6.17.2008

Stop that junk mail!

We all get unwanted and unsolicited mail. Because of identity theft many people tear it up and throw it away. Some people put it in a paper shredder. Because of the window envelopes most of this junk mail never makes it to the recycling bin.
Since I am on the crusade to help reduce trash I thought I would share some info I found.
Below are some helpful hints to remove yourself from unwanted mail.


First class mail: Cross out the address and bar code, circle the first class postage and write "refused: return to sender". Drop in any mail box, it will be returned to the sender.

Bulk mail: The post office throws away bulk mail it can't deliver, so returning it does no good. Bulk mail is the hardest to deal with because the USPS actively provides addresses, support and encouragement to mailers. However, if "address correction requested" is written on the label: circle "address correction requested" and treat like first class mail.

Sexually Oriented Advertising (SOA):The only help you'll get from the Post Office in controlling junk mail is for explicit stuff. Fill out USPS forms 1500 if you wish this type of mail to stop. You define what you find to be explicit -- if that's an automobile parts catalog the post office won't disagree with you.

Credit offers: The major credit agencies all sell aggregate credit information any bidder. Direct mail and credit companies generate mail based on demographics including zip code, income band and credit payment patterns. Stopping this is easy, you just need your address, former address within two years, and social security number. One call does it all for agencies Equifax, Trans Union, Experian and Innovis. Dial 1-888-5 OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688) 24 hours a day.

Catalogs: Call the company's 800 number and have the label handy.
Write your instructions on the mailing label and fax it to the company. Mark "ATTN: customer service".
Tear off the label, write your instructions on it, and enclose in the postage-paid ordering envelope. Mark envelope "ATTN: customer service". This method is the least effective.

AOL (America On-Line): You could pave the nation with the free discs these people send out, call 1-800-605-4297 (24 hours a day) to get off the list. Tell them your first name is "current", last name "resident".

Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes: You can get the Clearinghouse to stop clogging your mailbox by contacting customer service at 1-800-645-9242 (8:30 am to 8:30 EST), sending a fax to 1-800-453-0272, mailing to 101 Channel Drive, Port Washington, NY 11050, or you can send email to pch@ant.net. PCH will remove any number of names from a specific address, but you have to list each name exactly and insist nicely.

American Family Sweepstakes: Ed McMahon and Dick Clark will stop telling you "You have definitely won 11 million dollars (maybe) " if you call them at 1-800-237-2400. AFP is a division of Time-Warner.

Local business & supermarket fliers: All mailings must be identified, by postal regulations. Each lose-leaf bundle of fliers, by postal regulations, must be delivered at the same time as an address card. Locate this address card; the cards usually have an advertisement and a photograph of a missing child. Call directory assistance to get the phone number of the sender, and call to get off the list:

ADVO (Mail comes with pictures of missing children). Call 1-860-285-6100 to get off the list. You may have to send a
postcard to "ADVO Consumer Assistance, POB 249, Windsor CT 06095-4176".

Val-Pak Coupons: click the link and fill out the form - easy, but don't give them your email address.
Carol Wright Call 1-800-67-TARGET to get off the list.

Your local newspaper & supermarket (look for a phone number on the piece).
Most senders are professional companies which will handle your request politely. "ADVO Mailbox Values" and "Harte Hanks Potpourri" are the most common of these mailers. Your local supermarket's monthly coupon books may be handled by these companies, so be sure to specify if you want to continue to receive those. Your letter carrier is accustomed to giving each house a bundle, so you may also need to inform him or her of your action separately. The post office is prohibited by law from delivering unaddressed mail, so you should have little trouble convincing the carrier.

Too much junk to deal with individually: Start by sending a postcard or letter to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 15012-0643 Include your complete name, address, zip code and a request to "activate the preference service". For up to five years, this will stop mail from all member organizations that you have not specifically ordered products from.

The Direct Marketing Association estimates that listing with their mail preference service will stop 75% of all national mailings. They process 50,000 requests a month and requests are kept active for five years. If you fill out the post office change of address form, the DMA will track the new address (you'll get a few months of mailings to the new address before they catch up to you). It can take up to six months for your request to be fully processed. You can also opt-out online, but they charge $5. The best way is to fill out their online form, then mail them a printout.

Hope that helps!

6 comments:

:: A S K :: said...

Thanks ~ I actually did call the credit offers opt out line. I think it has helped, but it does take a little while.

And just a note ... cutting back on mail also helps to cut down on things such as transportation costs - gas, etc.

Did you know that every time gas goes up 1 cent it costs USPS $8 million??

Garetjax said...

I was tired of all the junk mail, catalogs, and credit card offers, weekly coupons and such I was receiving I found the easiest thing to do was sign up for a membership with MyJunkTree and do it all from one website. It was way too much hassle bouncing all over the web to get it done. It was a quick and easy system to Stop Junk Mail and all the catalogs. I was even able to stop teh phone books.

sc1quail said...

For your junk mail try the site myjunktree.com. I found it very easy to use and the important thing is that it take no time at all use. Its has all the info you need in one place! Well worth the annual 20 dollar fee. And they even plant trees when you sign up!

MyJunkTree said...

I happen to be one of the owners of MyJunkTree and as a new company I search the web to see if we are getting any visibility out there and it seems the word is getting out. Thanks for the support.

We launched the company because we were tired of all the junk mail we were receiving and we personally did not want to bounce all over the web to contact all the different companies to stop it all. First and foremost we wanted to let people choose what they wanted to let come to their home knowing that some people really do like some of the coupons and catalogs. So our clients choose what they want stopped.

We also had to provide a service that is different than the other services out there, so here is what we offer:

1. We have a database of over 1300 catalogs that you can choose to stop.
2. We have over a 2000 charities/Non-Profits that you can stop solicitations from.
3. Stop the delivery of the national phone directories.
4. Stop the delivery of the weekly coupons.
5. Stop the general credit card offers as well as the ones from your own major bank.
6. Stop the miscellaneous junk mail from the data brokers.
7. You can register on the National Do Not Call Registry from the website.
8. You can order your no strings attached free annual credit report right from the website.
9. We plant trees with every new membership.

And, yes we are a paid service and yes you can do everything that we do for free, if you want to do all the research and spend the time contacting the companies yourself it can easily be done. We have just done all of the legwork for our clients and feel there is value in the service we provide.

MyJunkTree said...

If you want to do more than just Stop Junk Mail that comes to your home, this site might also be of interest to you. Stopping Free Papers. It is a free service and they help you stop the delivery of all the free papers that are thrown in your driveway. The site is sponsored by MyJunkTree and it is totally free!

Greg Kislev said...

wow so much comment spam! you can also stop junk mail with SlotGuard, 41pounds, or 10 other services. Nice to have 5 different posts from one person about it though! :)