Legislation regarding direct mail

In the United States, the United States Postal Service maintains that direct marketers pay the majority of the costs of mail[citation needed]. Bulk mail thereby subsidizes low cost stamps for letter, magazine, and book mailing. However, no such compensatory relationship exists with e-mail or faxes, which require the receiver to pay for bandwidth, storage space, or paper and toner, and some of the solutions to e-mail spam in the United States have involved instituting a freight cost on mass e-mail to make it productive. Such solutions have not been universally lauded, as they leave the recipients of unsolicited e-mail with the problem of storage and bandwidth consumption and would increase costs to companies that send only solicited mass mailings.

In response to a US Supreme Court Ruling (Rowan v. United States Post Office), the United States Postal Service offers a form called a Prohibitory Order (also known as Form 1500). The Prohibitory Order gives consumers the power to stop non-governmental organizations from sending them mail, and to demand such organization remove the consumer's information from their databases.

The United States telemarketing industry was affected by a national do-not-call list, which went into effect on October 1, 2003. Under the law, it is illegal for telemarketers to call anyone who has registered themselves on the list. After the list had operated for one year, over 62 million people had signed up [4]. The telemarketing industry opposed the creation of the list, but most telemarketers have complied with the law and refrained from calling people who are on the list.

Canada has passed legislation to create a similar Do Not Call List. In other countries it is voluntary, such as the New Zealand Name Removal Service.