Tags: bank of america | spam | junk | mail

LA Times: Saying 'No' Only Stops Bank of America's Junk Mail Now, Not Forever

By    |   Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 01:42 PM

Even if you choose not to receive junk mail from Bank of America, it may not be the last time you hear from them. The bank doesn't accept that “no” means “no” forever.

Visit Bank of America's website and you'll be informed that “you have choices” when it comes to limiting direct marketing contact, notes LA Times columnist David Lazarus.

It sounds very customer-friendly and makes it appear as if the bank is trying to prioritize individuals' preferences. But dig deeper into the details, and you'll uncover the fine print: If you opt out, the bank only has to leave you alone for five years.

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“After that, you can choose to renew your opt out(s) for another five-year period,” Lazarus says the Bank of America website explains.

One San Francisco resident, Richard Knee told the Times he opted not to receive any junk mail from Bank of America some years ago. Then recently, he received a letter informing him that his choice was set to expire.

“According to our records, you are not being mailed offers from Bank of America because you have opted out of postal mail marketing offers,” the letter said.

If Knee didn't take time to opt out again Bank of America was free to start bombarding him with junk mail again in about a month.

“Why should I have to opt out again?” he asked. “I already told them that I don't want their stuff cluttering my mailbox. The opt-out should be permanent,” he said.

Betty Riess, a Bank of America spokeswoman, claims the company reaches out after five years as a courtesy to consumers.

“We update consumer preferences on direct-mail solicitations every five years because individuals' preferences may change in the interim and we want to make sure we have current information,” she said.

In that case, Bank of America is saying that if people start to crave junk mail they are too stupid or helpless to initiate contact so the bank feels the need to step in and help, quipped Lazarus.

To be fair, Bank of America isn't the only company that refuses to leave people alone forever.

In fact, its policy may be considered somewhat generous compared to Wells Fargo's policy, which according to Lazarus, requires people to renew their decision to opt out of mail marketing every three years.

While opting out at the company level is one option, the Federal Trade Commission offers advice with a broader effect. To cut down on the overall volume of junk mail visit the Direct Marketers Association website and register for the Mail Preference Service.

Doing so will “reduce most unsolicited mail.” says the FTC. But this option is also limited to a five year period and will not impact mail from organizations that don't use the Mail Preference Service, says the FTC.

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Even if you choose not to receive junk mail from Bank of America, it may not be the last time you hear from them. The bank doesn't accept that "no" means "no" forever.
bank of america, spam, junk, mail
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2014-42-22
Tuesday, 22 Jul 2014 01:42 PM
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