HED: Interested buyers keep contacting me. How do I get them to stop?
by Kimberly Cataudella
District residents say their mailboxes are stuffed to the brim with postcards, mailers and flyers that detail requests to buy their houses. At the same time, their voicemail inboxes are filling up with messages from developers, flippers and investors.
These groups want you to know that you can stop this contact at any time. Just get in touch with them to opt out of correspondence.
Are there laws about sending requests so frequently?
- If the flyers, letters and postcards are delivered to (or even stuck outside of) your mailbox, they are required to bear the proper amount of postage. As long as that’s the case, the mail – no matter its frequency – is perfectly legal, said Kim Frum, a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service.
- The FCC’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act has laws against making robocalls or sending text messages via automatic telephone dialing systems without prior consent. This means that it’s illegal for organizations to contact you through text message or robocall unless you’ve given them permission to do so. (Note: This can include voluntarily giving organizations your phone number.)
Are you finding yourself throwing out flyers all the time? You can tell the groups to stop contacting you altogether.
- All homeowners who spoke to Public Integrity said that MarketPro Homebuyers leads the pack on sending frequent requests to buy their houses. MarketPro sends monthly yellow flyers consistently by postal mail to hundreds of zip codes in the Washington metro area. A link at the bottom of these flyers will direct you to a website to be removed from all correspondence.
- While all staff members are trained in removing subjects from contact lists, COO Robin Bogin said, you can also send a message to an aptly named email address meant to deal with complaints about the frequent flyers: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- MarketPro occasionally sends text messages but never calls without permission, co-founder Danny Bronstein To opt out of text messages, you can contact the organization.
- You can take similar steps to remove yourself from HomeVestors’ mailing lists, CEO Kevin Hicks said. HomeVestors, also known as We Buy Ugly Houses, includes instructions at the bottom of all mailed materials to get off their contact lists, Hicks said.
What if your attempts to be taken off of the organizations’ do not contact lists were unsuccessful?
- Consumers can also request to be added to a “Do Not Mail” list through the Data and Marketing Association, Frum said. This service costs $2 for 10 years, and it reduces the amount of postal mail, email and telephone calls received, according to its website.
- Regarding postal mail, recipients can submit written requests to the postmaster for the Postal Service to withhold delivery of specific material.
Residents say that some groups don’t respect requests to be taken off of do not contact lists. Lovell Walls, a third-generation homeowner in Ward 7, said he repeatedly and unsuccessfully asked a group to remove him from its call list. He eventually had to ask his telephone provider to block the group’s calls, he said.
Seven groups Public Integrity contacted for this story either declined interview requests or did not respond to requests for comment.
Have you been unsuccessful in requesting that interested buyers stop contacting you? We’d love to hear your story.
Did these groups stop contacting you immediately after your first request? Tell us about it.