Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Catalog Choice Update - Boo on The Vermont Country Store!

I am a huge fan of Catalog Choice - I go there a few times a week to decline catalogs. Their "inventory" continues to expand, and my catalog load continues to shrink. There are a few catalog mailings which I cannot shake however - Dell Computers, in particular, sends me constant mailings despite my having signed up five different names and addresses with Catalog Choice. The ones to my deceased father are particularly annoying. So Dell, if you read what people write about you, PAY ATTENTION!
The way CC works is that you can track your removal requests. It shows when you made them and if the retailer confirmed or denied, or ignored. Some of them actually refuse these requests. I've called a few to complain and they have a lame infrastructure excuse.Yesterday I received a letter from Vermont Country Store saying

"We are writing you today to confirm and clarify your request from a 3rd party, Catalog Choice, to have your name removed from The VCC mailing list. Experience has taught us that some customers don't realize that when they opt out from our mailing list is means they will never receive a catalogue or correspondence from us again, while what they really meant to do was adjust the number of catalogues and correspondences they receive.
It goes on to say [the nerve of these guys!] that if I fail to reply to their letter by phone or email they will PRESUME it was an error and resume mailings! That's quite a threat! You better believe I went to their website for the form, which I couldn't find. (I instead emailed Customer Service.) Basically they're pretending to comply, and undermining the system by this additional letter. I like how they say most customers are too stupid to realize they are opting out of "correspondence and catalogs". Excuse me, that's the whole point of Catalog Choice! May they continue to prosper!


April Smith said...

I wanted to respond to the Catalog Choice update. I manage merchant outreach for the service and I want our users and your readers to know that the Vermont Country Store was one of the first companies to sign up to use Catalog Choice and they have been a very responsive and thoughtful participant. I know that the postcard they sent may frustrate some of our members, but you should take this as a good sign. VCS is reaching out to their customers to let them know that they have the option of reducing their catalog frequency instead of eliminating it all together, which some people will appreciate. The company wants to confirm your request, and while it does require an extra step on your part, I think that any time a catalog mailer reaches out to make direct contact with someone regarding their mail preferences, that should be welcomed and not perceived negatively.

Betsy Teutsch said...

It's good that VCS participates with Catalog Choice. What pissed me off was the letter (not a postcard) telling me if I didn't reply to the letter, they would put me back on their mailing list. If they simply said, if you'd like to be on our mailing list, you need to let us know, that would have been reasonable. but to essentially says "you opted out via CC, but we don't believe you knew what you were doing, so we're putting you back on our catalog list" is really sketchy! Completely undermines my action.

Anonymous said...

VCS is not trying to force catalogs on anyone who really does not want them. Catalogs cost a lot of money to make and of course they do not want to send them to someone who is overwhelmed with the catalogs or is just not interested in the product. It is not good business sense. Since customers receive mutiple catalogs, the company just wants to make sure if they just want one or two for the year or all the mailings. Most want at least one, some want none at all. The easiest way is a phone call to get off the catalog list.