No Contract, No Consent

I want to use an alternative process to conditional acceptance that is usually considerably faster if you just want to get things out of your life quickly. It’s called the No contract, No consent process. I have used this process successfully many times throughout my life and helped many others use it successfully. So I outline it here for you.

The most important point to note about any communication – especially written communication, is that you must NOT just discard it. Discarding written communication is known as “implied consent“. This is because the sender has no way of knowing if you received it or not, and they have fulfilled their legal obligations by sending you written communication (usually more than 3 times).

Three times is important for the following reason. The first time it could get lost in the post. The chances of 2 letters getting lost in the post is very slim. However, the chances of 3 letters getting lost in the post is almost impossible in most normal cases.

Therefore they can safely and legally assume after the third time that you have received the communication, are aware of what it contains, and have been suitably notified. If you did not agree, you are legally obligated to return the notice clearly stating such. Having not done so, you have therefore consented and will most likely lose when it goes to court. Indeed court is usually just a formality at this stage as you could have, and should have, made every effort before going to court to work it out or correct the problem.

To handle this process most effectively, you should follow these guidelines:

  1. Open all written communication.
    • Always write on it the date it was received, then file it away.
      • You don’t have to write the exact date, you can give yourself 3 to 5 working days leeway. So if you received it on the 20th for example, you can write received on any day before the 25th or 27th if there is a weekend anytime in between those days. This gives you extra time to process and think of the required responses, or just play and delay. Something I like to do quite regularly.
        • There is another reason to do this. Many letters, especially debt collection letters are back dated. For example. If a debt collector wants you to respond in 21 working days from the date on the letter. They will back date the letter by 2 weeks, and by doing so, when the letter arrives to you 2 or 3 days later. You only have about 3 to 5 days to respond. Check the post mark on the letter and you will often see the letter is supposedly written long before it is posted. This is done on automated systems and on purpose, quite often by debt collection companies, it should be illegal, but it is not. It is for this reason you mark the receipt date on the letter, and if given 7, 14, 21 or whatever number of days to respond, it is acceptable and reasonable to say that number of days from the receipt date of the letter, not the actual date on the letter. Which is why you forward date it by 3 to 5 days should you want to.
      • Also remember, you are not under contract with them. So you don’t have to respond within their time frame. Ensure you spell this out if and when you choose to reply.
      • These deadlines are guidelines only, no company will refuse payment if you choose to offer it 2 weeks or a month after the deadline. So they cannot refuse any other response either.
    • There is freeman advice out there that wrongly suggests that by opening a letter, you have accepted it’s terms. That you should immediately, without opening it, return to sender with the quote written and explained below in step 6.
      • This is wrong advice for the following reasons:
        • First, anything put on your property is a gift. This applies not just to letters in the post, but also to clamps on your vehicle for example. As such, you are welcome to keep it or return it if you don’t want it. I have often cut a clamp on a car using a the large battery powered grinders from Lidl for under €50, and kept it. Then refused to pay the fine using exactly this process. At one point I stopped collecting them as I had almost 10, then I found out that you could sell them. Even the first one I sold more than paid for the grinder.
        • Second, it is reasonably expected that you would open any letter that comes into your property. Especially if it named and addressed to you. So the act of simply opening it, does not obligate you to keep it or accept the terms outlined within it in any way, as opening it is a perfectly reasonable expectation.
  2. (Optional) Ignore the very first written communication. But keep it on file.
    • If this is the very first written communication (even if it says it’s the second or third and final written communication – a common debt collection trick). You can open it, date it, and just file it away, and ignore it. Pretend it was not received, and ensure you never reference it in any future correspondence. This is for your information and eyes only.
    • The reason for this is to get information, but not disclose any information about yourself. The sender does not know anything but what is in the letter, and has not even got confirmation that you live there. So for them they are acting blindly at this stage, while you have more information than them. This is a good position to be in.
    • Doing this alone, will get rid of about 1 in 10 letters you don’t want to deal with. Mostly marketing and junk mail. Nothing major.
  3. If you followed step 2 above and have further correspondence. Open the letter, photocopy it, date the photocopy, file and keep it, then reseal the letter with any kind of tape, and return to sender.
    • Don’t put any of the other lines in step 6 on it yet. The goal is to give minimal information.
      • Only put “Return to sender” on it.
      • Do not put “No contract, no consent” or anything else at this stage.
      • Don’t do this for marketing and junk mail. This only confirms someone is living there and your address is active. For junk mail only, proceed to step 5.
      • This will get rid of about 2 in 10 letters you don’t want. Again usually nothing major. But it’s mostly about wasting the time of the company and buying yourself time if needed, at this stage.
  4. If you followed step 3 above, and still receive more letters. Repeat step 3 with the following changes.
    • Don’t put any other lines on it. Again, minimal information.
    • Only put “Return to sender” on it. Followed by something like:
      “That person no longer resides at this address”
    • The idea here is to mislead them, you are under no obligation to tell the truth, this is not a court.
