Sunday, June 24, 2007

Unsolicated Credit Card Offers - Any End in Sight?

Have you ever gotten an unsolicted credit card offer in the mail? Though we Opted Out, we still receive solicitations from organizations that we have relationships with (e.g., alumni groups) and non-profit organizations. Worse still, sometimes we get offers that simply don't make any sense.

American Express was sending credit card offers to "X." Not in my name, not in my husbands name, but "X." We called to get them to stop sending it, but they didn't. So we tried a sneakier trick that we'd heard about, though it requires a bit of patience. Every time we got an offer, we used the prepaid return envelope and filled it with weighty material (e.g., fliers, cardboard). After doing this a few times, they got the message and stopped sending the offers.

On a similar note, thanks to Get Rich Slowly, I recently found out about the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) where one can opt-out from receiving mass mailings. Sounds like it could help reduce our junk mail.

How does the Mail Preference Service work?
When you register with DMA's Mail Preference Service, your name and home address are placed on a "do-not-mail" file. DMA members are required to run their list of prospective customers against the file and remove individuals who registered so that they do not send their mailings to these individuals. MPS is also available to non-DMA members, so that all marketers may take advantage of this service, and remove the names of individuals who have already indicated they don't wish to receive unsolicited mail at their homes. If you are receiving mail for a previous occupant at your address you may register them for MPS in the same way as you would register yourself.

The "do-not-mail" file is updated monthly and distributed four times a year (January, April, July, and October), though some mailers choose to receive the file monthly. Your name remains on MPS for five years, after which time you may register again. Typically, you will see the amount of mail you receive begin to decrease approximately three months after your name is entered onto the quarterly file (a little longer if you use the mail-in option).

Does this service include mail from charitable organizations?
Yes. DMA nonprofit member organizations are also required to remove prospective donors who have indicated they wish to receive less mail.

Sounds good overall, but it might require a bit more research.