Search This Blog

Monday, December 04, 2006

Herrington Catalog Opts No Opt-Out

No Option for Name Use

We just received the latest Herrington “Enthusiasts” catalog, and I decided to check to see if they had changed their policy—from several years ago—of not offering the customer a simple box to check on the catalog order form that indicates they do not want their name sold to other junk mailers. Herrington has always stood out in the business as a major player who does not offer this option. So, no surprise that they still do not.

Customer Service Confirms Strange Logic of Owner

I decided to go to the catalog for more information, and e-mailed Herrington’s customer service asking why they do not extend this courtesy. Colleen answered me: “At this time Mr. Herrington has decided not to put this type of option in the order form inserted in the catalog.” Colleen continues by telling me this is a “good recommendation,” that she will forward it to “him,” and hopefully it will be put in future catalogs. Yeah. Sure. The problem here is that Herrington’s customer service representative is leading the customer to believe it might happen, which it hasn’t in 25 years.

Colleen does offer to flag my name so it won’t be sold to other junk mailers in the future. You can also do this by going online and clicking on “Privacy,” but you must either call an 800-number or type in their e-mail address on your browser; they do not provide a link. Yet another clever obstacle. However, I am providing it here. Two things in their favor: they don’t “share” e-mail addresses or telephone numbers.

Is It Greed Or Entrepreneurial Arrogance?

The junk mail industry was conceived and developed by a bunch of driven entrepreneurs working off their kitchen tables, some of which were arrogant and fixed in their ways. In the early days there was some defiance over spending the money to eliminate sending out duplicate mailings to the same household. Some still don’t. Then junk mailers—who gross over $4 billion annually from the sale of names and private information—predicted doom, when they were forced to include the option in their mailings to opt-out of future mailings. Some still don’t…like Herrington.

Inconsiderate or Irresponsible?

You’re inconsiderate if you fail to return someone’s telephone call. You are irresponsible if you do not do everything possible to allow customers control over whether they want their names sold in a fashion that subjects them to mail intrusion they may not want. This kind of policy is why we must pass federal legislation giving consumers control over their names and personal data. Tell your Congressional representative: Senate;House of Representatives.

No comments: