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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The 1% answers back

We've been watching with interest the growing movement to strike at the banks who fill our snail mailboxes with junky credit card come-ons. It's been suggested that the recipients mail back the accompanying business reply envelopes, either empty or with something in them. Either way, the annoying bankers get to pay the return postage, even though they don't get a new customer, and maybe after a while they'll catch on and stop sending the relentless junk mail.

Yesterday, the Mrs. got yet another unwanted credit card solicitation. It was the same old spiel, but we noticed something different: On the business reply envelope, there was her return address, neatly printed out. Guess if the Occupiers want to keep fighting back using the mail-back technique, they'll have to get the scissors out first.

Comments (18)

I've done this in years past, even added some weight to it. :) mostly to the NRCC though.

That's certainly not a new tactic, I've mailed back their postage paid envelops for a good 20 years..
And to mix it up I'd let a half a dozen accumulate and then mix and match the filler junk before mailing them off.
No sense in my garbage hauler being overworked with the extra paper.

I used to do it, but really, it's easier to just dump them in the shredder.

Except the Postal Service forgoes postage for empties on request, so you are just screwing yourselves as the taxpayers who are being called to bail out the foundering institution.

I don't get it. So your return address is on it. So they might know who sent it back? So what? The end receiver still pays the charge as long as there is something in there (according to Newleaf above).

So what if they know who it was from? Maybe they'll look at the return address and stop sending me junk because it costs them money.

Are they going to try to reverse the charge or something? I can see major evidenciary issues with that.

What am I missing here?


I have never had any dealings with Chase in my life, yet they have mailed me offers once or twice a week for years and years. They ever quit, and are relentless.

It must be worth their while to keep after folks for so long until someone finally takes the bait. Banks seldom do anything without an upside. Which simply means it's not the banks paying for all those mailers, it's us.

Vote-by-Mail ballot envelopes should be return postage prepaid.

Not quite free: zero point six cents each.


K Street owns the USPS as well.

Zeb, that is 0.6 dollars, sixty cents. Not trivial.

I've been doing the "stuff all their crap back into their business reply envelopes" for years, and of course I leave my address all over it so that, in addition to my heavy black marker statement ("STOP SENDING ME JUNK") they have the address to remove from their lists.

It's been pretty effective over the years. Only rarely have to do it now, usually in the wake of trying a new magazine. Since all my subs are in the names of various pets, I can pinpoint who bought whose list without much effort.

Actually, it's only forty cents, assuming they didnt send enough crap to push the bre over an ounce (on principle I don't add anything to what I send back, I just send them their crap back). See the very first table. What you apparently saw was the per piece charge that they pay to send the BREs out, .006, which is what it costs them per piece sent. They pay the almost-first-class rate on each bre returned, and possibly a penalty, since they are always non-machine sortable when I'm done shoving all their junque into them.

I do this with Netflix, but they just keep sending me more DVDs.

These unsolicited credit card offers can be stopped like telemarketing phone calls can be stopped, by calling an 800 number which is (usually) on the material in the envelope. A mortgage broker told me that stopping these come-ons can pump up your credit score a few points. I just did it a month ago and junk mail from banks (Chase, among others)has stopped.

Sorry, G.A, but I'm sticking with my less than a penny number. Cut and pasted from the link I provided:


Business Reply Mail

Qualified Business Reply Mail, high-volume

Permit (per year)

Account maintenance (per year)


Per-piece charge

Yes, I know what you read. That is the charge for the business reply envelopes that are sent OUT. The charge for each one returned is just slightly under the standard first-class rate. But what do I know, I've only done scores of bulk mailings (only to group members of the mailing group, never via purchased lists). If you prefer to stick to your reality, hey, it's a free country.

Re: "I have never had any dealings with Chase in my life,..."

Gibby, does your absence of "any dealings with Chase" include all of the institutions that have been consumed by the combined Houses of Morgan and Rockefeller that currently functions under the monicker JPMChase? Most recently, WAMU?

