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Topic: keep getting someone else's mail

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Subject: keep getting someone else's mail
Date Posted: 1/17/2010 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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This isn't related to PBS, but I thought perhaps the USPS mavens might have an answer anyway.

I keep getting mail from the dental insurance of the person who used to own our house a decade ago. I swear, she and her family must have the worst teeth in the world, they come about once a week. I mark them "not at this address" but I doubt they're still forwarded at this point and don't know if they even go back.

I'm just so tired of dealing with it. Is there anything I can do to not get mail for that specific person? I have this idea I could list who lives here and only get mail for those names, but am afraid that will be more trouble in the long run, since I still get mail under several different names.

Date Posted: 1/17/2010 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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one way  trick i i heard was to put in a forwarding address order

saying NOT at this address return to sender

Date Posted: 1/17/2010 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,220
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Can you tape something to the inside of your mail box stating "XXX does not live at this address. Please do not deliver mail here." You could call your Post Office to see if there is anything they can do there, they may be able to flag you address so it doesn't even make it to the delivery person.

Date Posted: 1/17/2010 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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Write "refused" on it, throw it back in any collection box or clothespin to the box on your house if that's how you get your mail.  Or put it in your curbside box with the flag up,, if that's how you get your mail.

Date Posted: 1/17/2010 4:03 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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That's what I've been doing -- writing on it and putting it in the box -- but it just keeps coming in, like the tide.

Date Posted: 1/17/2010 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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-Talk to your local postmaster.
-Open one, get the phone number and call the insurance company.  Tell them it's unlikely they will be paid (or whatever they are requesting) b/c they are using an incorrect address and demand they remove your address from their records.  Reseal the envelope and mark "opened by accident" and return to USPS.
-Any chance of looking up the correct address for these folks?  Write it on the envelope and return to sender, or insist your postal service do the 'address correction' service.  Or contact the people yourself, and let them know you are still receiving their mail from XXX please submit an address correction. 

Last Edited on: 1/17/10 4:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 1/17/2010 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2005
Posts: 7
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You can mark it return to sender and if anyone notices it it might get taken care of. It's probably going straight back into the mail stream and if the local post office gets its mail already sorted no one is going to notice.  Mark it return to sender and mark out ALL the barcodes.   There might be an orange one on the back of the envelope.  Mark that one out too and mark out the zip code.  That will assure that it doesn't get sorted automatically into the mail.  

You might be better off taking it straight to the post office and explaining the situation though.  

Date Posted: 1/18/2010 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2008
Posts: 1,080
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If the mail you are getting is addressed to the old owner and current resident, the mail carrier is required to deliver it. If it is first class the mail you write return to sender is going back but the sender is not updating the mailing list.

A note in the box may work for you. The carrier (if you are lucky enough to have a regular carrier) will normally deliver mail if they are not sure of the name. If it is not the regular carrier, you will get all the mail since they do not know who does belong. In most city areas the mail comes to the carrier in a tray in delivery order. They are not allowed to look through the mail until they are walking to your house or drive up to your box. Considering the carrier delivers hundreds of homes, it is difficult to remember all the names that belong. Rural carriers normally have the names listed at the desk where they sort the mail. Some of them sort the mail in the office and then deliver it and others take the mail with them on the route and sort it at the box.

Date Posted: 1/18/2010 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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That is a good point about blacking out the barcodes, front and back.

Date Posted: 1/19/2010 8:31 AM ET
Member Since: 10/24/2005
Posts: 7
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That orange barcode on the back messes up all sorts of things.  I hate getting the same piece of mail to put up over and over when the problem is that orange barcode.  At least if you  mark the codes out it comes in the residue box instead of the sorted ones that just go straight to distribution to be boxed.  

Date Posted: 1/20/2010 5:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2008
Posts: 1,219
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I also had a lot of trouble with someone else's mail being delivered to me for a while. I never did figure out where the mail was actually supposed to go, so after about six months of getting the person's junk mail (and there was never anything else), I finally started writing 'Return to Sender. Addressee Deceased', and tossing it back in the mailbox. It worked.

Date Posted: 1/20/2010 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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I live in a house where my last name (and my roommate's last name) is on our mailbox and we still get mail for previous tenants (who do not have either or our last names).  We just mark "not at address" on the envelope, cross out the address, and cross out the barcode.  If you don't mark out the barcode, it will come back to you (due to automatic sorting).

I tried going to the post office with a pile of mail, gave it to the clerk, who wrote on the top piece (but not the rest of it)...and it was all redelivered the next day.  She did give me a number to call my actual mail delivery person, but I haven't.

Once I got a UPS package for a previous tenant.  I ended up contacting UPS and they picked it back up a few days later.

Last Edited on: 1/20/10 6:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: had similar problem
Date Posted: 1/22/2010 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2010
Posts: 400
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My husband and I bought our house four years ago.  We were getting mail for approximately ten different people who have lived here.  Two are dead, and the rest were renters, one group left and the other (mail for 5 people) was evicted. 

I mark return to sender, in RED and place back into the box.  I now know to mark out bar code.  The most irritating one has been for one of the deceased one.  He must belonged to over 20 organizations.  I'm not kidding, He was into cars, he must have contributed to several organizations such as wild life, military, religious (he was a very religious). 

Several have been to of the previous renters, who were evicted, and were collection notices.  I just opened and called the companies to let then know they had moved and I would be trashing anything else they sent here.  Any type of a bill for them I opened, called the business let them know and trashed it.   

The fun ones were the bill collectors, they thought I was lying for them that they had moved.  It took around two years to get those stopped. 

I am lucky in some ways that this is a small village, so the mailperson gets to know the residents.  Heck, my last home we called each other by name and when we moved he just kept our mail and sent it over in a big envelope a weeks worth (we did an address change but it took a while for some businesses).  Most of it was junk stuff, clothing magazines and such that technically he has to deliver.   

Now, I get my daughter and her husband's mail, they are military; they stayed here for six weeks between bases and some of their mail keeps getting sent here, they did an address change and contacted the businesses, but still.  When we talk I open what  she thinks is important and trash the rest. 

Hope it all works out, it can be frustration, we get less mail for the previous residents, but it can be frustrating;  I hate when I have to walk out in the rain for one piece of mail,  which is for previous resident. 



Date Posted: 1/22/2010 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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If it's all coming from the same business, I think your most effective bet will be to call them directly and let them know that person no longer lives there. 

Date Posted: 2/14/2010 5:01 PM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2007
Posts: 745
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I've been getting mail from people who owned this house 10+ years before I ever moved in. For the first 2 years I was here, I wrote "Return to sender" on the envelope nad mailed it back. Now I just throw the envelopes away.

Date Posted: 2/18/2010 9:36 PM ET
Member Since: 9/9/2009
Posts: 916
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As a postal employee and a customer, if you've tried continuously writing return to sender and putting it back in box and it keeps coming I'd just toss it. Forwarding orders are in effect for 12 months, months 13-18 mail is returned to sender. After that it drops out of system. If a mailer from a decade ago can't figure out that there is no response that's their problem and they need to try a little harder to update their database - not your problem and don't sweat it - you've done your part and just recycle it.