limiting postal marketing mail

A family member recently commented on the amount of junk snail mail they receive. I prepared an email with information to help reduce the amount received and decided to post that information in case anyone else finds it useful.

The best way to stop receiving marketing mail is to contact the companies you do business with and tell them to limit the amount of marketing mail they send you and to not sell your personal information. However, that is often not enough because of direct marketing is big industry in the US. There are existing lists with your personal information that is sold wholesale, credit bureaus, public records such as telephone book listings or property deeds.

Offers of credit:
From the the Experian Privacy Policy:

“You can remove your name from prescreened credit or insurance offer mailing lists from Experian, Innovis, TransUnion and Equifax by calling 888 5OPT OUT (888 567 8688).

You will be given a choice to opt out for five years or permanently. If you elect to opt out permanently, you will be mailed a Notice of Election to Opt Out Permanently, which you must sign and return to activate your permanent opt-out. Even though your request becomes effective with Experian within five days of your notifying us, it may take several months before you see a reduction in the amount of solicitations. “

I opted-out in August and have only gotten two more offers since October. Much better than the two per week I had been receiving.

Other generic marketing mail addressed to you. Think, Publisher’s Clearinghouse:

  1. Delist your name and address from the telephone book. For me, it costs about 40 cents per month (although, in reality should be free).
  2. The Direct Marketing Association (DMA) is the largest of the trade organizations representing companies and organizations that send direct mail. They allow an opt-out but will force you to pay a dollar before honoring your request, citing a bogus excuse of fighting fraud. I will submit a legislative proposal to my state legislator and congresswoman at some point in the next year proposing that such charges be banned and suggesting the creation of a do not mail list, like the do not call list. Marketers only bring it upon themselves.
  3. Major data warehouses and resellers

And if you’re getting telemarketing, make sure you get on the National Do-Not Call list maintained by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). According to an FTC press release on June 21, 2006, more than 125 million phone numbers were registered on the do not call list . BTW: According to that same press release, cell phones don’t need to be included because of specific Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations that already forbid telemarketing to cell phones.