Monday, 19 January 2004

How To Eliminate Junk Mail

In order to eliminate unwanted mail, there are four areas that need to be tackled:

1 - Personally addressed mail that is sent to you from screened databases.
By 'screened' databases, I mean those that have deleted all names and addresses of people who have registered with the Mailing Preference Service. People register with the Mailing Preference Service to indicate that they do not wish to receive junk/advertising/direct mail. This service is a kind of voluntary code of practice and, whilst many of the larger companies do use this service, many of the smaller ones don't.  For this, and other reasons, registering will not eliminate all your junk mail, but it's certainly a good start.

Action: 
Register with the Mailing Preference Service - this can be done online at www.mpsonline.org.uk; by telephoning 0845 703 4599; or by writing to them at Freepost 29, LON20771, London W1E 0ZT.
   
2 - Personally addressed mail that is sent to you from unscreened databases
'Unscreened' databases containing your details could be held by:
  • smaller companies who do not use the Mailing Preference Service;
  • larger companies who are interrelated to a company that you are already a customer of.  (I found it quite astonishing to discover that some familiar names and apparent competitors were actually part of the same large unfamiliar organisation.)
  • companies who have classed you as an 'interested party'. 
Whenever filling in your personal details on a form, there is a risk that your details will go on several more 'marketing' databases - indeed, the sole purpose of some market research-style questionnaires (usually those offering free prize draws) can be the selling-on of your details.  If this is the case, the organisation, (by law under the Data Protection Act, I believe), has to print words to this effect and provide a check box for you to stop your details being used.  The print is, however, sometimes very small and cunningly worded so you need to be vigilant.

Action:  
Always put a cross in the "...do not wish to receive..." box on forms (unless, of course, you do!).  Once registered with the Mailing Preference service, make direct contact with any companies who persist in sending you unwanted information  (2 example letter can be found on our web site at mysite.freeserve.com/sheffieldfoe)

3 - Unaddressed mail that is sent to you via Royal Mail
Many organisations use direct mail services offered by Royal Mail, therefore much of the unaddressed mail you receive comes with a Postie via their delivery offices.  As long as all the people who live at your address agree, you can stop this by putting a request to them.  They must, however, have the request in writing.
   
Action:
Send a letter to the Royal Mail delivery office that covers your post code area (see list on our web site) stating, "I/we do not wish to receive leaflets or unaddressed mail at my/our residential address and understand that in receiving this notice you can prevent any that is sent via the Royal Mail service."

4 - Unaddressed mail that is sent to you directSome organisations deliver leaflets/unaddressed mail through your door themselves.  However, if you've completed all the above, you should now find that the majority will be from very small and/or very local organisations. 

Action:
If you are regularly getting unwanted items from the same company it is worth contacting them direct. And finally, if you really don't want to receive any junk mail, then the only thing left to do is put a note on your letter box to this effect.  But think carefully before you do this as you might miss out on opportunities to support your local community or something fun that's happening.

Sheffield FOE would like to thank Karen, a local group member, for sharing her advice with us for eliminating junk mail.

STANDARD LETTER SENT IN RESPONSE TO PERSONALLY ADDRESSED, UNWANTED MAIL

My Name
My address
My address
My address

Date:  ....................................................

To:    ..............................................................................

Dear Sirs

I am not aware that I have requested information to be mailed to me from your company and do not wish to receive it.  Would you please, therefore, remove my details from your databases - I enclose recent correspondence received for your further information.

If the source of my details is a third party, please advise me and forward a copy of this letter to them.

Thank you,

Yours faithfully


STANDARD LETTER SENT IN RESPONSE TO PERSONALLY ADDRESSED, UNWANTED MAIL FROM COMPANIES I DO BUSINESS WITH

My Name
My address
My address
My address

Date:  ....................................................

To:    ..............................................................................

Dear Sirs

I do not wish to receive marketing information from your organisation.  Could you please, therefore, remove my details from the appropriate databases.  I return recent correspondence for your further information.

Thank you,

Yours faithfully


SHEFFIELD AREA ROYAL MAIL DELIVERY OFFICES
Sheffield Postal Area     Address

S1, S2, S3, S4    Fitzalan Square, Sheffield
S5    830 Barnsley Road, Sheffield
S6    Chapel Street, Sheffield
S7, S8    Woodseats Road, Sheffield
S9    Chapel Lane, Sheffield
S10    Tapton Hill Road, Sheffield
S11    848 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield
S12, S13    Pitt Lane, Sheffield
S14    Fitzalan Square, Sheffield
S17    Abbeydale Road South, Sheffield
S19    Unit 10, Holbrook Green Industrial Estate, Sheffield
Chapeltown    55 Burncross Road, Sheffield
Ecclesfield    830 Barnsley Road, Sheffield
Stocksbridge    Victoria Street, Sheffield
Woodhouse    Pitt Lane, Sheffield