Remember all the excitement about the 'improved single contact preference service for unaddressed mail' back in November 2011? As part of an ongoing producer responsibility deal the Direct Marketing Association was finally going to launch its own one-point-stop for opting out of junk mail (Junk Buster has been around since March 2009, Stay Private since June 2010). From April 2012, the Environment Secretary said, people would have an easy way to stop unsolicited junk mail coming through our letterboxes.
On 2 May I asked the Direct Marketing Association why the April deadline had been missed and when the service was due to be launched. Three times they've promised me I'd get a call back but I'm still waiting. WRAP, who are part of a steering group established to ensure the responsibility deal remains on track, refused to comment and suggested I ask Defra what's going on. Defra, in turn, advised they had asked the Direct Marketing Association to return my call and that I could expect a call the next day. That was nearly ten days ago.
I've lived in the UK long enough to understand these kind of non-responses mean you're not going to get an answer. To be frank, I hadn't expected an answer; the Direct Marketing Association is as secretive as the North Korean government. So, yesterday I've sent Defra a Freedom of Information request asking for the release of all relevant correspondence relating to the responsibility deal. By the time I get this information the opt-out service will probably have been launched - it's really not that complicated to set up a couple of web pages allowing people to sign up to opt-out schemes online - but it will still be interesting to learn what the Direct Marketing Association et al are finding so difficult to say.