Introduction: How to Get Some Revenge on the Credit Companies

Picture of How to Get Some Revenge on the Credit Companies

If you are like me, you receive pre-approved credit card applications in the mail... All the time... Every day. These credit applications promise super-low credit for a limited time only. We are all well aware that sooner or later the super low credit gets replaced by arm-and-leg credit (usually more sooner than later). The cost for credit companies to mass mail these applications is minimal to the amount of revenue that they get in return from people who actually fill these things out, return them, and then max out the cards on chocolate and potted meat. Even the people who are too smart to fill them out have to deal with the guilt of throwing these things away and crying over the amount of trees that died for our credit sins. All in all, the credit companies have nothing to lose. It's a win-win situation for these companies and a lose-lose situation for the masses. Yet, as I have discovered, there is a way to turn this around on the credit companies so that not only do they have to pay DOUBLE POSTAGE for these things, they in turn have to deal with all the environmental guilt of pitching them in the trash. This process was first demonstrated to me by my sister-in-law. It is so common-sense-spiteful, that I am ashamed for not figuring it out myself. Individually, all this will do is offer a brief amount of satisfaction. Yet in mass, this will be a real pain to the credit companies.

Step 1: Collecting Credit Applications.

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This is the easiest part of this process. As a matter of fact, credit companies take care of it for you. All you need to do is get your mail.

Step 2: Open Applications and Remove Contents.

Picture of Open Applications and Remove Contents.

I use a sharp novelty knife that I bought at the 50% off Asian store in the mall. It is only a 2 week 50% off sale, they say, but it has been that way for 3 years now.

Step 3: Locate Enclosed Addressed Return Envelopes.

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These are the most important objects to this process. Remove these and set them safely aside. You will need to use these later.

Step 4: Remove Any Mention of Your Name and Address.

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This step is not very necessary. I, however, like to commit my acts of aggression in total anonymity. If you are not paranoid like I, you may skip to step 6.

Step 5: Throw Away All Evidence of Your Efforts.

Picture of Throw Away All Evidence of Your Efforts.

If you participated in step 4, throw your contact info in the trash. As you can see, I am collecting wrapping paper, tape, Target bags, a metal rod and a disassembled scanner in my trashcan. Emptying your trash is completely optional.

Step 6: Shred All Contents.

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Rip all contents of the applications, special offers and pictures that were sent to you, including the horse they rode in on... err... envelopes they arrived in. Remember NOT to include the return envelopes from step 3 in the massacre of the other contents.

Step 7: Help the Return Envelopes Pack for a Small Trip.

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Stuff all that shredded stuff into the return envelopes. At this point, you may also include other trash that you have lying around, pictures of dogs, cereal UPCs, newspaper clippings of local stories, etc. It is safe to know what you are not allowed to mail through the US Postal service, then not include those items.

Step 8: Seal Envelopes.

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Lick 'em and seal 'em. Lick 'em and seal 'em. Lick 'em and seal 'em. I just like saying "lick 'em". They are now ready to be dropped in the mailbox and sent back to a mail room full of people who are not expecting to have to sort through confetti.

Step 9: Finishing Up.

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At this point all you need to do is mail them. Remember that the credit companies pay the return postage and you do not need a stamp.

If enough people adopt this method of rebellion, the credit companies may begin to rethink their strategies of mass advertising. Probably not, but at least we are giving back to them the trash that they have given to us for so long. It is now their responsibility to worry about recycling!

(Many, many, many people have commented that you can tape the envelopes to bricks or other heavy objects to run up the postage rates that the companies have to pay. I feel that I should point out that the bricks NEVER get delivered and the companies DO NOT pay for them. The postal service has regulations on the size of the envelopes as well as the weight. If the package exceeds the correct size and weight, the USPS DOES NOT DELIVER IT & THE COMPANY IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THE SHIPPING CHARGES! This was put into place to keep people from mailing bricks and other heavy objects.)


SickofSnow (author)2008-04-08

No one has mentioned that this practice is against the law. Its called "mail fraud", and you could be prosecuted. The United States Postal Service is not to be considered a public venue for our junk mail protests. To avoid any traceable evidence, you need to cut out ALL references to your identity. These include bar codes, company codes, your name and address, the application number, etc. Cut these out before mailing back, or you could end up being the poster boy for mail fraud: What Not To Do to the USPS!

MichaelB432 (author)SickofSnow2016-04-26

Its in the U.S. Code Title 18 Section 1341 - Frauds and swindles.

In a nutshell, anyone whom uses the mail to defraud someone, which clearly the intent here is to do so, is guilty of mail fraud.

detox (author)SickofSnow2008-04-08

You are going to have to provide a reference to the section of law that you are referring too. If it was illegal to mail junk to people we wouldn't have this problem in the first place.

tunafish (author)detox2008-04-08

It is only illegal if you send them something harmful. Sending their cr4p back to them is NOT illegal. If you are afraid of it, then just write "Return to Sender" on the letter and mail it back.

georion (author)tunafish2009-08-20

Post office does not return mail that is not "first class" ==The Post office Trashes that mail.--go ahead and ask.

SickofSnow (author)detox2008-04-09

Ya know, Detox, I have spent 2 hours searching for the applicable law, and I couldn't find it! So you are probably right, and I am wrong. I had always heard this was illegal, but I cannot prove it. However, it sort of does seem to be like "stealing", because one is spending the sender's postage for purposes other than intended by sender.

Also, I did learn a few things in my search. For example, stuffing the envelope with heavy contents to make them pay more postage, I don't think that works. Here's the applicable law under
United States Postal Service's Domestic Mail Manual:

While doing my search, I came across countless forums with folks all talking about, and doing, the same thing!! Apparently, returning junk mail to sender is quite common! Maybe we'll actually get somewhere on this! Thanks for your post.

snowyzn (author)SickofSnow2009-06-29

I would so send all the junk mail I get and send it to them.

wynrol (author)2015-05-29

In the UK, I believe that using pre-paid envelopes to sent to another person or company is illegal.

Great idea - I need to give it a go. Have often thought about doing this

Fantazunique1962 (author)2015-02-25

MercuryX (author)2008-04-08

You could mail them back something much more nasty... I don't know - use your imagination.

alex.vart.5 (author)MercuryX2015-01-26

i wanted to mail dog poop once. i settled for joint Spackle

alex.vart.5 (author)2015-01-26

i take it a step further by mailing pencil shavings as well as concrete back to the sender. it is a globby mess for the company to deal with !!!!!!!!!!

alex.vart.5 (author)2015-01-26

i take it a step further by mailing pencil shavings as well as concrete back to the sender. it is a globby mess for the company to deal with !!!!!!!!!!

olly1361 (author)2008-04-19

I know a way that you can annoy them even more. Copy the address on a new envolope and pots it to them. They will have to pay a premium postage rate for the letter. This not only costs them money but it also costs them time

DiabloR (author)olly13612014-09-07

At least now, the credit card companies will pass the additional cost on to the consumers. Well played

I like the way you think. Enough credit card companies jerking us around, La Resistance!

DiabloR (author)2014-09-07

At least now, the credit card companies will pass the additional cost on to the consumers. Well played

Amnesia Wes (author)2008-06-24

The companies that send you return mail envelopes, make an agreement with the Post Office to pay for the return postage. However, they HAVE TO pay for it, regardless of it's content, so the best thing to do is tape the envelope to the outside of a brick and drop it in a mail-drop box. This way, the company has to pay for a lot more for this mail since its weight makes the cost way more than just an envelope with pieces of paper in it! What this means is instead of just $.41 for the envelope, your 'brick' now costs them $8.10, EVERY time they receive a brick taped to the envelope! And if you leave your name on the paperwork, they will stop sending you those 'pre-approved' applications, 'cause now it costs them money!

This is incorrect. There are size and weight restrictions for these mailings and any size or weight violation does not get delivered and the companies do not pay.

jongscx (author)Amnesia Wes2008-10-17

Now, in my area, each brick costs approximately $.58. Now, assuming I get 2 pieces of unsolicited return mail/business day, that's 10/wk, 520/yr... so that's 520 bricks or $301.60 per year that I spend on bricks alone.

Now, each brick is approximately 2-3 kg, abour 5lb. so that's about 2600lbs or 2.6 tons of brick that I need to haul from my local home depot. The home depot is on average 10 miles. An average pickup (F-150) has a towing capacity of about 2000lbs stock, so that's between 1-2 trips at approximately 8-12mpg. At the current gas price of $4/gallon, that's coming out to $16 in gas.

Doing some quick experiments, I can constantly move 2 bricks from my truck in the driveway to the back yard in 2 minutes. For all 520, that's about 17 hrs non-stop. If you paid me the minimum wage for a daily laborer ($6.50/hr) that comes out to $110.5

Now, for that effort, using a calorie calculator for an average-sized male, doing medium-strenuous gardenning, those 17 hrs of effort come to around 7560 calories. Assuming that an average meal or 2000/3=666.7 Cal costs $5.00, that's 11 meals or $55 in food.

So total comes out to:
$301.60(bricks) + $16 (gas) + $110.5 (labor) + $55 (food) = $483.10....

and I even forgot to factor in the tape...

sjb321 (author)jongscx2010-09-04

Or! you could just send them some old bricks that you find or some dirt in a bag.

twiztedreams (author)jongscx2009-07-03

lol!! Too funny

raukorist77 (author)jongscx2009-03-22


flove101 (author)jongscx2008-11-08

....and you forgot the whole can of worms that are economic opportunity costs... associated with the CC company vendetta as well...

Amnesia Wes (author)jongscx2008-10-30

Where'd you find the time to take off your CPA job, to do all this deducifying??? You're right, in your case, it wouldn't be worth the effort. But for the rest of us, who aren't 'tools' of the establishment, it'd be fun screwing with corporate America...

jongscx (author)Amnesia Wes2008-10-30

Actually wes, I did that between calculus problems while doing my homework... took all of 20 minutes and wikipedia...

