Re: Fighting Back at Junk Mail

Katharine Bennett (
Tue, 19 Jan 1999 08:31:13 -0700

Regarding Guy Duchene 's submission:

Unfortunately, taking this type of approach to junk mail is ineffective in
reducing how much comes to your mail box. Most direct mail, at least in the
US, is third class, which the Post Office will not return to sender. When
you write Return to Sender on a piece of third class mail, it ends up in
the Dead Letter section of the Post Office, and eventually ends up in the
landfill. It might make you feel better sending all that junk mail back,
but it won't stop it from coming.

You have to get to the producers of the unsolicited mail in the first
place. If a mailing contains a postage-paid stamp, take advantage of it.
Mail back the label or letter that has your complete name and address on it
with a note asking to be removed from their mailing lists. It's important
on the other end that they get a complete mailing label from you. If you
get more than one mailing from the same company, look to see if there are
different versions of your name and address. Be sure to send every version.

If there's no postage paid envelope you have to spend the postage to send
in your request. A friend of mine once showed me a trick. Address the
envelope to the company that sent you the piece. Then put that company's
name and address in the return address section and put a $.01 stamp on it.
They'll have to pay the postage due, because it will have to go to them! I
use this method only when a company is persistent and doesn't honor my
request to be taken on their lists.

One of the most effective ways to reduce large amounts of your junk mail is
to send in your collected labels (remember - every version of your name and
address!) to Direct Marketing Associates, PO Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY
11735-9008. It takes a few weeks, but this can reduce the volume of
unsolicited mail by as much as 75%.

Be careful, though. Every time you order a magazine, or order from a mail
order catalog, get a credit card, or fill out a marketing survey, you're at
risk from the reappearance of the Junk Mail Monster. Always request that
your name AND address not be rented, traded or sold.

The other thing to watch out for is this whole new marketing tool in the
form of CDs with millions of Americans' names and addresses on them. These
disks are hawked on TV, in magazines and through unsolicited direct mail
(ie: JUNK!). Companies are getting rich off our names and addresses without
our permission! What really gets me is that some of these big mail houses
won't honor your request to have your name/address removed without a
signature, but they sure never needed our signatures to make money off our
names in the first place! It's time to fight back harder, in the form of
legislation. Get your letters, calls and Emails to your congressmen/women
and let them know you want better protection of your privacy.=20

Eco-Cycle's web site has a dozen more ways to reduce junk mail, and junk
phone calls. The site is currently being remodeled, and the junk mail page
isn't ready yet. Give it a couple of weeks then visit and
look for the Junk Mail Monster.

Kat Bennett=20
Eco-Cycle, Inc.

"we had set up a campaign to reduce junk mail in Belgium
Through the local authority we provided schools, bussinesses and individuals
with a sticker: 'refused: return to sender' and a little explanation why the
receiver found the mail inappropriate.
It works very well!

As far as I know; international postal regulations provide the possibility
to refuse any mail without motivation.

Kind regards
Guy Duch=EAne
vzw eclips
haantjeslei 45
2018 antwerpen
T+F 03-248.71.94"