Magazines and changing addresses

I moved in April. The new address is in the same town with the same post office, but has a different zip code. I subscribe to two magazines and used to subscribe to a third. Despite me not resubscribing last year, they stll send it to me.

Mag 1: immediately changed my address using their online page. This magazine mails their magazine out 5 or 6 weeks early because it has time sensitive info which they need to get to international subscribers. I changed the address about the 20th of April, so I figured that with a month lead time, they should send the July issue to the new address.

Mag 2: I tried to change, but the on-line change of address page wanted some data that’s on the mailing label. Unfortunately, I donate my already-read magazines to the local library so I didn’t have a mailing label. Eventually, I found their phone number and changed it that way. Well I talked to a real person, but when she tried to enter my new zip code, their software didn’t like it. The local post office has several zip codes, so I had her put one of the others in.

Mag 3: I ignored. Did not even think of trying to change my address with them.

The results:

Mag 1: received the July issue later than usual since it had to be forwarded from the old address.

Mag 2: have only received a couple issues (it’s bi-weekly) forwarded from the old address. Once I got one, I changed the zip code on-line. It didn’t have a problem with it. Likely there’s still an issue or two being forwarded. There may be one more than that before they get the right address.

Mag 3: May issue sent to new address. None had to be forwarded.
OK, the first two don’t really surprise me. I’ve subscribed to both for a long time and they are always slow to update their mailing labels. They must print them off a couple months in advance or something like that.

Mag 3? I only subscribed for a couple years, so don’t know their history. But how in hell did they find my new address? I changed my address with various institutions (post office, of course, DMV, election office, bank, broker) but none of those guys should have passed it along to a random magazine. At least, I don’t think so. Can they get some kind of notice from the PO or DMV that one of their subscribers has changed their address? Perhaps paying for this service?

The post office sells access to the address change database. All a company needs to know is your old address, which a magazine publisher obviously would.

OK, that explains Mag 3. It’s unlikely they’d subscribe to the PO, but rather a data broker. The $190,000 PO fee would be way too steep for this particular magazine. This also explains the “welcome to the new neighborhood” ad from GEICO I got at the new address.