Qwest Denies Request to Opt-Out of Print Mail Spam

Update: Problem solved.

As some of you know, I’ve been slowly working on a hobby startup in my spare time called Junk86 that’s designed to help people get off of print mailing lists in order to return their mailbox to something with a more sane signal to noise ratio.

Sadly, we find ourselves living in a world where businesses think that we want to be best friends forever because we bought one thing from them one time. Or, because we happened to buy one thing one time from the company they bought their mailing list from. Or, because we happen to live in a certain zip code. Either way, it’s generally fairly easy to solve the print mailbox overload problem since most businesses, while overly optimistic, are sane.

Sane? Yes.

It turns out that direct mail advertisers understand the value of their lists, since response rates tie to profitability. Because of this, getting off lists is generally a matter of contacting companies to request removal. This, of course, takes time, navigating websites, finding the right person to contact, yadda yadda. Junk86 takes away the friction by allowing you to snap a picture of the junk mail on the way to the recycle bin. Send it in and we’ll do the heavy lifting.

Which brings me to Qwest. This company is proving to be the toughest nut to crack to date. In fact, the customer service agent I chatted with flat out refused to remove me from their mailing list and wouldn’t refer to me to anyone within the company who would. Seriously.

As the above video and transcript below show, getting off Qwest’s direct mailing list isn’t as simple as politely asking them to stop. Which leads to the value of Junk86. Eventually I’ll crack this nut, and Junk86 clients who don’t see a need for Qwest mailings clogging up their mailbox will benefit.

Qwest Chat Transcript Saved for Quality Assurance*

Chat Information: Thank you for contacting Qwest. My name is Mark. How may I help you today?

Current Resident**: Hello, I’m trying to figure out how I can get my address off of Qwest’s print marketing mailing lists. Could you help me with that?

Mark: Will you please verify the phone number or account number that you are inquiring about?

Current Resident: I’m not a customer. I receive advertising from Qwest at my apartment and would like it to stop. That would save me some time, you some money, and the environment a bit of pain.

Mark: I am unable to assist with that request.

Current Resident: Do you know of someone I could talk to about that? A contact in marketing, perhaps?

Mark: Sorry, no.

Current Resident: That’s very disappointing. Surely, there is someone within Qwest who’d think it’s smart to NOT send print marketing materials to people who don’t wish to receive them. I just need to know who to talk to, a department, an online form, email. Something like that.

Mark: Is there anything else that I can help you with today?

Current Resident: Wow, this is very disappointing. I’m sorry to hear that you were unable to assist me with what I believe is a very reasonable request.

Mark: Thank you for using Qwest.com today. Our goal is to provide you with excellent service and we appreciate your feedback, please take a moment to complete the post chat survey. If you need further assistance, please click here for additional customer service options on Qwest.com. We invite you to learn how to surf safer and smarter online. Click here to visit the Incredible Internet site and get online safety certified.

Chat Information: Thank you for using Qwest.com. Your chat session has ended.

* This chat is unedited with the exception of me removing Mark’s employee ID (or something like that). Some number that was after his name.

** Current Resident was the name on the mailing sent to a Junk86 client from Colorado who may or may not be a black woman in a sports bra who talks to Qwest reps in school cafeterias.

6 thoughts on “Qwest Denies Request to Opt-Out of Print Mail Spam”

  1. Hello, Steph from Qwest here,

    I’m sorry to hear that our representative didn’t understand how to remove you from marketing lists as a non-customer. I would be happy to help you get removed from any or all of Qwest’s marketing lists. Please email me at talktous@qwest.com with your name and mailing address. If you would like to be removed from email marketing please provide your email address, and if you’d like to be removed from phone offers provide your phone number as well.

    thank you

    Stephanie Lake
    Manager, Talk To Qwest Team

    “At Qwest your account information is confidential and protected by law, so I need your permission to access the account.”

  2. Oh man. This is so awesome. Just had the same experience with Qwest and couldn’t believe it was happening. Insanity. Thanks to Steph from Qwest for posting here. Looking forward to Junk86 launch.

  3. ditto on the unhelpful “customer service” rep – looks as though there isn’t much communication going on between the “Talk to us” team and the cust. serv. reps… just filed the following complaint with the FTC:

    “I have been receiving unwanted mail communications from Qwest on a regular basis, and attempted to contact Qwest in order to request that they either remove my address from their solicitation databse or place me permanently on their “do not solicit” list. I just now got off the phone with “Laura”, a Qwest customer service representative at 877-447-0440, who informed me that as I am not a Qwest customer, there is nothing she can do to remove my address from your list. She even told me that there *is no database* from which I can be removed, and refused to let me speak with her supervisor. In short, I was informed that there is nothing one can do to prevent mail advertisements from Qwest if one isn’t already a customer. I would greatly appreciate your attention to what to me seems like predatory (as in sustained, unwanted, and following the customer’s expressed request to not be contacted via mail) marketing practices. Thank you for your time.”

  4. I too am being inundated by the current CenturyLink (Qwest) ad campaign. I’ve received six of the EXACT SAME 6″ x 11″ flyer. I receive them about every two weeks and the last four I’ve corresponded with Mr. Corey Tidwell (TalkToUs Manager at talktous@qwest.com) numerous times. He promised months ago that I was removed but that was a lie as I keep getting the SAME flyer. It’s almost like every time I contact Corey I can expect another flyer from CenturyLink.

    I’m seeing what options I have through the local telecom regulators (it works great against a local cable monopoly) and will post here what I find.

    What’s amusing about this flyer is that it’s promising that CenturyLink can deliver high-speed internet… which is about three times slower than what I currently have.

    Different name, same consumer-unfriendly games.

  5. CenturyLink also tries to get you to provide the 4 digits to your SSN. They claim they are required by law to verify this before removing me from mass marketing postal mail.

    Never provide any part of your SSN to any company as ID. It is a violation of your privacy.

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