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Junk Mail, marketing and credit agencies: Tips on how to minimize
by T. Daniels
Ashby Village Volunteer
If you are sorting your mail at the recycling bin and frequently end up with no mail worth keeping, below are some suggestions on how to reduce the volume of junk mail you receive. Save your time, and do something good for the planet.
This is the easiest and most effective mail reduction step. You can set up a free account at www.yellowpagespotout.com and pick which phone books you want to receive. We ended up eliminating all of them since we use the internet to find business numbers.
Direct Marketing Association
I’m not sure how effective this is, but I did it anyways. At the website www.dmachoice.thedma.org you can pay $2 to join for 10 years and set up an online account. The website lets you select what you want to receive from companies that you DO NOT currently do business with. They have three general categories: catalogs, magazine offers and other offers. We opted out of everything, but didn’t see a noticeable reduction in junk mail. For $2, it is worth a shot.
Credit Reporting Agencies
Credit reporting agencies will sell mailing lists of prescreened potential customers to credit card companies so they can solicit for new customers. You have the right to have your name excluded from preapproved credit offer mailings. On the website www.optoutprescreen.com you can enter your information online for a 5 year period, or complete an online form, and then print and mail it in for a permanent exclusion. For a price of a stamp, I went with the permanent exclusion for myself and my spouse.
Directly contacting the sender of junk mail is the most time-consuming approach. I don’t have a good answer for mail addressed to “Current Resident” or “Occupant”. For everything else, I usually throw the pieces in a pile and when they build up, set aside a little time one morning to make phone calls. With some companies, a single call is all it takes, with others, it seems impossible to get them to stop.
- If you donate to an organization like “Save the Dogs” and then start receiving requests for donations from “Save the Cats”, you can blame Save the Dogs for sharing their mailing list with Save the Cats. Sharing mailing lists is a common practice among non-profit agencies. So to prevent this, you’ll have to contact the non-profit and ask them to mark your profile “Do not share”. You can try to be pre-emptive when you donate by writing on your donation card “Please do not trade my name and address”.
- If you do business with a company, i.e. a bank or an airline frequent flyer program, and you receive offers from them for something that is not part of their core business, say life insurance offers from your bank, or credit card offers from an airline, then you need to contact the company you do business with, and ask them to “opt out of promotions or marketing partner mailings”.
- If you want to stop the Val-Pak coupon mailings, you can request removal here https://www.valpak.com/coupons/show/mailinglistsuppression