More controversy arose in February 2007. Royal Mail had finally included information about the door-to-door opt-out on its website, but it gave customers wanting to opt out a stark warning: opting out could mean that you would no longer receive information about for instance rubbish collections and elections.
To quote from the letter Royal Mail used to sent to customers asking for the opt-out form:
It is not possible for Royal Mail to separate material that you don't want from material that you do want, such as advertising offers or leaflets from Central and Local Government and other public bodies. Opting out from Royal Mail Door to Door stops all unaddressed items from being delivered by us.
Postwatch, then the watchdog for postal services in the UK but now part of Consumer Focus, took issue with this warning and accused Royal Mail of trying to deter customers from opting out by using "scare tactics". It condemned the text as being "unnecessarily worrying" and announced it would try to get the text changed.
A revised letter was introduced in April 2007. The text was only changed slightly and it is hard to see why the 'scare tactics' label would no longer apply. The above paragraph has been changed by adding:
[…] although we will work with Government to get a message to every UK address in exceptional circumstances. Election material is not delivered by the door-to-door service and is therefore not affected by this opt-out.
As mentioned in the introduction, our advice is not to be put off by this rather childish warning. Compared with the amount of unaddressed advertisements Royal Mail delivers, the percentage of unaddressed information delivered via the door-to-door service is very small indeed. You would have to put up with a lot of unwanted junk mail to receive only a small amount of information which might be of interest. And, any information delivered via the door-to-door service will of course be widely available anyway.