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Topic: is it possible to stop mail from arriving that is addressed to previous occ

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Subject: is it possible to stop mail from arriving that is addressed to previous occ
Date Posted: 10/7/2009 7:36 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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I get a ton of mail that's not for me, but addressed to a previous occupant (there's one in particular that probably hasn't seen a bill in months - we get mail from American Express about once a week - but there are a few other previous occupants who still get mail here).  I've crossed out the address and put it back in the blue box, but the mail still keeps coming (from the same sources) and some of the mail gets redelivered with the "not at address" message on the envelope and the address scribbled out.

I'd really like this to stop.  I said something at the post office and was told to do what I do now, but these people get more mail than I do!  Is there anything else I can do?

Date Posted: 10/7/2009 8:49 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 697
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Black out the barcode.  That's what the machines sort the mail by.  Also there may be a pinkish barcode on the back.  Mark that out too.  You don't have to blacken the whole thing.  Just completely obliterate about six of the bars.  That should stop it.  Or at least slow it down!

Date Posted: 10/7/2009 9:53 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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I do block out the barcode when I stick things back in the mail (guy at the post office told me to do this because it causes the mail to be hand-sorted and they can see that we don't want the mail) - but it doesn't really stop new stuff from arriving.

Our last names are on our mailbox, too, but that doesn't keep mail addressed to other people from being delivered.

Date Posted: 10/7/2009 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,029
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Take it in & complain to the supervisor... your mail carrier is ultimately responsible for the final sort before it goes into your box, I believe...

I've had to speak to a few of my carriers about mail to the previous occupants, & it seems to have stopped for the most part.

Makes you wonder how much mail addressed to you ends up in other people's boxes, doesn't it?

Date Posted: 10/7/2009 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Other than ocassional items slipping through, you shouldn't be receiving this much mail not your own. 

Call your postmaster, not a window clerk. How long have you lived at this address?  There should have been mail forwarding directions for 6 months IIRC.  For regular mailings such as American Express, you may wish to mark the envelope Return To Sender - No Longer At This Address.  Credit card and other billing venders  would probably like to be notified their address of record is out of date.  Receiving the same envelopes you've already marked and returned to PO...I'd let myself be a little grouchy when talking to the postmaster.  If that doesn't at least slow the problem, hunt up the regional postmaster or complaint division.

Date Posted: 10/7/2009 6:59 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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It's been seven months, and there was mail for at least two of these people in the box the day we moved in (which I think was only two weeks afer the prior tenants moved out).  I wouldn't mind getting the occasional piece of mail, but it's incredibly annoying to get mail sent to the wrong address from the same senders all the time.

It looks like I'll be making a call when I get home from work tomorrow. 

Subject: Former occupant
Date Posted: 10/8/2009 6:24 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,425
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I occasionally get mail for a tenant that lived upstairs probably 10 years ago. If it is first class, I will write not at this address on the envelope and put it back on the mailbox. If it is junk mail, I will pitch it. It has been ten years........

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 4:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 4,979
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When I bought my townhouse, several years ago, it had been a rental unit prior to my ownership and had had many tenants judging by the numerous names I got on the mail.  Once my postman got to know me, he would ask if any of it was mine.  Once I told him it wasn't for me, I'd never see that name again.

Now if we get first class mail for the previous owners of my current house, I mark it return to sender, addressee not at this address.  I've never had one come back to me.  Unfortunately, the postman must deliver the junk mail if it says "or current resident".  I once asked if he could just pitch that stuff, and he said no, unfortunately he wasn't allowed.  So I pitch it right into the recycling bin. 

Date Posted: 10/9/2009 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,799
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If the mail seems important, your landlord may have a forwarding address for the previous occupant. You could put that on the mail. Or, ask your landlord to write it on the mail if he doesn't want to give you the address.

Or write them a note letting them know that you are getting some mail that seems impotant, and ask them to fill out a mail forwarding card at the Post Office.

I've done that before once or twice, back when I was renting.

