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Thread: Brown Envelope Con.

  1. #1
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Brown Envelope Con.

    Maybe Con is a bit strong but:

    Just heard the letterbox, behind the door was a big brown envelope, the type with the transparent window and the prepaid stamp in the top corner.

    Strange as I'm not expecting anything from the DWP, the Council, or the Taxman.

    Oh it's not official, it's a invitation to apply for a credit card.

    They must have realised that most people just throw away the white envelopes with the advertising on; and so are now trying to pretend to be an "official" letter knowing that it will get opened.

    Be aware that they have started this tactic, and that not every brown envelope you get will be official.


    Whilst this is probably not illegal it is damn sneaky, and I would be suprised if there were not guidelines against it.
    (Utility bills, bank statements, TV license, etc. don't use brown envelopes anymore).
    Last edited by nukecad; 19-01-15 at 11:56.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    Maybe Con is a bit strong but:

    Just heard the letterbox, behind the door was a big brown envelope, the type with the transparent window and the prepaid stamp in the top corner.

    Strange as I'm not expecting anything from the DWP, the Council, or the Taxman.

    Oh it's not official, it's a invitation to apply for a credit card.

    They must have realised that most people just throw away the white envelopes with the advertising on; and so are now trying to pretend to be an "official" letter knowing that it will get opened.

    Be aware that they have started this tactic, and that not every brown envelope you get will be official.


    Whilst this is probably not illegal it is damn sneaky, and I would be suprised if there were not guidelines against it.
    (Utility bills, bank statements, TV license, etc. don't use brown envelopes anymore).
    The exact same thing has happened to me. It's a pain. I don't use credit cards so their efforts were wasted.

  3. #3
    Senior Member mikeydt1's Avatar
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    I have had the same here.

    had that many brown envelopes sent over the years that I have started sending letters out in brown envelopes myself, then again why not

  4. #4
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rich-ward View Post
    I don't use credit cards so their efforts were wasted.
    I always put the blank forms in the reply envelope and send it back, wastes even more of their time opening them.

    I'm not bothered if there is a reference on there to identify me, they might put me on a blacklist with any luck.
    If it's got my name and address I scrawl "Remove from Mailing List" across the whole form.

    If everybody did this they might get fed up with all the useless returns they recieve and get the message.
    Or might have to give more people jobs to open them all.

    They would also have to pay more to have all the waste paper removed.
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    It can help to register with the Mailing Preference Service, which opts you out of most direct mail.

  6. #6
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    I save the return envelopes, put a sticker over the address and use them for my own purposes.

  7. #7
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, like the telephone preference service (TPS on the menubar in flymo's link), most people find the mailing preference service doesn't work as it should.

    This is because it is up to the mailing firms themselves to check if you are on the list(s), and only a few actually do check as it is a voluntary scheme with no legal requirement to comply.

    If complaints are made to the MPS regulator about a firm ignoring the lists then the regulator will investigate.
    I.e. they will ask the company why they sent the mail.
    If they don't get an answer, or get an 'unsatifactory' answer (they decide what unsatisfactory means) then they pass the complaint on to the Advertising Standards Authority.


    With telephone marketing calls there is a legal requirement not to make unsolicited sales or marketing calls to numbers on the TPS.

    The problem here is that you don't know where the call has come from - they routinely withold their numbers.
    If you find out what goods or service they are selling and go after that company you also get nowhere.
    The company just say- "we contract out our tele-marketing and dont know which contractor contacted you by phone".
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  8. #8
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beau View Post
    I save the return envelopes, put a sticker over the address and use them for my own purposes.
    These envelopes are NOT prepaid.
    They are business reply envelopes which means the postage is paid by the issuing company when the mail is delivered to them.
    (Hence they all have a Business Response Licence number on them).

    Using them to send mail elsewhere without putting a stamp on is technically illegal (postal fraud can carry a prison sentence).

    If you are lucky then they get delivered OK.

    Usually the worst that happens is that they are treated as an unstamped envelope (which they are) and the recipent has to pay.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  9. #9
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    You're quite right, nukecad, that the Mailing Preference Service is largely toothless, though it does get rid of a lot of direct mail. The problem is that the scheme is voluntary, also you might have unwittingly given permission for marketing when registering with various organisations (I make a point of opting out whenever the opportunity arises).


    The Telephone Preference Service has force of law behind it, but it cannot touch the calls coming from outside the European Union, it is ineffective against calls with spoofed caller ID and enforcement against callers from the UK who withhold their number is very difficult (as you cannot get hold of the calling number to complain).

    Withheld calls are a particular problem, as there are some legitimate callers who withhold their number.


    Ultimately, the preference services are an imperfect solution, but I find them better than nothing.

  10. #10
    Senior Member beau's Avatar
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    "These envelopes are NOT prepaid.
    They are business reply envelopes which means the postage is paid by the issuing company when the mail is delivered to them."

    I should have clarified that. I use the envelope and ALWAYS put a stamp on them blanking out the prepaid licence. I NEVER use them without a valid postal stamp. Just a way of recycling what would have gone in the recycling bin

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