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Opt Out

July 8, 2010

By Jennifer Chaky

Don’t you wish you could just opt-out of annoying things, like traffic jams or lines at the post office? Well, one annoying thing that you can opt out of is junk mail. By taking the time to opt-out of the following “direct mail” sources, you will see the junk mail that comes to your mailbox decrease dramatically. And that’s not only good for the planet, but for your psyche as well. It takes energy—mental and physical—to sort through the clutter of our lives. Who needs more in the form of unwanted mail that hardly ever even gets opened? This is likely to be a no-brainer challenge to undertake: free yourself of junk mail and let companies know you don’t want to see natural resources wasted so egregiously.

Going through this whole process took me 20 minutes, and some of it may have been redundant but I wanted to be sure I was removed from all lists, so it was worth it. You can say it was even a very cleansing twenty minutes, thinking of all the trees and fuel that will be saved!

Follow these steps to Opt-Out of Junk Mail

  • Valassis. Call 1-888-241-6760 or complete this form online and you’ll see fewer discount-club ads and trial samples in your mailbox.
  • Acxiom U.S. This company is responsible for many insurance and automotive offers. To request an opt-out form, call 1-877-774-2094 or complete this form online.
  • Catalogs. They should stop showing up when your other removal requests are processed. You can also call a catalog company directly and ask to be removed or visit Catalog Choice.
  • Credit bureaus. To cut out credit card and other financial offers, contact the three major bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — and request that they no longer release your information. This should stop preapproved credit card offers.  Call 1-888-567-8688 and follow prompts to be removed from mailing lists.
  • Direct Marketing Association. DMAchoice.org lets you opt out of its offers entirely or choose which nonprofits, catalogs, magazines, and discount clubs you still want to hear from.
  • Do Not Mail Registry. This is an online petition of more than 103,000 people clamoring to end junk mail.
  • Epsilon Abacus Cooperative. This data clearinghouse supplies consumers’ names to a variety of direct mailers. Call 1-888-780-3869 or e-mail abacusoptout@epsilon.com and include your full name (including middle initial), current address and previous address (if you have been at your current address less than six months).

More ways to reduce junk mail:

Opt-Out Prescreen. This gets you out of credit card and insurance offers. You can choose a five-year opt-out online or permanent opt-out, which requires you mail a form that they provide. Call 1-888-567-8688 (1-888-5-OPT-OUT) or go to OptOutPrescreen.com.

Publishers Clearing House. E-mail removal requests should be sent to privacychoices@pchmail.com. They should reply that you have been removed from this list.

Val-Pak. This one is hard to get rid of. The marketer for this is Cox Target Media and the opt-out form on their website has been removed. I have tried calling and emailing them with no luck. Next time you receive these packets of coupons, check the envelope for opt-out options (if you do indeed want to stop receiving them). By law, this should be provided.

And if you feel bad that your mailman might be out of work, why not send some good mail- like a handwritten note to a friend…on recycled paper of course.

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