American Philatelic Society

Unsolicited Approvals

APS Standing Resolution 3.10 discourages the sending of unsolicited approvals through the mail and specifies that any coercive pressure exerted by the sender of such material to secure payment thereof shall be considered unethical conduct. Although the Federal Trade Commission and the legislatures of many states have declared the mailing of unsolicited approvals to be an undesirable practice, it may not be illegal. The Society will not provide its mailing lists to any firm that intends to use such lists to send unsolicited approvals.

Although recipients of unsolicited merchandise have no obligation either to account for or return it, the APS realizes that stamp collecting is a friendly hobby and that many avid collectors were first introduced through approvals. For that reason, the Society recommends that even unsolicited material be returned.

If you receive unwanted, unsolicited approvals, we recommend that you follow this procedure:

  1. Be certain that you have not agreed indirectly to the sending. Frequently, collectors miss the notice in a dealer’s advertisement which states that when an order is placed, approvals will be sent. If you answer such an ad and do not specify that approvals are not wanted, you actually may have requested them and are responsible for their proper return to the dealer.
  2. If you receive unsolicited approvals, return them with a request to stop future sendings. Be sure to return the entire mailing piece as it may contain a customer code number that will allow the sender to process your request more effectively. If you want proof that you returned the approvals, purchase a proof of mailing receipt at the time of mailing.

    If unsolicited approvals are received without return postage and you find it will be expensive to return them, you may try contacting the sender and request postage be sent for its return.

Should you continue to receive unsolicited approvals from an individual after you have requested them to remove your name from their mailing list, please contact the APS to file a complaint.

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