Frequently Asked Questions

General

Unsolicited mail can typically be divided into two categories:

  • mail sent using a customer list
  • mail that is carpet-bombed across zip codes.

 
PaperKarma is effective with the former, but no one can do anything about the latter case. This is actually a product of the USPS called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM). We need legislation to get rid of it.

PaperKarma handles most magazines, catalogs, credit card offers, yellow pages, etc. very well.

Coupons from local grocery stores or the local pizza chain don’t work as well – though we’ve seen exceptions.

Even when we can’t contact the company automatically, we’ll still locate their contact information in case you decide to contact them yourself.

PaperKarma works on most junk mail addressed to a specific recipient.

We contact any company or organization that maintains a direct mail database and they in turn search for a match using using your submitted name and address details.

Smaller entities will delete you from their database while larger ones will add you to a direct mail suppression list, which is used to screen all campaigns and scrub you from the final lists sent to mail production and distribution.

We have established working relationships with thousands of mailers across the US and can help you stop direct mail from:

  • Associations
  • Catalogs
  • Charities
  • Coupon offers
  • Credit offers
  • Direct marketers
  • Insurance offers
  • Local mailers
  • Magazines
  • National mailers

There are certain types of mail PaperKarma will not stop, unfortunately. These include:

  • Account, admin & billing related mails from companies you transacted with
  • Ballot issue, election campaign & vote related postcards
  • Every Door Direct Mail (a USPS product that “carpet bombs” a zip code with junk mail)
  • Free Standing Inserts
  • Legally required notices
  • USPS product offers

We process most requests within 24 hours. Some requests are are processed in “batches” and sent to certain mailers 1x per month.

Once your request has been processed, it can take 8-12 weeks to see the mail completely stop.

This is because most mailers pre-print and distribute an additional 1-3 “waves” of their campaign upfront, to save on printing and distribution costs.

This “lag” time is typical of most mailers, and is the same if you opt-out of a mailer by contacting them yourself.

PaperKarma earns revenue to support its operations directly from users that purchase a monthly or yearly plan to access the service.

PaperKarma keeps all user data private and is not supported by advertising models or by selling user data.

PaperKarma is a convenient way to speed up opt-out requests and works with thousands of verified mailers. We save you the time and hassle of researching, emailing and calling each individual mailer. On average, Americans will spend about 8 months of their entire life dealing with junk mail!

The service is effective in getting rid of ~90% of junk mail, with visible results starting within 3-4 months of subscribing.

Chronic junk mail problems can take a year or more to resolve, as some mailers are active only in a certain season (e.g. back-to-school, holiday catalog, etc.). If you are unfortunate enough to have donated to a charity which has sold your personal information to other non-profits, getting off all the lists can take some time.

Ultimately the onus is on the mailers to honor your opt-out requests and add your submitted name /address to a suppression list.

If we are not successful in significantly reducing your junk mail problem, simply reach out to us to request a refund.

While we cannot guarantee the actions and compliance of each and every third-party mailer with each submission, we are confident in our solution to reduce junk mail and don’t wish to charge you if we haven’t helped your specific case.

Unfortunately, not at this time.

PaperKarma only works for mailers in the 50 United States, and does not support Puerto Rico or other US territories.

If you would like us to add support for your country or territory, please let us know! We will be expanding beyond the USA and your vote will help us prioritize next releases.

How To Use PaperKarma

Unfortunately, no.

PaperKarma requires an Android or iOS device to access the service, which entails taking a picture from within the app (or selecting from your image gallery) and submitting the photo for image recognition of the mailer.

These photos also serve as proof you actually received the junk mail at your address, which is required by certain mailers in order to remove you from their database or add you to a suppression list.

Please note, PaperKarma is optimized for smartphones but is also functional across a wide array of tablet devices.

  1. Press the green camera button (affectionately referred to as our karma chameleon).
  2. Take a picture of the mailer name, logo or return address and press “Ok”
  3. Verify the correct mailer was identified (or edit the result)
  4. Swipe among your stored Address cards to select the correct name /address you wish the mailer to stop sending to. You can optionally also search and select from a full address list.
  5. Press “Unsubscribe”

You’re done!

