There are several types of Unwanted Ad Mail (UAM), more commonly known as Junk Mail:
First, there are catalogs and material sent specifically to you because you are on a specific firm’s database. In this case, contact the individual company to be removed. See the section on general guidelines, and follow up with additional action.
There is material sent specifically to you because you are on someone else’s database, and another company purchased that database for one or more mailings. See hot tips, DMA List Suppression, and contacts and details.
If you ever receive a chain letter, the USPS makes it quite clear that they are illegal, whether distributed via snail mail or the internet. For more information, see the US Postal Service page on chain letters. USPS customer service can be reached at 800.238.3150.
Then there is saturation mailing, where the Post Office helps bulk mailers send mail to every address in an area (with addresses only – no names – on the mailings). The bulk mailer has to build up a list containing at least 90% of the addresses in a carrier-route. The Post Office will then supply the remaining 10% for a small fee so that the bulk mailer will reach everyone on the route. (See Domestic Mail Manual A920.4.4).
(Here’s how the master database of addresses for each carrier route is prepared: Each carrier prepares an “edit sheet” of all addresses on their route, and sends it to Atlanta for inclusion into the master list or addresses by carrier route. This database is updated every 90 days. So even if you were to be removed from this list, you would end up back on it three months later.)
As reported by a mail house, the post office hates saturation mailings. Ever since they invested billions into automated sorting equipment, they have realized that automated mailings are much easier for them to process. The idea behind a saturation mailing is that the post office doesn’t have to sort the mailers at all. The mailing service actually prints the mailers out in the same order that the carrier walks (referrred to as “walk sequence”), and the mail house trays or sacks them by carrier route. So, the carrier gets their first class and automated mail all neatly banded together by address, but has to lug around a big tray of mail and “add one” as they get to each address. With the July, 2002 postal rate change, the post office is now requiring mailers to prepare saturation mailings as automation compatible – meaning that they will be sorted on machines, just like the higher priced automation mail! The only reason this rate class even exists is because of companies like Advo and Val-pak exercising their lobbying power. The discounted postage rate certainly has no operational justificiation!
There is no way the Post Office will allow you to be removed from this list!
Saturation mailing works as follows. Each list by carrier route is provided by the USPS as a single block of addresses. In order for a bulk mailer to get the lowest bulk mail rate, the USPS says they have to mail to 100% of the addresses on the list. Thus, junk mailers are stuck – they can’t delete your address from the carrier route list because their item counts would change and postal charges would go up.
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