Credit card offers and stopping junk mail

I get a lot of credit card offers. From time to time, I purchase something like a car or major appliance and will apply for a card or two offering 0% interest for a year so I can pay off the purchase over a long period of time at no extra charge. So while I find the credit card offers annoying and incredibly wasteful, I pay attention to them.

Last week a friend asked me if I knew of any credit cards offering 0% balance transfers to finance a new refrigerator and dishwasher. Instead of going through my junk mail, I went to the interweb. After a great deal of crazy and masterful searches on the google I found the incredibly obscure yet highly useful site:
I clicked on their balance transfer cards link and was able to quickly dig into the fine print to find some options with no balance transfer fees- one of three keys to using this technique without paying one cent. (The other two keys are to pay the minimum balance on time every month and pay the balance in full before the 0% ends.)

Then I realized... "I don't need this junk mail."

I used my mad google chops and found the Federal Trade Commission instructions for stopping unsolicited junk mail credit card offers. This page includes a number of steps to opt out of advertising abuse. The sad news about all this is that these blocks are temporary and even worse- in fine bureaucratic form- the time periods are not the same. This sadness is offset a bit by the astonishing fact, that the time periods are listed! Well except for when they are not...
  • Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (567-8688) 2 years
  • Write the three major credit bureaus Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion and tell them to quit sharing your info with advertisers (click the link for addresses and a form letter to use). Not clear how long this will last.
  • The site to stop telemarketers is also included: www.donotcall.gov 5 years
  • And lastly, the Direct Marketing Association’s information is included so you can contact them and tell them to leave you alone. 5 years
I put myself on the do not call list and immediately (well after a few weeks) noticed a almost complete end to telemarketing calls. If the credit card offers list works half as well, the Lorax will be one happy mossy, bossy man-like creature.


Anonymous said...

i reply to all credit offers by putting in blank papers in the return envelopes. it relaxes me knowing i'm wasting their money

Anonymous said...

You can use StopTheJunkMail.com to Opt Out unwanted Junk Mail.
They Plant A Tree for each subscription and help you Stop Junk Mail

Jouissance said...

anonymous #1- Funny, but wasteful. Better to take steps to keep the paper from being wasted in the first place. Plus, if you own any mutual funds in a 401k or anything, there is a good chance you are wasting your own money by wasting theirs.

anonymous #2- I like that they plant a tree, but am not willing to pay $19.95 for a service I can do myself for free.

Anonymous said...

Do Not Mail Opt-Out Law would be fair to everyone.

The proposed statewide "Do not mail" is an Opt-Out law. Only those not desiring advertising mail need opt-out. Anyone desiring advertising mail can do nothing - and continue to receive it. Why deny those wishing to avoid advertising mail the power to do so?

I do not consider handling unwanted advertising placed against my will on my personal property to be a civic obligation!

The US Supreme Court said in the Rowan case in 1970, ““In today's [1970] complex society we are inescapably captive audiences for many purposes, but a sufficient measure of individual autonomy must survive to permit every householder to exercise control over unwanted mail. To make the householder the exclusive and final judge of what will cross his threshold undoubtedly has the effect of impeding the flow of ideas, information, and arguments that, ideally, he should receive and consider. Today's merchandising methods, the plethora of mass mailings subsidized by low postal rates, and the growth of the sale of large mailing lists as an industry in itself have changed the mailman from a carrier of primarily private communications, as he was in a more leisurely day, and have made him an adjunct of the mass mailer who sends unsolicited and often unwanted mail into every home. It places no strain on the doctrine of judicial notice to observe that whether measured by pieces or pounds, Everyman's mail today is made up overwhelmingly of material he did not seek from persons he does not know. And all too often it is matter he finds offensive.”

Furthermore, the Supreme Court said, “the mailer's right to communicate is circumscribed only by an affirmative act of the addressee giving notice that he wishes no further mailings from that mailer.