Dr.Bill (author)2010-12-15

Glad to see more people doing this. I been doin' it for years now with all junk mail I can.

Advar (author)Dr.Bill2012-01-23

Ditto. Plus, once I asked for MORE junk because I used it for wallpaper. Four years free from them and counting! :)

VincentDA (author)2010-09-26

Why have I not thought of this? All this time I've been throwing them out and mumbling at the garbage pale in disgust. You sir, just gave me a new hobby, and for that, I thank you.

blackfister (author)2007-11-02

I once applyed for a card on a petrol station, they offered me a credit card based on the points I had by fuelling on their stations, so I filled the appilcation under the name Kaizer Zose, and I got it, (Kaizer zose: killer in a movie).

aeray (author)blackfister2010-07-14

Who is Kaiser Zose?

D Jason Payne (author)aeray2010-07-14

Keyser Söze (pronounced /ˈkaɪzər ˈsoʊzeɪ/ KYE-zər SOH-zay) is a fictional character in the 1995 film The Usual Suspects, written by Christopher McQuarrie and directed by Bryan Singer. Söze is an underworld kingpin whose ruthlessness and influence have acquired a legendary, and even mythical, status among law enforcement agents and criminals alike. By the end of the film, the viewer is led to believe that Roger "Verbal" Kint, is Söze. The character was named the #48 villain in the American Film Institute's "AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains" in June 2003

aeray (author)D Jason Payne2010-07-14

"Who is Kaiser Soze ?" = Joke. But thanks for the elucidation (and I'm sure many younger readers appreciate the info).

D Jason Payne (author)aeray2010-09-02

Yeah, I knew it was a joke. I just like copying and pasting from wikipedia. :-)

Buzzinski (author)2010-03-23

Just gather enough other junk email to stick in the envelope. Don't send theirs back, send it to the next company that sends you a reply paid envelope. It keeps the people who open the mail ammused, costs nothing to you and is a bit of harmless protest at the same time. I have sent bumf from a credit card company to a funeral plan company, swimming pool supply cataloges to a credit card company etc. 

bennagels (author)2009-12-09

Why not attach the return envelope to a brick? Make them pay even more shipping costs!

Jeido (author)bennagels2010-03-03

My dad used to do that every time he got one of these letters. Safe to say he doesn't receive them any more.  :)

kachup (author)2009-12-08

I'd like to try this but credit cards companies have stopped this practice, rpobably something to do with the credit crunch!

hammer9876 (author)2009-09-24

I used to do this!

Landon Sullivan (author)2009-08-20

Couldn't you just add a lot of heavy materials to the envelope?

altomic (author)2008-06-24

I live in Australia -The land of the Brie - anyway when people are declaring bankruptcy the usually put an advertisement in the legal notice of a major newspaper. Something akin to "I John Smith make formal notice of my legal seperation from ABC Company....etc". This is meant to be a binding legal notice open to the public and basically if john smith comes into your shop and wants to buy a ferrari using a company cheque book for ABC Company you would tell him to piss off.(mainly because you sell shoes). But anyway that's the jist of it. Though it may have changed in recent years. I'm talking about the old days -when old people were respected, etc. My plan was to put an ad in the legal section saying something like "I Fred SMith (no relation to John) of 1 Main st Bigtown, will charge companies and businesses a disposal fee of $10 for each piece of unwanted advertising material, etc" you get the drift. Then when the junk arrives in your letter box start sending out letters stating the notice details in the paper at date XX/XX/200X and include a bill for $10 asking for prompt payment otherwise there are penalty rates if not paid in X days. Keep a record. keep sending more letter+accounts. keep sending reminders. who knows maybe someone will pay. I think it was douglas adams who had a character in the Hitchhikers trilogy (yeah, i know it was 4 books) whose job was to send bills for sending bills. fantastic. or maybe I'm just full of it. Bye

Rotten194 (author)altomic2009-07-07

5 books, I think, and glad to meet a fellow fan. God idea, though I would just mail the notice back to them, in the envelope.

RedFlash (author)altomic2009-06-29

Australia? Where abouts and what state? I'm in Queensland...

matt_sawyers (author)altomic2008-10-17

ROFL. That's really hilarious It would be great to make a huge thing out of and all. and see what happens.

x1987x (author)2007-11-01

melted pennies are both fun and add to envelope weight

callmeshane (author)x1987x2007-11-01

dirt is cheaper than pennies.... ONE bucketfull goes a LONG way......

x1987x (author)callmeshane2007-11-01

but I dont want to lick the seal after dirt's on it.

RedFlash (author)x1987x2009-06-29

Glue or tape it

darthneo (author)x1987x2009-05-03

Melting pennies I believe is illegal...

jany (author)2008-10-17

Don't you think that in the end, it will cost us because they tack on extra fees to recover lost postage. There has to be another way.

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