A new pet peeve of mine, while I am trying to keep the house clean and the cats fed and my work done and the environment saved and my mind SANE, is receiving all the blasted junk mail that is deposited in my mailbox every DAY. So here are some pro tips to stop it, thanks to Obviously.com. From the looks of it, junk mail is a war of its own. I’ve slimmed them down to the ones that seem most immediate:
Sexually Oriented Advertising (SOA):The only help you’ll get from the Post Office in controlling junk mail is for explicit stuff. Fill out USPS forms 1500 if you wish this type of mail to stop. You define what you find to be explicit — if that’s an automobile parts catalog the post office won’t disagree with you.
First class mail: Cross out the address and bar code, circle the first class postage and write “refused: return to sender”. Drop in any mail box, it will be returned to the sender.
Credit offers: The major credit agencies all sell aggregate credit information any bidder. Direct mail and credit companies generate mail based on demographics including zip code, income band and credit payment patterns. Stopping this is easy, you just need your address, former address within two years, and social security number. One call does it all for agencies Equifax, Trans Union, Experian and Innovis. Dial 1-888-5 OPT OUT (or 1-888-567-8688) 24 hours a day.
Local business & supermarket fliers: All mailings must be identified, by postal regulations. Each lose-leaf bundle of fliers, by postal regulations, must be delivered at the same time as an address card. Locate this address card; the cards usually have an advertisement and a photograph of a missing child. You may need to call directory assistance to get the phone number of the sender. Specific senders are:
ADVO (Mail comes with pictures of missing children). Call 1-860-285-6100 to get off the list. You may have to send a postcard to “ADVO Consumer Assistance, POB 249, Windsor CT 06095-4176”.
Val-Pak Coupons: click the link and copy your mailing label.
Carol Wright Call 1-800-67-TARGET to get off the list.
Too much junk to deal with individually: Start by sending a postcard or letter to Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 15012-0643 Include your complete name, address, zip code and a request to “activate the preference service”. For up to five years, this will stop mail from all member organizations that you have not specifically ordered products from.
The Direct Marketing Association estimates that listing with their mail preference service will stop 75% of all national mailings. They process 50,000 requests a month and requests are kept active for five years. If you fill out the post office change of address form, the DMA will track the new address (you’ll get a few months of mailings to the new address before they catch up to you). It can take up to six months for your request to be fully processed. You can also opt-out online, but they charge $5. The best way is to fill out their online form, then mail them a printout.
While we can’t control everything that ends up in our mail, here’s to not throwing away that dinner invitation because it was stuck in with the grocery ads for that store where you never shop!