House of Commons Library

Junk Mail

Published Wednesday, April 10, 2019

This note provides an outline of what an individual can do to stop junk mail and to remove their name from direct marketing mailing lists. It also briefly considers how unsolicited emails (known as "spam") can be stopped through the use of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

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Some individuals object to the amount of unsolicited direct marketing mail or promotions they receive through their letter box (often referred to as ‘junk mail’). They find unsolicited mail intrusive and annoying.

An individual can register with the Mailing Preference Service (MPS) and thereby have their details removed from direct marketing mailing lists.  However, the MPS is not designed to stop unaddressed items of mail, direct mail delivered to the door or the delivery of free newspapers. Mail addressed to "the occupant", "the resident" or "the homeowner" is also not covered by this scheme. However, it may be possible for an individual to opt out of receiving door to door mail items delivered by Royal Mail or other operators. It is fair to say that it is difficult to stop junk mail that is sent from another country.

This Commons briefing paper provides an outline of what an individual can do to stop junk mail. It also briefly considers how unsolicited emails (known as "spam") might be stopped through the use of the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

A separate Library briefing paper (CBP 6033) (dated 15 March 2019) sets out the regulations which seek to address "Nuisance calls, unsolicited sales and marketing, and silent calls".

 

Commons Briefing papers SN05762

Author: Lorraine Conway

Topic: Consumers

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