How do I stop unwanted junk mail?

Getting post you don’t want can be irritating, inconvenient and, in the worst cases, intimidating.Follow these steps to make sure you only get the post you want and need.

1 Return to sender

Junk mail is often unwanted postal marketing such as flyers, competition entries and postal campaigns.

If you receive unwanted mail with a return address on the envelope you can write ‘unsolicited mail, please return to sender’ on the envelope and put it back in the post unstamped.

The sender will have to pay the return postage which may prompt them to remove your details from their mailing lists. 

Most companies understand there is no point in continuing to send further advertisements and leave you alone.

Scam mail?

If you want to report a potential postal scam you can write to RoyalMail at Freepost Scam Mail, phone: 03456 113 413, or email:

2 Mail Preference Service

If you are having a problem with the overall amount of junk mail that's addressed to you, it might help to register your name and address for free with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS).

The MPS is a free service set up by the direct marketing industry to help people who don't want to receive junk mail. 

It's good practice for organisations to check the MPS list before sending marketing but it is not a legal requirement that they do so.

3 Door-to-door opt out

You can reduce the amount of 'unaddressed’ mail you receive by registering with the Royal Mail's door-to-door opt-out service. 

However, this will not stop mail addressed to 'the occupier'.

To opt out of door-to-door mail, write to the address below requesting your name and address be added to the door-to-door opt out scheme.


You should know

Royal Mail has a legal obligation to deliver addressed post. But if you receive post not addressed to you by name it’s more than likely junk mail, and you should throw it straight into the recycling bin.

4 Contact the sender

Under the Data Protection Act 1998, any organisation has to stop using your personal information for direct marketing purposes if you ask them to do so.

This is a very effective way of stopping unwanted mail as they can't refuse to take your name, address and any other personal information off their mailing list.

If they fail to respond to initial contact you can formally request they stop sending you direct marketing using Section 11 of the Data Protection Act.

Using a Section 11 notice won’t stop junk mail addressed ‘to the occupier’ – only post which is addressed with your name. 

A Section 11 notice should put a stop to unwelcome emails and nuisance phone calls and texts though.

If the company fails to do so, you report them to the Information Commissioners Office.

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