how to stop junk mail uk

How to Stop Junk Mail

Junk mail is one of my biggest bugbears and lately, I’ve been keen to find out how to stop junk mail.  From my research, I’ve put together a guide on how to stop junk mail, which I’m sure you’ll find useful!

The biggest offenders in my area are Virgin Media and Farmfoods (I’m all for naming and shaming).  I swear we get a Virgin Media circular through our door every other day (the worst part is we don’t even live in an area where you can get all of the Virgin Media services!).

H&M are also terrible.  If you buy something online they will automatically put your name on their catalogue distribution list and send you what seems like at least one catalogue a fortnight.  My partner also found himself on that same list, so it came to be that we were receiving two copies of the same catalogue every fortnight.  It took about 3 months of me returning every brochure that was sent to me before they took us off of their list.  And then one of us bought something else online, and the pesky catalogues started again.  Cue more sending the catalogues back until they took my name off the list (and a vow to only ever shop in-store in H&M).

how to stop junk mail uk

How to Stop Junk Mail

What can you do to stop junk mail?  First of all, do what I do with H&M and return any personally addressed junk mail to the sender.  Just cross through your address, add a note to the envelope asking to be removed from their mailing list, and put it back in the post box.  You don’t need to add a stamp – I never do.  Most companies get the message quite quickly and you won’t receive any more unsolicited post, others, like H&M, are a bit slower on the uptake.

Next on your checklist for how to stop junk mail is to sign up for the Mail Preference Service.  This is a free service which you can use to get your name and address removed from lists used by companies to market their products.  This means you will receive no junk mail addressed to you personally, however, it does not stop mail addressed “to the householder” or un-addressed junk mail being delivered, nor junk mail originating from abroad.

The next step you can do is to put a “no junk mail”, or “no circulars” sticker or sign on your letterbox.  This will help remind people, such as local fast food shops, not to put circulars through your letterbox, but will not stop the postman putting junk mail through your letterbox.  Apparently, postmen are contractually obligated to give you any junk mail that companies have paid Royal Mail to deliver.  It also won’t stop the delivery of free newspapers – you’ll have to add a “no free newspapers” sign on your letterbox as well.  If you’re worried about how all of this is going to look on your letterbox, then the Stop Junk Mail website (which gives very comprehensive advice, by the way), sell some letterbox stickers for only 90p.  You can even get some fancy aluminium signs for only £4.50 on there.

To then stop the postman delivering junk mail to you, you have to opt-out via the Royal Mail website.  I’ve found that Royal Mail makes this as difficult as possible for you to do and for that reason, I haven’t done it yet.  You have to write to Royal Mail or e-mail them.  They send you a form by post, which you then have to fill in send back to them.  It’s too much of a long-winded faff for me, but one day I will do this.  To opt out you can either send your name and address to:

Royal Mail Door to Door Opt-Outs
Kingsmead House
Oxpens Road

Or e-mail your name and address to

This lets you opt out of junk mail for two years, then you have to re-contact Royal Mail and go through the whole rigmarole again.  Again, a bit of a faff but it’s a key action in how to stop junk mail.

Have I missed anything on how to stop junk mail?  Let me know in the comments below!


  1. How bizarre that you wrote about this now, I was just talking to someone on Twitter the other day about how we get lots of Virgin junk mail (even though we’ve been customers with them for 5 years now).

    I agree that the Royal Mail process is long winded too – and its frustrating that to stop the Virgin Media junk that we’d have to go through that process when part of their company already knows that we are their customers, bah! I’ll do it one day too eventually.

  2. I don’t know anyone that isn’t besieged by Virgin Media junk mail. It’s really put me off ever considering signing up for their services if we moved to an area that they covered.

  3. I am fed up with the Virgin Media junk mail. I now send it back along with lots of other unwanted mail in an A4 envelope without a stamp on it. This means that they have to pay the unpaid postage at the large letter rate.

    • I got a Virgin Media circular just yesterday – it’s so annoying, That’s a great tip – going to start doing that – the unpaid postage fee is pretty high! If more people do it they might get the message!

  4. Why can’t junk mail be banned altogether? It is a collossal waste of resources (according to one TV programme, about six million cubic tons of paper and three-quarters of a million gallons of printing ink per year, and that’s just a conservative estimate!) and is already rendered obsolete by websites alone. A few hundred pounds per annum for a decent website whereas small cowboy-type tuppeny-halfpenny ‘companies’ spend £5,000 per annum on junk mail! No wonder British business is the laughing stock of the world! When was the last time anyone saw large and global companies such as ICI use junk mail? Answer-NEVER!)

    My solicitor asked an interesting question on this; why can’t people have a life opt-out of all junk mail? According to his research and speaking to magistrates on this matter, Royal Mail regulations DO NOT constitute a point of law and can be overidden by law. Under the Human Rights Act, it is illegal to harass people with unsolicited mail, it is also an offence under the ‘Protection From Harassment Act, 1997’. There is also a clause in the Bill of Rights, 1688/89 which forbids political pamphletting to homes (so no more boring political paperwork then) and could be used to also stop all other junk mail.

    Fairly recently there was a Select Committee on this matter (my solicitor’s MP was on this one) and the Direct Marketing Association said they’d try to cut down on junk mail by getting non-members to become members of their organisation but this was just a ploy to stave off complaints by the public. The Royal Mail said if they didn’t have junk mail they would have to keep on putting up prices of stamps (but they do this already even with junk mail!). Junk mail is ‘Business Mail’ according to their £6million per annum salary Chief Executive from Canada, Moira Green. She was no good with the Canadian National Postal Service she apparently used to work for and much the same with Royal Mail!).

    Let’s have a petition to force parliament to fully abolish junk mail or at least let us form a public party which can include abolishing junk mail as one of it’s policies designed to garnish major public support. I guarantee you any political party MP worth his or her salt and not wanting to lose their pay, pension and public paid perks would be forced to support junk mail abolition. Over to everyone else as to their views etc.

    Keep up the good work.


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