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[icon] Survey says... - Patti
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Subject:Survey says...
Time:08:47 pm
Yesterday I posted a poll about people who order stuff and give out my email address.

The TL;dr version: I think it's OK to try to contact the person via any reasonable means. I think it's reasonable to do whatever it takes to get my email address out of the vendor's system. I think it's sort of reasonable to cancel the order. I don't think it's reasonable to try to have it delivered somewhere else, or do anything else that directly fucks with the vendor.


To my surprise, more people think it's OK to call the person on the phone than it is to send them snail mail. I would find the phone call much more invasive. Plus, by sending them snail mail they have a copy of the order confirmation... the one they would have gotten if they'd used the right address to begin with. Maybe it's just that I rarely use the phone anymore. Searching for them on Facebook fared worse than the others.

Trying to cancel the order and trying to reroute the order fared way better than I expected. For me, rerouting the order just seems wrong. Canceling it is more marginal. One more person thought it was OK to log into the site and cancel the order but didn't think that it was OK to reply to the email asking to cancel the order. I'm guessing this is just user confusion, though.

I posted the poll just as I was sealing two envelopes to take them to the post office. Each of them is a copy of the order, along with a letter that says, in effect, "Hi. You used [my address] to place this order, but that's my email address. Please don't do that again."

In the past, I've had very little luck canceling accounts or removing my email address from them, though I've certainly tried. Companies really just don't seem to be able to handle the case of someone else using your email address. (PayPal was the worst! I had a bullshit account with my address on it for nearly five years before someone finally figured out how to close it.)

In the current batch, one of the two orders was for a product that ... well, let's just say that I'm not a fan of said product. On a whim, I hit reply and said, "Please cancel this order, as I did not place it. Also, please remove [my address] from your contact database." I didn't expect it to work, but they quickly canceled the order. I still got marketing spam from them, though. :-(
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omahas
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Time:2012-09-26 03:08 pm (UTC)
In many, if not most, vendor systems, once the email is placed in the system it is simply saved. This may be a case of the person making the order having incorrectly typed in the email address in the first place. After that, they never look at it again...they know it's in there. (har, har).

If they are manually typing it in incorrectly each time, they are either quite old or they are harassing you. Lastly, it could be the result of a stolen credit card, where someone just pulled your email address out of the air to use while using the stolen credit card.

A phone call will confirm which one of these choices it is. Snail mail will not. Also, a phone call in the case of someone having made a simple mistake or someone old will result in the email being corrected fairly quickly.

In the event of the credit card issue, the person with the phone number may not even be connected with the theft or know what is going on. Will give you some pull to turn it into a legal issue that can facilitate the closing of the account.

And in the event of harassment you can then start documenting the harassment.

My 2 pennies worth.
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whipartist
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Time:2012-09-26 08:12 pm (UTC)
It's a variety of people doing it on different sites at different times, with no pattern that suggests that it's deliberate abuse. I really think it's just stupidity... someone is pattib650 at Gmail or pattibell at Gmail, and they just type pattib instead.

The pattern of purchases is consistent with people making mistakes. One of the recent ones was a women's tank top and shorts from a sporting goods store.


A couple of years ago, I actually tracked down someone who was doing this and talked to her on the phone. She'd given my email address for some sports nutrition drink affiliate marketing thing. She was *really* dumb. I told her that I'd change the address in the system for her if she'd give me the right address, and she had to go look it up.
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omahas
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Time:2012-09-26 08:29 pm (UTC)
A couple of years ago, I actually tracked down someone who was doing this and talked to her on the phone. She'd given my email address for some sports nutrition drink affiliate marketing thing. She was *really* dumb. I told her that I'd change the address in the system for her if she'd give me the right address, and she had to go look it up.

Wow! I guess I am expecting too much from people. Maybe just being able to breath oxygen is a bit more than they can handle in a single day! You'd think that, by now, most people would treat their email address like their phone number or mailing address...something that they'd memorize.

Then again, there's still a significant percentage who support Romney, so there you go.

And, yes, I do have comment notification on, so I got the other one. It's not like her email address had lots of numbers in it or something. And considering the job she has...well, I wouldn't recommend her.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-26 08:34 pm (UTC)
She's pbohling @ gmail as well. It's easy to imagine that she was pattib @ somesmallISP for a while, then switched to Gmail and couldn't get that username.

Never attribute to malice what can easily be explained by stupidity.
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omahas
Link:(Link)
Time:2012-09-26 08:36 pm (UTC)
She's pbohling @ gmail as well. It's easy to imagine that she was pattib @ somesmallISP for a while, then switched to Gmail and couldn't get that username.

True. I guess I'm much more OCD about those types of things than most. LOL!
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[icon] Survey says... - Patti
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