There's a petition on Change.org 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.
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.