Saturday, July 12, 2008

Opting Out

I have probably already proselytized about CatalogChoice, the free service that lets you opt-out of unwanted catalogs. It saves your recycling bin from being needlessly filled by junk mail. And while recycling your unwanted catalogs is better than filling landfills with them, not receiving unwanted catalogs is SO much better.

Well, I thought between CatalogChoice and The National Do Not Call Registry I was doing the best I could to keep unwanted solicitation out of my home. But my new financial institution, SchoolsFirst Federal Credit Union, provided perhaps the most awesome privacy disclosure pamphlet ever. Along with it's solid policy, it also included information about The National Do Not Call Registry as well as two similar things I'd never heard of.

How to Remove Your Name from Credit Offers
If you prefer not to receive unsolicited pre-approved credit or insurance offers, you can remove your name from lists used by credit reporting agencies for these purposes. To remove your name and address, call 888.5OPTOUT (888.567.8688) or go to

How to Reduce Junk Mail
The Direct Marketing Association sponsors Mail Preference Service, which helps consumers limit the national non-profit and commercial mail they receive at home. If you would like to reduce the amount of advertising you receive from companies, you can register for this service online or by mail. The DMA charges a $1 fee for mail registrations. So just go to their website:
At the website you can opt out of some or all mail offers. The DMA also provides an email Preference Service which will allegedly cut down on unsolicited commercial email.

On a related note, the pamphlet also included the contact information for the legitimate Annual Credit Report Request Service:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

Between CatalogChoice, DMA's MPS, and the CRA OptOut I'm hoping to reduce my junk mail to such a level that I can personally harass every sender of junk mail I receive until they stop sending it. Anyone ever done that? Written to a junk mail sender and asked them to stop sending you junk mail?

Edited 8/19/08 to add:
Consider opting out of receiving the phone book. Our house currently contains at least ten different phone books, mostly thanks to the previous owners, but we exclusively use the internet to look up numbers. It's one thing to recycle your phone books, but imagine how much more planet you can save by not receiving one to begin with?

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Rebecca said...

I've called credit card companies directly and had them stop sending me stuff. It took awhile, but it eventually worked. I think that there's a certain amount of direct mailing that isn't mailed to a person, just an address and I'm not sure how much of that you can stop. I've heard good things about the other services. I really need to use those services for the previous occupants. They get an extraordinary amount of terrible catalogs and other junk.

Sarah said...

I used CatalogChoice HEAVILY for former residents. With CatalogChoice you can just add a name to your list. It was very effective.

I'm hoping this CRA OptOutPrescreen will reduce the vast piles of credit card offers which continually plagued us at our last address. Those often contain personal information, so I end up having to shred them, which is just one more step I don't want to do with regard to junk mail. But if that doesn't work, I'll definitely call.