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Stop sending my stuff to my ex's house. Seriously.
October 5, 2011 8:35 AM   Subscribe

How can I make sure that absolutely nothing - not letters, not catalogs, not packages, nothing - with my name and old address on it is ever left at my old place? I am in the US.

I know about having mail forwarded through USPS, and I did the paperwork for that months ago. However, things (mostly spam) are still showing up for me at my old address. The person at my old address will not just discard the items, nor will they reliably forward them on even given money for shipping, and so whenever something arrives with my name on it, it causes a big hassle for me.

Today, I found out that UPS attempted to deliver something to my current address while I was out of town, failed three times, and then brought it to my old address for some reason, which no one asked them or would ask them to do, ever, under any circumstances.

I need to make this stop yesterday. Whom do I need to call, and what do I need to say?
posted by yomimono to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
You can talk to your mail carrier and tell them to never bring stuff to your old address. Ours is really good that way but YMMV.

As for the catalogs, you'll have to call the catalog company because the post office does not forward 3rd class mail such as catalogs and magazines, only first class items. And, really, the catalog company doesn't give a care because if you aren't there, they are fine with someone else looking through it. So that may not be reliable either.

As far as i know, there really isn't a way to make it certain that absolutely nothing ever goes back to your old address.
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:40 AM on October 5, 2011


However, things (mostly spam) are still showing up for me at my old address.

If the address label says the words "... or current resident" then the USPS has done their job. Items bearing that designation are basically being delivered to an address, not a specific name.

If the person there won't discard them, and won't forward them, and you're sure it's spam ... well, I don't quite get what the hassle for you is. They can't force you to come and get them.

This, however: and then brought it to my old address for some reason, which no one asked them or would ask them to do, ever, under any circumstances.

This is something I would speak directly to the postmaster about. This is unacceptable.
posted by anastasiav at 8:50 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The post office does have a service which nearly all the catalog vendors subscribe to to get their lists corrected. So while USPS doesn't forward the stuff, the senders will fairly quickly get their lists corrected.
posted by beagle at 8:50 AM on October 5, 2011


You can file another change of address form, even if you did it when you first moved away from the problem address. You can do that for an individual member of a household, which would not affect the problem resident's mail... and then for the six months that it lasts, every piece of mail you get with the yellow forwarding sticker, you contact whoever sent it to you and have your address changed in their files.
posted by sarling at 8:54 AM on October 5, 2011


And btw, you can keep filing change of address forms online every six months for the rest of your life, if you have to.
posted by sarling at 8:55 AM on October 5, 2011


You probably can't absolutely avoid it. Talking to the mail carrier who serves your old neighborhood and to your nearest post office about your mail forwarding being inconsistent could help (if they're not processing the forwarding they should be able to tell you who you need to talk to).

The UPS (I assume you mean the for-profit delivery service?) issue is a separate one and you should call them and see if they can't talk to a particular delivery driver and/or put a note in a database or something - delivering a package to a wrong address that isn't even on the package is a serious screw-up on their part and they should try to help see it doesn't happen again.

You could also look up tips on stopping junk mail in general to cut down on this.

But it is probably impossible to stop it completely.
posted by nanojath at 8:57 AM on October 5, 2011


How can I make sure that absolutely nothing - not letters, not catalogs, not packages, nothing - with my name and old address on it is ever left at my old place?

Unfortunately, you can't. I am sorry for whatever problem you are having, but all you can do is continue to file change of address forms [and try to get name variations and that sort of thing] and let the person at your old address know about it, in case they are the ones making this a difficult situation for you. In the future, having a personal PO box [think of it like the cell phone model when formerly people shared phones] would stop this from being a problem in the future, though I know that's not very helpful to you now.

That said, delivering a package to an old address is totally unacceptable and it's fine for you to make sure it doesn't happen again. You can either talk to the mail carrier or go to the post office in person and explain whatever the situation is. Depending on how small your town is, this may be something that will happen informally [this is where I've often had problems, people trying to be helpful wind up bending rules and then trouble can ensue] or more formally where there's an official note made that you're not at your old address, etc.
posted by jessamyn at 8:59 AM on October 5, 2011


And btw, you can keep filing change of address forms online every six months for the rest of your life, if you have to.

This doesn't work for third-class mail such as catalogs or junk mail as the post office doesn't forward these for change of address.

