I am in the process of moving, so I got a PO Box in September, moving into a new house in two weeks. How do the catalog seed companies know what my new address is? I received two yesterday with the PO Box number printed on them, not the yellow postoffice tag.

-- Rich (, December 08, 2000


Rich, if you live in the city or burgs, who knows. If you live in a rural area your local post office knows and is probably taking care of you.

-- JLS in NW AZ (, December 08, 2000.

If you changed it with one seed company, they probably shared the mailing list changes. They want to make sure you get the catalog because it costs them money. Also, at least in small post offices, when you give a change of address, they have a form to fill out with most major periodical distributors' address on it. They will fill it out and send in your change of address, at least to some extent. It is in the post office's best interest to hurry and get the mailing address changed because each time they forward mail it takes more time (and money) from their budget.

Also, did you change the address for any seed catalogs on the internet? Again, they do share their databases. I get seed catalogs all the time from companies I never heard of and certainly didn't sign up for.

-- Green (, December 08, 2000.

Why didn't you know? Big Brother is watching.

When you turn in a form 3875, (change of address) it is entered into a computer system that the National Mail Order Marketers get changes from as well. What this does is keep the Postal Service from forwarding so much mail at additional costs to them. When I was a letter carrier I've seen mail come through that had been forwared 7 times. That's what you call bang for your postal buck.

There is another way also which the seed catalog may have gotten your correct address. Many companies' mailings have "address correction requested" on them. Depending on the item, either it is returned to the sender with the corrected address on it, or a photo copy of the address is returned along with the correct one while the piece of mail is forwarded. There is a charge to the company for this service, and the service is available to anyone. Some mailings will also have "address correction requested, do not forward" on them. In that case, the item is returned to the sender with the correct address. This is how landlords/bill collectors/etc. sometimes get addresses on poor tennants or non-payers.

While there is controversary over the Postal Service maintaining the data base and sharing that information, it has withstood the test of lawsuits and time. Read your fine print and instructions on the form 3875 and I think you will find that you gave permission for your address to be shared.

-- Notforprint (, December 08, 2000.

If you have had your bills sent to the new address, many services and vendors share updates. If this bugs you check the privacy policies at the places you deal with.

-- Jay Blair (, December 08, 2000.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