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Consumer advocate and Washington Post columnist Elisabeth Leamy recently published a comprehensive article on how to stop the flow of unwanted marketing and junk mail that arrives daily in our mailboxes. Talk about a time and energy drain – not to mention the environmental waste. In this note I give you the bottom line of how and where to opt out. Dedicate an hour to taking care of this and reclaim some physical and emotional energy, and time!
Many forms of direct marketing mail can be stopped at dmachoice.thedma.org. Estimated time to complete the on-line form is three minutes. The service costs $2 and lasts for 10 years.
To opt out of preapproved credit card and insurance offers go to optoutprescreen.com There is no cost, though you must provide your Social Security number to verify your identity. You may think “no way,” but remember the credit bureaus already have it and this opt-out is sponsored by the big four. You can opt out online for five years or print and mail a form to opt out permanently. This service is also available via the DMAchoice website.
Catalogues: Registering with DMAchoice will stop many unwanted catalogues and magazine, but to be more thorough, email email@example.com, with “remove” in the subject line and your name and address in the email body. Include your name as it appears on the mail you receive, i.e., if your middle initial is on there, use it; if your name is misspelled, include that. If you have moved in the past six months, add your previous address.
Charity solicitations: no centralized opt-out system for charity mailings exists. CharityWatch recommends that when you make a donation, write a note requesting that the charity not rent, sell or trade your name. Request that your chosen charities mail you a solicitation email no more than once a year and tell them that you will stop giving if they don’t honor your wishes.
Contests: Opt-out with the two biggest contest promoters to significantly reduce these mailings.
- Publishers Clearing House has an online form: pch.custhelp.com/app/ask_mailing
- Reader’s Digest – email a removal request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Coupons: Money Mailer – email ListContactManager@moneymailer.com
- RedPlum & Valpak have on-line forms – redplum.com/tools/direct-mail-preferences
Data brokers: sell your names, address and buying habits to companies that send direct mail. Two of the biggest are:
- Acxiom, opt out at isapps.acxiom.com/optout/optout.aspx
- InfoUsa, email your name and address to email@example.com
Paper Phone books: yellowpagesoptout.com
I know this seems like a lot of info so I’ve put together a simple summary table for dealing with junk mail for you to record the date and action you’ve taken to stop this unwanted mail. Take these simple steps, clear some clutter in your life, and let me know how it goes!
I hope you find this helpful and as always I welcome your thoughts.