Experts estimate that Americans receive almost two million tons of junk mail every year, with the average person spending eight full months of his or her life just opening it. Moreover, junk mail wastes more than just time. Many consumers are concerned about the amount of paper used to print the catalogs, advertisements, sweepstakes announcements and other junk mail they receive on a daily basis.
Frequent telemarketing calls and unsolicited commercial email messages are also time consuming and irritating. To reduce the time and frustration you spend dealing with unwanted junk mail, phone calls and email messages, check out the tips below.
How Do Companies Get Your Name?
Companies often get names through national advertising lists used by direct marketers. Direct marketers sell their goods and services to consumers through mail, catalogs and telemarketing. The advertising lists are compiled from many sources and are then sold to the direct marketers to use in their marketing campaigns.
- Federal and Illinois law prohibits telephone solicitations before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
- Telemarketers are required to identify themselves with their name, the company they represent and a phone number at which their company may be contacted.
- You may ask any telemarketer to put you on a do-not-call list if you do not want them to contact you again.
Reducing Junk Mail
You can eliminate your name from large advertising lists that are sold to direct mail marketers. Businesses that are members of the Direct Marketers Association are required to remove your name from their mailing list if you subscribe to the Mail Preference Service. The registration fee to place your name on the Mail Preference List is $1 if you register by mail and $5 if you register online. Once you place your name on the remove list, the amount of junk mail you receive will begin to decrease after about three months and your name will stay on the list for approximately five years. At the end of each five-year period, you may register your name on the removal list again. You can register for the Mail Preference Service through the US Mail at the following address:
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 643
Carmel, NY 10512
Sexually Oriented Mail
If you do not want to receive sexually oriented mail, fill out Form 2201 and Form 290 at your local post office. These forms must be completed by the person to whom the mail is addressed. To complete Form 2150, you must include the envelope and entire contents of the sexually oriented mail you received, sign the front of the envelope, indicate the date it was received and attach it to the form.
Other Types of Mail
For other types of mail, you may write directly to the companies sending you mail and tell them to stop. In your letter, include your full name and address, along with your request to be removed from their mailing list.