Unsolicited Merchandise

November 25, 2013

The following message provides consumers with information regarding unsolicited mail:

Mail advertisements are a legitimate form of advertising although many people consider them an invasion of privacy or an abuse of the environment. If you wish to decrease the number of solicitations you receive, write to:

Canadian Direct Marketing Association
1 Concorde Gate, Suite 607
Don Mills, Ontario
M3C 3N6

Ask them to remove your name from all mailing lists. Members of this association have agreed to remove names from their lists when requested. This will eliminate the advertisements from the association's members that are sent in your name.

Approximately two-thirds of Canadian direct mailers are members of this association. You will still receive solicitations from non-members and from mail that is sent unaddressed to every household. If the mail order company is located in Alberta, it must be licensed and bonded.

If you object to this form of advertising or consider it a wasteful use of paper products, complain to the advertiser. Remember that you can always refuse unsolicited mail by contacting the company, or by returning the mail to the sender.

Occasionally a business will send unsolicited merchandise to you. Such goods are not free unless the business clearly indicates that the product was a gift as in the case of free samples. If goods have been delivered as part of an offer to sell and you do not want them, you may refuse the parcel at delivery or indicate to the business that they can pick it up. If you do not open the parcel, you do not have to pay the return postage. It is generally a good idea not to use the goods. Use of the goods may be considered an indication of your acceptance of the offer.

Be aware that many direct mail companies employ a selling technique called "negative option sales". If you receive a product in the mail, one that you have not ordered, and it contains a notice that if you do not return said object within a specified time period, then you are tacitly agreeing to accept the merchandise. This practice, while deceptive, is legal. Therefore, do not ignore these notices, as you will be billed for the merchandise if you do not inform the company that you are refusing it.

Although it is illegal in Alberta, occasionally unordered credit cards may be sent to your home. By signing and using the card you indicate acceptance and assume responsibility for it. If you choose not to use the card, destroy it or return it to its sender.