Shame on you, Royal Mail

I find myself registering for an account on the Royal Mail website, and I see – as usual – the options to opt-in or opt-out of the receipt of marketing materials from the Royal Mail themselves, and from “carefully selected third parties”.

Does anybody say yes to these on purpose? Or are these just there to catch out people who tick (or un-tick) the wrong box?

The Royal Mail reveals all:


If you can’t read that (it gets bigger if you click), the first set of check boxes is to opt out of receiving spam. the second set is to opt in.

In other words, the folks at the Royal Mail are hoping that you only read one set of fine print, assume that they use a consistent approach, and then check (or uncheck) all the boxes. And then they have “your permission” to spam you.

What asshats.

Their treachery is revealing, however. As suspected, nobody ever opts in. Everybody opts out. Hence trickery is required. If you think a good way to court cusomters is by trying to trick them during the registration process. Like the Royal Mail do.


11 thoughts on “Shame on you, Royal Mail

  1. I think that’s to do with a change in the law/regulations a while ago, that you have to opt *in* to third-party contact, but the company is allowed to leave you to opt out of them contacting you.

    I haven’t noticed it on most sites, as you still have to opt-out, but I’m not sure where it stands in regards to where the company is registered in the world.

    1. Having some checkboxes opt-in and other checkboxes opt-out cannot be described in any way except “deliberately misleading”, no matter the regulations (or recent regulatory changes).

  2. Why single out Royal Mail? Unless you have been living under a rock for the last ten years this goes on with jut about every company that sells anything.

    Misleading? Yes, of course, but do your rants properly, it’s an epidemic, not just Royal Mail being asshats as you put so eloquently.

    They are all at it.

    1. Why single out the Royal Mail?

      Most evidently, because I was registering with their website, which had a deliberately misleading process aimed at tricking customers into opting out of legal protections on the use of their personal information. It could have been anywhere – it wasn’t.

      But beyond this, the Royal Mail are not just any company; they are a government-owned — the government-owned — postal service. They are the red box on every corner. They are the people who push mail through the door every day; not by my choice, or anybody else’s, but because they are the postal service.

      Most of all, though, because every company that tries to treat their paying customers like dupes ought to be singled out, so that people know to avoid them.

      Oh, and your whole they’re all at it? Simply wrong. I picked a company off the top of my head at random – Sainsbury’s – but no luck there. Registration is fine.

      Then, just to be sure, I tried Walmart. Surely Walmart tries to squeeze every last bit out, right? Wrong. Nope. Sign up with a simple checkbox. And they ask for way less information.

      So there’s a third reason to single out the Royal Mail: they are worse.

    2. Well you’ll probably tried two out of thousands of possible companies, and one of them was American.

      You must try a little harder, you’re ranting.

    1. That’s one of millions of UK companies. Hardly counts. (See what I did there?)

      More seriously, I don’t pretend that Royal Mail is alone. But Royal Mail is also not Currys. I can buy a television elsewhere — many elsewheres.

      Where else in the UK can you go for a mail redirect?

      The Royal Mail is a public service, and publicly owned. It should be held to a higher standard than Currys. And what Currys does:
      a) should be illegal
      b) not as bad as what Royal Mail does, as they use a simple sentence for each option, rather than trying to overwhelm customers with text.

      Also: a shortened URL? Seriously? This isn’t twitter. You aren’t hitting a character limit for your URL.

      Besides which: is 13 characters. is 12 characters.

  3. PS

    I do agree with you but please do not credit Royal Mail marketeers for this shabby, underhanded behaviour.

    They are just simply not that smart, they copied something which has been happening on mass for years.

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