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For the record, anyone can opt out of receiving junk mail.
It takes some time, but the satisfaction of some days with no mail is wonderful. I’ve detailed a few options below for Scott Lewis and anyone else irritated by the daily deluge.
Sign up on the Direct Mail Marketing Association’s Do Not Mail lists – it really does help and takes very little time.
Write directly to Penny Saver and Valassis (previously Advo) and they will stop the wads of weekly newsprint junk ads.
Write (or call) U-T San Diego and they’ll stop sending junk as well.
Register with any one of the big credit agencies and never again receive an offer for a credit card.
For annoying real estate ads, look up the home address of the sending agent and send them a letter to stop. I also send a copy to the contracting real estate broker. You can find public license information here.
For catalogs, call the 800 number listed. In my experience, that stops them forever.
For local businesses, call or write directly for them to stop.
Keep this in mind: It’s not enough for companies to remove you from their current mailing lists. Each sender must keep their own “do not mail” list and purge addresses from future lists they might buy.
Whenever you establish a new merchant relationship, have them mark your account for “no marketing” and “no selling of my contact data.”
It’s worth the effort. Almost 100 percent of the requests like these that I make are honored.
One exception is AT&T U-verse, which so far has failed to honor my requests. I’m urging them to follow the ethical rule of the Direct Mail Marketing Association, which requires removal upon request.
Another exception is junk mail that doesn’t have a recipient’s street address, only the ZIP code. There’s no way to stop that.
You apparently have a right, confirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court, to opine that any piece of mail is pornographic. On that alone, you can obtain an injunction for the Post Office to stop delivering that sender’s mail to your address. I’ve never tried this and wonder if the money-starved postal bureaucracy would be able to comply with such an injunction.
In requests to stop junk mail, the best results come from matter-of-fact, succinct instructions, with no explanation of ones feelings or reasons.
All of this also works for junk marketing thrown on your driveway. I’d mention the sender’s liability for personal injury (should you or someone else trip and fall) and for creation of a nuisance (attracting burglars), as well as diminishing the value of real estate. There are a few businesses that contract to throw the junk. Once they’ve been notified and trained, they’ll skip your home.
John Berol lives in La Jolla. Berol’s note has been lightly edited for style and clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us what to check out here.