Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Reducing unwanted catalogs and junk mail

One of the things that I've tried to do since we moved to New England is to start getting off of all of the unwanted catalog lists. So far I think I've called about 80 catalogs, and not had a single issue. Some of the customer service reps have even been kind enough to take the time to perform the removal process from associated catalogs and customer sell lists.

When still living in PA, I had gone to the Direct Marketing Assocations web site and entered a removal request with them. I recall paying the $1 fee at the time to sign up for their MPS service. This seemed to work well. I also used the OutOutPreScreen site to remove us from preapproved credit card mailings. Credit Card offers stopped appearing, except from merchants with whom we had a regular relationship/account with (REI is one that comes to mind).

The only mailings I haven't had any success with stopping is the weekly ShopWise flier. At some point I had found a way that was supposed to act as a removal for this, but it never worked while we were in PA. Haven't tried again.

At the same time, a local newspaper sends out a Jobs supplement that is delivered every friday. I'm not sure how to get off of that one yet. I also received a catalog from a bookseller that offered no phone number, either in the catalog, or on the website. They did have a web contact form, which I used to ask to be removed. They website claimed that they would respond to the form via US Mail. I haven't seen anything from them, but it may have gotten recycled already by the other mail sorter in the house.

I was reminded of this ongoing project when I was forwarded a link to the GreenDimes site. This company is selling a $15 kit that claims to reduce mail by up to 90%. They include instructions on using the DMA site to sign up for Mail Preference Service (MPS), and then GreenDimes will monitor the MPS to make sure your address stays off their lists. One testimonial even states that the GreenDimes customer no longer received a weekly grocery flier, which sounds like the ShopWise mailing. They also pay to plant to 10 trees for each junk mail reduction kit purchased.

After already spending a month doing the call the merchants thing, I'll probably let it be until the pile begins accumulating again. Then I'll give them a try and see how well it work.