(Unless You Want All The Catalogs)
Generally, medium-to-large-sized businesses will want to sell your information to someone. It’s lucrative enough to help struggling clothing businesses stay afloat: according to a 2011 Wall Street Journal article, catalog companies charge about $110 per thousand mailing list names per mailing.
Figuring out how to opt out of letting them sell your information saves you irritation and helps the environment. Opt-out information is usually located in companies’ privacy policies. CatalogChoice is a good option for if you forgot to do that and want to opt out of mail you’re already getting.
However, I’ve definitely experienced a couple of worst offenders, and I wanted to share those with you so you could extra avoid the trouble.
Years ago, Talbots made the only winter coat I’d ever seen that was budget-friendly, fancy-looking, and warm enough for Minnesota winters. And then the Catalog Woes started.
I started getting catalogs from virtually every company you could imagine that caters to middle-aged women. I only started cancelling catalogs through CatalogChoice back in February, so unfortunately I don’t have a paper trail for the specific companies, but I remember it being four or five different ones. That trickled off, but I cancelled the Talbots catalog through CatalogChoice on February 2, and as of June 12, they were still sending me catalogs. For reference, CatalogChoice says that “it can take 1-2 months after you submit an opt-out request for the unwanted mail to cease altogether.”
Talbots has a history of ignoring opt-out requests, so I’d definitely steer clear of giving them your info.
During my quest to find an alpaca sweater, I came across Peruvian Connection and I ordered one single dress. On sale. By the time I had gotten my first catalog from them, they had sold my information to a *minimum* of three companies representing four brands:
- Wrap London
- Poetry Fashion
- Sundance Catalog
- Peterman Company
I know this because I reached out to each company individually to find out where they’d gotten my name from, and they all gave me the same information. (Also, Poetry Fashion was super skeevy about it on the phone: the representative insisted she didn’t have that information and that she could not possibly connect me to anyone who did. I had to email customer service to get that answer.)
So what to do if you would like to buy a pretty cotton/alpaca dress from Peruvian Connection but would like to not get a bunch of catalogs? Their website states, “If you would prefer not to receive such mailings [from third parties], please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 1-800-221-8520. Please provide your exact name, address and e-mail address.” So immediately after you buy something, and I mean immediately, opt out by emailing them and/or calling them. I got myself removed from their mailing list in May and I’m still getting catalogs from companies that got my information from them.
Those are the two companies that have, in my experience, sold the most of my information to other companies. I hope my experience is helpful to you all!