When Invoices Aren't Really Invoices

@willfe (149)
United States
March 25, 2007 2:20am CST
A new trick landed in my mailbox today (the real, literal one, outside my home, not the virtual "e-mail" boxes we're all used to) that I hadn't seen before. Well, okay, I've seen it, but it was cleverly disguised enough that I didn't quite recognize it at first. At first I thought some random company in New York was invoicing me for $64, for some service I hadn't asked for or authorized, etc., but then I read more closely. Some stupid company decided to do a WHOIS lookup on one of my domains, and mail a clever solicitation to the address on record for it. In small print, the "invoice" did state "this is not a bill, and you are not obligated to pay for this service unless you elect to purchase it." Otherwise, it resembled, for all intents and purposes, a real, legitimate bill. It included a return envelope with a window, with no postage on it (like all bills do). The "payment stub" you're meant to detach and return was included and looked "authentic," and naturally it showed the company's address through the little envelope window when put in the envelope properly. This kind of scummy behavior really bugs me, and it makes me seriously hate myself for being a strong proponent of the notion of "freedom of speech." Then again, I don't necessarily agree that *corporations* should have the same rights normal citizens have in the US. Am I actually advocating that this company should be prosecuted or sued for sending me a fake invoice, hoping I'd just pay it? Well, no, I'm not looking for a "corporate lottery jackpot" in a lawsuit against them. I *will* complain here that they'd probably sue *me* for libel or slander if I identified them by name (which annoys me). What's the right answer to this crap? Just ignore it and let them waste the money sending this junk like we do with all the rest of the junk mail? Or do they deserve special sanction for sending fake invoices?
1 person likes this
1 response
• Singapore
25 Mar 07
Wow, is this sick or what? I never knew you can use a service like this and still legitimately bill another person for it. This is as bad as someone stealing your credit card number. You should NOT pay the bill (OBVIOUSLY) and you should complain to the relevant authorities so that such things will not happen again - not to you, not to other defenceless people who are not literate enough to complain.
@willfe (149)
• United States
25 Mar 07
I don't think it's actually *illegal* -- it's definitely on the unethical side, and it's very scummy, but I don't think it's strictly against the law since the sheet does say "this is not a bill" and "this is a solicitation" (in small print, naturally). Then again I do think those "lookalike" and "fake" checks should be illegal; maybe "fake invoices" belong in that category as well.