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Royal Mail opt-out sticker

Although I have been registered with the Royal Mail opt-out scheme for years I still get the odd piece of unaddressed junk mail. These are when they have staff changes or perhaps when my regular postie has a day off. My suggestion to solve this irritation is for the Royal Mail to either provide a sticker to be affixed to the letterbox of the household that has opted out or to carry a portable device stating the houses to which junk mail is NOT to be delivered. Perhaps a sticker stating you are signed up would work, but it would need to be Royal Mail official type. I actually doubt this would work as most junk mailers already ignore my door sign, so this needs some more thought...

I designed such a sticker a couple of years ago:

A sticker with Royal Mail logo and the text 'Unaddressed mail not wanted at this address - thanks!'

You can download and print the sticker as a PNG, or if you know your way around Inkscape you can play with the SVG file.

The design is based on a sticker Royal Mail uses for its Neighbour Not Trusted scheme. Since late 2012, your postman is allowed to leave undeliverable items (i.e. parcels) with a neighbour, unless you've opted out. Households can opt out online and they then get sent a sticker that looks just like the one above but with the text Please return items you can't deliver to the delivery office.

It's worth noting that the Neighbours Not Trusted scheme is a lot friendlier than Royal Mail's Door-to-Door Opt-Out. If you want to stop unaddressed mail delivered by your postman you need to complete a paper form, and you don't get a sticker for your door – instead, you need to hope that your postie will remember that you've opted out.

Or at least it would be had I owned a printer!

I ditched the printer many years ago when I could see that all I was doing was creating yet more rubbish. I could at a push take the file to the library, they have a printing service I believe. However that would not be waterproof nor fade-resistant ink, so what we need is a proper vinyl version to be made up. I wonder what the cost might be for say a run of 100 or whatever the minimum order might be?

Royal Mail would object to the sticker – the logo is a registered trademark. Perhaps we could design a sticker without the logo. A small print-run would be relatively expensive though.

More importantly, the sticker might cause confusion. For instance, you're bound to get households using the sticker which aren't registered with the opt-out scheme (perhaps because they forgot that registrations expire after two years).

A better solution would be to convince Royal Mail that it should simply respect any anti-junk mail sign – the Royal Mail opt-out scheme would instantly be redundant and posties would no longer have to remember which households on their round are opted out.

What I do with Royal Mail junk is save it for a month then pop it back into a post box. Everyone should do the same... I'm sure they would get the message.

This already is a campaign idea. The proposal is slightly different; rather than stuffing pillar boxes with junk mail items could be returned to the senders.

I too return unwanted Royal Mail Junk to the postbox. I have stickers on my door requesting no unaddressed mail and they ignore the stickers. I have even had my mail wilfully delayed (Illegal) as my postman abused his position and told his manager that I had been abusive and threatening to him, what a liar, after I had told him I didn't want any more junk shoved through my door. Royal Mail cannot stop you returning unaddressed leaflets / letters to their postboxes as you are just returning them to sender.

Almost all posties have less than 1% opt outs on each round of 500 doors. So it's reasonable to think they can record or remember these few addresses.

Perhaps they should. On the other hand, it's easy for posties to forget that one household on the street that's opted out. Having a visual reminder (i.e. a sticker on the letterbox) is easier than having to learn by heart which households have opted out.

The discussion is a bit wider than just the question whether or not posties should be able to remember where the junk mail haters live. At the moment letterbox stickers are a purely informal way of stopping unaddressed junk mail – there's not even a definition of "junk mail" (does it include information about elections or free newspapers?). If Royal Mail starts using a sticker we can finally get some agreement on which items letterbox stickers are and aren't supposed to prevent.

I guess we're also talking about making Royal Mail's opt-out process a little more customer-friendly. For instance, the company wouldn't have to automatically de-register households after two years – people could remain opted out for as long as they're displaying the sticker.

If this idea is to be taken forward then this NEEDS to be done in conjunction with Royal Mail themselves, without their input and blessing it WILL NOT work, they will continue to ignore the sticker / notice just as they do already. It also has to display their own logo so as to identify it as a genuine notice, again without this it will be ignored. Perhaps we should open up communications with RM and see where we end up.

Placing your junk mail back into the red pillar box whilst satisfying your own piece of mind solves nothing, if we can talk with RM then perhaps we can both save ourselves a lot of trouble with unwanted junk in our letter boxes.

With the site owner's blessing, may I draft a letter of notice to RM?

L7

Yes, we should do something with this. It's a tricky one, but I'm sure we can come up with a sensible proposal.

Let's discuss via e-mail.

So, last week we fired off an e-mail to Royal Mail. Here's what we suggested (slightly edited for readability):

Our suggestion is to give households that ask to be opted out a letter explaining how the opt-out service works and a small 'No Unaddressed Mail' sticker. The opt-out service would then work very much like your 'delivery to neighbour' opt-out. As I understand it, households that opt out of the 'delivery to neighbour' service can do so via your website, and they are then sent a letter with information about opting out and a sticker that reminds the postman not to leave undeliverable items with a neighbour.

We believe our suggestion has a number benefits:

  • For households with an internet connection it would be easier to register with your opt-out service for unaddressed mail.
  • Households would no longer have to re-register with your service every couple of years. As with the 'delivery to neighbour' opt-out household could simply opt out by putting the sticker on their letterbox, and they could opt in again by removing the sticker.
  • Perhaps most importantly, the sticker would be a visual reminder for postmen. They would no longer have to remember which households on their round are opted out.

