Junk Snail Mail Contest - Who Sends You The Most Financial Junk?

by golbguru on May 2, 2007

junk mail pile - neatly arranged!

That’s a part of my junk mail pile (neatly arranged) from the last few weeks. Finally, after much procrastination (as usual), I got to shredding the damned things yesterday. This time, I documented the rogue mail senders, so that I can systematically hate them according to how much junk they send me. Here are the results:

junk mail statistics - Chase wins the junk mail contest

Chase was the undisputed winner in our little junk mail contest. With 27 letters - some pre-approved offers and some of those stupid $10 checks - in a span of about 3 weeks, the king of junk mail seemed to be hell-bent on ruining our cheap paper shredder.

Bank of America, Citibank, and Discover also sent some junk to our mailbox, but they don’t come anywhere close to Chase. However, Citibank and Discover still managed to aggravate the shredder by sending over-sized junk mails. Verizon didn’t really send *financial* junk, but I included it nevertheless since it ranked among the top 6 contenders. It should be noted that these junk mail numbers do not include pieces of mail that carried genuine financial information like transaction summaries, changes to account terms and conditions, etc.

Junk mails are not just trivial irritants, they are a burden on a lot of resources - precious paper, time, peace of mind, and shredding machines. Plus, there is that ever-increasing risk of identity theft. I just don’t understand these companies; on one hand they have started encouraging paperless billing for increased security and reduction in paper usage, and on the other hand they just keep dishing out these junk letters which ironically invalidate the very advantages of paperless billing.

I did try to stop this nonsense sometime back. I remember registering with OptOutPreescreen.com (if you want to get rid of those unsolicited *pre-approved* offers, this is the place to go…supposedly) a few years ago and observed a decline soon after that (perhaps it was just a coincidence), but things are gradually back to the earlier junk status.

Apparently, using OptOutPrescreen.com does not eliminate all junk mail. In their FAQs they mention something to that effect.

I’ve submitted Opt-Out requests through this website and to the Direct Mail Association (DMA), but I’m still receiving offers.
Opting-Out will not end solicitations from all local merchants, religious and charitable associations, professional and alumni associations, politicians, and companies with which you conduct business. To eliminate mail from these groups - as well as mail addressed to “occupant” or “resident” - write directly to each source.

Ok, so I am getting all this spam from “companies with which you conduct business“. Seems like I will have to get on the phone with Chase regarding this.

Btw, for those who want to cut out all the crap, there is something else you should do in addition to registering with OptOutPrescreen.com; register with Direct Marketing Association’s “Mail Preference Service” (there is a $1 fee for this!). The website doesn’t appear professional and/or *pretty*, but it is a legit place to get rid of some pesky advertisements. However, even this does not guarantee a junk free life.

Although the typical consumer sees a great reduction in the unsolicited mail he or she receives not all commercial mail will stop. You will continue to receive mail from companies with which you already do business and from non-DMA member companies that do not use our service. In addition, you may continue to receive mail from local merchants, professional and alumni associations, political candidates and office holders, and mail addressed to “resident/occupant.”

So you could try all you want with those two stop-junk portals, but basically it seems like you will still need more than a few hours and more than a dozen phone calls to stop all that junk mail after all. :)

Need to rant about your junk mail troubles? Feel free to leave a comment.

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Blain Reinkensmeyer 05.02.07 at 6:53 am

Go Chase! lol, I get a decent amount of spam mail as well, but heck, that day is going to come when you are like, “hey I need another credit for such and such” and then Chase is going to be your winner because they were the most persistent little buggers!

2 BAMAToNE 05.02.07 at 7:05 am

Excellent post!

Thanks for advertising this blog on LJ (syn_promo). I’ve been reading it ever since you did.

3 broknowrchlatr 05.02.07 at 8:50 am

Being concerned with Identity theft, I don’t like getting a lot of this stuff. Its a pain to dispose of.

I have gotten the most from CITI. I get very few now. I tried the online opt out procedures to no avail. Now, whenever I get one, I look for the 800 number to call to sign up. I tell them directly that I don’t want to get any more offers in the mail.

After sending me to the right people, they get it done. They then inform me of the standard (but unnecessary) need to take 4 weeks or something to stop sending me crap. I inform then that I will be unable to stop calling them back until I stop recieving junk mail… They get it.

When I was in college, I was a real jerk about it. I was getting 15 letters a day sometimes. They send you these first class envelopes where they pay when they get the return mail. I wadded all their info up and put it in that envelop. Then I threw in a handfull of pennies. I also added a common note “You send me junk - I send you junk” and told them to remove me. It probably wasn’t effective, but was entertaining for a 20 year old.

4 zen 05.02.07 at 8:51 am

I get a ton from Citi (well, my wife does). I had to submit a identity theft claim and my junk mail dropped considerably.

5 nku 05.02.07 at 8:59 am

I am no good at arranging spam like you. But I have stats on tip of my fingers :) Our spam king is Capital One. They send like 3-4 letters each week for me. Worse, three people staying at our apartment before us apparently haven’t updated their addresses while shifting, so I get all spams addressed for them too. In all, I’d say about 15 letters a week. My shredder is having a gala time!

6 FMF 05.02.07 at 9:19 am

I hope you took Chase up on a few of their offers! It will help my stock price! ;-)

7 John Wilks 05.02.07 at 10:18 am

I wish Chase would send me more mail. I want some more 15 month 0%apr on purchase/transfer cards from them.

But seriously, they should save some paper and just send me the credit card right away.

8 Tim 05.02.07 at 11:51 am

you can call all those credit companies and tell them to stop sending pre-approved offers or any other solications. you can also do this on line with several of them in your accounts, too. this is in addition to “opt out”. remember, when you apply for something, they will more than likely default your info sharing preference to share, which will then over ride your “opt out” submission.

