Introduction: How to Get Back at Junk Mail Senders

Picture of How to Get Back at Junk Mail Senders

In this instructable I will show you a few easy methods to make it even more costly for companies who do mass junk mailings. If everyone were to use these methods, junk mailing would very likely stop all-together.

Step 1: Find Your Target

Picture of Find Your Target

For my example, I'm going to be using an envelope provided by a college I will not be attending :P.

You want to look for "Buisiness Reply Mail" envelopes, which are provided by many companies who want information back from you. These make perfect targets because the amount of money charged to the company depends on 2 main things, Weight and routing code.

Step 2: Mess With the Wieght

Picture of Mess With the Wieght

Well, buisiness reply mail is supposed to only contain one sheet of paper... If it is over a certain weight, the company is charged extra by the post office. I like to use shredded paper (thank you staples) from my paper shredder. It is lightweight, but you can pack lots into the envelope. After you put in a nice little note saying that the company can "STOP SENDING ME THESE FU**ING LETTERS", pack as much shredded paper into the envelope as you can. Then, duct tape the envelope closed (packing tape also works, but it is lighter :( ).

Step 3: Mess With the Routing Code

Picture of Mess With the Routing Code

the routing code is what tells the post office where the letter is supposed to go (for machine sorting). If BRM doesn't have this code, the company is charged more.

All you need to do is take a black magic marker to this code, and all of a sudden, they loose more money :D.

Step 4: Final Steps

Picture of Final Steps

Write nasty things about the company on the envelope (no obscenities :D) you may as well give the postal workers who have to hand sort your envelope a laugh.

Drop into a postal box, and your done.

I do this about once a month, saving up all of the business reply mail envelopes and shredded papers (remember to recycle :D)

I hope you liked my first instructable, Peace.


davidtav made it! (author)2016-08-19

Just filled 19 envelopes, AND registered on

Guyvergba (author)2015-05-01

I just received an official looking letter in the mail today saying I need to pay 83.00 for deed paperwork. upon googling the company, I find out that it is a scam. A scam to get unsuspecting new homeowners to pay. I just want to say Thank you for the ideas. I know what I'm doing tomorrow. I printed out the scam article on 110 lb card stock (3 pages) (adds to weight) and I will be mailing it with a lot of glitter. ;)

Dugan Thekitty (author)2015-03-18

People see the technique above just to learn. We need real factual and truthful comments that clearly state the big picture so we can compare these comments to our own experience and we will make our own decisions. Introduce your belief of how this is negative or positive in a clear way which stays on point. No one cares about your emotional feelings on the subject. Just facts.

People should make their points with fact to back them up so we believe them. And brief enough that we can read through the comments and make our own decision about whether ethically or practically this is something that we think we should do.

I agree with the statement that all government run agencies are in financial trouble. As lbrewer42 finally states at the bottom after 4 paragraphs that could have easily been one sentence statements...if so, we would better get your point and remember your point. "As history has proven in America, leaving business in the hands of the private sector is what has produced our wealth/strength/and living standards we have helped to share with the world. Government run systems are all in financial trouble (medicare, medicaid, social security, the P.O. etc.)."

And the government is also corrupt. It's not tin foil hat stuff any longer; the facts are now undeniable. >I was a postal worker and I received a check years later from a class action lawsuit against USPS for holding back part of our salary. As the government also does constantly, they made the accounting of the paychecks so complicated it was impossible to understand. And within this government type accounting someone was easily stealing money which we knew should have been paid to us. Yes, the government was engaged in illegal activities.

But there are two sides to this story. When you receive something from UPS, the package is usually beaten on all sides. Not so with USPS or FedEx. This part is important to me know. The most important to me.

Blocking out the "routing barcodes" is ingenious....only IF it really costs the recipient we wish to stop sending us junk more money. Think of balance here people: if it becomes more work than is justified for USPS compared to the amount of money that the junk sending recipient has to pay...then it's better to leave the routing barcodes alone and not clog up the mail. To incur more cost just add more weight to the letter: Get some cheap heavy flat washers from the hardware aisle at Home Depot and tape them to letter size paper. locate the washers on the paper so you can fold the paper to fit the envelope. Even better, staggered so the washers fit between each other when the paper is folded. When they see the washers I believe that this will catch their attention more than just their own junk back at them. BECAUSE IT'S NEW AND DIFFERENT AND EFFECTIVE...."These guys/gals are not idiots, we better take them off our list" is what they will say.


