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unsolicited catalogues

(20 Posts)
RatherAnnoyed Wed 05-Aug-09 12:02:10

(I'm a regular reader, don't post a lot unless I've really got something to say and never before on AIBU.)

I'm a little annoyed. This is probably partly because I've hurt my ankle and had to make an extra trip downstairs when the doorbell rang and partly because my not quite 9 month old is currently having problems settling to sleep and I'd nearly got him off when the doorbell rang and then it took another half hour to settle him.

When an unsolicited door-to-door selling catalogue is put through, I usually put it out once with a note saying "please don't put these through our letter box", the next time I or my husband sticks them in the recycling bin. I don't always get to it before him, so I don't always put it out with a note. I know that it costs the franchisee money to buy them, but that's a business risk they take. We don't want the catalogues, we don't want the goods they sell, we don't want to bother remembering to put the catalogue out on whatever day they ask, we don't even want to bother reading the thing which says which day and we don't want to deface our front door with a long list of things we don't want, and why should we have to?

A couple of weeks ago one such catalogue came through my door and it was binned and the man who came to collect it when I was on my way out grumped at me saying it cost money (and I asked him not to put them through my door again) - but he didn't do anything but give me nasty looks while I chatted to a neighbour. The nasty looks annoyed me a little, which may contribute to my current annoyed level too.

Last week another (different) one came through my door and it was binned. This morning the doorbell rang and the lady asked for it back, so I told her it had been binned. She started on this spiel on how it cost her money, so I told her it was unsolicited and I could do with it what I wanted. She told me it was "Intent to Deprive and therefore theft". I should have told her it was a business risk, and she was wrong (I wasn't sure enough of myself) but the baby was crying so I just told her my baby wanted me and shut the door. The mention of theft threw me a little, I don't know if she was angling for payment. Looking it up, it would have been *before November 2000*, but now I'm within my rights, see http://www.berr.gov.uk/whatwedo/consumers/buying-selling/unsolicited/index.html.

A friend says I should complain to trading standards about the threat of theft, my husband agrees but isn't convinced it will be useful and I'm not sure. Or should we complain to the company she's a franchisee of? Or both? My OH also says we should contact her company and "withdraw her implied right of access to our land" so if she comes again we can tell her she's trespassing.

Are we being unreasonable in binning these things?
Are we being unreasonable in not having a notice defacing the door?
Would we be unreasonable in complaining to her company?
Would we be unreasonable in complaining to trading standards?
Would we be unreasonable on the trespass thing? (I think that's a bit extreme.)

Firawla Wed 05-Aug-09 12:05:34

oh i would be annoyed if they keep ringing the doorbell for it, that is one of my most hated things when people ring and wake up baby. so i think once you have told them stop giving them, if they continue then do complain
also think its fine to bin them if you haven't asked for them, and don't want them. otherwise they are asking you to look after it for them for a week or however long, you may not have room to do that or want to do so, the companies are being U not you

RatherAnnoyed Wed 05-Aug-09 12:07:34

Oh, I forgot to say that part of her argument about it being intent to deprive was because she'd written on it asking for it to be returned. I'm not sure if that makes any difference under the law.

SoupDragon Wed 05-Aug-09 12:09:28

She didn't threaten you or ask for payment though, she simply claimed it was theft.

As soon as they come through, my letterbox, I put a note saying "Sorry, not interested" and leave it outside. I don't check which day they're coming back, I leave it there immediately. It is no trouble for me to do this whatsoever. the person is only trying to make a living.

RubberDuck Wed 05-Aug-09 12:12:09

I worked for one of these companies once (for about two weeks before I jacked it in) - yes they do have to pay for the catalogues and it is intensely annoying when people do bin them but as far as I know there's bugger all you can do about it.

Personally, to prevent the door ringing, I think it's better to put it straight back out the second it gets through your door and let it be destroyed by the rain grin

There's a huge turnover of people on those jobs, and many companies don't get a set area. I got a lot of abuse from people who said "but I've TOLD your company that I don't want any catalogues" - but you really aren't given that information, it's up to you to find your own territory.

I wouldn't bother making an official complaint tbh - just leave future catalogues out to soak.

