LOVE this caption! Doesn't it just epitomize what the majority of us feel about unwanted paper?
If you're reading this, chances are that you dislike the clutter (mental and physical) that junk mail creates, and would do your utmost to ensure that it doesn't get past your door.
The folks over at Privacy Rights Clearinghouse are dedicated to empowering consumers on how to protect their privacy, and have a website that's both informative & resourceful. See what they have to say about junk mail i.e what it is, and what you can do to significantly reduce it in your life.
Junk mail is advertising of one sort or another that arrives in your postal mailbox along with the mail you really want or need. What we call junk mail is actually the result of direct marketing campaigns designed to get you to buy a product or service. It's called direct marketing because it attempts to match you and your buying preferences with offers that are likely to make you buy a product or service.
1. HOW DID I GET ON THESE LISTS IN THE FIRST PLACE?
When you purchase a product or service and give the company your name and address, the chances are that you are being added to one or more mailing lists used for direct marketing. This is true when you buy a car or a house, use a shopping card, sign up for a credit card, subscribe to a magazine, buy something from a catalog, give money to a charity, or fill out a product registration form.
Your name, address, and other contact information, as well as the type of product or service, is entered into a computer database.
The business that collects the information will use it to solicit more business from you. They might also rent their list to other businesses so they can send you advertisements. Lists are valuable, and renting lists is big business.
2. HOW CAN I GET OFF?
There are a variety of strategies you can use to get off direct marketing lists:
Mailing lists of the major national marketers If you want to be taken off as many national mailing lists as possible, your first step is to contact the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service (MPS). You must re-register after three years.
Flyers and Advertising supplements Flyers are those ads stuffed in with other advertisements and delivered to your mailbox by the handful. Envelopes containing an assortment of ads are another in this category, as are card decks which are a group of post-card sized bundles of advertising on card stock.
The ads are often from local merchants and may be for carpet cleaning, window replacement, restaurants, cheap electronics and any number of other products and services. They are usually addressed to "Resident" or "Occupant" at your address.
To reduce this kind of junk mail, do the following:
These are the major residential or occupant mailers:
You may have to notify the distribution company more than once to make sure that your address has been removed from the mailing list. Once your name has been removed from the company's mailing list, you are also likely to have to remind your postal carrier not to deliver the advertising flyers.
Catalogs, mail order lists and magazines
When you buy something from a mail order catalog, your transaction is likely to be reported to Abacus. Abacus members, mostly catalog and publishing companies, contribute and exchange information about their customers. Your name may also be sold to other catalog and publishing companies. One way or another, when you ask for one catalog, you're likely to get catalogs from other companies as well.
There are two ways to opt out of the Abacus database. You'll need your name, including any middle initial, your current address, and if you've moved recently, your previous address.
As a DMA member, Abacus subscribes to and suppresses any name and address on the DMA's Mail Preference Service file from its direct mail marketing lists. Companies that do not participate in the DMAand Abacus opt-out programs must be contacted directly. This includes magazines, charities and many professional associations.
It may take some hunting, but you can usually find a toll-free customer service number and/or address on the advertising piece.
Let them know you not only want to be off their list, but you don't want them providing your contact information to other companies.
For magazines, it is best to inform them that you do not want your name and address sold to others when you subscribe. Be sure to inform them in writing.
Look here for ways of dealing with unsolicited mail from the sources below:
- Pre Approved offers of credit
- Phone books & reverse directories
- U.S. Postal Service & the National Change of Address database
- Charities & Non profits
- Sweepstakes and prizes
- Product registration cards & Consumer Surveys
- Supermarket loyalty cards
- Public Records
- Data Compilers & Mailing list companies
Value your privacy? Want to take control of your personal information and limit accessibility? Be proactive and find out more about your Privacy Rights!