is no longer used just for sexually explicit or provocative mail - although it still reads as such.

Why the USPS or Congress has not changed the law, the form or the instructions to reflect the Supreme Court decision in the past 37 years is a another conundrum that may never be answered. There are powerful lobbyists both within and without the USPS who do not want any change.

Nevertheless, do not be intimidated or confused by the instructions, the form or the law.

If you have been receiving unwanted, commercial advertisements and you no longer want to receive them, simply click below, print out the form and instructions, fill in the form, sign it, and mail it to the U. S. Postal Service at the address shown below - along with the advertisement.

Shortly (experience indicates about 15 days after USPS receipt of the application), you will receive a letter advising you of the USPS action taken. Do not be confused by the letter's wording - it all relates to sexual mail that you decided you did not want. Just think of your unwanted advertisements as sexually explicit mail.

Click here to obtain PS Form 1500 and the instructions for completion:


Action Steps:

1. Open the advertising envelope or wrapper (if there is one), take out all the contents and attach everything to the form. The USPS WILL NOT accept unopened envelopes or wrappers. Put all this into another envelope.

2. Send your PS Form 1500 and material directly to:

                      Pricing and Classification Service Center
                      US Postal Service
                      PO Box 1500
                      New York NY 10008-1500

You may need a large envelope for this step.

It is suggested that you do not give the form to your postmaster, as advised in the USPS instructions as that office will only send it to the above address. Also, there have been reports that some Post Offices do not even know about the form or the process. And, do not advise your local mail carrier that you are trying to reduce your unwanted advertisements. Again, experience shows this to be a nonproductive move.

3. Mark your calendar about 15 days out from the date you mail your form to USPS. If you do not receive a response by the date you expect to receive it, start squawking. You can start here:

                      Pricing and Classification Service Center
                      Tel.  212-330-5300
                      FAX: 212-330-5330

4. If you don't get prompt service from these folks, report delays or other obstacles directly to the Postmaster General at:

                      Postmaster General
                      U.S. Postal Service
                      475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW
                      Washington, DC 20260-1000
                                       Tel. 202-268-2020 FAX: 202-268-5211

5. After you receive your copy of the USPS Prohibitory Order, mark your calendar again in accordance with the 30-day period explained in the letter. If, after the 30-day period, you receive mail that appears to have been sent in violation of the prohibitory order, open it and write clearly on the envelope and all its contents a statement that you received it and the date of receipt. For example, "I received this mailpiece on October 5, 2007." Apply your signature below your statement. Include a photocopy of your prohibitory order, if possible, or a notation of the order number and send the mailpiece to the address noted in paragraph 2., above.

This process has worked numerous times with consistent success. The unwanted mail, in nearly all cases, will stop before you have to exercise step 4.

Important: Be courteous but firm in your letters and phone calls - where necessary. Inappropriate language and rage will not get you off home plate.

Once you have stopped the company from mailing advertisements to your address you may still receive the advertising for awhile. The reason is that mass (bulk) advertising coming through the post office is usually sorted by the company before the post office gets it, using mailing lists the mailer has with your address on it. The mailpiece will usually be addressed to "Resident", "Occupant", "Neighbor", or similar generic name. The mail carrier just picks up the pile that has been presorted by street/area and just starts delivering it house to house without looking at the street address. If this happens, advise your postmaster (or your mail carrier) that your address has been deleted from the company's mailing list and that you do not want any mail delivered to your address that does not have your name and street address on the envelope or the wrapper.

Additional information:

a. The USPS trashes all unwanted third class mail - now called "Standard Mail (A)" - that you mark "refused" or "return to sender." Nearly all advertisements are third class/Standard Mail (A). So, this method of reducing waste in our environment is not an option. Keep in mind that USPS is not into environmental causes that reduce the generation of unwanted (junk) mail.

b. Use of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) preference services to opt out of mailings is somewhat successful but not all advertisers belong to the DMA. Many of these nonmembers are the disreputable companies that you want to eliminate the most. Too, the DMA preference list is a blanket application. You may not want to stop all advertisements, just certain, select pieces of commercial advertising. The DMA charges $1.00 for this service - but this service should be free.

c. The following is from Senator Carl Levin's (D-MI) website - highlights were added:

"Unsolicited commercial mail can be not only irritating to many, but also extremely wasteful. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), over 44% of the junk mail we receive enters the waste stream before it has ever been opened or read. In fact, according to the EPA, junk mail produces over 4 million tons (that's TONS) of solid waste every year. Many constituents have written or called me to complain about the amount of junk mail they receive. While eliminating junk mail entirely is not a simple task, there are ways to reduce the flow to your home."

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