Why were deceased people included on the mailing list you just purchased? How should inquiries from family members of the deceased be handled? No matter how recently you purchased or rented your list, it’s fairly common to find out that people who passed away were included on your mailing list. Here is why it happens, along with our advice on how to handle inquiries from the family of the deceased.
Mailing List Accuracy
It can be uncomfortable to get phone calls or inquiries about mail you sent to the deceased. It seems as if mailing list companies should be able to have a perfectly clean mailing list, but there is no mailing list that is perfect. Even the post office does not maintain a list of the deceased.
Deceased people and people who are sent to prison are two of the bigger problem areas for all mailing list compilers. Moreover, mailing list companies make more money if they have more names and addresses available for rent. They can advertise that they have the most complete list too. This is an example of how quality and quantity are in opposition for mailing list providers. At Plum Grove, we strive to rent the best quality, highest accuracy lists to our clients from the most responsible list compilers.
Why It Happens
If a deceased person’s name is on official documents, bills or magazine subscriptions, they may continue to be found or added to active mailing lists.
Elimination of deceased recipients from all mailing lists is tough. The family of the deceased typically wants to get the mail and medical bills for a significant period of time after a person passes away. The family seldom notifies anyone commercially that a person is deceased. Even after the deceased name is removed from a mailing list, the family may continue to get a magazine. Or, the deceased’s name may be on the house deed or trust where it can get picked up by mailing list compilers and get added back onto mailing lists.
What to Say to the Family
When you receive an inquiry from the family member of someone who died asking why you are sending mail to the deceased, we suggest the following:
- Extend your condolences and apologize for the error.
- Inform them that the deceased person will be removed from your mailing list.
- Suggest that they register for free with the Deceased Do Not Contact Registry.
Follow our recommendations, and then mailings will cease. Not just from your mailing list, but mailings from other companies as well. This is a way that you can really help those in pain with the departure of a loved one – help them to make all the mail go away that is addressed to the deceased.
Deceased Do Not Contact Registration
Family members of the deceased often wish to remove the names of deceased individuals from commercial marketing lists. The Deceased Do Not Contact List (DDNC) exists for that reason, making information available to companies and nonprofit organizations for the sole purpose of removing names and addresses from their marketing lists. Friends, relatives and caregivers are encouraged to register information about deceased individuals as soon as possible. There is no charge to register for the Deceased Do Not Contact List.
When a name is registered with DDNC, the person’s name, address, phone number and e-mail address are placed on a special do not contact file. These individuals are then eliminated from mailing campaigns from those companies that honor the list.