As the Christmas season of 2002 approached, I realized that, despite being on the DMA's do-not-send list for over three years, I was still getting lots of direct mail. My mailbox was overflowing with mail and yet only a few pieces were mail that I wanted. Catalogs, credit card offers, mailers from every type of business, mortgage refinance offers, real estate flyers, supermarket flyers - the volume and variety was incredible. During the Christmas season, I received 22 catalogs from companies I had previously ordered from. Some companies were mailing me more than one catalog per week.
I decided to see how much of this flood I could stop and find out what my rights were. Over the next several years, I tried to stop every single piece of direct mail I got. With some types I was successful, with others I was not. What is clear to me now is that there needs to be a simpler way to respond to direct mail in order to stop it. Overall my results were disappointing - I managed to make only a small reduction in the overall amount of direct mail I receive. Perhaps my failure can also be seen as a success of sorts: Had I not been doing what I have been doing, the amount of direct mail I receive would likely have grown exponentially.
Through my experience, I hope to give you the information and tools to stop the most amount of direct mail possible and spend the least amount of time doing it.