Home Blogs Diary 2015 06

The Virgin Media opt-out

29th June 2015

Virgin Media has changed its opt-out scheme. You should no longer send them an e-mail; instead you need to opt-out online. For more information, see Virgin now has an opt-out form.

Remember Virgin Media's infamous 'To the Occupier' letters? I'm not talking about the unaddressed variety (which you can stop by signing up to Royal Mail's opt-out scheme for unaddressed mail) but about those adverts sent 'To the Occupier' at your address. It's one of the few types of junk mail that's pretty much unstoppable.

That is, until now.

A while ago I contacted Virgin Media's Brand Response Manager. I explained that lots of people were telling me they were fed up with Virgin Media's continuous junk mail bombardment and that their letters addressed 'To the Occupier' were particularly offensive. Neither the Mailing Preference Service nor data protection notices can stop such letters and people found that contacting Virgin was futile, leaving people with no option but to put up with the junk mail. To my surprise I got a very reasonable response. The issue was discussed with the appropriate teams and a decision was made to keep an internal 'do not mail' list. Initially, people would need to write to Virgin's head office in Hook (via snail mail) but they were looking into making opting out easier.

Today, Virgin confirmed that it's now possible to opt out of addressed 'To the Occupier' letters by sending an e-mail to optout@virginmedia.co.uk. I'd suggest killing two birds with one stone by sending a data protection notice to stop all personally addressed adverts and to mention in the notice that you also wish to opt out of the addressed 'To the Occupier' letters. This blurb should do the trick:

[ Your full name ]
[ Your full address ]

[Today's date ]

Data Controller / Company Secretary
Virgin Media (via e-mail: optout@virginmedia.co.uk)

Dear Sir or Madam,

Direct mail from Virgin Media

I, [ your full name ] of [ your full address ] require you to [ stop / not begin ] processing personal information relating to me for direct marketing as soon as possible and in any event within 28 days of the date of this e-mail.

If you do not normally handle these requests for your organisation, please pass this e-mail to your Data Protection Officer or the person who does.

Please note that if you do not comply with this notice, I can apply to the court for an order against you under Section 11 of the Data Protection Act.

I understand that Virgin Media also maintains a 'do not mail' list for addressed items with a generic addressee, such as 'To the Occupier' or 'The Householder'. Please could you add my address as shown above to your list with addresses that have opted out.

Yours faithfully,

[ Your name ]

Happy days

And there's more good news! Virgin also told me they're cutting back on the amount of unaddressed junk mail they send. I had actually noticed that already; it's been weeks since I last posted a Virgin Media adverts on my Royal Junk Mail blog. Hopefully, they'll instead improve their brand by supporting more festivals (or maybe local community groups).

Last updated: 
21st October 2015

Comments

Thanks for the advice, I have sent an email today (absolutely fed up with junk mail).

I emailed Virgin Media in March this year, having found the opt out address online. 8 months later and I am still receiving unwanted mail. Today I phoned their freephone number (not the complaints number which costs money!) and a polite man with a South Asian accent, filled out a form on my behalf to stop the mailings. I then asked him why emailing hadn't worked and he was unable to answer my question, so I asked to be put through to a supervisor. After being on hold for a wee while, my call was finally answered by someone (Scottish accent this time) who assured me she would look into why my email had gone unanswered and un-responded to! Let's see if I get anywhere this time...

As far as I'm aware the opt-out e-mail address didn't exists in March – the first I heard about it was in June. Up until that time Virgin Media routinely ignored opt-out request, so that might explain why you never got a response to your first e-mail.

At the moment Virgin Media customers can opt out of addressed junk mail by calling 0345 454 1111. Non-customers ('prospects', in Virgin Media jargon) can opt out online. The opt-out e-mail address is no longer used.

Virgin Media used to distribute all its unaddressed mail via Royal Mail. It seems Virgin has completely stopped its leaflet bombardments but it's still worth signing up to Royal Mail's opt-out scheme for unaddressed mail; the Door-to-Door Opt-Out.

Up to date information about the Virgin Media opt-out can be found on the forum. It's worth checking the thread as the opt-out scheme changes regularly.

Thanks so much for the advice on stopping this unwanted Virgin junk mail.
I have just completed the online unsubscribe form as I am heartily sick of being bombarded by this rubbish as I have absolutely no intention of joining Virgin.
It will be interesting to see if they take any notice!!!

Thank you – they must have quietly changed the link! Now updated.

This opt-out doesn't work, or Virgin Media are just ignoring it. I filled in the form back in August 2016 and I'm still getting named, addressed mail from them. There was a brief period where I thought it had stopped, but I started getting it from them again in December 2016.

If I go to the opt-out page and fill it out again, it says "Already reported." I'm now going to phone the freephone number on the junk mail to have a word with them.