I HATE junk mail. HATE IT. I don't care if it shows up in my email inbox or in my physical mailbox...either way it drives me batty. We live a pretty simple life in an apartment complex and have a tiny little mail box that fills up very quick. We've actually recieved nasty notes from our mail carrier after not checking it for a day or so because it fills up so fast.
I think I should be able to forget to check my mailbox for a DAY without it overflowing with junk or getting mean notes from my mail guy. The sad fact is, however, we get SO MUCH junk mail that forgetting to check our mail box means heavy overflow the following day. So it's become, well to be honest, a bit of an anxiety kick for me. I'm tired of it.
Photo Credit: Kristi: Life Through Lens
Over the last couple weeks, I've decide to wage war on junk mail because I really can't stand the waste, the clutter and most importantly...my rights as a citizen having control over what comes into my household being totally ignored. The bottom line is, no matter how trivial, if I value my rights I have to take control of the situation, so I'm trying in my spare time.
Here are some interesting facts I learned this week: I'ved listed them in order of how annoying they are, "1" being most annoying.
1. "Current Resident", Un-marked Mail, No Address Mail (that winds up in your box):
These are the hardest ones to stop because they don't even come with an address on them.So even if you call the company, they won't have record of you. This is because it's a direct mailer that a company has pre-paid the post office to deliver in a particular zip code. That means that even if you put a sign up on your mailbox, or call your local branches supervisor (like I did) they will STILL deliver it to you. That doesn't seem right.
If you own a company, restaurant, community center, retail store, DENTAL OFFICE (they are the worst!) church or other branch of business...PLEASE don't send direct mailers! It's bad form in my opinion. Try having a great website and facebook page instead, that's what people pay attention to these days anyway. Nobody can enjoy your business from the floor of a recycle bin, which is exactly where your junk will land. I've resorted to writing "refused" or "return to sender" on this type of mail but all your mail carrier will do is recycle it. That doesn't really solve the problem, does it?
There is one service that for a fee, will remove your name from address lists that companies purchase to do these direct mails, however it can take awhile to take hold as most items are paid for and printed months and months in advance.
To get your name removed for a fee: CLICK HERE (Mailstop Shield by Catalog Choice)
2. Credit Card Offers (Yuck!)
Aren't these annoying? In a country so strapped down with debt and so many lives and relationships (not to mention businesses) being ruined by it...it makes my blood boil that Americans are met with piles of credit offers everytime they go to their mail box. The good news is with a little diligence you CAN make them stop coming. Here are the steps:
- Call 1-888-567-8688 to opt out of pre-screened offers of credit or visit Opt-Prescreen.com
- If you still get offers after that, call the credit card company directly.
- If you STILL get offers, write "Remove me" on the credit card application you recieve and mail it in the business reply envelope that generally comes with them. OR simply write "return to sender" on the front of the envelope and put it back in your mailbox.
- All else fails, write them a letter. Here are some of the most prominent addresses to write to:
P.O. Box 919
Allen, TX 75013
Name Removal Option
P.O. Box 505
Woodlyn, PA 19094
P.O. Box 740123
Atlanta, GA 30374
Innovis Consumer Assistance
P.O. Box 495
Pittsburgh, PA 15230
3. Magazines, Coupons, Flyers, Catalogs.
These are the easiest to stop IF they have your name and address one them. If they don't, they fall under the most annoying category number one (above). However if your name and address are on the flyer, etc...follow these steps.
- Call the customer service number on the item. Most representatives are happy to remove you, though sometimes they will ask you to stay or ask you to simply reduce the mail rather than stop it completely. Stand your ground. Also, it's helpful to have the actual magazine handy because there is usually a number in the corner they will have you read to them.
- Try this service, it's worked pretty good for me so far (but they don't catch everything): DMAchoice
- Sometimes you'll have to do it online if a customer service rep won't help you or you simply can't find a number. Try fishing around at the bottom of these websites under "help" or "customer service". They make the links to unsubscribe to their physical mailings hard to find but be diligent, it's there.
- All else fails, write them a letter. Addresses can usually be found on the website (though again, it will be hidden).
4. Email junk mail...it just wears you down right?
Enter this contest! 10% Off! Groupon Goods! Buy Two Get One Free! Make A Zillion Bucks Without Doing A Damn Thing! I can't stand seeing this stuff in my inbox. I'll admit that most of it is my own fault because when I buy things online I've lazily typed in my email without thinking. And then I've lazily let it pile up in my inbox until that is really all that is there. This is no longer okay though because the clutter is driving me crazy. Here are the steps:
- Un-subscribe, Manage your email settings, etc. Scroll to the bottom of the email, it will be listed there somewhere. Most will be as easy as clicking a link. Some will make you verify your email and even fewer will make you say WHY you are going (lame). After you complete this, some will even send you a follow up email telling you that you have unsubscribed and then send you a follow up follow up email asking you to come back. That drives me bat-shit crazy. However it's unavoidable. Just un-subscribe that they will stop emailing you.
- Haha, but if they don't...try this service DMAchoice.org
- Take advantage of your spam email filter and your "block" email filter.
- If you are still having problems, call or email the company directly and there should be no reason why they can't help you. It most likely won't come to this.
If all of these ideas fail, you could always try it Kramer's way ;) See below:
I wish you the best of luck in fighing junk mail, I'm pretty pumped about it which would make many people roll there eyes at me...but ya know...I go big or go home on most things. Here are a couple final thoughts:
- Call your local postal branch and have a kind and respectful conversation about this stuff with a supervisor, see what they have to say and if there are other options out there for you.
- Put a kind and respectful sign on your mail-box, it may just help. "No junk mail please" or "No mail with out my name please" may just help (your carrier may or may not respect it, but doesn't hurt
- Get in the habit of going straight to your recycle bin before you lay the junk mail down on the dining room table or coffee table. Once it sits there, it may never leave!
- Keep a permanent marker in your mail box for quick and easy access to writing "return to sender" on things. Put it right back in the box and flip the flag up before you walk back into your house.
- Unsubscribe and make calls on junk mail while it's fresh in your mind. Be kind and courteous on the phone but make sure to be assertive.
Above all, share any good resources or ideas in the comment section...I'm very interested to know if I'm missing out on easier ways to go about this. I'd also love to hear any stories of success you may have!