Opt-Out of Junk Mail

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All non-personal mail should include a simple electronic way to ‘opt-out’ of receiving it.

This includes coupons, advertisements, catalogs, magazines, flyers, credit card offers, invitations to conferences and seminars, letters from real estate agents, political surveys, requests for donations, membership subscriptions, etc.

It could be as simple as providing an email, or direct people to a website with a form.

It has to be printed on the mailer, and the company must remove people or put them on a block / do-not-mail list.

I have been trying to go paperless, to be green and save myself the hassle of going through mail, by asking to be removed from mailing lists. In this process I have learned:

(1) Many mailers do not have a contact at all.

If you go on their website, sometimes you can find it this way, but it often takes a lot of digging to find the contact. Sometimes, an account is required, or there’s only a donation button, or you have to sign up or apply for something.

(2) Sometimes the only contact is a phone number.

Calling on the phone can be difficult because you have to call during office hours, and since I work standard working hours myself this leaves little time to contact them. Sometimes the number takes me to the wrong department, or I end up on hold for a very long time. In today’s electronic world companies can easily provide an email. It would be easier on them too because the address to be removed would be in writing.

(3) Some companies flat out ignore me.

I have emailed them multiple times and continue receiving their advertisements. There are even some that claim there is no way to be removed.

A simple email and the requirement that companies must remove names and addresses would solve these problems, and make it easier for people to get off mailing lists.

It would help the environment and make everything more efficient for everyone. People wouldn't have to worry about critical mail being lost in the junk. Companies and organizations can still send out mail, while giving people have the option to make them stop.

California has always been a leader on environmental efforts, and should take the lead on this simple, common sense idea.



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