9 golbguru 05.02.07 at 11:51 am

Blain: I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon. Most of these paper offers are crappy anyways - all good offers are sort of online-only types.

broknowrchlatr: “I also added a common note “You send me junk - I send you junk” and told them to remove me.” - Lol..that’s the most innovative thing I have ever heard @ dealing with junk mail. :)

Zen: Thanks for the tip. If calling them doesn’t work, I will probably go your way.

NKu: Yeah…it’s a common problem I guess about getting junk from people who stayed at your apartment earlier. One of the sites I mention in the post has some information on how to tackle that..check it out.

FMF: I must have made you a lot of profit already. ;) Even before these junk mails started, we (between me and my wife) had 4 cards from Chase.

John Wilks: Your best bet is to keep an eye on some Amex deals. At times, I have seen those 15 months 0% APR offers floating around.

Tim: Thanks for the suggestions. I guess you are right on the money with “when you apply for something, they will more than likely default your info sharing preference to share, which will then over ride your “opt out” submission.” …probably that’s what happened in our case.

10 Moneymonk 05.02.07 at 1:22 pm

I opt out of credit cards offers. But how can I one opt out for refinance letters? Two come per day in my household.

11 Lem - GL 05.02.07 at 11:36 pm

Up here in Canada, I tend to get Financial Junk from the big banks, such as RBC, TD Canada Trust, CIBC, etc.

I don’t need anymore credit cards. It’s hard enough trying to hide my Mastercard and VISA from Imaginary Diva. :-)

12 saving advice 05.03.07 at 8:10 pm

Funny post. It’s amazing the amount of junk mail that comes. Some of it can be used to negotiate a better deal on a service that you already have, most of it is just plain junk. It can be a good firestarter though in the winter ;)

13 John Wilks 05.04.07 at 6:58 am

I usually write my grocery list on the envolopes of junk mail. Took me 5 years to figure this paper saving method out.

14 omni 05.04.07 at 7:27 am

I usually call the 800 number listed to accept the offer, mute my phone, and let it sit there for a few minutes. Ties up their lines, operators, and costs them money for the toll free call.

Then I shred everything they sent me and send it back to them in the postage paid envelope, along with any other spam I received that day that didn’t have a postage paid envelope. It’s amazing how much less trash I send to my landfill now.

15 Gal Josefsberg 05.04.07 at 2:54 pm

I tried to opt out of all junk mail. Now I get mail addressed to “Resident”. It’s frustrating. It’s a waste of time, money and paper. We call it spam on the internet and avoid it like the plague so I don’t understand how these companies can still be doing this.


16 Ramsey Fahel 05.04.07 at 5:24 pm

Do Not Mail Opt-Out Law would be fair to everyone.

The proposed recent “Do not mail” is an Opt-Out law. Only those not desiring advertising mail need opt-out. Anyone desiring advertising mail can do nothing - and continue to receive it. Why deny those wishing to avoid advertising mail the power to do so?

I do not consider handling unwanted advertising placed against my will on my personal property to be a civic obligation!

The US Supreme Court said in the Rowan case in 1970, ““In today’s [1970] complex society we are inescapably captive audiences for many purposes, but a sufficient measure of individual autonomy must survive to permit every householder to exercise control over unwanted mail. To make the householder the exclusive and final judge of what will cross his threshold undoubtedly has the effect of impeding the flow of ideas, information, and arguments that, ideally, he should receive and consider. Today’s merchandising methods, the plethora of mass mailings subsidized by low postal rates, and the growth of the sale of large mailing lists as an industry in itself have changed the mailman from a carrier of primarily private communications, as he was in a more leisurely day, and have made him an adjunct of the mass mailer who sends unsolicited and often unwanted mail into every home. It places no strain on the doctrine of judicial notice to observe that whether measured by pieces or pounds, Everyman’s mail today is made up overwhelmingly of material he did not seek from persons he does not know. And all too often it is matter he finds offensive.”

Furthermore, the Supreme Court said, “the mailer’s right to communicate is circumscribed only by an affirmative act of the addressee giving notice that he wishes no further mailings from that mailer.

To hold less would tend to license a form of trespass and would make hardly more sense than to say that a radio or television viewer may not twist the dial to cut off an offensive or boring communication and thus bar its entering his home. Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit; we see no basis for according the printed word or pictures a different or more preferred status because they are sent by mail.”

We need a nationwide “Do Not Mail” law to create a one-stop, convenient place for homeowners to give senders the aforementioned affirmative notice that we do not want certain kinds of mail sent to our homes.


Ramsey A Fahel

17 laura k 05.05.07 at 7:26 am

I also use the return reply envelopes. I take the application they send me (with my contact info and whatever identifier they assign me) and attach a label that says something like, “I do not accept unsolicited mail. Remove me from your mailing list and don’t give or sell my information to any other organizations.” I’ve pre-printed these on bright-colored labels. If there’s no return envelope, I use my own envelope (e.g., a small, local non-profit) and stick a stamp on. To me, it’s worth the $0.50 or so to not compromise my values.

That, in combination with the opt-out list and occasionally calling a company, cuts down a lot on the junk I get. (I usually get less than one piece of junk mail per week, and these are usually from companies that I already have a relationship with.)

Sadly, I have done this with organizations that I might otherwise get involved with (e.g., a local symphony orchestra)…but because they presumably bought my name from somewhere, I decide they’re not worth my effort.

18 Chris 11.14.08 at 8:27 pm

Charter. Hands down. I’ve submitted my info to the links you provided a long time ago and that helped a lot. Now I just need to get Charter off my back…

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