MAKE YOUR COMMENTS THAT ARE TRUTHFUL AND OBJECTIVE IN A WAY THAT YOUR REAL POINT(S) ARE HIGHLIGHTED AND KEEP YOUR COMMENTS MORE BRIEF. WHICH I AM CURRENTLY FAILING SO I'M NOT JUDGING BUT LOOK! ...A GOOD BAD EXAMPLE IS DIRECTLY BELOW: hawks22gk makes claims that junk mail keeps stamp costs down, saves jobs and finishes saying just to recycle the junk mail you receive. But HOW does it keep stamp costs down? And HOW does it save jobs? And most importantly HOW does following the nicely pictured process that incurs a cost back to the junk mail sender negatively affect the USPS worker and the cost of stamps?


MY COMMENT IS ALREADY TOO LONG. To all who read this just not engage in arguing with other people who comment. Readers will filter out the comments not up to the standards that I described above anyway. Just decide to make an important point for all of us to consider in a way which is intelligent so it impacts us. Life is better if we all benefit from such discussions and we all keep our joy. Love others and help them as they help us. In context, Jesus said to turn the other cheek, but we only have 2. He was just saying to give others a second chance as we hope others would give us. He wants us to enjoy and have joy. If you feel that you love others you will have joy and if you argue with others you will have a bad sad day.

-Sincerely, Dugan (the world's most intelligent tuxedo kitty)

hawks22gk (author)2009-09-03

I know this thread is forever old, but I just ran into it. I used to work for the post office and I'm also annoyed that I receive so much junkmail, but in reality it's a necessary evil. Bulk mailings are what keeps stamps at a reasonable rate (Before you complain about postage prices, the US has the lowest postage and most reliable service of any industrialized country in the world). Without the Junk mail mail carriers, sorters, clerks etc. would lose jobs. Stamps would go through the roof. A better way to protest junkmail is to not even open it. If any a piece of mail says "presort standard" without saying "return service requested" It is junk. It doesn't get forwarded, if the name or address is wrong it gets pitched. So, just don't even open it. Recycle it, burn it, throw it away. It will take you 2 seconds and save someone's job and probably a mint in postage.

lbrewer42 (author)hawks22gk2012-01-12

This is the same post office that has been complaining of losing so much money and business that they will have to stop delivering on Saturdays and that the entire mail service will have to slow down.

However, i think it is very weird that since they admittedly have less business to handle, that this means their work will take them longer!

I also would like to see the figures showing how much $ they lost in letter traffic from people paying bills online (the biggest complaint heard from the P.O. as to why they lose money), compared to the enormous amount of package shipping the internet has brought into existence. They may have lost 2.00 or so each month from my house from me mailing envelopes, but they sure have made up for it with the huge price they charge to mail even the smallest flat rate package.
If I order just one thing, or mail out just one thing per month, they have more than recouped their "lost" envelope profits. And I truly believe with the size of sites like ebay, etc., that mine is not an abnormal case.

Yes, ours is the bet service, but unfortunately, back when UPS came out, they were able to deliver the same quality service for a lot less cost. So the government slapped fees/mandatory price increases on UPS b/c the government run USPS was being shown up and people naturally gravitated towards UPS b/c it was so much less expensive. Instead of doing the right, and honorable thing and study how to mimic/compete with UPS, the government greed factor stepped in and they fixed their competition by forcing UPS to become as expensive as the USPS.

I have no sympathy for the plight of the USPS. If they went under, UPS and Fed Ex would, most likely, be able to drop prices and still get the job done right. This would mean people would be more willing to mail things again, business would increase even more. And possibly Fed Ex and UPS would be able to hire the once-USPS employees since these private companies would be splitting the business the USPS lost.

