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The Postal Service & Junk Mail(4/14/10)

Filling out a change of address form latetly, I was presented with something that dismissed any illusions I might have had that the Postal Service is on our side with respect to junk/direct mail:

It's Free

Special Offers

I was presented with two screens (full screens here and here) that I had to specifically opt-out of before I was allowed to complete my address change. The recent revelations about the Postal Service's financial woes clearly shows their heavy dependence on bulk/junk/direct mail. Basically, they are not motivated to help you stop it and they probably have never been.

The best advice in terms of address changes is to never do a permanent address change. This will get you on the lists that the Postal Service gives to direct marketers and will severely increase the amount of direct mail you get. Apparently a temporary (6 month) forward will not get you on the lists and you have 6 months to change your address with anyone the sends you mail.

Washington Do Not Mail Registry (1/1/10)

Looks like Forrest Ethics (mentioned below) has reached a milestone in their Do Not Mail petition, getting the Seattle City Council to pass a resolution calling for a Do Not Mail registry.

Do Not Mail List (10/16/09)

A group called Forrest Ethics has started a petition to create a Do Not Mail list, similar to the US's Do Not Call list. You can sign up on their site.

Some Good Data on Direct Mail from the WSJ (10/16/09)

An article in the Wall Street Journal today has a lot of great information about direct mail, and why it persists. If you read between the lines, you can ferret out the biggest reason - the US Postal Service can't live without it and is therefore the industry's biggest enabler.

A win for privacy (8/28/09)

In a serious win for our personal privacy, the FTC has banned most automated telemarketing calls, you know, th ones where you can't tell someone to take you off of their phone list. The ban startes on Sept 1st, 2009. (article)

More evidence that the economic slump is doing what no amount of effort on an individuals part seems to be able to do: reduce direct mail. Here is a tasty image from a recent article in the Economist of what has happened to credit card offers in the mail as a result of the economic slump and bad lending decisions:

Economy helps lighten the load (5/12/09)

More evidence that the economic slump is doing what no amount of effort on an individuals part seems to be able to do: reduce direct mail. Here is a tasty image from a recent article in the Economist of what has happened to credit card offers in the mail as a result of the economic slump and bad lending decisions:

Credit card solicitations

Yep, less than 1/4 as many credit card solicitations are being sent out.

Do Not Mail Initiatives (4/30/09)

Since 2007, at least 19 state legislatures have considered Do Not Mail legislation. None have passed so far. The Direct Marketing Association is rallying its members to fight any and all such legislation (link here). The Congressional Research Service, part of the Federal Government, has written an analysis titled "Do Not Mail Initiatives and Their Potential Effects: Possible Issues for Congress"(link here) current as of Sept 24th, 2008. Since this is a product of the last administration, where politics seemed to enter all depths of government, I am not surprised that the document bends in favor of no legislation.

One of the largest arguments provided against legislation that would restrict unsolicited direct mail is that it would have a negative impact on jobs. This sounds like a popular rallying point in the economics of continued job losses we face today. However, this isn't a valid argument. We simply can't put a moratorium on anything that might results in a loss of jobs. A policy like that severaly restricts our country's ability to become more competitive in the global economy and work towards lessening government deficits. Look what inability to shed jobs has done to the auto industry. Does anyone seriously believe that reforming our bloated and inefficient health care system isn't going to result in the loss of millions of jobs? The same is true with the rest of our bloated government.

Goodbye Mortgage Brokers (3/10/09)

Can't say I am sad to hear this, but the National Mortgage News reports that employment of mortgage brokers has hit an 8-year low, down 20 percent from its peak. Because mortgage solicitations make up a disproportionate percentage of the junk mail I got, this should definitely help. The failure of WaMu, from which I got more mortgage solicitations than any other bank, and created as a result of their junk mail abuse, has helped as well. I now receive virtually zero mortgage solicitations.

More stupid economy (11/6/08)

As I experienced a few months ago, the amount of direct mail I recieve has continued to drop. A recent article from Reuters reports that credit card offers mailed out in the third quarter 2008 were 28 percent fewer than last year. Also, credit card companies are paying the price for all those enticing offers they sent out in the last decade; there have been a ton of stories about how credit card debt is the next subprime crisis, although, with total credit card debt in the US of just over $1 Trillion, it won't be nearly as bad.

It's the economy, Stupid (8/5/08)

I've been tracking my direct mail for 5 1/2 years now. In all that time, I've been able to make very little progress in reducing the direct mail. Now, since the beginning of 2008, I've noticed a dramatic slowdown in direct mail. It seems a slowing economy is the only way to reduce direct mail, which means when the economy picks up again, so will the direct mail.

The housing bust has had a dramatic effect on Mortgage refinance offers. I no longer receive them!

Washington Mutual (8/5/08)

I had a horrible time trying to get WaMu to stop sending me mortgage offer. Because of my dissatisfaction with them, I created, a complaint site. This site is now the number one google link for Washington Mutual Sucks as well as many other search terms. Traffic has increased this year by over ten times, and tripled in July.

When does that offer expire? (7/12/06) :

I recently received an offer from Showtime/DirecTV for a free DiGiorno pizza if I sign up for Showtime|Unlimited (which I already receive). I receive the offer on 7/11/06 but the offer clearly states at the very top "offer expires 5/31/06. When I called the number listed on the offer, it gave me two choices, press 1 or 2. Pressing 1 or 2 did nothing at all.

Fake Junk Mail :

This is the funniest and most interesting junk mail related story I have ever heard. Every wonder what would happen if you tried to cash/deposit one of those “non-negotiable” checks that often come with direct mail?$$tablecontents.html

What is junk mail worth?

In the interesting solutions for direct mail abusers, here is a guy that wrote a contract on the back of his check to a retailer regarding sending him junk mail. They breached, he sued, they had to pay.

Buy with a credit card, get junk mail

I recently made a purchase at Robinsons-May using a credit card. While I gave them no personal information at the checkout counter, I started receiving direct mail from them.

To avoid this trap, pay in cash or use VISA gift cards, which are available at (among other sites) and in kiosks at most shopping malls, for values up to $500. You may want to use these anyways rather than normal credit cards if you believe that credit card and other companies should not be collecting and selling information about your personal buying habits.


Not entirely direct mail related, but interesting non the less. Finally someone speaks out about the mail-in rebate scams.

Advertisers, go postal

Apparently the US Postal Service is advertising to encourage people to sign up on the telemarketing do-not-call list, presumably to drive more business to direct mail.

Consumer Affairs

For more articles on direct mail complaints/issues, go to and search on “junk mail” or “direct mail.”

Are you really my friend?

A friend of mine received this one. Can they really do this legally?