Anecdata: My parents still receive junk mail for the people who lived in their house 50 years ago. It never ends.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:03 AM on October 5, 2011


You can't. My husband's ex-girlfriend moved out of (now our) apartment five or six years ago. We still get her mail.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:05 AM on October 5, 2011


UPS and USPS are two different companies. I'm a bit confused as to who delivered your package incorrectly. If it was UPS you need to speak with them separately.

You could try using DMA choice to get rid of your junk mail which might cut down on the problem. Although there is some controversy about whether this works.

I will also suggest, that if it is mostly junk mail going to your old address that this is your ex's problem, not yours and if he/she is hassling you about it just don't engage.
posted by ephemerista at 9:06 AM on October 5, 2011


It might help to know that you can unsubscribe from many unwanted catalogs, including ones that come to "so and so or Current Resident" through the Catalog Choice website.
posted by scrambles at 9:26 AM on October 5, 2011


This is a problem with both USPS and UPS that's manifested in different ways. USPS is delivering normal stuff with my name on it to the address, despite my forwarding request; I've submitted another one per sarling's advice. I'd held off on doing this before, for fear of entering some sort of horrible bureaucratic mail-rerouting-loop disaster.

I've spoken with someone at UPS about their misdelivery and they've apologized and put a note on my file to never, ever do this again under any circumstances. They also said they got the address from a central database called ChoicePoint, which is somehow connected with the USPS or something. I would dearly love to get my old address out of this database.

It's true that no one can force me to deal with this mail. It's also true that no one can force the person at my old address to stop contacting me about it. I would like the person at the other end to stop receiving mail for me, so I can stop hearing about it.
posted by yomimono at 9:46 AM on October 5, 2011


I have been using the Catalog Choice website mentioned by scrambles above for stuff coming to my own address. I started filling out requests about two months ago. I have slowed down the amount of catalogs coming, but have not been able to completely shut them down.

It sounds like the issue is with the new tenant of your old address. I know you said they won't forward them or ship them periodically, but try sending them $20 and say to them, "Here is $20. Either hold stuff and ship it to me once a month using this to pay for it, or toss the mail out and keep the $20 for your troubles. I am no longer able to accept your calls about this."
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:52 AM on October 5, 2011


Nthing to keep renewing your USPS forwarding 2X a year.

Would the new tenant be amenable to mailing you a prepaid large envelope once a month minus catalogues and magazines, which he/she can toss?

BTW, you can stop each catalogue by calling the 800 number and asking to have your name removed. They will only start remailing to your new address once you place an order.
posted by Elsie at 10:11 AM on October 5, 2011


Wow, UPS should really not be getting an address from a third party and deciding to deliver packages to that address without approval from the sender.

There is probably a mail carrier who regularly delivers to your old house. You should be able to call the local post office, find out who this person is, and speak to them directly about the problem.
posted by chickenmagazine at 10:51 AM on October 5, 2011


Is there any change that your ex is filing change of address forms to have an excuse to stay in contact?
posted by Hermes32 at 11:44 AM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there any change that your ex is filing change of address forms to have an excuse to stay in contact?

This is possible, in the same way that it's possible that extradimensional beings are wormholing into my kitchen at night to make my bread spoil faster, but I think it's about as likely.
posted by yomimono at 2:59 PM on October 5, 2011


If anyone's curious about the database thing: apparently what was previously called ChoicePoint is now owned by LexisNexis, whom I called to confirm this. The only way to opt out of the database which UPS used to inappropriately forward my package is to prove that I'm at risk of harm, which thankfully I'm not.

I am more than a little annoyed by this.
posted by yomimono at 3:11 PM on October 5, 2011


I get mail for the previous owner of my house, which I've owned for nearly two years. I would dearly LOVE it if he cared half as much about my getting his mail as you care about your problem.

Even though you've put in USPS forwarding orders, it couldn't hurt to show up in person at the post office for your old house and talk to someone. Pose it as a problem for both of you to solve together: "What can we do to get this to stop? What's my next step here? What can be done on your end?"

I did this for my (inverse) problem mentioned above, and while I still get the occasional piece, the volume declined dramatically after I showed up in person. The USPS staff person called her manager over, and they somehow got a paper note and, I think, some kind of system note to all the carriers who regularly work this route. (It's a rotation system without the same carrier all the time.)
posted by ImproviseOrDie at 3:39 PM on October 5, 2011


A friend apparently had this problem, only she was on the receiving end. She put a (small, tasteful) sign on her mailbox reading "(Her last name) ONLY." Don't know if the people with your new address will do that though.
posted by GaelFC at 4:38 PM on October 5, 2011


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