Royal Mail is an omnishambles! GDPR is an omnishambles and together they’re just ludicrously inept!
I continually get unsolicited direct mail popped through my letterbox by my lovely postie – he’s a really nice bloke and this is nothing about the excellent service that he provides (in shorts) all through the year. Now I’m pretty sure that I’d already opted out and when I explore things – guess what? I had! But that over 2 years ago and apparently you have to renew your opt out – every two years! I wonder if that applies to GDPR compliance? I’ll need to check – it would seem logical that one rule would apply to all – wouldn’t it?
Here’s the guidance that Royal Mail offers and you may wish to cut to the quick by reading the headline below and then scrolling down to the headline that’s in red. Because the bits in between are directing you to external sites – or as I would put it examples of the Royal Mail, abrogating responsibility for what they stuff through your letterbox.
How do I opt out of receiving any leaflets or unaddressed promotional material?
“We are legally obliged to deliver all addressed mail, which includes mail that is addressed “To the Occupier” (or with any other generic recipient information), as well as mail that is personally addressed to you by name.
Opting out from Royal Mail Door to Door stops all unaddressed items from being delivered by us (although we do work with Government to get a message to every UK address in exceptional circumstances where delivery of the message is deemed to be in the national interest).
Things you need to know before choosing to ‘opt out’:
It is not possible for us to separate material you don’t want from those you do want. For example: advertising offers or leaflets from material from Central and Local Government and other public bodies.
Opting out means no one at your address will receive unaddressed mail items.
We deliver a minority of the total volume of unaddressed mail items in the United Kingdom. Our opt out does not cover any other distributors, who will continue to deliver unaddressed mail items to your property. Opting out of Royal Mail Door to Door deliveries will not necessarily reduce by a significant amount the number of items you’ll receive.
Opting out from other unaddressed mail deliveries
To opt out from deliveries from other unaddressed mail distributors you may wish to register with the ‘Your Choice’ preference scheme run by the Direct Marketing Association.
They can be contacted at:
‘Your Choice’ Preference Scheme
Direct Marketing Association (UK) Ltd
70 Margaret Street
Telephone: 0207 291 3300
Fax: 0207 323 4165
If you would like to stop any other unwanted communications please visit The Mailing Preference Service www.mpsonline.org.uk , which provides details on all other preference services, or call the Mailing Preference Service on 0845 703 4599
Opting out of receiving charity appeal communications
The Fundraising Preference Service is a website-based service that can help members of the public control the communications they receive from charities.
By registering your details with the Fundraising Preference Service you can choose to stop email, telephone calls, addressed post and/or text messages directed to you personally from a selected charity or charities.
To find out more and register please visit the FRS website or call their helpline on 0300 3033 517.
Opting out from Royal Mail Door to Door
If you still wish to opt out of receiving Door to Door mail items please complete our opt out form and return it to us at the address shown.
We’ll action your request within six weeks of receiving your completed form. Your opt out will last for a period of two years. During this time every effort will be made to prevent the delivery of Door to Door items by Royal Mail.
At the end of the two year period, in order to continue with your opt out, you will simply need to repeat this process and complete a new application form to confirm that you are still resident at the address and wish to continue opting out of Door to Door deliveries.
So you have to fill in a form, every two years, that can only be posted – not completed online nor done over the phone….and on it the form has the following weasel words.
- I confirm that I have read and fully understood your letter advising me of the implications of
“opting out” of receiving deliveries by Royal Mail of unaddressed Door to Door mail items to
- I understand that I may miss important information from local or national government or
other publications that are sent using this service.
- I understand that I will continue to receive unaddressed material delivered by companies
other than Royal Mail.
First off, where’s this letter? I haven’t received a letter from them mentioning this – and frankly it’s just a waste of time – just get on with it!!
Secondly – I hope this isn’t a get out for Royal Mail losing correctly addressed letters to me.
You mean the chaps who wander around stuffing promotional crap through letterboxes – of course I understand that you morons!
Just to let you know if you, like me, get loads of charity mailings and want to stop their garbage from arriving you need to stop them individually on the FRS site – yep individually!
I’ve also been on the MPS site and registered with them (pretty sure I’ve done that before too!).
How tedious is that. Actually it’s about the same as trying to opt out online. For starters every website seems to use a different method or allows you to opt out of some things but not necessarily the same things that the next website you visit allows…and then of course if you don’t allow them to store cookies on your machine then you have to go though the same system EVERY time you visit the site.
Now tell me…how is that helping me as a consumer, to manage my own data?
It’s not is it?
This is from the Information Commissioner‘s website:
You cannot rely on silence, inactivity, pre-ticked boxes, opt-out boxes, default settings or a blanket acceptance of your terms and conditions.
Oh really? I wonder what percentage of sites comply with that…5% maybe. There are plenty of sites that don’t give you the choice of whether a 3rd party can see your data – as there’s no option there end to switch that functionality off! And what about those emails that say it’ll take 10 days (or whatever) for this opt out to take effect. Why? Surely once the fact has been established that you don’t want what ever it was then that should be that…digital update of data and all that jazz!! It’s a bit like allowing a rapist a couple of weeks to process the fact that you’ve said “NO, No and thrice NO!” before you can say he’s committed an offence. It’s bloody stupid!
What is required is some joined up thinking and some joined up legislation – but, sadly, knowing the legal profession there’s very little likelihood of that ever happening..but we can dream people – we can still dream!!
So as part of my day job I end up looking at a number of websites and coming across a range of opt in/out privacy details- and I’ve just found this – possibly the most convoluted I’ve ever come across. What follows below is the home page of the Oath privacy centre – there are 5 other pages for you to trawl throigh and msot of them mean you have to do a shedload of work to actually opt out!