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How to Get Off Junk Mail and Telemarketing Lists

Written by Laura Martinez - 12 Comments

Do you receive a lot of junk mail? What about annoying calls that interrupt your evening? If you do, you’re not alone. Read on for some tips for reclaiming your solitude.

An ounce of prevention

I used to work at a call center that tried to get people to try out a time share. I once asked my boss where they got the list of people to call, and he said that a lot of them were added through the contests at the mall.

Whenever you register for a contest, send in a warranty registration card, or otherwise hand over your contact information (name, address, phone number, and whatever else you might be asked for), there’s a good chance it will wind up in a computer database.

Often times, businesses sell these contact databases, thereby increasing the amount of junk mail and unwanted phone calls that you receive. Believe it or not, this can happen several times over, such that entering just a single contest can increase your stream of junk mail considerably.

How to get off direct mailing lists

Assuming that your contact info has already gotten out, what should you do? Set aside about an hour and work through the following tips to free up your mailbox.

  • Contact the Direct Marketing Association. Many companies are members of the DMA, and will thus stop bothering you if you just ask. Simply send a letter to PO Box 643, Carmel, NY 15012-0643 and ask that you be removed from their lists. You can register online at www.dmachoice.org if you prefer.
  • Valpak has an online option for getting off their list.
  • Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes has a customer service line at 1-800-645-9242 (8:30 AM to 8:30 PM Eastern), or you can just send them an email to pch@ant.net asking them to remove you from their mailing list.

Once you’ve completed these steps, be sure to protect your information so you don’t get added back to any of these lists.

How to get your phone number off telemarketing lists

If you want to reduced the number of telemarketing calls that you receive, sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry. It’s quick and easy, and known to be effective.

Just keep in mind that it might take about a month to notice a difference. This is because telemarketing companies have 31 days to stop calling once you’ve been added to the list.

One last thing…

While you’re at it, you should opt out of pre-approved credit card offers, as well.

What about you? Do you have a problem with junk mail? Or telemarketers? Any tips for dealing with them?

Published on July 28th, 2009
Modified on October 4th, 2011 - 12 Comments
Filed under: Miscellany

About the author: helps families achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt and building freelance income over at Couple Money.

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12 Responses to “How to Get Off Junk Mail and Telemarketing Lists”

  1. 1
    Angela Says:

    Thanks…this was really good information!

  2. 2
    RB @ RichBy30RetireBy40 Says:

    Thanks Laura for the handy reference! I love this site, and hence why it’s on my blog roll at RB30RB40 :)

    I guess I’m lucky, as maybe only 15% of my mail is junk. I use the mail as firewood starter during the winter hehe.

    The worst is if they get a hold of your mobile. Now that’s a no no!

    Best,

    RB

    Rich By 30 Retire By 40

  3. 3
    JamesR Says:

    Too bad you can’t get off the pesky “charitable contribution”, political action and survey phone lists too.

    We never give to a charity because they phoned us. We have our “list” of charities we donate to regularly and “they ain’t on it”.

  4. 4
    Laura Says:

    @JamesR: We choose our charities carefully and follow your policy of not giving money if they call. I’l look up the charity later in my spare time.

  5. 5
    craig Says:

    very helpful information. I hate being on dumb email lists.

  6. 6
    Perry Says:

    tonic mailstopper (formerly greendimes) http://mailstopper.tonic.com/ seems to have worked for me.

  7. 7
    Kevin@OutOfYourRut Says:

    Laura, thanks for the reminder on the Do Not Call Registry. I had six phones (2 land & 4 cells) to re-register. You have to do that every three years, and we’ve been way overdue.

    The telemarketers have been hitting us. Can’t blame them, everyone’s trying to drum up some business, but with so many people registered, the ones who aren’t are getting hit in multiples.

    We actually like Valpak for the coupons they deliver (and we use) so we’ll keep that one open and deal with the junk mail. Small price to pay for the savings we get through the company.

  8. 8
    al brodeur Says:

    we should be able to charge the senders of unsolicted items ,mail, etc a disposal fee, after all we have to pay extra to recycle

  9. 9
    Bradley Jones Says:

    This is a good bit of information to have. I’ve switched email accounts several time due to spam and mailing lists. I found that Hotmail accounts receive more spam than any other email account. I was receiving close to 400 spam emails every day.

  10. 10
    Paul Says:

    I signed up for the do not call registry, and it hasn’t changed a thing. I still get nightly calls at 6pm and I tell them every time that I am on the do not call registry. Still, they call every day…. sigh.

  11. 11
    DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad Says:

    Nice post! The junk mail and sales calls seem unending!

  12. 12
    Sheesh Says:

    What if you paid DMA’s fee, opted out of all companies you are using, do not have any magazine subscriptions, do not have credit cards and told the same companies over and over again to stop sedning their unwanted telemarketing mail offers and it will not stop? DMA also sells peoples information to telemarketers, so this means they have the market cornered making money on selling lists and from the people who want off the lists they sold. Found this out after filing BBB complaints on companies that didn’t stop sending unwanted telemarketing claiming I signed up / subscribed to their offer somehwere, then come to find out they bought my info off a list that DMA sold them. DMA also only claims it will slow down telemarketing and not completely stop the unwanted telemarketing that they started in the first place.

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