• Problem: Telemarketers. Just because land-lines are no longer a staple in every home does not mean the pesky art of telemarketing has ceased to exist, and those of us dinosaurs still privy to the home phone need a good weapon.
Solution: the aptly named National Do Not Call Registry.
How it Works: Adding your number to the FREE registry's list removes it from the pool of most major telemarketing companies. You can register by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236) or online at the National Do Not Call List's website.
What to Expect: After 31 days, you should notice a huge drop in call solicitations. During that time you can politely inform callers that you are on the Do Not Call List and ask to be removed from their lists immediately. They are obligated to agree to this.
• Problem: Catalogs Even if you rarely shop online or in major retailers, there's still a good chance you get at least a few pounds of catalogs a month.
How it Works: This free service is not a way to stop all forms of catalogs, just the material ones. The site was designed as a way of changing your catalog preferences from mail box to inbox. We set up an email account specifically for receiving junk catalogs. It's like a guilt-free automatic trashcan. Here's how the site works. First, go to the site and register your mailing address, then enter the email address where your online catalogs to go, next type in your main catalog culprits under the "my choices" tab. Even if the culprit company is not a catalogchoices partner, the site will still direct you the appropriate place on that company's website to unsubscribe from their catalog list.
What to Expect: It takes more time to register than the Do Not Call List, but within about a month you should start to notice a severe drop (about 35-70%) in the catalogs that end up in your recycling bin. If one stubborn company still insists on sending you their catalog, call the number on the back of the catalog to be removed from their list.
• Problem: Credit Card Applications We've come to expect at least one credit card offer a day, and shredding is not how I like to spend my Sunday afternoons.
Solution: The Opt Out List
How it Works: Most credit card companies get your address from the three big credit reporting agencies (Trans Union, Experian, and Equifax) that put together the data for your credit score. You can opt out of receiving mail from these companies and their affiliates by calling 1-888-567-8688.
What to Expect: At least a 50% drop in credit card applications.
To stop other common sources of junk mail, check out Gregory's post, here.
I'll be honest, lists like this usually do nothing for me because I never set aside the time to actually put the suggestions into action. However, think about the time you waste sorting through mail or answering unwanted calls, then find an hour one evening to set all these lists up. You won't regret it— I know I don't!
What other helpful sources have you used for putting a halt to unwanted marketing solicitations?
(Image: Stop Junk Mail)