As history has proven in America, leaving business in the hands of the private sector is what has produced our wealth/strength/and living standards we have helped to share with the world. Government run systems are all in financial trouble (medicare, medicaid, social security, the P.O. etc.).

twilightfox (author)lbrewer422014-08-16

u win the award for Longest Reivew

acerene (author)hawks22gk2011-11-04

FYI: The problem with ignoring junk mail is that the sheer quantity of it is wasteful and bad for the planet. I have opted out of lists, but there is still the inserts that the post office puts into every mailbox that annoys the heck out of me - basically - all they are doing is printing trash for a landfill. Those resources could go elsewhere. I've heard you can opt out of those but you have to pay money to do it. That really blows.

stephNY (author)hawks22gk2011-09-16

Just wanted to agree with you. As advertisers move to cheaper e-mail and web-based ads, and as legislators make more "Opt-out" legislation, the direct-mail advertising business is slowly fading away. Postal rates are going up, services are going down, and post offices and distribution centers are going to start to disappear. Like it or not, the money generated by "Junk mail" makes it possible for you to send a letter to your friend across the nation for only forty-four cents. If we didn't have USPS, a simple letter would cost you around ten dollars to mail with FedEx or UPS. It's easy to get mad at direct-mailers, but all they are doing is trying to sell you a product, and the way they do it actually benefits everyone who uses the Postal Service.

Lysol (author)2008-05-11

"<wolf> 1. Save every Free Credit Card Offer you get, Put it in pile A
<wolf> 2. Save every Free Coupon You get, put that in pile B
<wolf> 3. Now open the credit card mail from pile A and find the Business
Reply Mail Envelope.
<wolf> 4. Take the coupons from pile B and stuff them in the envelope you hold
in your hand.
<wolf> 5. Drop the stuffed to the brim envelopes in your mail and walk away
<wolf> I have now received two phone calls from the credit card companies
telling me that they received a stuffed envelope with coupons rather
then my application. They informed me that it they are not pleased that
they footed the bill for the crap I sent them. I reply with "It says
Business Reply Mail" I'm suggesting coupons to you to ensure that your
business is more successful. They promptly hang up on me.
<wolf> Now, I did this for about a month before it got boring, so I got an
added idea! I added exactly 33 cents worth of pennies to the envelope
so they paid EXTRA due to the weight. I got a call informing me about
the money, I said it was a mistake and I demanded my change back. After
yelling at the clerk and then to the supervisor they agreed to my
demands and cut me a check for the money. I hold in my hand at this
very moment a check from GTE Visa for exactly 33 cents."


lbrewer42 (author)Lysol2012-01-12

I cannot stop laughing over this - BRILLIANT! I plan on starting this practice as soon as I can.

volund (author)Lysol2008-05-11

hum, the coin idea is good, but it takes extra time to argue with their supervisors, and then you really have no guarantee that you will get the money back (though, it would cost them an extra envelope, postage, and check to send it back) My way is guaranteed to cost them a bit, and be fast and easy to do.

ilpug (author)volund2011-11-12

Does it really matter how long it takes? it sounds like tons of fun to me!

acerene (author)Lysol2011-11-04


lilpepsikraker (author)Lysol2009-07-01

that was great, lol

Sandisk1duo (author)Lysol2008-12-11

oh my god, that's hilarious

Gamer917 (author)Sandisk1duo2009-03-08

i agree

Derin (author)Gamer9172009-06-10

especially the cash part

Rossiroller (author)Lysol2008-06-25

That is a billion times better than telling the telemarketers that your dead when they mispronounce your name!!!!

fwjs28 (author)Rossiroller2008-06-26

person:is .....there? you:im dead... person:no your not?!? you:yes i am.....(background) boom!!!! person:sir??? sir???.....MANAGER!!!!!i think he shot himself..... manager:lemme listen phone:boop boop boop boop manager:or he shot the phone........

supersith22 (author)Lysol2008-06-24

by far the best story ever. wonderful "stick it to the man" instructable

unominame (author)2010-06-11

A typical Friday **lightbulb pops up over my head** walks over to pantry. eats the rest of off brand cereal. takes out plastic liner . lookes at box and smiles. looks around house. aha! stares at boot filled with concrete **Don't ask** puts boot in box. fills in the rest of space in box with gravel from the front yard. seals box with duct tape. Next day. I walk out to check mail. **sifting through mail** there it is! my credit card I didn't apply for. i'll teach them to mail me! gets buisness reply mail letter. duct tapes it to box, along with aditional tampering. lugs very heavy cereal box to the nearest post office weighs the box for good measure OMG!!! 28 pounds 12 ounces! puts box in mail along with a note saying "I don't want no damn sky miles" self laugh at what the mailman/ company's faces will look like.