And here's the response, from a Royal Mail's customer service advisor:

I have read with interest your comments and suggestions on amending the Door to Door service. We have no imminent plans to amend the service as it currently stands, however, we appreciate your comments and suggestions. All Royal Mail services are reviewed periodically to ensure that we are offering customers the best service possible, and your comments have been recorded so they are available for the next review.

Presumably, this is the standard response people get when making a suggestion.

Yesterday I got this reply from RM, this seems to contradict the sentence about reviewing the services.

" All customers who opt out of Door To Door are entered onto our opt out database for two years after which time an opt out renewal is required. After a customer has been entered onto our database a notice is put on your address frame within the delivery office so the post officer who is covering a particular walk is aware of which addresses are opted out. This process has been in place for some time and there are no plans to review it. "

So either they do or do not review services ....... Which one is it please Royal Mail ?.

I am registered with the door-to-door opt-out and have had to make several calls to complain that the service is not working, so I do not believe that such a database exists.

However since then I have decided to address the situation head on. When I get junk mail I issue a "trespass notice" (which can be found on-line) to the originator of the junk mail (I have a big A4 notice at my front door). This works brilliantly, I barely get any junk mail now. Some companies write back with a grovelling apology and some of the leading shops (who shall remain nameless) have apologised with gift vouchers, the best to date being a voucher worth £120 from a local Nepalese restaurant for up to six people (I declined the offer). The trespass notice appears to be very effective and has been in place now at my home for almost two years.

For those that continue to get unaddressed mail when they are already signed up to the opt out scheme, can you as well as adding your comments here also sent an email to their department. If enough folks all say the same thing then perhaps they will do something to sort this out.

doortodoor_customerservices@royalmail.com

I have opted out of Royal Mail's junk mail but they keep putting their junk through my door, so do as I do and send every bit of junk mail back to Moya Greene CEO, Royal Mail Headquarters, 100 Victoria Embankment, LONDON, EC4Y 0HQ. Don't put a stamp on it, let Royal Mail pay for the stamp instead.

I have sent this woman so many letters and she has given me nothing but a talk to the hand attitude. She gets her money and could not give a damn. What we need to be is more like the French. I have complained about letters not addressed to me being delivered and letters being delivered as late as 7pm, as no designated postie existed at that time for my area. I had one postman who left recorded deliveries signing it fraudulently. Another postman always parks in a disabled space . They fail to take any action on anything and just said tuff we have got the contract we couldn't give a damn!

I've noticed a few times the recievers of junk mail being referred to as the customer. The general public are not, and never have been, the customer. When RM refers to the customer it means the people who pay for its services. RM is not a public service anymore, it is a business.

I opted out of receiving junk mail from Royal Mail last year and since then I have had to complain on numerous occasions because they continue delivering the junk!
At the same time I got a "no leaflets or junk mail" for my letter box, and thought I would have problems with it being ignored but all junk mail not delivered by Royal Mail has stopped!!
I've just had another lot of junk mail delivered by Royal Mail today, so have made yet another complaint!
I am now emailing the companies whose junk land on my doorstep that I have opted out.
I'm so sick of Royal Mail's arrogance in not complying with my opt out request.

I asked my postman not to put those damn leaflets through my door the other day. He replied that I would have to "lump it". I replied that if he does do it again I will stick them where the sun don't shine... and believe me, I shall.

I have been signed up to the RM opt-out for several years at more than one address. However, now I live in the city I have been having loads of problems - I think because the posties are constantly changing (and it appears that not all of them understand English!).

Last year in the run up to Christmas I tried to return a Tesco catalogue being delivered not by a postman but by a man who it turned out was employed by RM just to deliver said item. He was abusive and rude and refused to believe me when I said I was signed up for the opt-out. I emailed a complaint to RM but have never heard anything from them. I have renewed my application to opt out and printed off the RM opt-out label for my letter box. Let's hope that does the trick.

I have also in the past returned non-RM junk to the sender using their own pre-paid envelopes and written the slogan 'SAVE TREES, END UNSOLICITED MAIL NOW! I may use the trespass notice letter mentioned in a previous post if I have to!

I have read all your comments and suggestions, and it appears you are all as fed up as me with RM delivering junk mail. But I feel I should not have to 'opt out' as I have never 'opted in'.

Why can't we hire a debt collection agency to collect civil charges for recycling un-addressed items posted through our letter boxes in a similar manner to how parking on private land can be made to constitute acceptance of a contract? The wording could be something along the lines of...

"This premises is monitored 24/7 by a camera controlled security system tracking the identities of users of this private recycling service. All use of this private service constitutes the formation of a binding pay as you go contract and will incur a charge of £20 per un-adressed item including a nominal standard administration fee.

By your voluntary use of this facility as a repository for your or your employers or contractors materials you hereby agree that you personally are forming a binding agreement to personally pay the sums accrued by your use of this recycling service. You also waive any rights accrued by GDPR upon the use of your personal likeness in the identification of you our customer. If you choose to pay in advance with the materials you wish to be recycled in full then the cash fee will be reduced to just £5 per item to be recycled, If you defer payment and prefer to be invoiced you agree to pay on demand the invoiced fee of £20 per item.

If you choose to avail yourself of our credit payment system then you will be charge a fixed fee of £50 per item per additional week you wish to defer payment on an ongoing credit agreement.

You also accept that your credit rating may be adversely affected by any failure to settle your debt for the use of this service in what we consider a timely manner. We reserve the right to sell on any debt you accrue by the misuse of this service to 3rd party debt collection agencies and have your personal credit files show this defaulting upon your financial obligations."

In large bold and easily readable text colour and font.

In fact a third party company might wish to take on the administration of such a payment collection systems for residential paper and cardboard recycling services and improve the clout of the invoicing and debt reclamation for a commission!