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Capital One Hates the Environment

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It's true... I have proof. Look at the picture above. The most obvious thing is that I'm horrible at taking pictures. (Unfortunately, my camera skills are not good and I recycled the evidence before I noticed how bad the picture was. Let's pretend I was trying to create blur effect to keep my name a secret.) However, if you look more carefully, you'll see why Capital One hates the environment.

In the top right, you'll see a square of bubble wrap. It's sized the same as the yellow-orange envelope. That's because it came in the envelope. What was the bubble wrap protecting, their letter? No, it was simply set up to look and feel like package so that it would be opened. It also serves the purpose that you can't rip the envelope in half without opening it up and separating the bubble wrap. If you can think of another reason for bubble wrap in a letter, I'd love to hear it.

This is the third such letter I've gotten from Capital one. I gave them a pass on the first two for two reasons... 1) I'm Lazy and didn't get around to it 2) I assumed there would be enough customer backlash to make them stop. Apparently it hasn't happened because they are still continuing with the practice.

It's bad enough to get all the junk mail that I get (I try to get on all the necessary lists), but I would hope that it would at least have the potential of serving the consumer... other than trying to trick them.

Last updated on June 13, 2008.

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17 Responses to “Capital One Hates the Environment”

  1. jim says:

    call up cap one and ask to be taken off their internal marketing lists, that’ll stop all that junk mail

  2. Lazy Man says:

    What do you think this, EnergyManAndMoney.com? ;-)

  3. Cos says:

    damn i hate junk mail. i set aside all of the reply envelopes and recycle the rest – when it fits with my day i drop a stack of them in a box and off they go. empty.

    i’ve read about some people taking the time to remove their names from the material and sending it all back to them – not sure i’d take it that far. i try to do something that would be annoying them without being overhead for me – a stack of envelopes on a shelf isn’t much effort.

  4. Capital One sent me the same letter. Even though I receive online statements I still get a lot of mail from my credit card companies. I don’t want to get off the internal marketing lists though because occasionally they have good balance transfer or other offers.

  5. wayne says:

    You can also add Verizon to hating the environment. I got a large envelope that looked like it came from UPS/DHL/FEDEX (forgot the color but it was one of them) I did not know what it was so I opened it and then another letter inside and opened that and it was advertisement to come back to using their service. Anyway to grab your attention they will waste paper.


  6. Woodsy Owl says:

    You can opt out of receiving them for five years or opt out of receiving them permanently. Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com for details.


  7. Jim says:

    I hate those trick ads.

    Its probably a good rule of thumb that if an advertiser has to trick you into reading their ad then whatever they are selling isn’t worth buying.


  8. Amanda says:

    OK… this will get a lot of boos at first, but hear me out: I am, proudly, a marketer. Do note, that I am also a frugal-ite. Being a marketer doesn’t mean you’re obsessed with massive over-spending. Everything you buy, or frugally buy, is based on marketing. (Marketing=communication.) These companies over-market & worse than anything they market incorrectly. These companies have built horrible reputations for themselves on just this type of wasteful, insulting, useless garbage. When they trick you into opening that mail & then give you nothing special in return you get the much dreaded ‘consumer anger’. And rightly so.
    However, these companies keep the index funds we invest in going; we can’t live in a bubble folks. That said… DM folks will try anything “new” to get you to open something. That’s our job, & some people do it poorly.
    I think the real problem is when it lacks value for the customer. When you’re just bombing people with shi**y messages, no one cares about– that is a complete waste of our time, their time, and perhaps most importantly the environment.

    Some of us folks in the marketing industry are green nutjobs. If we can do it better, we do it better. Mammoth corporations just throw the dollars at it/you & then people can note that they’ve done their best to promote the new initiative.

    I agree, if you think their mailing gives no value, OPT-OUT! When we marketers get massive opt-out numbers, we get scared, & we take action…this action is almost always positive. Postive in the sense that things are fine-tuned, re-structured, & researched instead of these massive, useless campaigns.

  9. mv says:

    Jim – it’s not a simple phone call to be removed from Capitol One’s internal marketing list. I tried, for 6 months. It takes canceling your card. At least I hope, I’ll have to wait until next month to confirm. Here’s the story:

    For 6 months I’ve been receiving unsolicited blank ‘cash advance’ checks from them and for 5 months I’ve been calling them telling them to stop sending me unsolicited mail, especially blank ‘cash advance’ checks. My name was on their ‘do not mail’ list, but apparently it didn’t matter as every month, I kept on receiving these checks. Last month I called, yet again (4th time) to cancel. The lady I spoke with was very nice, said she would remove my name from various lists and I should stop receiving these checks. Surprise – 1 month later I receive yet more checks.

    That was it, I called last week & canceled. When asked why I wanted to cancel, I told them, and said “If you can’t respect my request to to stop sending me unsolicited mail, especially these checks that can be stolen from my mailbox & used by someone else, I don’t need your card, nor want to be your customer.” They supposedly canceled my account. I’m still waiting for the letter confirming such. Who knows what I’ll receive next from them.

    I’ve never had a problem being removed from credit card company’s marketing lists. Sometimes it would take a month or so, as some mailer was already in the system to be sent. But all it ever took was 1 phone call. With Capitol One, it didn’t matter that I was on the ‘do not mail’ list, and I kept on calling to stop the unsolicited mail, they kept sending it.

  10. Mrs. Micah says:

    We’ve gotten a lot of the “cleverly” (and less environmentally) packaged ads lately. I guess they think it’ll be more likely to catch our attention.

  11. jeflin says:

    I figure out of the millions of packages sent, if they get 1% or 2% signups, they will have achieved their objectives.

  12. You opened it and did not throw it directly away, so they overcame the first part of their objective. If you don’t open it, they can’t sell you anything. I think it is very effective, but it is quite a waste of materials. Usually, they do not send out such expensively packaged offers because of the large cost of the materials and mailings.

    The direct marketing association will help you get off mailing lists. I think that they charge five bucks (unlike the free do not call list) to help maintain and distribute the list. Maybe they changed this from a few years ago. In their defense, they took the initiative to make the list and enforce their members to follow it before the government made them.


  13. finance girl says:

    If they waste my time, I’ll waste their time. I open the envelope, take all the contents, fold them, and put them back in the reply envelope.

    I don’t bother removing the name, b/c i’d rather they know who is doing it and that it stop.

    They have to pay extra for the postage and there’s nothing wrong with that, as they are wasting my time with the inundation of offers they send my way.

  14. Sabrina says:


    Canceling a credit card can put your credit score in the toilet. First, it deletes established credit history. Second, it raises your debt ratio by deleting unused credit lines. You may want to think about reinstating that account.

  15. James says:

    come to think of it, you’d be impressed with the genius behind gluing that bubble wrap inside the envelope… cap one knows they’d have a higher percentage of opened mails if people thought that the letter came with something valuable… i am for the environment and all but, how many of us got tricked here, lazy man did, make that 2 coz i did…

  16. Lazy Man says:

    I didn’t get tricked… I knew what it was, but I have to open it up to recycle it. It doesn’t mean I looked at it.

  17. tom says:

    Lazy man…

    Take it directly to the top!


    Call up executive customer service. I’m not a big fan of the the consumerist, but the great thing about them is they post CEO and Executive email and phone numbers!

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