2006-05-26 / Community

Pheffer:ResidentsCan Reduce Unwanted Junk Mail

Assemblywoman Audrey I. Pheffer has reminded New Yorkers that there are methods to reduce unwanted solicitations.

"Whether it is by phone or mail, people have become increasingly annoyed by telemarketers calling and mailboxes full of "junk". This is why as Chair of the Assembly Consumer Affairs and Protection Committee I have made it a priority to pass legislation to reduce these daily aggravations", said Pheffer.

Many consumers do not realize that they can contact companies individually to request that they be removed from their lists, and they can also register with the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service (MPS). Though these are voluntary programs, with the increasing cost of postage, most companies will honor your wishes and save themselves some money. In order to mail in your registration, send a personal letter or card containing your name, address, and signature to the following address: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512.

Consumers can also mail a form that is available on their website, www. dmaconsumers.org . All mail-in options are available free of charge, registering is available on the website for a five dollar fee.

In addition, consumers can now opt out of receiving "pre-approved" or "prescreened" solicitations for credit or insurance. To opt out of preapproved solicitations, call 1-888-5OPTOUT or visit www.optoutprescreen.com . You may choose to opt out for five years or permanently, and may opt back in at any time.

Not only do these options allow you to receive less "junk mail", but they also reduce your risk of identity theft resulting from stolen mail.

Many people know how successful the New York State Do-Not-Call list has been since its induction in 2001, followed by the increasing success of the program with the inception of the National Do-Not-Call list in 2003. This year we enacted Chapter 214 of 2005, which clarifies the prohibition against telemarketing sales calls to a consumer with whom a business has an established business relationship but the consumer has requested not to be called by the telemarketer. The new law also removes the face-to-face exception to the "do-not-call" law. These amendments further strengthen the Consumer Protection Boards ability to pursue violators.

To have your home number or cell phone placed on the list, you can register online at WWW.DONOTCALL. GOV or call toll-free, 1-888-382-1222 (TTY 1-866-290-4236), from the number you wish to register. Registration is free.

For more information on these programs, you can visit the New York State Consumer Protection Board's website at www.consumer.state.ny.us/ .

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