For many years, I’ve been working assiduously to rid my (postal) mailbox of junk mail. The ongoing damage to the environment caused by the many tons of junk mail sent every day to people who don’t even bother to look at it is offensive, and want nothing to do with it.
I wrote back in 2011 about Frank Shaw at Vanguard Realty, a local Realtor who simply refused, despite my repeated requests, to stop sending me junk mail.
Since then, I’ve made two additional requests to other employees of the office to stop sending me junk mail, but it has not helped — I’ve received at least eight more mailings from Vanguard Realty, the most recent one just yesterday. (That most recent mailing, incidentally, engaged in the time-honored junk-mailer tradition of using a completely blank envelope with no return address, a transparent attempt to trick the recipient into opening something that they would otherwise throw away unopened.)
These mailings aren’t just paper. Mr. Shaw insists on sending me refrigerator magnets once or twice a year with the Patriots or Red Sox season schedule on them. Those is even worse for the environment than paper junk mail, and anybody who knows me knows that I have absolutely no use for them.
I’ve received junk mail from numerous other real-estate agents over the years, and most of them have been both willing and able to stop sending it when asked. Vanguard Realty’s failure to do so is indicative of either incompetence or a marked lack of respect for the people from whose business they wish to profit. Therefore, if you’re looking for a real-estate agent, I reiterate the recommendation I posted in 2001 that you choose someone else.
Is there a legal basis here for a lawsuit? Legal action is probably the only way to get their attention.
Nah, they aren’t doing anything illegal. If they were delivering leaflets to my house by hand, and I’d notified them that I wanted them to stop and they didn’t, then I could file a trespassing complaint, but they’re using the mail, so they can keep sending me garbage as often as they want without any legal recourse.
One trick that some anti-junk-mail folks have talked about in the past is using the U.S. Postal Service’s Form 1500 against a junk mailer that won’t stop. This form is intended to be used to block “unwanted sexually oriented advertising,” but according to the form, whether or not any particular mailer’s stuff is “sexually oriented” is to be determined at the sole discretion of the recipient, so theoretically you could use the form for any mailer and the postal service would have to accept it.
I haven’t tried that because I don’t really want to deal with the hassle of convincing a Postal Service employee that they are required to accept the form when I submit it with a mailing from a real estate agent. Just because the law (or the form) says something doesn’t mean that’s how the Postal Service bureaucracy would act.