My problem is those charity plastic bag things - I put them out to be collected and they don't, so they just blow around the garden at the front. I bin them straight away now unless I know that I want to put something out.

RatherAnnoyed Wed 05-Aug-09 12:15:06

Firawla: we don't have a note on the door saying we have a sleeping baby either, so that wouldn't be her fault per se.
Though if we didn't have a baby, I wouldn't be in on a weekday.

SoupDragon: she didn't get a chance, the baby was crying so I terminated the not-very-amicable conversation.

Putting the catalogue straight back out just means we get it again and again, we want to stop them.

RubberDuck Wed 05-Aug-09 12:17:34

"Putting the catalogue straight back out just means we get it again and again, we want to stop them."

You won't. It's different people each time. They don't pass info on.

Get a sign for your letterbox which says "no catalogues" or "any catalogues will be binned" - it won't stop all of them (it would have done me, but I was actually ignoring instructions to do so) but at least you've given fair warning.

SoupDragon Wed 05-Aug-09 13:14:25

I've not had them back again when I put them out with a note saying I'm not interested. It's not difficult and there's no need to bin them.

You can't report the woman for something you think she was going to do! That's ridiculous.

RatherAnnoyed Wed 05-Aug-09 17:56:45

RubberDuck: I already said we didn't want a sign. I considered the note fair warning.
I didn't realise the turn over was that bad - I do tend to send a note if they restart after 6 months or so - but this particular deliverer has been doing it a while as I've seen her around.

SoupDragon: it's not difficult, but I don't see why I should be writing notes every time I get a catalogue I haven't asked for (at least once a week), I've given them one chance then binned them. My time is valuable to me and dealing with these things is a waste of it. (Clearly Mumsnetting about it isn't hmm)

As for "You can't report the woman for something you think she was going to do! That's ridiculous" I didn't say I was - she did say it was theft. However I did post here because I wanted to see how many people also felt reporting her was a bit much.

Oddly enough, despite being on the "not reporting her" side of the argument (though trying not to show it in my original post) I find myself almost on the defensive of a side I'm not on.

I think I shall keep on the way I have done so far (1 note and then bin them) and I shall contemplate a sign.

ChasingSquirrels Wed 05-Aug-09 18:08:30

isn't it easier and quicker just to put them straight back outside to be collected rather than bin them?

RubberDuck Wed 05-Aug-09 18:09:28

"I already said we didn't want a sign." - no, I know. I'm suggesting you get one though if you feel so strongly about it.

I have a "no sellers, no advertising, no cold callers" sign because I got so peed off with people ringing the doorbell, so I'm on your side, honest! (I also have caller ID and refuse to pick up the phone unless the phone number displayed is one I recognise too, but that's a whole other rant).

I just go for the quickest route to not be stressed about it. Ditch the catalogue out immediately in the rain, no pen required (unless I've got loads that week I might add a note, but mostly I can't be arsed). Put up a sign. Ignore the phone. Whatever it takes not to be pestered. Complaining/reporting etc I've found to be ineffective, takes a lot of effort and just makes you feel more indignant and cross, ime.

southeastastra Wed 05-Aug-09 18:12:32

seriously find something more worth worrying about. am with soup

SoupDragon Wed 05-Aug-09 18:18:27

"I've given them one chance"

One chance. Wow.

Society is so intolerant now. Are you Bill Gates that your time is so valuable you can't scrawl "no thanks, I'm not interested, EVER" on the order form and leave the catalogue out? It must take all of 30 seconds. Leaving it out without a note takes less time and effort than taking it to the bin and it really doesn't matter. There's simply no need to bin them and it's rather mean to do so when you know they cost money.

Yes, she stated it was theft. She did not threaten anything and she did not demand money. What on earth do your friend/DH think you're going to report? She's just trying to make a living.

If you don't want a sign then you'll have to accept that these things are going to get delivered to you

Silver1 Tue 11-Aug-09 12:02:35

To be honest Soup Dragon why should we take the trouble to respond to junk. I don't like these catalogues, I have tried catching distributors before and saying I don't want them, when they continue I recycle them and if the recycle bin is still there they can go through it.

