I don’t want to get junk mail for my dead husband anymore...
January 12, 2019 3:45 PM   Subscribe

It’s been almost two years since my husband died, and his car dealership continued to send me junk mail. I don’t drive. I’m not going to buy a car. I’ve tried all the obvious things to make the mail stop and still, it comes. How do I escalate this?

The problem seems to be that there are several people sending these. I have, a few times, called the response number on the mailer and been told they don’t maintain the list directly. I’ve called the dealership where he had the car and they promised to remove his name, but still, the mailers came. Finally, I spoke with someone in the head office. They asked me to send a copy of the death certificate. I did. And yesterday, a fresh mailer arrived.

My husband, obviously, has no more need to service his car. And there is nobody else in the house who drives. Even if there was, I’m certainly not going to do it through them after all of this. I just want these mailings to stop. It is upsetting to keep receiving them. I have done everything short of firebombing every Nissan dealership in the world. What am I missing here? How can I make this stop?
posted by ficbot to Grab Bag (9 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Personally, I find their failure to stop sending you mail obscene.

Assuming you're in the US:
Prohibitory Order
posted by zamboni at 3:52 PM on January 12, 2019 [19 favorites]

Best answer: Ficbot, I'm sorry for your loss. Off the top of my head, there could be at least three possible sources of mail in this case. One is the dealer, then there is a Dealer Advertising Association in your area, which will often advertise on behalf of local dealers, though typically as a group, rather than for a specific dealership. The third is the automaker itself, who will also sometimes share their marketing lists with dealers or at least advertise on their behalf.

The key here is understanding that these are three independent organizations (Nissan cannot own any dealerships, by law), and must be dealt with independently. Do not assume that just because Nissan corporate took you off the list, the DAA or local dealer did as well. Persistence is key here - I would certainly send a letter to each entity; in my experience, this gets taken more seriously than phone calls.
posted by Atrahasis at 4:03 PM on January 12, 2019

The traditional answer is to write “RETURN TO SENDER” and “DECEASED” on the mail and put it back in the mailbox. It will go back to whoever sent it.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 4:08 PM on January 12, 2019 [4 favorites]

Honestly, I've written "RETURN TO SENDER, DECEASED" on it for junkmail for myself (eh, we'll say more than half-alive) and from one of the prior owners of this house (who is currently deceased). No one gives a shit. Robots are sending these out. They pull from all sorts of lists. This also won't work on anything with your husband's name on it, that's being mailed out to "Mr Ficbot, OR Other Resident."

I've outlined some general steps for getting rid of junk mail in general over here (hefty thanks to Jgreco for lead), but USPS Prohibitory Order 1500 is the business. I collect all my junkmail each month and go down to my local post office and ask for a separate Prohibitory Order form for each one. It takes a few minutes, but these days, we just get mail sent to the old owners of the house (which was christ, so many years ago). It works okay for our purposes, but it'll work great for yours. You might still get the junkmail, but it won't have his name on it anymore.

The only lame part is that if you get a difficult postal worker, they'll try to fight back about it and say that it isn't erotic or anything. Because the way the law is written, you'll need to say that these materials are either erotic or arousing from your perspective, and once you say that, you follow up with asking them to reference "Postal Bulletin 21977 (7-30-98)."

My personal ethics allow me to say "This mail turns me on" to not receive mail anymore. Your ethical mileage may vary.
posted by furnace.heart at 4:26 PM on January 12, 2019 [47 favorites]

I’m so sorry. I’ve had this problem with an assisted living company; my dad died almost 2 years ago (without ever finding out this company existed! It’s not like he lived there) and no matter what I do, I can’t get off their email list. It’s grotesque.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 5:32 PM on January 12, 2019 [1 favorite]

I know you’ve spoken to someone in the head office (and I find their request for a death certificate in order to stop sending advertising materials beyond offensive), but have you tried sending a certified letter to the owner of the dealership?
posted by elphaba at 5:44 PM on January 12, 2019 [8 favorites]

Assuming you're in the US: Prohibitory Order

I did this to stop my deceased father's slightly porn-y junk mail and it stopped IMMEDIATELY which was gratifying. Basically zamboni's point, above, is that while the order says you have to consider something is obscene, you don't have to prove it's obscene, it can just be obscene to you. Sometimes you have to wrassle with the post office a little bit about this when you file, but case law is on your side. This works and I suggest it. A few articles to read

- Prohibitory Order from Drowning in Junk Mail
- a court case worth reviewing

I am sorry for your loss and empathize with your situation. This will work.
posted by jessamyn at 8:54 PM on January 12, 2019 [11 favorites]

Them asking for a copy of the death certificate to stop sending junk mail is ridiculous. Death certificates are for the IRS and the insurance company. Anyone lesser than that, and they’re going way beyond their station — it’s not up to you to do their work for them.

As said above, I would mark the mail Return To Sender / Deceased, and pop it back in the mailbox. Them dealing with complaints is one thing, but them dealing with their own physical junk is quite another. Repeat as necessary.

If that still doesn’t work, a nice lawyer’s letter amping up the guilt and telling them to fucking knock it off already should get their attention immediately, and ensure that the mailings stop. A simple letter like that shouldn’t cost *too* much, and would be pretty gratifying.

I’m sorry you’re having to deal with this.
posted by Capt. Renault at 10:44 PM on January 12, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is insane, and disgusting. I’d have no hesitation in getting the name of the individual who is demanding a death certificate before they stop harassing you, and telling them that if they’re ok harassing you by mail, by name, they’ll be ok with finding that every time anyone googles *their name* and *company* they’ll read an account of this online, as the number one hit. If they stand by their actions, there’s no problem, surely? It’s amazing how many people are comfortable being assholes under the cover of anonymity who totally change their tune when they’re named and shamed.
posted by Jubey at 2:51 AM on January 13, 2019 [2 favorites]

« Older ♫ You're just a little pink whale on the go ♪   |   Translate the chorus of Yesterday's Mistakes by Oi... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.