How to stop junk mail

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If you want to stop getting junk mail, what should you do and how effective are the organisations that are designed to reduce junk mail. Find out how to stop junk mail.

How to stop junk mail

If you want to know how to stop junk mail, there are several steps you should take:

1. Sign up with the Mail Preference Service (MPS). Companies that send direct marketing shouldn’t send you junk mail once you’ve registered with the MPS if they’re a member of the Direct Marketing Association. However, it’s not a legal requirement that companies that send direct marketing check the Mail Preference Service’s lists.

SAVVY TIP: It can take up to four months for your registration to take full effect. The MPS says that’s because companies plan their direct marketing some time in advance.

2. Register with the Baby Mail Preference Service if you’re receiving lots of baby-related junk mail.

3. Register with Royal Mail’s opt out service. This should stop you receiving what’s called ‘unaddressed’ mail (leaflets), but it won’t stop you from receiving mail addressed to ‘the occupier’.

SAVVY TIP: Royal Mail warns on its website that signing up to this opt out scheme means you may miss out on unaddressed mail from your local council (although not material relating to local or national elections).

4. Register with the Your Choice preference service for unaddressed mail. This can include anything from free newspapers to information from local companies (such as takeaways) and utility companies. Registration lasts for two years so you’ll have to re-register if you want to stay on the list.

SAVVY TIP: This scheme is also run by the Direct Marketing Association. Most national companies and some local distribution companies and newspaper publishers are members of the DMA.

5. Put a ‘no junk mail’ sticker on your letterbox. It’s not guaranteed to work but it may reduce the amount of paper that lands on your doormat.

Why you could still get mail

There are several reasons why you could still get mail:

  • It’s been sent by overseas companies. Overseas companies don’t have to abide by the Mail Preference Service and some companies base themselves outside the UK to avoid the rules and regulations.
  • It’s addressed to ‘the occupier’ or ‘the homeowner’. Letters and leaflets addressed in this way aren’t covered by the Mail Preference Scheme or the Royal Mail opt out service. The only way you can stop them is to contact the company concerned directly and ask to be taken off their mailing list.
  • You’re getting junk mail addressed to someone who lived at your address and has now left. If that’s the case you can register their name on the Mail Preference Service at your address.
  • You’re getting marketing mail addressed to you. In this case, you can contact the company directly. The Information Commissioner’s Office has a template letter that you can copy.

SAVVY TIP: If you continue to get marketing information, you may be able to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.

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