Junk to Cash: Can You Cash In On Your Junk Mail?


Each day the volume of items in your mailbox and email inbox steadily increases.  From Black Friday to Christmas there is a plethora of retail ads, coupons, promotions, and other solicitations for you to select and purchase the perfect gift.  During the holiday season you may actually welcome these offers but as you continue to plow through your incoming items you face another less welcome class of mail:  junk mail.  This includes but is not limited to e-mails for products and services plus faxes from travel agencies and office supply providers.  Junk email clogs up your Inbox, junk faxes can waste valuable ink/toner and paper, and all junk mail wastes your time.

 Under federal law “junk mail” is defined generally as unsolicited and unwanted correspondence with a commercial intent (i.e. selling a good or service) from a person or entity with which you have had no previous contact or established business relationship.  The law requires you to give the offender at least one cease and desist notice before calling foul.  Your notice must be sent to the contact address/email/number identified by the sender.  

If you decide that you don’t want to receive prescreened offers of credit and insurance, you have two choices: You can opt out of receiving them for five years or opt out of receiving them permanently.  To opt out for five years you will need to call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com.  The phone number and website are operated by the major consumer reporting companies.  To opt out permanently again visit www.optoutprescreeen.com.  To complete your request, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you initiate your online request.

If your opt-out directives do not work and your frustration mounts with the continuing deluge of junk mail you may need to take legal action.  Note the laws regulating junk mail are varied, sometimes a bit outdated, and even confusing so it is advisable to consult a lawyer before pursuing any legal action.  If you or your business continues to receive excessive amounts of unwanted junk mail, junk faxes, and other correspondence after having given the legally required notice, save all the offending correspondence and contact the O’Neal Law Office to discuss your rights and options. You may have the right to pursue legal action and obtain money damages—cash to you!

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