It may not be as simple as you would like, but it is possible to stop junk mail completely.
The majority of junk mail can be stopped by signing up with the Mailing Preference Service, opting out of Royal Mail door-to-door service and using a letter box sticker. Stopping the small remainder will take a little bit more effort but it can be done.
Carry out the following steps for a junk mail free door mat
- Register with the Mailing Preference Service;
- Opt out of Royal Mail Door-to-Door Service;
- Use a letter box sticker;
- Tick the opt out box;
- Opt out of the edited register;
- Contact the sender;
- I’m still receiving junk mail.
The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) enable consumers to have their names and home addresses in the UK removed from lists used by the industry for advertising. They can remove your name from up to 95% of Direct Mail lists. It may take a few months but you will see a noticeable difference in the post you receive. Register by contacting:
Mailing Preference Service:
70 Margaret Street
020 7291 3310
The Royal Mail door-to-door service delivers unaddressed mail such as leaflets and catalogues generally advertising services to capture new customers. They are allowed to deliver 6 items to one household per day.
If you don’t want to receive unaddressed mail it is possible to opt out of the door to door service by contacting Royal Mail and asking for the “Stop door-to-door confirmation form.” For more information visit the Royal Mail website
Once Royal Mail have received your form they will stop delivering unaddressed mail within 6 weeks. Your Opt Out registration will expire automatically after two years and Royal Mail will not remind you to renew.
Contact the waste projects team and we will send you a ‘No junk mail please’ sticker, if you do not wish to receive free local newspapers and leaflets.
Other than writing to every single business in your area and hoping they listen to your wish not to receive mail from them, a letter box sticker is the only way to stop unwanted mail from local businesses. If you have opted out of the door-to-door service they also act as a reminder to your postman.
When you sign any form in which you have given you contact details look for a box which asks you to tick it if you do not wish to receive any further information about other products or services. But read the wording carefully – it be asking you to tick the box if you WANT to receive information about products and services.
You may find a second box asking if your personal details could be shared with other companies or sister companies. Even if they are ‘carefully selected’ you should never agree to this as it will result in your details appearing on numerous mailing lists and therefore more junk mail.
If you are British, Commonwealth, Irish or European Union citizen living in the UK, you are required by law to provide your name and address for inclusion in the Electoral Roll. This information is kept on a database called the UK Electoral Roll of which there are two versions, Full Electoral Roll and Edited Electoral Roll.
Only 3 Credit referencing agencies, Equifax, Experian and Callcredit are allowed to use the full registers, but only to check your name and address if you are applying for credit and to prevent money laundering. It is a criminal offence for organisations to pass on the information to anyone else or to use it for any other purpose.
The edited register leaves out the names and addresses of people who have asked for their names to be excluded from that version. It can be bought by anyone who asked for a copy and they may use it for any purpose.
There are two ways to remove your name from the edited register:
- When completing your electoral registration form, choose for your details not to be added to the ‘edited voting register’. Read the form carefully and tick the right box to ensure that your details will appear on the ‘full register’ only;
- Contact the Electoral Registration Department of your local authority (this will be the Council to whom you pay your Council tax) if you do not wish to appear on the edited voting register. For contact details please go to www.aboutmyvote.co.uk
If you receive junk mail with a return address, write “Unsolicited mail, return to sender” on the envelope and put it back in the post unstamped. The sender will have to pay the postage and hopefully take you off their mailing list.
If you continue to receive unsolicited mail from a company you should contact them directly and ask them to ‘stop using your personal data for marketing purposes’. Organisations are legally obliged to respect such a request.
It may be enough to simply phone the sender and ask them to have your details removed from their mailing list. However, the request is only legally binding if it is in writing.
the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has the following guidelines for writing a notice requesting a company to stop using your personal data for direct marketing purposes:
- Make sure that your notice is dated;
- Make sure that you give the organisation you are writing to your full name and address;
- Give the organisation a reasonable date from which you want them to stop using your personal data. Usually a period of 28 days is considered to be reasonable.
If the company ignores you request and continues to send mail after the 28 day period, you have a right to complain to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO).
If you require further guidance please contact the Information Commissioner’s Office helpline on 01625 545745.
If you are still receiving junk mail that you feel you should not be receiving, such as door-to-door, direct marketing mail, mail from companies you have requested not to receive mailings from after a reasonable period, you are within your rights to complaint firstly to the organisations or company involved.
Compliance with the Act is enforced by an independent government authority, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). The ICO can provide guidance and assistance on The Data Protection Act and deal with any complaints concerning organisations who do not comply with the Act.
If you are still receiving unsolicited mailings despite registering with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) it is possible to complain to the MPS
- Registering with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) is FREE;
- Your name and registration details will remain on file for five years. After that time, should you wish to use the service again, you will have to reapply;
- If you receive mailings that do not show your name and address accurately, please contact the mailer directly to correct your details;
- You can expect to receive mailings from companies with whom you have done business in the past. You may also receive mailings from small local companies. If you wish these mailings to be stopped, you must notify these companies directly;
- It may take up to four months before you notice a significant change in the Direct Mail you receive;
- The MPS cannot stop unaddressed material from being delivered;
- Please let the MPS know if you change your address;
- The MPS is a non-profit organisation.
Direct Mail or junk mail is used by many companies and charities that rely on direct mail to tell people about their products and special offers. Some of this mail may be relevant and of interest to you but it is sometimes the case that this mail is unwanted and therefore a waste of paper and resources.
Direct Mail is not a problem as long as it is wanted and read. For some people it can be irritating and unnecessary and a waste of paper and resources. If every household in Warwickshire received just one piece of unwanted Direct Mail a day it would create approximately 5 million pieces of wasted paper per month!
- The average household receives 224 items of junk mail per year.
- Stopping junk mail being delivered will save around 4kg of CO2 per household per year.
- Around 21 billion item of unwanted junk mail, excluding free newspapers, are sent every year in the UK.
- For each tonne of junk mail produced 17 trees, 7000 gallons of water and 390 gallons of oil are used.
- Direct mail – mail for marketing and advertising purposes, sent by businesses to consumers.
- Door-to-door – unaddressed mail posted in bulk through the Royal Mail, often leaflets and catalogues advertising products and services. This does not include mail addressed to ‘The Occupier’ which it is legally obliged to deliver. You can opt out of receiving mail through this service.
- Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) – is the UK’s independent authority set up to promote access to official information and to protect personal information. They deal with complaints made under the Data Protection Act.
- Mailing Preference Service (MPS) – is a free service set up 20 years ago and funded by the direct mail industry to enable consumers to have their names and home addresses in the UK removed from or added to lists used by the industry.
- Unaddressed mail – mail without the name of a recipient such as a leaflet or flyer.
- Unsolicited mail – unwanted and unrequested mail