Friday, December 05, 2003

Ruddy Ruddy lives!

In the spirit of Space Moose, old Ruddy Ruddy has made a welcome return. When last we looked in upon the little fella, things weren't looking so good. It had been about a month since the last bit of junk mail had been sent to him, and the current one was just a bill attempting to extract payment for the Harlequin books nobody ever ordered. The future looked like it might bring another bill or two before those negative-billing lowlifes finally gave up, but it didn't look like any new business would be arriving on Ruddy Ruddy's doorstep.

Happily, at least one company seems to regard Ruddy Ruddy as alive and well, one we haven't heard from before, which would seem to mean that the name is still being enthusiastically bought and sold by direct mailers. Not content to merely throw the weight of their opinion behind the "Ruddy Ruddy is a girl" theory, Physique has further refined this theory to "Ruddy Ruddy is a girl with lustrous, curly hair." And they've sent samples of curl-defining spiral shampoo and spiral conditioner to back up their argument. Thanks, Physique!

Back to the negative billing thing for a second: It would seem that, in the good old US, at least, you're completely free to keep anything that a direct mailer sends you and you can just ignore the bill. The Maine Consumer Law Guide says:

Both Federal and Maine law prohibit anyone who sends you merchandise you did not order from billing you for it or from pressuring you to return it. By law, you may keep the merchandise and consider it a gift. Of course, if the merchandise is delivered to you by mistake, instead of to the person named on the address, you cannot keep it. Specifically, Maine law states:

Where unsolicited merchandise is delivered to a person for whom it is intended, such person has a right to refuse to accept delivery of this merchandise or he may deem it to be a gift and use it or dispose of it in any manner without any obligation to the sender.


So here's the question: What if the person named on the address is just you under a pseudonym? Can you keep it?

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