Created: 1995. Updated: 2001

DMA List Suppression

(How to Get Rid of Junk Mail, Spam, and Telemarketers)

The Mail Preference Service division of the Direct Marketing Association (known as DMA) compiles a list of people who do not want junk mail. This list is provided to any company who requests it, usually magazines.
Write Mail Preference Service and request your name, address, and phone number be deleted from all mailing and marketing lists. Provide them with three spellings or variations of your name, as well as with any other names at your address (including previous occupants). They will retain your information for five years. At that time you should write again. Be sure to write when you move. Send your name and address. Be sure to sign and date your letter.
     Mail Preference Service
     c/o Direct Marketing Association
     PO BOX 9008
     Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008

The Farmingdale office processes your request. They will attempt to enter your correct full name at your specified address, but not all permutations, and they have been known to arbitrarily leave off an important variation of your name. On a quarterly basis, they send an updated database to their DC office and make the database available for general distribution. To see if your name was correctly entered into their database, contact: Mail Preference Service, Washington, DC, and ask for Ms. Tyree, Consumer Affairs Dept. 202.955.5030 x2413.
DMA also offers a telephone opt-out service. Write them with a list of all telephone numbers you want placed on "do not call" lists. Send your name, address, phone number with area code, and signature. They will retain your information for five years.
     Telephone Preference Service
     c/o Direct Mail Marketing Association
     PO BOX 9014
     Farmingdale, NY 11735-9014

The DMA also has an Ethics & Consumer affairs department in Washington, DC. They deal with obvious violations by member companies and also with violations by non-member companies. Probably the most common violation is refusal of a companny to honor your privacy request. Contact Pat Falley at 202.861.2410 or Bowles Pender 202.861.2407. Yet experience has shown that these folks care little about truly enforcing ethics concerns.
FACT: Mail Preference Service is a good step to getting off junk mail lists.
FICTION: Mail Preference Service works as a cure-all (it does not). Many companies, including the post office, try to tell people that all they have to do is write DMA. Usage of the DMA suppression list is completely voluntary. Many organizations use it, but many do not. You still have to follow up with additional action and contacts to other companies.
FICTION: The DMA is a consumer organization.
FACT: "The goal of the DMA is to discover and to thwart possible government regulation." - President of the DMA, DM News, October 22, 1990.
Private Citizen The TRUTH: Private Citizen (800-CUT-JUNK) can tell you about the true purpose of the DMA and what you can really do to get off mailing lists.

Don't support the DMA's e-mail preference scheme (an opt-out scheme), as it only gives them "ammunition" to tell Congress that no legislation is required to protect email users. In other words, if you want junk e-mail, you should have to ask for it, not vice-versa.
See for more information.
The DMA tells MAPS: "Shut up and eat your spam!"
Send your comments to the DMA president, with copies to addresses noted below:
CAUCE CAUCE is an organization dedicated to expanding the US "junk fax" law to cover e-mail spamming. Join their effort! See the above section for more information on the DMA. See the section on junk e-mail and spam, including anti-spam Legislation.

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Copyright 1995-2004 Fred Elbel. This material may be freely used and distributed only for non-commercial purposes, with credit. Nothing in this web site should be construed as legal advice. This web site is provided for information purposes only. Opinions presented are those of the author (or of other contributors as indicated). Trademarks and copyrighted items remain the property of the owner.