Junk mail spilling through your letterbox? Spam emails clogging up your inbox? Unwelcome telephone calls from companies trying to sell you something? (they always seem to call when you’ve sat down for your dinner don’t they?) Whatever bugs you about unwanted marketing, there are a number of ways to take back the control and make your life easier.
Here at ALLOW we want to give you transparency about who has your details and how they use them. We are championing the rights of people when it comes to privacy and data issues. We can help you to take control. Sign up to ALLOW and all of the following tips and tricks will be completed for you. It’s that easy.
The key phrase to remember here is “opt out”. This is our invaluable three-step guide to help you to opt out. Together, we can stop unwanted marketing and lead a spam-free existence.
1. Register with the main opt-out schemes
• Stop unwanted junk mail – Mail Preference Service
The Mail Preference Service (MPS) is a free service that was set up by the direct-marketing industry and enables you to remove your name and UK address from marketing lists. You can have your details removed from about 95% of direct mail lists with MPS. It has its limitations though. It cannot stop unaddressed mail, or material addressed to “the occupier”, nor can it prevent mail sent from overseas. You will still receive mailings from companies with whom you have done business in the past and you might still receive mailings from small local companies.
• Stop unwanted telephone calls – Telephone Preference Service
The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a central opt-out register – a place where you can register to stop receiving unsolicited sales and marketing calls. It’s a legal requirement that companies do not make sales or marketing calls to numbers registered with the TPS.
• Stop unwanted spam email – Electronic Mail Preference Service
The Email Preference Service (eMPS) enables you to remove your email address from national marketing lists. Registration with this service will reduce the number of spam emails you receive, but it won’t stop all commercial emails. It is also limited as some emails are generated overseas or the companies sending them might not screen their list against this service.
• Stop unwanted faxes – The Fax Preference Service
The Fax Preference Service (FPS) is a free service that enables individuals and businesses to request the end of unsolicited sales and marketing faxes.
• Stop unaddressed mail – The Door Drop Opt-outs
Royal Mail allows you to opt out of unaddressed mail delivered by them, which allows you to opt out of “door to door” mail. Request an opt-out form by sending an email, including your name and address, to email@example.com, and then complete and return the form to Royal Mail.
The DMA runs the ‘Your Choice’ Preference Scheme. Those companies that are members of the DMA agree to abide by the expressed wishes of householders who do not wish to receive unaddressed material through their letterbox. Request an opt-out form by sending an email, including your name and address, to firstname.lastname@example.org, and then complete and return the form to the DMA.
2. Opt out of the edited Electoral Roll
The Electoral Roll is the list of all UK addresses and the registered voters that live within them. There are two different versions of the register: the full register and the edited register. The full register contains every name and address but is only accessible to limited individuals. The edited register leaves out the names and addresses of individuals who have asked to be excluded. Anybody can buy the edited electoral roll and it is often used for marketing purposes. To opt out you will need to re-register to vote at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk and tick the box about the exclusion of your details from the edited register. You can also contact your local authority to be removed from the edited register.
3. Opt out of marketing databases
You have a number of rights under the Data Protection Act and one of these rights entitles you to request that companies do not process your data for marketing purposes. What you will find on the right of this page are the names and contact details of the top eight marketing databases in the UK. Working your way through the list can be time consuming (and ALLOW can do it all for you anyway), but it’s worth the effort if you want to do it yourself.
To find out what steps you can take yourself to regain some control over your data and personal information see our individual guides to…
“Too much hassle? Sign up to ALLOW and I’ll do it all for you! I’ve been in the marketing industry for more than 10 years and I’ve become a bit of an opting-out expert. The process is long winded, but that’s because they don’t really want you to do it. Sign up to ALLOW today and we will help you to take control.”
Sarah Mitha – ALLOW