Can I sue the AFA for Spam?
October 1, 2007 4:37 PM   Subscribe

Can I sue the American Family Association for UCE, spam and/or breach of contract for not removing me from their mailing database?

A while ago I signed up for the American Family Association newsletter, mostly as an experiment to see what they were saying, and to fill out one of their "form petitions" with messages of non-support, in an attempt to see if they would send my message to the sponsers they were targetting un-modified. This mission was unsuccessful in resolution, and unimportant to my question.

I have used their form to "unsubscribe" several times now without success, and have also emailed to the various known admin, abuse and postmaster addresses.

One, I'm sick of seeing their hateful, fearful propaganda.

Two, I'm worried that they're sending "petitions" or "letters" in my name, and in the name of others like me who subscribed just to keep tabs on them, not support their issues.

Three, I'm still recieving unwanted bulk commercial email, and it always evades gmail's spam filters no matter how much I mark it as spam.
posted by loquacious to Law & Government (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You can always use Gmail's other filters for now to automatically mark those messages for deletion. Is there a common From: or Subject string?
posted by ALongDecember at 4:51 PM on October 1, 2007

AFA is a non-profit and may not fall into the normal commercial categories for the removal of e-mail addresses. Like, let's say you had an account with them and received 50 e-mails from AFA, and then AFA Action sent you an e-mail asking you to vote in a poll and you responded to vote against whatever they wanted, you signed up for AFA Action. The same would go for any other AFA related campaign, who likely all share e-mail lists between one another. I don't think there is a possibility that you will ever be free from Don Wildmon, but here's hoping.
posted by parmanparman at 4:55 PM on October 1, 2007

Given that they almost definitely have better lawyers than you do, I'd go with the Gmail filter. I'm sure the idea of suing them gives you little tingles, but it's not really going to be worth your time. If you want to help the cause of gay civil rights (or whatever), you'd be much better off giving money/time to that organization than telling the AFA where to stick it.
posted by desjardins at 5:26 PM on October 1, 2007

Best answer: They took the teeth out of any kind of corporate spam enforcement, so it's pretty much up to you to get them to take you off their list.

I went through the same thing when a company refused to unsubscribe me. I did the executive email carpet bomb thing, included my phone number, and had someone on the phone to me within half an hour.

Really, you just have to be enough of a pain to someone high up in the organization who has the authority to say "do what you have to do to make this guy go away".

Here's some info on the board members; hopefully you can figure out enough email addresses to make it work.
posted by stefanie at 5:26 PM on October 1, 2007

Response by poster: Yeah, I can filter. It just feels like giving up. I guess I could set the filter to forward it back at them. *grinds teeth*
posted by loquacious at 7:01 PM on October 1, 2007

I once temped for a non-profit who considered the opt-out as opting out of that particular mailing (i.e. the September 2007 Newsletter, etc). To me, it was completely ridiculous and all opt-out efforts were in vain. It was not a universal unsubscribe and I wonder if the AFA practices the same logic. The place I worked for felt they had more leeway because they were a non-profit and they had passed it through their lawyers as well. Plus, as parmanparman mentions, some view that any communication made thus establishes the "relationship" that allows them to contact you. That would include your emails. This sort of thing makes me shudder, but happens.

I would call and ask what you have to do to be removed entirely from their database and all associated mailings. A person on the phone is a lot more likely to respond than an email sent to a random email address within the organization. And, if you get the right person, you can have them deactivate you from the database while you're on the phone with them.
posted by ml98tu at 9:43 PM on October 1, 2007

I guess I could set the filter to forward it back at them.

I was going to suggest this, actually.
posted by oaf at 4:20 AM on October 2, 2007

I suspect they automatically filter out anything coming back to them somehow....probably by sending them with a "donotreply" email account that nobody reads and all replies to which are autodeleted.
posted by Doohickie at 7:40 AM on October 2, 2007

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