What Is Junk Mail?

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Junk mail is mail that arrives in your mailbox that you did not ask for. When you purchase an item and provide your contact details, you are sometimes added to a mailing list, which is then used for direct marketing.

Direct Marketing

Direct marketing attempts to figure out who will buy what products. So, for example, if you purchased a new iron you may soon begin receiving advertisements in your mail for ironing boards or starch sprays. Companies that produce these mailing lists often turn around and sell them to other companies. You may also get junk mail addressed to Occupant or Resident. Some direct marketers target a certain area and will send out mail to all of the residents in a certain area. There are, however, a few no-cost ways to reduce the amount of junk mail you are receiving.

Don't Give Out Your Details

One of the best ways to avoid receiving junk mail is to not give out your contact information. For instance, if you receive a warranty card, you do not usually have to send it in for the warranty to be valid; a receipt is usually sufficient to make a warranty claim. When filling out a sales agreement, make sure to check the fine print to see if you are being added to a mailing list. If there's a "no mail" check box, then check it and if there isn't, then write on the agreement, "Do not add me to your mailing list."

Stopping Catalogs

To stop receiving a catalog, call the toll-free number on the catalog and ask to be removed from that mailing list.

Returning Mail

If the mail is addressed to you, write on the envelope, “Refused: Return to Sender. Remove from Mailing List” and drop it in a mailbox. This will let the sender know that you are not interested in receiving their mail.

Opt-out Service

The Direct Marketing Association offers a free online service, called Mail Preference Service, which helps reduce junk mail.

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