Can you believe it? Today I got my third letter from Woodworker's
Journal requesting payment for the for the book they sent me and many of
you as well. Below I have a copy of the e-mail I sent them in reply.
May I suggest that you do the same if you feel as I do.
To whom it may concern:
To say I am angry at your business tactics would be an understatement.
I find your attempts to pressure me into buying the book you sent me to
be appalling. As you know full well, anything you send me unsolicited
is mine. That is the law. To date you have sent me three notices
requesting payment, to which I have politely not responded, until now.
I find this underhanded and scheming tactic to be despicable, and I want
no part of it. If I receive one more letter from you requesting payment
I promise you will receive my cancellation to your magazine in the
return envelope rather than any payment.
There has been ample discussion of your low-life tactics on the
newsgroup "rec.woodworking," and my fellow woodworkers are as disgusted
as I. If you doubt my statements do a search in the Google newsgroups
archives and see for yourself. Now, there will be a new thread started,
by me, stating how you persist in this underhanded tactic.
(name and address deleted for this posting)
I guess I feel the same as you. I dropped my "free"
book in the return mail today with the response that I did
not want to participate (or whatever). Free return postage,
but I used at least 5 ft of my package tape to re-seal the
Did not write nuthin' extra. The form and the book is all.
Kept the plan and the "Oak Coin" or whatever it is.
Said you could do that, so I did. Haven't really looked
at either tho.
Hope that does it.
The book looked pretty crappy to me.
I've been a longtime subscriber to WJ and have been wondering what all the
fuss is about. I never received any book (that I can recall anyway).
Well, I feel much better now that WJ included me in this little charade last
week. Even though they didn't send me a book, they were kind enough to send
me a bill!
At the moment, I find it fairly amusing. I trashed the bill and am eagerly
awaiting more to come (which I'll also trash). I won't waste my time on the
email (yet), but if they ever try to get aggressive with this nonsense,
Glen's response is a pretty good reply to them.
my 2 cents
Gary in KC
Actually, as noted in Doug's posting of the actual law, more effective
and appropriate action would be to provide the information to your local
Postmaster--the UPS takes this stuff fairly seriously.
I simply called the toll free number on the bill and told them that I did
not order the book. They asked for my name and removed me from the mailing
list. The book will not fit in my mail box and I had no intentions of
taking it to the post office. The lady said to simply keep the book as I
had no obligation to pay for or return the book.
Not necessarily. If they sent you the book in good faith, and are willing
to pay return postage, you have to return it.
Now... it probably wasn't in good faith, and they certainly aren't going to
do anything about it, but it may not be the law.
Wrong as usual.
From the US Postal Service web site:
A company sends you a gift in the mail--a ball point pen, a key chain, a tie.
But you didn't order it. What do you do? If you are the type of person this
company is looking for, you may feel guilty about accepting the item without
paying for it. Don't feel guilty! It's yours, and you are under no obligation
to pay anything.
You, the consumer, may only legally be sent two types of merchandise through
the mail without your consent or agreement:
- Free samples which are clearly and conspicuously marked as such.
- Merchandise mailed by a charitable organization that is soliciting
And in these two cases, you can consider the merchandise a gift if you wish.
In all other situations, it is illegal to send merchandise to someone, unless
that person has previously ordered or requested it.
These rules are codified in Title 39, United States Code, Section 3009. That
section of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1970 incorporates these
protections for American consumers and makes the mailing of unordered
merchandise unfair methods of competition and unfair trade practices under the
If you do not wish to pay for unsolicited merchandise or make a donation to a
charity sending such an item, you may do one of three things (in each case, by
law, you have no obligation to the sender):
If you have not opened the package, you may mark it "Return to Sender," and
the Postal Service will return it with no additional postage charged to you.
If you open the package and don't like what you find, you may throw it away.
If you open the package and like what you find, you may keep it for free. In
this instance, "finders-keepers" applies unconditionally.
Furthermore, it is illegal for a company that sends you unordered merchandise
to follow the mailing with a bill or dunning communication.
If you are aware of violations of the federal law prohibiting the mailing of
unordered merchandise, or if you have personally had difficulty with such
items--especially if you are sent statements demanding payment for the
merchandise--you should contact you local postmaster or the nearest Postal
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
Thanks for posting the reg's, Doug. I'd note the last paragraph in
particular regarding how to deal w/ WJ (or any other perpetrator).
Making complaint to UPS and providing them the material w/ notification
of action would undoubtedly bring them some pain...
Just out of curiosity, has anybody checked your subscription forms to WJ?
In these days of sneakwrap, hidden EULA's (end user license agreements) and
terms and conditions that can change simply by a company changing their
terms of service surreptitiously on a web site, it wouldn't be surprising
if some unethical company tried to sneak something into your subscription
application or renewal. Something on the order of, "from time to time we
may send you merchandise that we feel may be of use to you; by your
application for this subscription, you agree to receive such merchandise
and either pay for it or return it in accordance with the rules we deem
applicable at the time. Failure to abide by this agreement will result in
the penalties outlined on the 599'th screen on our terms of service page at
If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough
"Good Faith" implies that they have a good reason to believe that you
ordered it and agreed to pay for it.
Sending merchandise that was not ordered with an invoice, or following
up merchandise that was not ordered with an invoice is intent to
I thought so highly of this tactic that I cancelled my subscription to WJ
when the book first arrived and threw the book (and the following bills) in
the trash. There are more woodworking magazines than I can keep up with as
it is, and Woodworker's Journal just made my decision on which ones to keep
a little bit easier.
Port Huron, Michigan
I'm with you Fred! My book went back in the mail the day I received
it unopened. I didn't cancel my subscription, but all renewal notices
will promptly be trashed. If I had read Doug's post first, I would
have kept the book (or trashed it) and reported them to the postmaster
general when I received the bill.
So what's the big deal? I kept the book and ignore any request for payment.
So it has cost me absolutely NOTHING. I am not aggravated or annoyed, I have
a free book - relatively useless but free <g>. To respond only costs you
time and aggravation. If you send a letter of complaint - it costs you the
Again, why bother?
Also, IIRC, because I threw away the original "offer" - it was stated quite
clearly ( although in very fine print ) that you could keep the book for
free if you didn't want to pay for it but that they know you'd really want
to support the woodworking community...yadda yadda yadda - . I believe this
is in compliance with the postal regs cited below and making a complaint
will just get you inner satisfaction but little else.
I'm 68 years old and I have collected a LOT of free stuff through the years
from companies using this marketing ploy.
But, to each his own - if you wish to tilt at windmills, it's your right.
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