While some people are happy to get news about promotions and new products or services through the mail, others find receiving a lot of marketing material through the post very annoying. The amount of junk mail sent out has diminished somewhat in the Internet age, as many companies now choose to advertise digitally rather than via paper mail, but the average UK household does still receive quite a lot of mail of this nature.
What Are the Different Types of Junk Mail?
There are different types of promotional mail, with the one people find most annoying tending to be the addressed kind – where a company has your address on a contact list (and possibly also your name, though things addressed to ‘The Occupier’ still count as addressed mail) and sends you letters, brochures, vouchers and other material.
Unaddressed junk mail is a different matter. This is when leaflets or other materials are simply delivered to houses in an area without the company having a contact list to send to. A third kind of promotional mail is mail sent to you by companies you do actually have some dealings with, such as your phone or TV provider, your bank, or a shop you have a loyalty card with, but which is purely promotional and doesn’t relate specifically to your relationship with them (so a bank sending you mail about your account is normal mail, but if they send you stuff about their latest new credit card when you don’t have a credit card with them this can be seen as promotional).
As well as companies you deal with, you may also receive marketing from partners of theirs if you have opted into this. This is a common way for people to do mail marketing. So for example, if you have purchased an insurance product aimed at senior citizens, you may receive marketing from companies with other products that tend to be bought by elderly people, such as stairlifts.
If you want to receive less promotional or ‘junk’ mail, you have to approach each type of mail differently. Here are three tips to help you get less junk:
1. Join the Mail Preference Service
You may have heard of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which prevents companies from being legally allowed to cold call you on the phone. In addition to this, there is also a Mail Preference Service (MPS), which like the TPS is free to sign up for. Once you have joined, companies are no longer able to address promotional mail to you or your home. This, combined with the TPS, can be a great way to cut out a lot of the direct marketing that companies do if you don’t want to be bothered with information about new products or services.
2. Opt Out of the Royal Mail’s Door to Door Service
The Royal Mail is legally obliged to deliver any mail addressed to you to your home, so there is no way for them to be able to stop you getting junk mail with your address on it (regardless of whether it has your name on it or is addressed to a generic name like ‘The Occupier’). They do not, however, have to deliver the unaddressed mail that companies pay to have put through letterboxes by Royal Mail postmen as they do their usual deliveries. This is called their Door to Door service, and if you want to, you can opt out of it. Bear in mind this will only stop unaddressed mail from Royal Mail; pamphlets and other materials delivered by different organisations will not be affected, and neither will addressed mail (you need the MPS for that as explained above).
3. Opt Out When You Give Companies Your Details
Whenever you register for a service, buy something online, or otherwise do business with a company in a way that involves giving them your address, you can end up on their mailing list for promotional materials, and sometimes the mailing lists of other parties. There is always an option to opt out of this, so make sure whenever you fill out a form with your address you look for a box to check that says you don’t want to receive mail from them or any of their partners. Sometimes they let you specify preferences, for example that you are happy to receive news of offers via email, but do not want them via the post or telephone. This can allow you to have more control over the ways you can be contacted by a company. If you have ended up on a mailing list because you forgot to check the box when you signed up with a company, you can contact them at any time and ask to unsubscribe – they have to do this for you if you request it.
So, by joining the MPS, opting out of Royal Mail Door to Door, and making sure you always opt out of receiving promotional mail from companies you give your address to, you can enjoy a life with less junk mail!