Today I received the following complaint about Royal Mail from someone in Macclesfied:
"Despite having opted out of RM's door-to-door mail they still deliver unaddressed junk. Today I received the same batch as yesterday. I have been opted out for several years and re-send the opt out form about every 18 months to ensure continuity. The last one was sent about 6 months ago. Is there a way to stop it once and for all?"
First the basics… Royal Mail's Door-to-Door Opt-Out stops all unaddressed mail delivered by the postman. If you're an average person, that's about half the leaflets you get through the letterbox. The other half is delivered mainly by local businesses and can be stopped by putting a pretty No Junk Mail sticker on your letterbox. Oh, and then there's that handful of leaflets delivered by distribution companies that are members of the Direct Marketing Association; just to confuse you the junk mail lobby group has set up another opt-out scheme called Your Choice.
The Door-to-Door Opt-Out has been around for donkey's years but is still a well-guarded secret. Only 0.7% of UK households are registered with the opt-out, despite the fact that it will stop more junk mail than all other opt-out services combined. Royal Mail does not advertise the existence of the opt-out scheme and the company throws draconian warnings about the potentially disastrous consequences of stopping unaddressed, unsolicited leaflets to anyone requesting an opt-out form. About half the people requesting the opt-out form apparently decide not to opt-out after reading Royal Mail's propaganda. Scare tactics do often work, unfortunately.
Those people that do return the Door-to-Door Opt-Out Confirmation Form (PDF) often find that they get just as much unaddressed rubbish from the postman as before. It's usually not the postman that's to blame for this. It seems that the team administrating the Door-to-Door Opt-Out often fails to pass information to local delivery offices; and that if delivery offices do get told about households that have opted out they often forget to tell postmen. And even if the information finds its way through the bureaucratic mill things are still likely to go wrong, for postmen are supposed to learn by heart which households on their round are opted out. Having been a postie myself I can assure you that's not easy. It's strange that replacing this archaic system with a more efficient one is not part of Royal Mail's drive towards modernisation.
Returning to the question from the person in Macclesfield, my advice would be to make an formal complaint. Normally I would suggest making an informal complaint first (by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org). However, our complainant has already contacted Royal Mail on several occasions. If a request not to receive unaddressed mail items is structurally ignored making a formal complaint is the only option. So, familiarise yourself with Royal Mail's complaints procedure; read the tips on the Stop Junk Mail website; contact Royal Mail Customer Services; and, if that doesn't stop the junk mail, go to the Postal Review Panel. It's not an easy route but in the end it'll be worth the trouble. Sooner or later Royal Mail will give in and stop delivering unaddressed junk mail.