If snail mail spam is one of your pet peeves, pull up a chair—you’ll want to be sitting down for this: A recent article in the Wall Street Journal reveals that in January the United States Postal Service relaxed the rules governing bulk mail (officially called “saturation mail” by the USPS), allowing more of it than ever before to jam your mailbox. In the past, a letter or package could not be delivered without having a specific address. As a result, marketers paid big money for mailing lists in order to promote their products and services. Now, direct mail firms need only address their mailings to “Postal Customer” and they’ll be delivered to every residential or business mailbox on an official route.
Feel like going postal? Here’s the good news: You can still opt-out of receiving bulk mail by contacting the marketer—or, rather, marketers of each and every unsolicited mailing. Luckily, there are several not-for-profit websites that do the dirty work for you. The following five steps will get you started, according to the folks at treehugger.com:
1. Contact the Direct Marketing Association. At your request, they’ll remove your name and address from numerous mass marketing lists for up to five years.
2. Register with Catalog Choice or TonicMailstopper to have your contact information removed from catalog lists.
3. Review your privacy settings for all credit cards and utilities. Opt out of everything but communications from the company that are directly related to your account.
4. Say “No” to credit card solicitations. OptOutPrescreen.com is the official site of the Consumer Credit Reporting Industry dedicated to opting consumers in or out of credit card offers and promotions. Choose either a 5-year or permanent opt-out on the website or by calling 1-888-5OPT-OUT.
For even more ways to fend-off junk mail, check out these planet- and privacy-friendly sites: