Junk, Junk and More Junk!
June 23, 2006 10:20 AM   Subscribe

What is this Application Tracking Code thing?

Amongst my mail yesterday was credit app #147,683. I've had enough! So I'm filling the postage paid return envelope with this and that and notice on the back of the envelope that there's a barcode with numbers beneath it. Above it it says Appication Tracking Code. Below the numbers it says 'Warning; Unauthorized use of or tampering with this envelope or its contents may result in legal action.'

Will I go to Envelope Prison if I mail back my envelope o' junk to the very folks that essentially sent me an envelope o' junk?
posted by SoftSummerBreeze to Grab Bag (3 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Sorta a roundabout answer, but can you just black out the barcode with a marker?
posted by inigo2 at 10:42 AM on June 23, 2006

Instead of going to mail jail, you might want to just stop the bastards from coming.

I used OptOutPrescreen.com about a year ago and never get credit card offers anymore. If I recall correctly, I was kind of freaked out at the idea of giving my SS# so I left it blank but it still worked. According to the FTC you can also call 1-888-5-OPTOUT.

You may also want to stop other junk mail too, which can be done at the Direct Marketers Association's removal form.
posted by revgeorge at 10:43 AM on June 23, 2006

I would imagine that is a notice to scare away someone who intercepted the letter between you and the creditor. The code part may just be made up to give the feeling of authority or that they are tracking the application on the outside to scare away someone from stealing it. A regular business reply first class mail doesn't get a tracked through the postal service. It could also be a marketing tactic to make customers feel like their personal data is being sent securely throught the mail.

If you're getting offers from the same bank but in different packaging they are spamming you to hope you will respond to something -- this one sounded like it had a security vibe to it -- another might have a cooler envelope. Companies that use direct mail effectively will compile statistics with response rates based on the creative and how many mailings they have to send to get a response. At a certain point they will give up on you, but there are 20 other banks lined up to mail you offers. The only solution is to follow the opt-out instructions in the offer which tells you how to tell the big three credit agency to not sell your name. This won't stop companies you already do business with from giving you new credit offers, but will stop the unsolicited offers.

There's an off chance, the bank could use that number to route your application once it gets back to the bank to put your app at the top -- or bottom -- of the stack based on your credit score. But that usually is more concealed as in just a code without a label.

Private banks that wish to refinance my student loans made through the government always look like letters from the government -- with government-like seals and official sounding names hoping that I will open them.

It is marketing bullshit, but apparently it works because someone is responding to it.
posted by birdherder at 10:56 AM on June 23, 2006

« Older Make one field = another in Access.   |   What should I do with an old TiVo? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.