To hold less would tend to license a form of trespass and would make hardly more sense than to say that a radio or television viewer may not twist the dial to cut off an offensive or boring communication and thus bar its entering his home. Nothing in the Constitution compels us to listen to or view any unwanted communication, whatever its merit; we see no basis for according the printed word or pictures a different or more preferred status because they are sent by mail.”

We need a nationwide “Do Not Mail” law to create a one-stop, convenient place for homeowners to give senders the aforementioned affirmative notice that we do not want certain kinds of mail sent to our homes. www.nomorejunkmail.org

Ramsey A Fahel
Arvada, CO

Jouissance said...

Ramsey- Interesting points. I wonder how you feel about ads placed on your car windshield.

When you say- "I do not consider handling unwanted advertising placed against my will on my personal property to be a civic obligation!" How do you deal with these flyers? Is it your obligation to trash or recycle them?

Also, some of your comments remind me of the legal issues surrounding the 30 second skip feature of some DVRs.

I can change the channel so why can't I simply skip the portion of programming I find offensive or do not want to see? Why must I go to a competing channel instead?

Anonymous said...

As you might expect, I do not like flyers placed under my windshield wipers... or free newspapers thrown onto my front porch. Why has our society deteriorated to the point that privacy is sacrificed without compunction in search of the other fellow's dollar?

Anonymous said...

US Postal Service won’t let you refuse mail.

If the US Postal Service would abide by its own rule, each homeowner could easily stop junk mail from getting into their mailbox by putting a written notice on their mailbox expressing their preference.

The US Postal Services practices are supposed to be according to the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM). The DMM contains provision 508.1.1.2 that says, “Refusal at Delivery: The addressee may refuse to accept a mailpiece when it is offered for delivery.” I interpret this rule to mean that if a homeowner wants to refuse an unwanted mailpiece (i.e. junk mail), the homeowner can do so when the mailpiece is offered for delivery. More to the point – refuse it before it is put into the mailbox!

In practical application, since the postal carrier comes to homes at different times each day, the homeowner cannot be waiting at the mailbox to dialogue with the mail carrier about each mailpiece. The only realistic way to interpret 508.1.1.2 therefore is that the homeowner should post a notice on the mailbox telling the postal carrier about the homeowner’s preference. The notice to the postal service must be specific and unambiguous. For instance, a homeowner should certainly be able to write, “No mail that is not addressed to the Jones” because that does not require the postal carrier to make a subjective judgment. On the other hand, it would not be acceptable to write “no junk mail” because the definition of “junk mail” is subjective and the mail carrier cannot decide.

Unfortunately, the US Postal Service has written to me that they will NOT honor a notice refusing mail, not matter how specifically it is worded, because the postal carrier does not have time to sort through the mail at my mailbox to pick out the pieces that are not addressed to me. Therefore, the US Postal Service is passing their sorting and disposing task onto me by putting all the mail they want into my mailbox, even though this seemingly violates 508.1.1.2.

Since the U.S. Postal Service will not abide by 508.1.1.2, homeowners need to stop unwanted mail at the source (i.e. by blocking the sender from sending it). We need a nationwide “Do Not Mail” law to create a one-stop, convenient place for homeowners to give senders notice that we do not want certain kinds of mail sent to our homes.



Ramsey A Fahel

Anonymous said...

Please tell me which credit card company offers 0% APR for 12 months with NO balance transfer fee? All of them seem to have a 3% fee (best offer was $75 max) and I have also called customer service lines asking them to waive the fee...and no love. I have a big transfer to do and would like to do it without spending, as you say one cent. HELP!



Kreditkort said...

Cards that apply to can offer many advantages. You can see what these cards have to offer and select the desired one. However, if you need a credit card for your business, it would be a good idea to ask several of them. This will increase the chances that he has given permission. There is no reason you need to go without a map, and that there are offers for all credit situations and types of use. You can use the Internet to study the best deal available for you.