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Virgin Media junk mail petition

5th November 2015

There's a petition on asking Virgin Media to stop bypassing the Mailing Preference Service by addressing mail to 'The Householder'.

The petition correctly states that the Mailing Preference Service has a loophole: the opt-out scheme doesn't stop addressed junk mail sent to a generic addressee (such as 'The Householder'). It also correctly states that few companies exploit this loophole – Virgin Media is the exception.

Interestingly, the petition also mentions that Virgin Media has recently set up an opt-out scheme for any type of addressed junk mail. For the petitioner this isn't good enough; Virgin should demonstrate the highest level of integrity by no longer using this channel for mass marketing.

I'm minded to sign the petition, even though I don't trust (by signing you accept's terms of service and privacy policy, and agree to receive emails about campaigns). That said, I feel it would have been better to petition the Direct Marketing Association (the evil junk mail lobby group that runs the Mailing Preference Service and is responsible for the ludicrous loophole). There's nothing wrong with asking Virgin Media to show some decency – but it would obviously be better to close the loophole.

Such a petition could also also ask Government to require all junk mailers to check their mailing lists against the Mailing Preference Service. At the moment only members of the Direct Marketing Association are required to check if you're opted out. Curiously, this means that closing the loophole wouldn't stop Virgin Media sending adverts to 'The Householder'. Virgin Media, the biggest junk mailer in the country, isn't a member of the Direct Marketing Association and the rules therefore don't apply to them.

I guess what I'm trying to get across is that Virgin Media's junk mail bombardment is a symptom of failing self-regulation. Whereas the rules for unsolicited sales calls are fairly clear (you can't call people without their permission) junk mail is a complicated minefield.

Last updated: 
5th November 2015

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