Now that the Door-Drop Preference Service has been killed off it's fair to conclude that over the last three years nothing has been done to make it easier for people to cut back on junk mail. In November 2011, Defra proudly announced that it would replace the
current outdated system with a super-duper opt-out website, which would give a real boost to the government's ambition to
move towards a zero-waste economy. The boss of the Direct Marketing Association had tears in his eyes when he said that
unwanted mail was an annoyance and unnecessary cost to business – and that the new opt-out scheme was a real
win-win. The Environment Secretary talked about
a bit of good news in the run-up to Christmas. But nothing has changed. The outdated system is still in place; junk mail is still an annoyance and a waste of money; and there are no plans to console all those people who were looking forward to a junk mail free Christmas.
As I stated yesterday, there's no reason to grieve over the scheme's premature death. It's good riddance, and the embarrassing failure has demonstrated once more that opt-out schemes for unaddressed mail don't work. What's needed is a well thought through sticker scheme. Sadly, that's not on the table.
Royal Mail's efforts to ensure the correct procedures are being adhered to
For the time being, then, we're left with two outdated opt-out schemes for leaflets. To illustrate just how idiotic the 'services' run by the DMA and Royal Mail are I'd like to share a story sent to me by someone who is attempting to stop Royal Junk Mail:
I've been battling with Royal Mail to get them to stop putting junk mail through my door for nearly two years now. After completing the opt-out form twice – most recently in January 2014 – and making four complaints that the junk mail nonetheless continued, the last time they wrote to me (on March 2nd this year) they stated they had taken the following actions:
- Logged and reported the full details of your repeat complaint
- Passed these details to the manager of your local delivery office
- Escalated your complaint to the Delivery Sector Manager
In the circumstances, the Delivery Office Manager has also placed a Special Instruction card in the area where your mail is sorted and prepared for delivery. This will act as a constant reminder to our postmen and women of the problems being experienced and ensure that they all take extra care whilst handling and delivering the mail from now on.
That "Special Instruction" card really is unmissable – bright orange, with our address and a note reading "D-D OPT OUT" in large black capital letters. I know this because today's mail delivery consisted of 3 bits of junk mail… and the Special Instructions card.
There isn't enough facepalm in the world…
If you don't believe it, here's the proof:
Royal Mail has since responded by stating that they have
highlighted this [problem] again to the Area Manager and Delivery Office Manager and that they have
asked that their best efforts are made to ensure the correct procedures are being adhered to.
Quite an assurance indeed!