Junk Mail

They show up in your mailbox almost everyday: ads, offers and other things we call junk mail. Federal law gives you the chance to limit the amount of junk mail you get everyday, but unless you know how to take advantage of this opportunity you could miss it.

If you are like most consumers a lot of your mail goes straight into the trash. Marketers and retailers send you so-called junk mail after getting your information from other companies like banks and insurance agencies.

Associates mutual credit union does not sell its customer's private information, but it's one of the few. So, before you toss your mail, read it. A federal law now requires businesses to 'fess up about whether they share your secrets by July 1st and give you the chance to stop it by returning opt-out notices.

Fewer than one percent of bank customers nationwide have opted out so far. But customers blame the lack of response on a lack of clarity on the part of many companies.

The rules also apply to real-estate appraisers, automobile-leasing companies, and retail stores with their own credit cards. Companies can give customers as little as thirty days to reply to the opt-out notices. But, the law requires them to make an opt-out offer at least once a year or whenever they change their privacy policy.

To stop unwanted solicitations, write Direct Marketing Association at Post Office Box 9008, Farmington, New York 11735.