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Your Ultimate Guide to Opt Out and Stop Junk Mail
You know how it is- you go out to the mailbox to see if Aunt Susan has sent you a postcard but all you find is a free introductory catalog to the Closet Hanger of the Month Club. Unless you get a thrill based on knowing which lines of credit you are pre-approved for, you know the drill- junk mail goes straight from the mailbox and into the recycling bin.
There are numerous ways to get rid of junk mail and spare yourself the time it takes to sort and recycle it or have it clutter up your space. The pile might go out with the recycling, but think of all the paper and energy usage that could be substantially reduced by getting your name and residence off mailing lists.
1. Remove Your Name From Direct Mail Lists
The Bay Area Recycling Outreach Coalition has information geared towards residents in the Bay Area of California, but they have some amazing links for residents and businesses anywhere. One of the first sites mentioned is for the Direct Marketing Association, which tells you everything you need to know about direct mail and mail preference services.
They have a resource on reducing junk mail that lists your options very clearly and has some solid information. Give it a click- it takes a little bit of effort, but there’s a small list of phone numbers you can call to get your name and address removed from direct mail lists. Then, your name and address won’t be traded, rented, or sold to companies who send unwanted mail.
2. Get Rid of Junk Mail Catalogs
Catalog Choice is a service only available in the U.S. at this time. It would be amazing to stop all catalogs with one click, but that’s not quite the case. You can, however, put in opt out requests for individual, specific catalog titles. Catalog Choice is very easy to use. Just search for the catalog that you don’t want coming to you. They have a TON of companies that honor your request once you set your preferences. It’s a nice, user-friendly site, so check it out.
3. Reduce Junk Mail at Work
You may still be getting tons of catalogs, invites and promos sent to people at your office that no longer work there. The Ecological Mail Coalition has a free service to stop this. Less sorting, less waste! The service has been designed to be accessible, fast, easy and they provide an FAQ if you’re interested.
4. Credit Card Offers
Opt out of unsolicited credit card offers at OptOutPrescreen.com, or call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (888-567-8688). The Fair Credit Reporting Act includes your right to “Opt-Out”, which prevents Consumer Credit Reporting Companies from providing your credit file information for firm offers. A “firm offer” is supposed to help consumers to “comparison shop”, which may increase a consumer’s buying power.
You can also stop unwanted credit card offers by calling the credit bureaus directly. The main ones are Trans Union, Equifax and Experian. Call OptOutPrescreen today, and keep your preference updated every two years. Their FAQ is really helpful. For example, although it’s not junk mail, there’s even resources to stop receiving telephone calls and offers too!
Other Fun Facts
Read up on How did they all get my address?
Remember those AOL CDs? Guess how many were created and circulated- more than 660 million, according to Jonathan Miller, head of the Time Warner Internet division. Check out one project using them in New Jersey.
Check out Junk Mail Gems, where you can find awesome magnets, jewelry, and other gifts made out of old junk mail. Junk Mail Gems also offers some great DIY tutorials so that you can do some crafty things with your own junk mail.
Don’t hesitate! If you’re tired of receiving unwanted catalogs and solicitations, start requesting NOW because it will often take 60-90 days after your request to actually stop getting specific junk mail.