Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Junk Mail Woes

I hate junk mail. Instead of immediately recycling it, I take two minutes per piece, call the 1-800 number listed on the mailer, select the option to place an order (which seems to get you to a person faster) and politely ask them to take me off their list. So far, 100% of the time, the person I speak with has been helpful, pleasant, and apologetic, and immediately removes my name. So far, so good!

But last week, Peanut and I got two pieces of junk mail that were so...offensive that we went a step further and actually complained to the Better Business Bureau about the company.

These pieces were not pornographic. They were not salacious. They had no profanity on them or anything else. Instead, they were so outrageously misleading that they probably give slightly less observant people palpitations.

They were from a warranty company, writing to tell us that our manufacturer's warranty was about to expire and that we needed to act quickly to re-instate it. Ok, that's lame, especially considering that we bought our care used and the warranty long-since expired (like three years ago). But what really got me was that they were designed to look like official Department of Motor Vehicle communications, with a seal and that three-sided perforated edge thing you see on checks, and with a threat of a fine and imprisonment for anyone tampering with delivery* printed on the front of it, and a bunch of other things that really made it look like a big deal, maybe a red-light ticket or something like that. But nope. Someone just wanted to "extend our warranty" with no other information than that the title had changed hands (turns out: our REAL DMV sells our information to this company. Lovely.)

Anyway, I was so pissed off about the deceitfulness of the ads that I saved them (we got two on the same day) and showed them to Peanut. Somewhat to my surprise, he agreed with me about how much they appeared to prey on people who would call thinking there was a big problem and then get a heavy sell to sign up for this useless warranty (I wouldn't trust anyone who would give my car a warranty without seeing it as far as I could throw them!).

A quick Google search turned up a lot of complaints about this company and their advertising - in fact, they were sued for it two years ago. They must have lost or settled, since they're still up to it. We filed an advertising complaint with the BBB complaining about the misleading nature of the ads. I don't know if anything will come of it, and in some ways it may seem like a little bit of an extreme reaction, but on the other hand, the only way companies will be stopped from sending out ads like this is if consumers complain and make noise about not liking it. I hate to think about anyone who might have been duped by it, and since we realized what it was before falling for it, I feel an urge to do my part.

Have you complained about advertising? How do you get off junk mail lists? 

* This threat applies to all federal mail, but when was the last time you saw it printed on anything you received?


  1. I've never complained to junk mail companies, I've honestly never even thought about it. I need to do that!

  2. I've gotten those a couple of times. At first I was concerned- I thought it really WAS my car warranty company. I didn't give out any information or anything but still, thats very shadey. I always wondered where they got my information too but since you mentioned that DMV's sell our info it makes sense.


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