News

Hints on how to reduce unwanted mailings - and more

By Barbara Wood | Special to the Almanac

In light of complaints about receiving 17-pound bundles of Restoration Hardware catalogs, people have been asking how they can stop receiving unwanted mail and phone calls.

Several websites offer to help people remove their names and addresses from mailing lists and the Federal Trade Commission has hints on its website.

In addition, the FTC website tells how to stop receiving pre-approved credit card and insurance offers, and telemarketing calls.

To reduce junk mail, the FTC recommends using the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service, which puts the names of up to five people in your household and five versions of your address on a delete list sent to direct-mail marketers and organizations for five years.

Register for this service either online, or by mail (with a $1 fee) at: DMAchoice, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512 . The website also allows people to opt out of unsolicited marketing emails.

Once registered, the service allows users to opt out of such mailings as catalogs, as well as offers of magazines, credit cards and miscellaneous other items.

A Woodside resident who used the service says, "My experience was that 10 minutes doing this reduced my junk mail load by about 70 percent." He recommends the catalogchoice.org website to opt out individually from those mailings that the DMA service misses.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by JulieToo
a resident of another community
on Jun 19, 2014 at 11:57 pm

JulieToo is a registered user.


Thanks for this helpful information.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jq public
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 20, 2014 at 3:02 am

If you use DMA website, dmachoice.org, make sure you click through the link that takes you to the external site optoutprescreen.com, which is the marketing preference site for the major credit bureaus. As the Woodsider mentioned who got rid of 70% of his junk mail by using dmachoice.org, I'd say that another 25% disappeared using optoutprescreen.com.

Most of the last 5% was evaporated over by using catalogchoice.org.

Since I converted my bills to electronic bill/pay, the biggest problem I have now is knowing whether the mailman has come or not for the day....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gunther Steinberg
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Jun 20, 2014 at 4:49 pm

DMA has a very small list of magazines and catalogs.I have been looking how to stop"C" and "C-Home" magazines. Their sites on line have no means of contact except telephone.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hello
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 20, 2014 at 6:10 pm

Having been joyfully free of those wretched robot phone calls for several years after signing onto the "Do Not Call" registry, it has all changed over this past year. I now receive 2 or 3 unwanted marketing calls daily. Most are recordings by robots. None make the required announcement of who they are. Could it be that our current bunch in Washington who so flagrantly defy the law and go ahead with whatever they want to do has somehow sent a signal that influences arrogant marketers? Likewise the foreigners who simply come across our borders and "surrender" to be taken in, fed and cared for contrary to our immigration laws. When our laws can be flaunted, red lines crossed and no consequences occur, why not make some marketing calls or mailings too? What happened to our Constitutional Republic of laws? Somehow, I think I know.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jq public
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 20, 2014 at 7:20 pm

> stop"C" and "C-Home" magazines.

Their facebook page has their email as ccalistyle@magazinec.com


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Boyd
a resident of Menlo Park: Park Forest
on Jun 20, 2014 at 8:49 pm

I like junk mail. But 17 lbs. from RH is a bit much.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Richard Duda
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Jun 26, 2014 at 9:56 am

If you click to register online, you will be taken to the web site for DMAchoice.org.

This morning I registered and set up an account. However, when I went to the section of the web site for blocking credit-card offers, it asked for my date of birth and social security number! That immediately raised a mental red flag. There is no way that they need to know that information to block solicitations, and that is exactly the information that identity thieves want to get.

I quickly deleted my account and logged off.

DMAchoice.org is probably a legitimate organization, but I won't give them that information. I caution anyone from giving out their date of birth and social security number to any organization that does not have a compelling reason for needing it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jq public
a resident of Woodside: other
on Jun 26, 2014 at 11:52 am

> I quickly deleted my account and logged off.

As they point out on dmachoice.org, the credit opt out website is an external website NOT affiliated in any way with the DMA organization. It is operated by the three major credit bureaus which already have your SS# and birthdate on file. Since each the websites for TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian each refer to this external opt out webpage, I take it for granted that it is legitimate.

I can definitely reaffirm that using optoutprescreen.com (the credit bureau opt out site) has worked for me reducing my credit card offers from perhaps 10 envelopes per week to zero.

I understand reasonable concern for handing out such sensitive private information, but in this case I feel that it is reasonably safe as a result of being directly sponsored by the organizations that already control that information.

The bottom line is that for me it has worked without negative repercussions.


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