Subject: call the company
Date Posted: 11/4/2009 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2009
Posts: 12
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You might have to go direct to the source of the mail.  If the mail seems important or has contact info on it, maybe you can call the company and tell them they are sending this person's mail to the wrong address every month and you just want to make sure the people get their mail.

Date Posted: 11/4/2009 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2005
Posts: 989
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Check to be sure that it doesn't say "or current resident" anywhere on the envelope. In that case you are still going to get it in your mailbox. We've had customers get confused on that issue.

Definitely go to the Post Master, don't be afraid. That is their job to clear those things up, if they don't know about it they can't help you. It could very well be that the last occupant of the house didn't fill out a forward, Many people do this to avoid being found (running from their debts!) that happens more than you know.

Date Posted: 11/5/2009 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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I would put "return to sender" on them all after marking out the bar code.  That might get the attention of the company sending the mail.

Date Posted: 11/6/2009 7:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I had this same problem when I bought my house last summer. For some reason the previous owner took a long time to change their address with things. They were catelog junkies but I was getting credit card bills and stuff for months after they moved out. Stuff kept getting put back after I did the "no longer at this address" thing as well. To top it off, my mail carrier at the time wasn't very good.  I constantly found other peoples mail in my box that lived across town.  I started tossing the previous ownders catelogs and magazines in the recyling bin (my thinking if they didn't get them for a month or two then they'd be prompted to change the address.  All the other mail I let build up for about 2 wks in a plastic bag and then brought it to my post office and complained about my mail delivery.  I haven't had a problem since.  I had multiple problems wiht this carrier-almost daily she mixed up the house numbers-there used to be impromptu meetings and the mailboxes so people could trade the mail they go for the mail they were supposed to get-my guess is there were multiple complaints.  All the mail boxes are together and have the #'s clearly written on them. And all the houses because they have such long drive-ways, have the house # and sometimes the occupants name as the beginning of the drive-way so you can tell which house is which.  So it's not like we made it hard for her.

Date Posted: 11/6/2009 7:47 AM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2005
Posts: 989
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"return to sender" won't work if it's presorted standard mail (aka Junk mail). Only first class mail is forwardable

Date Posted: 11/7/2009 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2009
Posts: 621
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We get mail for my uncle - moved from my parents' address in 1977 and died in 1997, my grandmother - moved from my parents' address in 1977 and died in 1980, and my grandfather - last residence my parents' address and died 1971. 

Date Posted: 11/7/2009 10:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 697
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Probably all the carriers that knew the deceased have retired themselves & the new ones don't know, especially if the last names are the same.  Not to mention, why is anyone still writing to them?



Last Edited on: 11/7/09 10:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/9/2009 3:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 300
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I was told by a USPS employee that "return to sender" and similar, if written in by an individual, cannot be done.  Only the USPS can mark something return to sender and have it work.  However, if you hand-write "please forward" they will do it.  If you don't have a forwarding address for this person, your solution is to go to the PO in person.  My information is 9 years old and may not be valid any longer, but I've been following it right along and it has worked for me.

Date Posted: 11/16/2009 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2007
Posts: 10
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People move without putting in change of address orders all the time.  If you make the Postmaster aware of the problem the PO can put a "moved left no order" in for the former residents.

Date Posted: 11/16/2009 11:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2009
Posts: 10
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If you're tired of getting advertisements, you can put yourself on the "Do Not Mail" list, but keep in mind this will only keep you off future lists.  You will have to write to each individual company you already received mail from to stop it. You can also write "Refused" on any mail you receive to your name or current resident if it has "Services Requested" and you do not open any portion of it. All other mail needs postage to be returned or forwarded.

Most carriers are conscientious and do their best to minimize misdeliveries, but with automation and expecting more work for less hours... you know the story. Also, some areas are high turnover areas, so it is more difficult for the carrier to know who is in a house or apartment or who has moved out or in. If you have problems, your best bet is to leave a note for your carrier informing them of the names currently receiving mail at the address and ask them not to deliver any other names. If it continues, call or visit the post office to speak with the delivery supervisor.