Definitions

opt

Opt-out

The term opt-out refers to several methods by which individuals can avoid receiving unsolicited product or service information. This ability is usually associated with direct marketing campaigns such as telemarketing, e-mail marketing, or direct mail.

Telemarketing

The U.S. Federal Government created the National Do Not Call Registry to reduce the telemarketing calls consumers receive at home. Initially numbers listed on the registry were due to be kept for five years but will now remain on it permanently due to the Do-Not-Call Improvement Act of 2007, which became law in February 2008.

The UK's Direct Marketing Association operates an optout scheme through the Telephone Preference Service. While the service will reduce unsolicited calls it does not stop solicited calls, market research calls, silent calls or overseas calls.

E-mail marketing

In e-mail marketing, a clickable link or "opt-out button" may be included to notify the sender that the recipient wishes to receive no further e-mails. Clicking the link or button has the side effect of confirming to the sender that the e-mail address used was a valid one, perhaps opening the door for further unsolicited e-mail or spam.

U. S. Postal Service

Credit card offers

Each year American consumers receive several billion written offers of credit or insurance they did not request. In many cases, the senders have prescreened the recipients for creditworthiness and suitability using consumer credit records in the files of consumer reporting agencies.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) permits creditors and insurers to use CRA information as a basis for sending unsolicited firm offers of credit or insurance, also known as prescreened solicitations, to consumers who meet certain criteria, but only within limits specified in the act. The FCRA also provides a mechanism by which consumers can elect not to receive such solicitations by directing CRAs to exclude their names and addresses from lists provided by these agencies for sending prescreened solicitations. Consumers who choose to have their names removed from lists used for prescreened solicitations may well still receive offers of credit or insurance by mail or telephone, but such offers will not be based on the credit records maintained by the CRAs.

Consumers are able to opt-out of receiving any offers from U.S. national credit bureaus.

Unsolicited direct marketing mail (aka "junk mail")

In the U.S, the Direct Marketing Association's (DMA) Mail Preference Service provides an opt-out service. The consumer's name is added to a "delete" file which is made available to direct-mail marketers. However, registration will not stop mailings from organizations that are not registered with the DMA.

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