pmn9393 (author)unominame2010-08-15

sadly, that wont work. it just gets thrown away, but nice way of getting rid of trash before pickup day

ilpug (author)pmn93932011-11-12

Concrete gets thrown out. What does work is to put a bunch of rocks in there, loosely packed in newspaper. Then, on the outside of the box, write: "contains rock samples, do not damage"

Voila! box o' rox to your favorite annoying junk mailer!

dahee (author)2011-08-03

i laughed so hard!
hilarious and vengeful. great combo!
keep up the creativity! don't let em stop ya.

kylekosan23 (author)2011-07-06

dude this is soooooo funny did u ackually do this???!!!:P

barley123 (author)2011-03-22

This is so funny! Won't you get in trouble though? I hope not, because I will definitely try this one day. :-}

barley123 (author)2011-03-22

This is hilarious! Thanks. Sheer brilliance . . . . . .

Peek (author)2010-06-27

Culture Jamming/Ad Busting at it's finest! It's Sunday so no mail today but just wait! This is so on!!!!!!!

BarginsTech (author)2009-10-16

HAHAHAA nice man

thing 2 (author)2009-09-07

I am going to post an instructable about a different way to do something like this!

cynical_chemical (author)2009-09-05

it would be better just to use whole folded sheets of paper because they are more dense, aka costs more ;]

ghostfart (author)2009-08-20

Well ive got plenty of return enverlopes from the t.v licence authority..just sitting here....Im guessing it would only be rite to send em back.

doughnutguy1 (author)2009-07-25


RedFlash (author)2009-06-20

Is this legal

unaffiliatedperson (author)2009-04-18

seem good. but cant u get busted for doin this? my friend actually thought he was funny mailing an envelope full of baby powder to our school.

There is nothing illegal about this. what your friend did is stupid as hell. NEVER send anything that could be seen as a threat to the company. there is a huge difference between sending an envelope of shredded mailings and sending an envelope of something that resembles a biological or chemical weapon.

DieCastoms (author)volund2009-05-06

Get back at them two fold. The business reply envelope usually comes inside a much larger evelope full of sh*t you don't want anyway. Shred THAT and put it in the envelope and make them pay to recieve their own junk mail back!! Double Whammy! DC

volund (author)DieCastoms2009-05-06

Sorry, but did you read the post? I shred all of the material I get, theirs, their competitors, and other random companies info.

pete martinez jr (author)2009-04-19

I almost fell off my chair on this one, when I laughed so hard about how to stop junk mail! I gotts to try this one!! Pete.

rudedohio (author)2009-04-18


lightfusegetaway (author)2009-03-28

Offers for low- or no-interest credit cards aren't as common as they used to be, but there is a website that lets you opt out of credit offers. I did it about two years ago and haven't received more than 4 credit card offers since. It's also free.

(I am not associated with the above site. I just find their services valuable.)

lightfusegetaway (author)2009-03-28

Heck yeah! I have thought about doing something like this, though my mail carrier might start wondering about all those fat envelopes with no return address.

mopsley (author)2009-03-25

Really enjoyed this article. Was very useful and made me smile. Thanks, Mopsley

manly penguin (author)2009-03-06

why waste the brick? just get a gigantic box, and in the bottom put an application from another credit card company, then fill it with big rocks and then duct tape the envelope to it and mail it back off.

deepdiver32073 (author)2009-02-09

I used to take a 5 lb brick, wrap it in shipping paper and tape the Business Reply envelope to the "package". Worked wonders!

angelofdeth68 (author)2009-01-29

pretty good dude 4*

79spitfire (author)2009-01-29

Mail from the competitor is always good, for something heavy, you could use old license plates. They are normally aluminum, so easily recycled, but Texas used to use galvanized steel, which are very heavy.. Round it out with a nice note....

denbarg (author)2009-01-29

You can add some dog poop for variety.

bluefly1215 (author)2009-01-29

add confettie or little bits of fine glitter. And put it in a folded "letter" add an old screw to add some weight.

pfingers (author)2009-01-27

You are now my hero

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