Royal Mail's junk mail rowPostman suspended after giving opt-out advice

30 August 2006

 

Posting a letter

Royal Mail is at the centre of a row over junk mail after it suspended a postman who advised residents on a way of stopping it being delivered to their homes.

Roger Annies wrote a leaflet about an option offered by Royal Mail for households which want to opt out of unsolicited mail. He circulated it during his rounds in the Barry area of South Wales.

The leaflet read: ‘As you will have certainly already noticed, your postman is not only delivering your mail; he/she also has to deliver some (anonymous) advertising material called door-to-door items. For the near future, Royal Mail plans to increase your advertising mail. This will mean a lot more unwanted post in your letterbox.

‘You may be interested in reducing your unwanted advertising mail, and reduce paper usage in order to help save the environment. If you complete the slip below and send it to the Royal Mail delivery office, you should not get any of the above-mentioned unwanted advertising.’

Misconduct investigation

A spokeswoman for the Royal Mail said: ‘We can confirm that a postman employed at Barry delivery office has been given a precautionary suspension on full pay pending further investigations following an alleged misconduct issue. We would not comment further on an individual case.’

There are a number of ways you can cut down on junk mail you receive, and all these services are free.

You can opt out of 'door-to-door' unsolicited mail that Royal Mail distributes - items just addressed to 'The Occupier', with no address - by calling 0845 7950 950 or by emailing optout@royalmail.co.uk.

But when Which? extensively checked the Royal Mail website early on 30 August, we found no details of how to opt out. Since we contacted Royal Mail, it has highlighted these details on the front page of its site. A spokesman claimed the information was always on the site but failed to give a specific location for it.

If you want to opt out of addressed mailshots, you can sign up to the Mail Preference Service. It says it can remove your name from up to 95 per cent of direct mail lists. However, it won't stop mail that's been sent from overseas, or mail addressed to 'The Occupier'.

You may also get targeted by companies you've bought items from in the past, and by small, local companies. If you want these mailings to be stopped, you must notify the companies directly. It will take up to four months for the service to have full effect although you should notice a reduction before then.

Unwanted phone calls

If you don't want to get cold calls, you can register with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS). Once a number is registered, the block should become effective in 28 days. It's illegal for companies to make unsolicted marketing calls to numbers registered with the TPS.

Finally, the Fax Preference Service (FPS) will block unwanted sales and marketing faxes. Although it's already illegal to send such faxes to individuals, you can still register with the FPS if you wish. Businesses can also register fax numbers on which they don't want to get direct marketing faxes.