    • Debt collectors and most other companies are legally required to stop correspondence at this point unless they can confirm the identity of the person and their address for reasons of privacy and security. Otherwise they are breaking privacy laws. For example, imagine if a debt collector continued to give out your financial details to who ever was living at the address.
    • This step will get rid of about 7 out of 10 letters you don’t want in your life as there are many types of companies that cannot, for privacy reasons continue to contact you without identity and location confirmation.
  5. If you followed step 4 above, on the rare occasion that communication has not ceased. It will usually be addressed to “The occupant” at this point. This usually happens with things like TV licences or bills or marketing letters etc. Where they know somebody has to be there or they wouldn’t be getting the letters returned. Repeat step 3 with the following changes.
    • Don’t put any other lines on it. Again minimal information.
    • Only put “Return to sender” on it. Followed by something like:
      “Remove me from your mailing list. No marketing of any kind accepted.”
    • Again, you are trying to mislead them. This again usually stops any further correspondences while giving little or no information. Especially for anything that is marketing as there is a legal obligation on marketers to obey this request.
    • This step will stop about 8 out of 10 letters.
  6. If you followed step 5 above, and you are still getting communication. Repeat step 3. Now it is time to use the whole return to sender lines below:
    • Return to sender.
    • No contract, No consent.
    • No warranty express or implied.
    • No international treaty.
      These lines will now clearly identify you as someone who knows what they are at. You have now given them some small amount of information. But this small amount, will usually be enough to stop further correspondence as it will not be their first time seeing something like this. Especially government authorities and debt collectors. They now know you will be very difficult to deal with if they persist.
    • This step will stop all but the most persistent.
  7. If you followed step 6 above and you are still receiving communication. Repeat it up to 2 more times.
    • Remember at this point, they have no name or address, and cannot confirm who you are.
    • At some point, you can expect a personal visitor. For example, if it’s relating to TV licence or a bill, it will be an inspector. You can refuse to allow them entry unless they have a warrant. Do not even confirm your identity. Remember they know nothing about you. Even if they have a warrant, they cannot enter your premises unless they can confirm your identity or you consent. Even if you are the owner or renter of the property, as it may have been rented to someone else.
    • Sometimes, if it is a court summons, it will be a very nice older gentleman, who will be waiting just for you to enter or leave your house.
      • He will casually walk up to you and ask you in the nicest, gentlest way you’ve ever heard, a question like “Are you John Doe?”, or “Are you the occupant or owner of this house?” etc. Because he is so nice, and gentle, your defences will be down, and you’ll make the mistake of saying “Yes”. If you do, it’s now almost game over. If you reach out and take the letter. That is considered a hand delivered letter. You must now respond properly, so go to the step 8. Remember, you don’t have to accept the letter. Just hold your hands up and tell him you don’t want it. Treat it like a hot lump of coal. Try also to prevent him from putting it in the letter box or otherwise sticking it to you or your property in some way. He will try every trick in the book. He has done this a million times. He may even call the Garda, he could even be a Garda. You still have no obligation to accept it. It’s not a criminal offense to refuse to accept something.
      • If you are very switched on and say “No.”. His next question will be something along the lines of “Why are you entering or leaving the premises?”. You’ll say something like “I’m watching the place for the owner?” Again, he will hand you the letter and ask you to pass it to them. Again you can play the hot coal game. But it’s much better if you have a good excuse before you get to this point. I’ll leave that up to you. I cant really think of any way someone would enter or leave a place without having some knowledge of the owners contact information. I’d welcome any suggestions. Now on to step 8.
  8. So at this stage, you’ve tried all the tricks in the book but have not been able to avoid getting this letter. So now you must answer it and begin correspondence At this point read the page on Conditional Acceptance and use it.
    • The reason you’ll go through this process is because it’s a much faster way to get rid of things out of your life than going straight to conditional acceptance. Most mail stops after the 4th or 5th step if it even gets that far.
  9. Remember if at any stage these letters are registered letters. You can refuse to sign for or collect them. It is good practice to refuse to sign for or collect any registered letters unless they are expected as 9 out of 10 of them contain bad news.
    • On the off chance that you do sign or collect. Then you must now proceed from step 6 and continue from there as you have confirmed your identity, location, and receipt of the letter by signing for it.
    • That still doesn’t mean you have received any future correspondence though, and even if it is registered, you can still choose not to sign for it next time too.
    • If future correspondence is not registered (usually the case), just proceed all the way back from step 1 if you want.

So what do these lines actually mean:

  • Return to sender.
    • This is self explanatory.
  • No contract. No consent.
    • You have not entered a contract, and you do not consent to entering one.
  • No warranty express or implied.
    • You are not accepting responsibility for any loss or damages caused by returning this offer of contract.
    • This means for example, if you are dealing with parking fines, when you apply this process, often they double the fine on first reminder, then double it again on court appearance. With this on the letter, they cannot do this. Also if companies like debt collectors try to charge extra fees and expenses, this prevents them from doing so.
    • It makes it not worth their while chasing you.
  • No international treaty.
    • This applies to any company registered outside of the republic of Ireland. But it also applies to companies registered within it, as the companies registration office is a sub office of the government of Ireland. A company registered in the UK.