We Will…We Won’t…Sell Your Name
I recently did a post on the Herrington catalog, and the fact they do not give customers the option of not selling their name to other junk mailers. This was “Mr. Herrington’s” idea, according to customer service, a policy I followed for several years as a former list broker, wondering how they got away with it. This practice of allowing consumers to say no to the selling of their name is mandated with Direct Marketing Assn. membership. So you can understand my surprise when another major catalog arrives, sans opt-out.
Brookstone Catalog Worse Than Herrington
Looking through Brookstone’s latest catalog, there was no mention anywhere of the right to say nix on selling my name. Once again I went to the source, asking Brookstone customer service why I was not allowed the opportunity to opt-out of selling my name when purchasing from their catalog. The answer I received sounded completely off-the-wall. Patricia said: “Unfortunately, at this time we cannot accommodate your request. We hope to have this service available one day for our customers’ convenience.”
Brookstone Misleads Customers
The above answer leads one to believe they might allow you to say no to selling your name eventually. And why might we expect that “one day” when it hasn’t happened in over forty years. Brookstone started in 1965. It hasn’t happened in the last few years when many junk mail companies have been meticulous about allowing their customers to opt-out of hawking their names all over the universe. It hasn’t happened most recently, when ID theft has become the number one consumer complaint.
There is a method to their madness—whether it’s the hold-outs to openly offering the option to not sell your name, or those who do make the offer in the smallest print possible. Collectively, junk mailers believe they own your name and personal data, and can do with it as they please. The customer has no rights in the matter, prompted by the fact that industry-wide, the list business grosses over $4 billion annually from the sale of your names and sensitive data.
Why Should You Care?
Two good reasons. One, if you take back control over your name and private information, you could stop identity theft tomorrow. Two, with this control, you could demand compensation any time your name and personal data are sold. If you chose to sock this away like Social Security, it could provide a supplement to your retirement of an average of $607 monthly. With a new Congress, now is the time to tell your congressional representatives. Contact: House of Representatives; Senate.