Have you mistaken a bill for junkmail?

Apparently I have. My internet just went off.
For non payment.
I called the provider, and charge carded it back to life. I also mentioned to the phone rep that amongst the weekly junkmail from them, there must have been a bill and a reminder or two. And we all know what we all do with junk mail, pitch it.

I have now let 2 magazine subscriptions lapse, I think for the same reason. Skeptical Enquirer sends a mountain of solicitations and offers, and it looks like in that pile of mail, was a subscription renewal. Sad to say, it took me a few months to miss that one, so I decided to just let it go.

One of my AV magazines is very late right now, and I am thinking I may have junkmailed them too.
Am I the only one doing this?

I once mistook a shipment of checks for junk mail. Historically, checks I ordered from my bank came in a box about an inch high and made of cardboard (inside were several checkbooks stacked on top of each other) I ordered new checks one time, and prompty received a large plastic envelope with some generic text on the outside (something like “Here are the banking materials you requested.”). I put it aside, then went back to my bank later and stated that I never seem to have gotten the checks I ordered. It turned out that the plastic envelope contained checkbooks spread out only 1 or 2 thick.

Wow. My mom did that.


My phone service was suddenly changed from Bellsouth to Frontier Communications, and the Frontier Communications billing envelope looks exactly like junk mail.

After a couple of months they changed the envelope to say PLEASE OPEN - THIS IS A BILL! :smack:

I think there were enough nonpayments that they didn’t cut anybody off.

Just yesterday I almost threw out our new debit cards.

I normally toss any incoming mail that doesn’t have a return address / identifying company mark, but decided to open these because we received two identical envelopes on the same day - one addressed to me and one addressed to my wife. Apparently for security purposes the bank sent them in envelopes that didn’t shout out “new debit cards from your bank inside!”, which is retrospect was a good thing.

In a similar vein, I know someone who never looked at their monthly mortgage statement so they simply filed away a substantial check for the annual escrow overage. The money’s not lost if you don’t cash it, it just goes back onto your mortgage after several months, but still. This person could use the money in hand.

My father in law had a trick. He looked at the postage. If it wasn’t first class, he pitched it. Bills and such will always be first class.

Most thing labeled important are at most important to the sender.

Yup, I just got a new shipment of checks, and I had the same surprise. The plastic envelope contained a cardboard box (which one needed to fold up) to store the checkbooks.

The thing about magazine renewal notices is that they seem to start coming about 2 months after the beginning of the subscription. I usually ignore them because I figure another will be on its way in a few weeks.

With all due respect to the people answering the OP affirmatively, how can you not at least open the envelope and see what’s inside?! :confused:

It’s not like e-mail where an attachment could infect and crash your computer. White powders aside, you won’t pick up a disease from opening an envelope and spending five or ten seconds looking at the contents. :rolleyes: And the time you spent dealing with the unpaid bill (or whatever non-junk mail you accidentally threw away as junk) probably well outweighed the collective time you saved, a few seconds at a time, by not opening unexpected or unfamiliar mail.

If I threw away a letter without at least opening it and taking a quick look, I would have a nagging dread that I had done exactly what the posters in this thread ended up doing. :slight_smile: I’d end up picking the envelope out of the garbage just to be sure, so I avoid that mildly disgusting option by opening every letter and package in the first place.

After Mrs. Hollister & I lost the business, money was very tight. I put my student loan on hardship deferral. At that point I was still recieving solicitations for student loan refinancing. Apparently one of those companies whose letter I threw out was telling me that they were now the owner of my student loan. After sufficient time went by that I started to wonder why I hadn’t received notice to begin repayment, a garnishment showed up on my paycheck. They were taking the full 15 percent that they are allowed to confiscate. Shit.

Same as John, here… I open all envelopes, unless it is blatantly obvious that it’s junk mail. 99% of my bills are recurring online payments anyway, but still. It’s the principle.

I take a middle path. I rip up suspected junk mail and give the contents a quick eyeball before it goes in the recycle bin. It takes less time than actually opening and reading it like a normal letter and if it does look important I can piece it back together or give whoever a call.

I have, especially with credit card bills. I get so much credit card junk mail that a lot of it is tossed without looking.

If a credit card company has an online service, I use it, so it rarely happens anymore.

Since the OP is looking for personal experiences, this is better suited to IMHO than GQ.

General Questions Moderator

I am afraid to throw mail away because junk mail looks like bills, etc far too often. I eventually throw it out, and have thrown out bills by accident.

There have been complaints that credit card companies are deliberately making their bill envelopes look like junk mail, because then when the recipient throws them away, they can add on late payment fees, extra interest, etc. Given the history of these companies, I tend to believe that.

And things like blank checks or new credit cards are now sent in very nondescript envelopes, to reduce the chance that they will be stolen in the mail. The old boxes of checks were pretty recognizable, and a thief could have stolen them from your mailbox and used quite a few of them around town before you knew about it.

I’ve found that mailings with very cryptic return addresses tend to be junk mail.

So I nearly threw away several months’ worth of Amazon gift certificates, once - they were rewards from my credit card, and said something like “reward headquarters”. Who says that for their return address? Junk mailers, right? Luckily, something made me glance inside before tossing.

On the other side of the fence: if you refinance a mortgage, for some reason every fly-by-night mortgage company thinks you’re ready to refinance the damn thing again. So we get inundated with mailings because the damn escrow companies sell our address. The envelopes usually come emblazoned with “IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT YOUR MORTGAGE!!!111oneoneone” on the front.

Well, until recently, our mortgage was with Wells Fargo. After the last refinance, among all the other spam-mail, we got one from them. As they were our mortgage holder, we figured just maybe we oughta look at it.

Nope… Wells Fargo wanted us to open a HELOC with them. It was spam.

It took me a while but these days I throw away 80% of my mail unopened. So much junk mail is designed to look like real bills, to try to trick me to open and read, and I resent it. I know my bills and I open them. Every now and then I open some junk out of curiosity and once or twice I’ve ditched a real bill. I hope the junk mail producers are happy, they’ve basically forced real billers to send more than one copy in the hopes of being seen in the blizzard.

I get a stack of mail everyday at my business, another thick stack at home. I only open things that are obviously not junk, the rest goes into the shredder unopened. Unsolicited email/snail-mail/phone calls, etc all piss me off.:wink: