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#324 Unsolicited merchandise or services

mp3 #324 Unsolicited Merchandise or Services - What are Your Rights? (mp3 file)

What do you do if one day when you go to collect the mail you find a package containing books, records, or some other merchandise which you didn't request? Or what do you do if you come home one day, and you find that a lawn service has mowed your grass? You can pretend it's your birthday and consider the unordered merchandise or services a gift.

California law states that no one can send to you any goods, or provide any services that you did not order, either verbally or in writing. In addition, if you do receive unordered goods or services, you can consider them a gift from the person or company that sent or provided them, and you can use or dispose of them in whatever way you want.

If the company then begins to bill you for the merchandise or services, ·you don't have to pay. If the company continues to bill you after you explain the situation, you can also sue to stop harassment, and you may also be awarded court costs and attorneys' fees. If, however, you join a membership organization, such as a book or record club, you must of course meet your original agreement. If you then decide to cancel your membership, you must do so by certified mail, return receipt requested. Any merchandise you receive 30 days after the date of your letter can also be considered a gift, and you do not need to pay for it.

Another problem commonly experienced by anyone with a mailbox is that of "junk" mail. If you object to the pounds of unsolicited mail deposited in your mailbox, you can stop a large proportion of it by following a very simple procedure.

Write the direct mail/marketing association, 6 East 43rd street, New York, New York 10017, and request a form to remove your name from mailing lists. Or fill out the form online by visiting Approximately 2,500 business firms belong to this association - roughly 65% of all the direct mailers in the nation. You can also get on the National Do Not Mail List by registering online at

As a result of filling out these forms, your name is not removed from just one list - it is removed from every list used by a member organization. However, the direct mail/marketing association does not include charities, political or environmental groups, local advertisers, or mailers of pornography.

If you are interested in receiving more mail, or mail on particular subject (travel, gardening, or whatever), the direct mail/marketing association can also add your name to the lists you specify.

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