Posts Tagged ‘junk mail’

Stopping political junk mail

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

Junk mail is always annoying, there are many different types, and different steps are required to stop each type. Stopping junk mail is something I’ve previously written about, but if you want to stop political junk mail, or canvassing phone calls my previous advice won’t help you.

political junk mail

If you are on the unedited electoral roll then the political parties are entitled to contact you for electoral purposes. You can ask to be removed from the unedited register and this might reduce the political post you get. It might not though – and it could take some time to get removed.

Facing an avalanche of political junk mail in the run up to the general election, I decided to contact the three parties directly to ask them to remove my address and phone number from their lists of people to contact.

I decided to send each of the main parties the same polite message via the main contact form which is on their websites.

I sent the messages on Friday 16th April at about 7:30pm. Below are the three screens confirming that my message had been sent.

three parties contact us forms

Who will win the political junk mail removal contest?

Almost immediately I got an automated email from Labour saying that they had received my message and it had been forwarded to the appropriate team.

The next day – Saturday 16th April – I got my first real email reply. It was from the Conservative party chairman’s office. The lady explained very politely that it is perfectly legal for them to contact me as I am on the unedited register, but that she would ask my local Conservative office to remove my details from their list so that I don’t get contacted again.

One day later – Sunday 17th April – I got an email message from my local Conservative office confirming that they had removed my details. The man who contacted me did say that I might still get mailing which were already in the system – which is fair enough. As a bonus he told me how I could get unaddressed mailings from other organisations stopped as well.

So just two days after sending my message we have a clear winner – The Conservative party. Not only did I get two prompt replies from two different people, but they also replied at the weekend which I found quite impressive.

Which party will get second place?

The week went by with no reply from either Labour or the Liberal Democrats. I was thinking that neither of them would send me a reply.

But then on the 26th April I got a reply from the Liberal Democrats. The lady who replied told me that my request to be removed from the mailing lists has been passed to my local Liberal Democrat office.

Maybe I’m not 100% there with the Liberals yet – but I think I can safely declare them to be the runners up.

The losers

And Labour who have sent me no human response are the losers. If I do get a response from them I will of course update this post.

Events and conclusions

Here’s a quick summary of what was sent and received.

  • Friday 16th April 7:30pm – Sent messages to the three main parties.
  • Friday 16th April 7:39pm – Received automated email from Labour.
  • Saturday 17th April 2:34pm – Got a personal reply from the Conservative party chairman’s office.
  • Sunday 18th April 7:22pm – Was sent a personal reply from my local Conservative branch.
  • Monday 26th April 11:43am – Received a personal reply from the Liberal Democrats campaigns department.

Here are the rankings:

  1. Conservative Party – the clear winners.
  2. Liberal Democrats – an honourable second.
  3. Labour Party – a dishonourable silence – so far!

Does any of this have any bearing on the upcoming general election? Maybe not, but it is interesting to see how much importance the major political parties attach to a simple request submitted though their official websites.

Update May 2010 – The results perfectly match the order of influence in parliament after the election. I bet Labour are wishing they’d replied to my message now!

Is it possible to get removed from this junk post list?

Friday, March 5th, 2010

I’ve used Interflora in the past when I’ve needed to get flowers for various people. As a result of this I ended up on Interflora’s postal mailing list. Every so often I would get mailing in the post advertising their services. Especially around the times of flower giving events such as Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.

junk mail post

I’m not a bit fan of getting junk mail so I thought I’d send a quick message to them to ask them to stop it. I used the Interflora Contact page to send them my request. This I did on the 1st August 2009.

As always when contacting a company I make a record of it just in case I need to make a further complaint later on. I record the details on my telephone call logging spreadsheet. Despite the name it works well for recording details of emails, and letters that I send as well.

Despite my request, later in the year I received another junk mailing from Interflora, this one saying ‘Trust Interflora to deliver a smile this Christmas’. Their junk mail didn’t put a smile on my face!

On the 29th January 2010 I sent them a second complaint through their contact page. This time I got a message back from one of their customer service people apologising for the inconvenience caused.

Now after two complaints they are bound to have removed me from their mailing list. Right?

Wrong. Come February 2010 I received another one suggesting I send someone flowers for their birthday. And in March 2010 I got another one reminding me about Mother’s Day.

So it is now 4th March 2010 and I have sent them my third complaint. Will I finally be removed from their mailing list? I’m not hopeful, and I’ll update this post if I get any more unwanted post.

Stopping junk post, annoying phone calls, and unwanted faxes

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

If you are in the UK and receive unsolicited post, phone calls or faxes there are several services you can sign up with to reduce these unwanted disturbances to your life.

There is the telephone preference service, the fax preference service, and the mailing preference service. There is also a baby mailing preference service if you receive baby related mailings. They are all free and run by the same people.

Telephone preference service website

I’d recommend signing up the telephone, fax, and mailing preference service. Sign up for the fax one even if you don’t have a fax – if you get silent calls, or calls where you hear beeps then it may be a fax machine calling you.

Since signing up several years ago the amount of junk mail and calls that I’ve received has dramatically reduced.

Free caller ID

If you get your telephone service from BT then you can sign up for free caller ID. You’ll need a phone which supports this feature. Just sign up to the free ‘BT Privacy at Home‘ service. Caller ID is usually £5.25/quarter so this gets you a premium service for free.