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Letter: Don’t Expect Homeland Security to Release Death Lists

Sept. 12, 2005


That was a great letter by Leslie Mandel from Rich List Co. (Letters, Aug. 8). She really seems to have her finger on the problem. However, hoping that the Homeland Security office will release the death list with addresses and gender and make it available to the direct marketing industry is wishful thinking.
In addition, my experience with the federal government is that it takes many years for policy changes to become effective and some years later before the information is available. For the Social Security Administration to do anything different with the death file list is probably wishful thinking, but we live in hope.

I wrote a letter some time ago explaining how the surviving spouse should take it upon themselves to get removed from various lists. It doesn’t take too much effort to tell the banks and credit card companies, the local phone book publishers, the state driver’s license bureau and motor vehicle department, etc., to remove or change the name.

The problem is it doesn’t happen often enough, and that’s why mailing lists will invariably contain a portion of deceased names. The only way to handle it is educating the spouse. How that happens is the subject of another more difficult topic.

Robert Dunhill, President, Dunhill International List Co. Inc., Boca Raton, FL


 

Subj: Your Letter-to-the-Editor in DM News
Date: 8/25/2005 12:33:35 PM Eastern Daylight Time

Sent from the Internet

Hello Ms. Mandel,

We read with interest your letter-to-the-editor in the August 8, 2005, issue of DM News. While we appreciate your concern regarding the importance of accurate address lists, both to the mailing industry and to the U.S. Postal Service, we are concerned about the numbers you quoted regarding NCOA and the people who move each year.

Our records show that 43 million Americans move each year—not 59 million. And of these 43 million, approximately 83 percent provide change-of-address information to us by hard-copy forms, the Internet, or by phone. The other 17 percent are captured by our carriers. Additionally, of all the handwritten COAs, which comprise about 90 percent of the total, we are able to read about 99 percent of them. And our records also indicate that NCOA catches approximately 65 to 75 percent of all COAs, which translates into about 30 million COAs, not 14 million.

As partners in the industry, we would appreciate your sharing with us where you got your figures.

Respectfully yours,

Patricia Licata

Senior Public Relations Representative
Public Affairs and Communications
United States Postal Service

 

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