Hate junk mail? We show you why you get it and how to reduce the amount you receive. Fight back and take your mailbox back!
You will learn HOW to:
- Opt-out of junk mail offers
- Stopping marketers in their tracks
- Stop companies from sending you unwanted catalogs
- Request charities not to sell, rent, or trade
- Avoid mail meant for past resident
Do you feel like the amount of junk mail you get is too much? You are not alone. Data from the Center for a New American Dream shows that every American household receives about 848 pieces of junk mail every year. This translates to more than 100 million trees cut and processed into paper for all U.S. households per year.
Mailman insight: Our mailman said that junk mail in our area has actually increased in the last few years. He said to not respond to offers and just shred the mail. This should reduce what we receive over time.
A single individual spends 8 months opening unwanted mail. CNAD data estimates the amount of money Americans pay collectively to dispose of junk to about $370 million.
You would like to reduce amount of mail you receive to live an eco-friendly life and preserve your sanity. There are a number of effective ways to reduce amount of mail you get. You don’t have to put up with irritating junk mail.
But where do you start?
Know where junk mail comes from
This is the first step toward receiving only the mail you need. Understand where it comes from. Marketers are the most notorious senders of junk mail. They call it marketing mail or direct mail. Businesses send hundreds of billions of direct mail pieces in hopes that some people will respond.
According to the Data and Marketing Association (DMA), more than 5 per cent of people do respond to direct mail. So, as long as some people will respond to these mails, marketers won’t stop sending them. Data brokers are the other group of junk mail senders. They sell individual’s names, buying habits, and physical addresses to companies.
There are a number of steps you can take to reduce the volume of junk mail that hits your mailbox. It is important to remember that you have legal rights to stop the delivery of mail that you don’t need.
Consider the following steps.
1. Opt out of insurance and credit card offers
Major consumer credit reporting agencies keep mailing lists that they circulate among themselves. They also share the lists with insurance and credit card companies. These companies then send out junk mail to the individuals in the lists.
The Federal Trade Commission says that these offers can pose an identity theft risk. If your mail falls on malicious hands, a fraudster can use your personal information to open accounts using your name. Therefore, junk mail not only causes paper annoyance but can also put you at harm’s way.
If you don’t want to receive unsolicited new offers from insurance and credit card companies, you can opt out for free. Visit optoutprescreen.com or call toll-free 1-888-567-8688. Using these methods you can also block pre-screened insurance and credit card offers permanently or for five years. Should you wish to start receiving offers again in the future, you can visit the same site or call the toll-free number to reverse the opt-out.
To opt out permanently: You may begin the permanent Opt-Out process online at www.optoutprescreen.com. To complete your request, you must return the signed Permanent Opt-Out Election form, which will be provided after you initiate your online request.
2. Prevent marketers from sharing your information
Whenever you give out your name, whether to order a product, subscribe to a magazine, enter a contest, or send in a warranty card, there is a big possibility that your name will be added to a mailing list. The organization may then sell, rent, or trade the mailing list.
To minimize your exposure, ask the company not to sell or rent your name. Some people have successfully limited junk mail by indicating “No mailing lists” next to their name when filling forms like subscriptions, customer
information cards, raffles, and so on.
A special note about warranties: it’s not mandatory to fill out a warranty card (unless the fine print indicates that you must return the card for the warranty to be valid). You can still benefit from the warranty without sending the warranty card. These cards are just a way of getting consumer information.
3. Stop companies from sending you unwanted catalogs
If there are some specific companies that send you unwanted catalogs, call them and ask that you may be removed from their mailing list. Most customer service numbers are usually toll-free. You can make this request using the email given on the organization’s website.
If the company continues sending you the catalog after you’ve tried these two methods, other options are sending a post card or letter. The mailing label with make it easy for the company to identify how your name is listed in the files. Attach it to the letter or postcard, having a sign and the date of your request.
4. Request charities not to sell, rent, or trade
When you donate to a charity, other charities start sending you solicitations. Charities swap, sell, or rent contacts with one another. You can include a note to your chosen charities requesting them not to sell or trade your information. To further reduce the amount of mail from your chosen charities, ask them to solicit you at your desired frequency, say once a year.
This is huge. Many charities sell your information to other charities. You can further stop the cycle of junk by stopping your personal information from being sold.
5. Avoid mail meant for past residents
Have you been living in house for some years now but still receive junk mail meant for previous residents? The most effective way out of this is contacting the Postal Service. Write “not at this address” on the envelope and place it an outgoing-mail receptacle.
A big amount of the junk mail sent out to the masses comes from members of the Data and Marketing Association. The association has a way of screening what they want and not want to receive from companies. It is, therefore, the same organization represents the best way to reduce unsolicited mail. The DMA also runs a service for blocking unwanted mail for 10 years, and it costs only $2. With this service you can select hundreds of mail categories and opt out with just one click.
6. Kill “coupons”
Remember not all mail is junk mail
While you are focused on turn off those junk mail hoses to reduce amount of mail you receive, you may forget that some unsolicited mail is actually good. For instance, after buying a new home, you may receive discount offers from furniture and appliance stores. Such discounts can be really good and you may end up shopping in the stores. Also, if you are about to retire, financial planners may send mails with offers and they can be helpful.