How would these people like it if I casually walked up to their house, put what they considered rubbish through the door, then a week later rang the bell and asked for it back?

SolidGoldBrass Tue 11-Aug-09 12:07:48

Sorry but if you don't have a sign up, you have to accept that you are going to get catalogues. If it bothers you, put a sign up. Remember that the reason people deliver catalogues is that enough people actually do want them and do buy stuff from them. How is the rep supposed to know that you are unreasonably enraged by catalogues if there is no indication on your front door and you don't put a ntoe with the catalogue the first time saying you don't want any more? I am an Avon rep (and have been a Kleenze rep in the past) - I never left catalogues at houses with a sign saying they didn;t want them, and I never left them again if I had one back iwht a note saying 'Please don't deliver any more of these'.

Silver1 Tue 11-Aug-09 23:01:29

Ah but SGB have you ever left catties at houses where they haven't left them out to return them? That annoys me- you tell them, they do it again-you recycle-they get stroppy-then they come and leave another cattie.

I don't want catties I don't see why I need to go out of my way to opt out, if I wanted a cattie I would go out of my way to opt in, that's the way I see it.

SolidGoldBrass Wed 12-Aug-09 00:25:37

TBH if they don't return them I might give them one more go but no more than that. And I generally stop regularly leaving them at houses that have had three consecutive ones and not bought anything, only trying those houses again about every 6 months. I do actually make notes of households that have said 'NO catalogue, NOT interested' and only try them again if the house appears to have been sold or re-let.
And WRT to the whole opt-in/opt-out thing, there are enough people out there who wouldn't actively pursue catalogue-sellers but who do like getting the catalogues, look through them and buy stuff from them to make it worth the rep's while. Unless you give a clear indication that you don't want to know then you can't blame us for trying. So OK there may be some silly sods who ignore your requests to be left off their round, but the majority of us (and those of us who are any good at direct selling) take notice of the people who are not interested, leave them in peace and concentrate on those who are interested in buying.

RatherAnnoyed Wed 12-Aug-09 09:39:38

Why should I have to put up an ugly sign just to deter people, as Silver1 said, putting rubbish through my door? Especially as I do ask them once to stop. Why should I "have to accept" I'll get them without a sign? It's my door, not theirs.

Why should I have to go out of my way to ask them to stop more than once? And why do you, SoupDragon, claim that me not giving more than one chance is a sign of society's lack of intolerance? Should I really have to tolerate people putting, what is to me rubbish, through my door? Especially as more and more people are doing it? I know each individual cataloguer doesn't do it lots, but each individual should realise they contribute to the ever growing pile of junk mail. "no thanks, I'm not interested, EVER" seems to me to be less nice, less tolerant, than the note "Please do not put these catalogues through my door again, thank you" which I do leave out. Getting berated and being called a thief is getting to the last straw on the camel's back, I'm afraid. Tolerance only goes so far and I am, by far, not the least tolerant person among my peers, though you might see little evidence of that from this particular conversation.

I agree with Silver1, I opt in to those things I want. We have 1 hand delivered catalogue I have opted in to, and that particular company only delivers catalogues to those who opt in. A rather less intrusive, less wasteful, way of doing business it seems to me.

SolidGoldBrass Wed 12-Aug-09 10:30:58

RatherAnnoyed: putting stuff through your front door is a legitimate way of promoting a business to a householder. Because some people want the catalogues delivered, and unless there is a sign on the door then a new deliveryperson has no idea that you are one of those who isn't interested. Bear in mind that some catalogue companies do not actually assigne their reps territory, which does lead to you getting more than one of the same catalogue. Reps have no way of knowing if they are delivering to the same road as someone else unless/until someone informs them of this.
BTW on legal grounds the rep who accused you of theft is being a twat. You have every legal right to wipe your arse on an unsolicited catologue or eat it for your tea if so inclined.

LuvLee Wed 12-Aug-09 11:48:50

Talk about making a mountain out of a mole hill. Why is it so difficult to just pick the catalogue up of the floor and put it outside again. Why make this an issue? Sorry I just don't get it.

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