Marketing Beyond the Grave

When my father passed away last year and we shut down his apartment, I submitted a forwarding order to the post office so that mail coming to anyone named Lowenheim at that address would be forwarded to me.

I’ve since learned that the Postal Service makes about $8 million a year licensing its change of address data. Not only am I getting marketing solicitations for my father, I am also receiving junk mail for my mother, who passed away 4 1/2 years ago. (“Cynthia Lowenheim, don’t you think it’s time you switched to FIOS?”)

If there is a reply envelope or a return address, I send back the solicitation with a line through the name and address, and a note saying something like, “My mother is deceased. Please remove her from your mailing list. Thank you.” But recently, I decided to figure out if something more global could be done about this

I went to the website of the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) on which I had previously opted out of marketing solicitations for myself via their DMAChoice tool. And I discovered this wonderful link: Register the deceased.

My parents are now both on the Deceased Do Not Contact List (DDNC) which “is available to companies and nonprofit organizations for the sole purpose of removing names and addresses from their marketing lists.” The updated file is distributed to DMA members once very three months, so it may take a while for this to take effect.

Now if only I could get my father’s name off the jury duty rolls.

  1. Jennifer Bell
    Aug 11, 2016

    It sounds like your dad is still getting mail even though you used the DMA to tell them he was dead. You may want to take it one step further and tell the post office also. Get a change of address from and fill it out normally, but when you get to the “new address” part, write “deceased” hand this into your local post office with a copy of his death certificate and a copy of prof that you are the executor his estate. That should stop all mail to him once and for all.

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