Tired of Junk Mail? Me too!
I'm tired of other people deciding what materials I should be receiving unsolicited in my postal mailbox (my electronic mailbox too, but that's a different story). So one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2004 is to fight back. Politey, within the system, but fight back nonetheless.
Note that I have done what I can to limit the amount of unwanted mail that comes into my home. All magazines and catalogs that we order have been told not to share our information with anyone. We've opted out of every affiliate sharing relationship we can find from our banks. We've signed up for the highly ineffective Direct Marketing Association OptOut list. I also use tagged addresses wherever possible, so that if someone does sell/share my name I know who did it.
After having done a lot of online research, I have discovered Form 1500, "Application for Listing and/or Prohibitory Order," [pdf] can be used to stop mailers from sending mail. The instructions for form 1500 refer Postal Service staff to publication C033. Publication C033, section 1.1, says that the addressee "may, by completing Form 1500, obtain a prohibitory order directing the mailer of the advertisement to refrain from making further mailings to that addressee."
So I submitted six copies of form 1500 to my local Postmaster on October 7, 2003. I included a nice letter with the forms. And got no response.
So starting with the mail I received in February 2004, I am doing two things:
- Writing the sender of the mailing asking that they no longer send mail to me.
- And filing a Form 1500 to the Post Office
I'll keep this page updated with the status of what I learn. I hesitate to mention the companies sending out the junk mail, since I don't want to give them free advertising. But if they send back any nasty or interesting notes, I'll have to share them with you.
February 4: I mailed two letters directly to companies asking they no longer send me their mailings. One company Advo (they send the ShopWise junk mail) allows you to opt-out by mailing them a letter. I submitted four Form 1500s to the Post Office. Total postage: $4.07.
February 6: I mailed three letters directly to companies asking they no longer send me their mailings. I submitted two Form 1500s to the Post Office. The reason the numbers are different is because I wrote to several different addresses of a couple of the senders. I also submitted a question to the USPS about my October 7, 2003 letter to my local postmaster. Total postage: $3.70.
February 6: The USPS emailed me back and basically said "tough, go talk to your local postmaster." Fascinating. At the Post Office are little signs saying they want to help, so either talk with your local postmaster, or send in a question through the USPS web site. Well, I've seen how useful that is. The USPS is going bankrupt. I am very glad that most of my monthly bills can be paid through automatic withdrawal. That is saving me almost $3.00 a month. That's not too shabby, plus I don't have to worry about the Post Office "losing" my payment. Now I'm hoping I can start getting the actual bills through the Internet (e-mail or a web site). That's another $3.00/month saved from the Post Office. Multiple that by 50 million homes with Internet access, and the USPS needs to take notice that we are getting to a point where we won't need them any longer.
February 9: I mailed one letter directly to a company, and one Form 1500 to the USPS. Total postage: $.74.
February 17: I mailed eight Form 1500s to the USPS. It's amazing how these thigns seem to come in waves. I also received another mailing from one of the companies I filed a complaint about last week. Boy, they must be desperate. I've also given up with writing a letter of complaint to the company itself, unless their web site has an obvious way to opt-out of future mailings. Total postage: $6.18.
February 27: I mailed four Form 1500s to the USPS. Total postage: $3.32.
March 2: I received back four notices from the USPS saying that they had approved my application for blocking. They also denied one because they said the "Mailer was unknown."
More updates are listed in my journal at http://www.michaelclark.name/category/advertising/.
Tilting at Windmills for a Better Tomorrow.