Would you consider enclosing a copy of this open letter from James Koutoulas to Jamie Dimon among the litter that you might consider returning to Chase in the envelope provided:

"In the Niccomedean Ethics, Aristotle described the worst kind of man as the 'Incontinent Man,' namely he who knows what he does is wrong and does it anyway. I believe somewhere deep down, you realize that a lot of what you and the bank that you lead do has become increasingly wrong. Why continue to go on like that? You’re at the pinnacle of wealth and power, and continuing to do wrong will not make you meaningfully richer or more powerful. It can only serve to hurt you. 'For what will it profit a main [sic] if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul?'"

James Koutoulas on MF Global and the "shadow banking system" set up in Great Britain to avoid US regulations and create unlimited leverage:



All the major financial institutions do it, he says, and Dodd-Frank doesn't touch the "shadow banking system." The risk is catastrophic financial collapse. Koutoulas does not appear to be an unbalanced financial analyst. Mr Dimon, on the other hand, advised the CFIC, under oath, in January, 2010, that, in his profession, a financial crisis is anticipated every five to seven years.

Something else about JPMChase:

"The Cliff's Notes version of the story goes something like this: Late in 2009, Chase's credit card services division sold a parcel of nearly $200 million worth of credit card judgments to a debt collector at a discount. This common practice in the credit-card industry is a little like a bookie selling the outstanding debts of his delinquent gamblers to a leg-breaker for 25 cents on the dollar. If the leg-breaker gets half the delinquents to pay, the deal works out for both sides -- the bookie gets 25 percent of money he wasn't going to collect, and the leg-breaker makes a 100 percent profit.

In the case of credit cards, of course, you're selling the debts to collection agents, not leg-breakers, but aside from that unpleasantly minor distinction the process is the same. The most valuable kinds of sales in this world are sales of credit card judgments, in other words accounts in which the debtor has already been successfully brought to court. That, ostensibly, is what this bloc of accounts Chase sold in 2009 involved."


"When Chase regional offices from places like southern California and Illinois began sending in the papers for these 'judgments,' [former Chase employee Linda] Almonte very soon found out that something was seriously wrong."

Go here for Matt Taibbi's account of missing documentation, whistleblowing, some of the consequences, and a link to Jeff Horwitz's American Banker reporting, upon which the RS piece is based :

Taibbi suggests:

"The financial crash wouldn't have happened if even a slim plurality of financial executives had done what Linda Almonte did, i.e. simply refuse to sign off on a bogus transaction. If companies had merely upheld their own stated policies and stayed within the ballpark of the law, none of these messes could have accumulated: fraudulent mortgages wouldn't have been sold, families wouldn't have been foreclosed upon based on robo-signed documentation, investors wouldn't have been duped into buying huge packets of 'misrepresented assets.'"

In this era of Open Letters, an anonymous whistleblower, encouraged by former Goldman Sachs employee Greg Smith, has offered this item to the public via the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission regarding the continuing threat JPMChase poses to the public's well-being:

"Hello, I am a current JPMorgan Chase employee. This is an open letter to all commissioners and regulators. I am emailing you today b/c I know of insider information that will be damning at best for JPMorgan Chase. I have decided to play the role of whistleblower b/c I no longer have faith and belief that what we are doing for society is bringing value to people. I am now under the opinion that we are actually putting hard working Americans unaware of what lays ahead at extreme market risk. This risk is unnecessary and will lead to wide-scale market collapse if not handled properly."

Of course, open letters from anonymous whistleblowers don't count for much in American jurisprudence. This letter writer may pursue this matter:

"I will be contacting a lawyer shortly about this matter, as I believe no other whistleblower at JPMorgan has come forward yet. Our deepest secrets lie within the hands of honest employees and can be revealed through honest regulators that are willing to take a look inside one of America's best kept secrets. Please do not allow this to turn into another Enron."

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