Stop Junk Mail and Telemarketing

No Junk MailThe Federal Trade Commission’s national telemarketing Do Not Call list is live!

Junkmail and telemarketing is mostly a waste of time and resources. About 62 million trees and 25 billion gallons of water are used to produce a typical year’s worth of junk mail in the United States. Worst of all, it puts you at greater risk for identity theft because each pre-approved credit offer that’s sent to you is another invitation for someone to open a credit line in your name.

Here’s how you slow the flow of junkmail and telemarketers…

Credit Bureaus Main Opt-Out Line

888 567-8688

This call will only take you about 30 seconds and it’s well worth it. Just call and talk to the nice automated voice response system (they don’t want you to talk to a human, it’s too expensive!) and you can opt-out of all credit-related offers for two years, or permanently. You can also call back later and opt back in if you want the credit offers to start flowing again.

If you choose to opt out permanently, you will receive an additional form in the mail. Fill out this form and return it!!! If you don’t, your lifetime opt out is reduced to 2 years. The form is unmarked and looks really generic. Don’t let that bother you. Fill it out and opt out of these offers permanently.

Using this service will remove you from all pre-approved credit-related mail or phone offers coming from the credit bureau lists.

Experian Consumer Services

402 458-5247

This is a service unique to Experian (as far as I can tell) that removes your name from non-credit offers coming from Experian lists. That means stuff like samples, coupons, catalogs, and local or national promotional flyers. Once again, the call will take about 30 seconds as you talk to the nice automated response system. You just have to tell them your name, address, phone number and whether you want to opt-out of mail offers, phone offers, or both.

DMA – Direct Marketing Association Opt-Out

Mail Preference Service
P.O. Box 282
Carmel, NY 10512

Or you can use the DMA Mailing List web form.
Register online for free or download and print the registration form and mail it in with a $1 payment.

Telephone Preference Service
Direct Marketing Association
PO Box 1559
Carmel, NY 10512

Or you can use the DMA Telemarketing web form.
They charge $1 to send your request over the internet.

The DMA is an industry organization that the more reputable direct mailers belong to. One service they provide to member companies and others, is to distribute a list of people who want to opt-out of mail or telemarketing campaigns. The DMA updates the list every month or so, but a company might not update their list for three to six months. In other words, it’s going to take a while before you see a big decrease in your junkmail.

List Brokers

These companies sell mailing lists to businesses and organizations. Write all of them and request that your name be removed from all their mailing and telemarketing lists. You’re going to have to mail them by hand, but we’ve provided some labels to make it easier.

Metromail Corporation
List Maintenance
901 West Bond
Lincoln, NE 68521

R.L. Polk & Co. – Name Deletion File
List Compilation Development
26955 Northwestern Hwy
Southfield, MI 48034-4716

Database America
Database America Opt-Out
1020 E. 1st Street
Papillion, NE 68046-7611

Dunn & Bradstreet
Call 800-234-3867 and ask to removed as a “Marketable Business.”
*D&B only keeps a listing of business, not individuals.

Opting-out with the credit bureaus, DMA, and list brokers is a great start. It’ll take a few months, but you should see a lot less mail and telemarketing calls before long. Here’s what to do to stop the rest of the mail and telephone calls:

What to Do When a Telemarketer Calls

You must remember eight very important words. Write them down and stick them next to your phone.

“Put me on your do-not-call list.”

Don’t say “Take me off your call list.” That’s not going to work.

Federal law requires telemarketers to keep a list of of consumers who don’t want to be called. Confirm that the caller has placed you on this list each time you get a telemarketing call and you should reduce your calls over time. If you’re even more serious about reducing your telemarketing calls, we’ve provided a script you can follow.

What to Do With Incoming Mail

First, directly contact those companies or organizations that currently send you junk mail. We’ve outlined four simple ways to do this:

  1. Write to the company and ask that your name and address be removed from their mailing list. (print junkmail labels)
  2. Mail that displays the message “address-correction requested” or “return postage guaranteed” can be returned unopened to the sender by writing “Refused – Return to Sender” on the envelope. However, writing “Return to Sender” on mail without this message will not work as the post office will not return it to the sender.
  3. If there is a postage-paid return envelope inside the solicitation, detach your mailing label from the envelope, attach it with a note asking that your name be deleted and mail it back to the sender. (They have to pay for the postage). Do the same with a postage-paid return postcard, by taping the mailing label to the card and asking that your name be deleted.
  4. Some of your junk mail (most catalogs) may include an 800 number. Call and ask that your name and address be removed from their mailing list.

More information on reducing junkmail.