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Q: need references to laws requiring companies to honor list removal requests ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   1 Comment )
Subject: need references to laws requiring companies to honor list removal requests
Category: Reference, Education and News > Consumer Information
Asked by: englishpaulm-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 26 Aug 2003 20:34 PDT
Expires: 25 Sep 2003 20:34 PDT
Question ID: 249116
If I send a postcard to a company asking to take me off their mailing
list, what are their legal requirements? I'm looking for pointers to
actual laws.

Request for Question Clarification by ephraim-ga on 26 Aug 2003 20:55 PDT
Would you accept as an answer a law which provided you with a specific
government-approved procedure for removing yourself from a company
mailing list? Or must the answer specifically include a reference to a


Request for Question Clarification by ephraim-ga on 26 Aug 2003 20:58 PDT
By the way -- we're talking about the United States, right?


Clarification of Question by englishpaulm-ga on 26 Aug 2003 21:12 PDT
We're talking about USA, and the law cited does not have to refer
specifically to a postcard. Thanks! (Btw, I wonder if you are the
Ephraim I know... :)
Subject: Re: need references to laws requiring companies to honor list removal requests
Answered By: ephraim-ga on 26 Aug 2003 22:20 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars

There's one website out there which is an incredibly useful resource
for all things junk-related. It's called Junkbusters, and is found at
[ ]. They have a subpage describing how to
deal with junk snail mail at [ ].

The legal stuff that you want on this subject is detailed ad nauseum
on [ ]. This page has numerous
links, legal citations, and useful information and legal procedures
for removing yourself from junk mailing lists. (Sidenote: Don't ignore
the Direct Marketing Association's do-not-mail list, described on the
junkmail page above. It doesn't have force of law, but it is also very

The dmlaws page explains that "In 1970 a group of direct marketers
appealed to the Supreme Court of the United States against a law that
was hurting their business. They called it unjust and
unconstitutional. They claimed to have a constitutional right to say
anything to you that they want, as often as they want, 'in any manner
whatsoever,' especially by sending you mail. Even if you told them to

Apparently, the U.S. Supreme Court was very unimpressed by these
arguments, and "The judges came to just the opposite conclusion: they
found that the law 'permits a citizen to erect a wall . . . that no
advertiser may penetrate without his acquiescence.' That law requires
the US Postal Service to provide a simple form that you can fill in to
stop any junk mailer from ever sending you anything else. The law was
originally intended to stop pornographic junk mail, and the form still
refers to the junk as 'erotically arousing advertisements.'"

Just in case you're worried that the law applies only to obviously
pornographic material, you should know that the judges foresaw this
possibility. "The court didn't like the idea of the employees of the
USPS deciding for the nation what is erotically arousing and what
isn't. It avoided the question of erotica completely by ruling that
you decide what's junk."

In other words, if you claim it's pornographic and that you don't want
to see it, the company company is required by law to stop sending it
to you.

The page goes on to explain the forms that the post office should have
available so that you can claim your rights under the law.

The actual law explaining all this is available at Cornell
University's US Code Collection at [ ].

The Supreme Court's decision on the appeal I've described above is on
the same page as the other general information, specifically here: [ ].

Other legal resources are listed at the bottom of the page.

I hope this provides the information you're looking for. Do not
hesitate to ask for clarification if needed!

Search Strategy:

Google Search: "junkbusters"

englishpaulm-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
You rock!

Subject: Re: need references to laws requiring companies to honor list removal requests
From: ephraim-ga on 27 Aug 2003 11:00 PDT

The tip is much appreciated. Thanks!


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