Archiving a request allows you to separate “Success” requests from “Pending” requests so you can keep track of what has been successfully submitted and what is still in progress.

Here’s how to archive a request:

  • Android -> long press on a “Success” request
  • iOS -> swipe left on a “Success” request

You can delete a “Pending” or “Failed” request to remove the request from your app. Deleting a request prevents further processing in our system.

Here’s how to delete a request:

  • Android -> long press on a “Pending” or “Failed” request
  • iOS -> swipe left on a “Pending” or “Failed” request

Mailers

PaperKarma can not stop EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) which “carpet bombs” a zip code with junk mail. Additionally, there are several other types of junk mailers Paperkarma can not stop.

Here’s how you can recognize a mailer we don’t support:

  • Postage stamp includes a code that says “EDDM”
  • Mail is not addressed to any named individual or family and is only addressed to a generic catch-all, e.g. “Current Resident”, “To our Neighbors At” or similar.

    (To be clear, if the mail is addressed to an individual and also to “Or Current Resident”, we can handle it).

  • Mail does not include ANY recipient whatsoever (e.g. a Free Standing Insert like a local grocery store flyer)
  • Mail is a political postcard for a ballot issue or candidate. The good news here is that while annoying, such postcards dry up instantly after a short period of intensity prior to the vote /election.

While the above situations should guide you as a rule of thumb, there are certain, notable exceptions we have had success with, including:

  • Money Mailer
  • Retail Me Not (formerly Redplum)
  • Valpak

No!

Using PaperKarma will not stop or interfere with receiving bills, statements, tax documents or other important account and transaction related mail.

Subscribers to our Yearly Plan can add mailers to our database. Here’s how:

  1. Snap a picture of the mailer logo or return address as you would for any mailer
  2. Allow the recognition process to complete (and provide a misidentified mailer or no result)
  3. Tap the result and start typing the correct mailer name in the search bar
  4. Press the green “Use this Mailer” button for your new, unique submission

Our team will research this mailer, determine the appropriate opt-out technique and add it to the database as we submit your request.

Check first if the contents of the envelope possibly contain a business name or address.

If so, simply take a picture of this!

However, if the mail doesn’t contain ANY business name, logo or address, our technology will not be able to recognize the source and we won’t be able to submit an opt-out request on your behalf.

Names & Adresses

Yes! You can add an unlimited number of name and address combinations.

Yes!

PaperKarma works best when you submit the exact name and address used by the mailer.

After all, they are searching for a match in their database when adding you to a suppression list.

You can add a new address by navigating to:

  • Account page (smiley icon)> Addresses > tap “Add new Address”.

You can also add a new address during the photo submission flow, if you realize the recipient name /address is not in your saved settings while submitting your request.

Here’s how:

  • Once you have submitted a photo and it has been recognized, tap “Add a new address or select from full list”
  • On the next screen, tap “New” to add a new address mid-submission.

Easy!

Go to your Profile screen (smiley icon)> Addresses > tap on an address > tap Edit to change details or delete an address.

Photo Submission

Taking an image of the mail piece serves two purposes:

  1. The photo is processed for character and image recognition, to speed up the submission process
  2. A submitted photo serves as evidence to the mailer that you actually received the physical mail in question

We recommend taking a clear, close-up photo of:

  • the mailer name, or
  • logo, or
  • return address

Taking full pictures of items with lots of text and marketing messages often results in poorer recognition results.

Image recognition is not a perfect technology, unfortunately.

We are constantly optimizing our algorithm to improve the accuracy of our recognition and match results.

First, make sure the photo you submitted is indeed visible and contains:

  • mailer name, or
  • logo, or
  • return address

Blurry and low-light pictures may prevent image recognition from triggering.

If the app misidentifies a mailer, you can tap on the result and select from the top 10 closest matches. The correct result will be only one tap away in 93% of cases.

If the correct mailer is not in the drop down list, you can manually search for it by entering the first few letters in the search bar.

We have over 100,000 of the most frequent mailers in our database, making it exceedingly likely you will find a match.

Yes. Here’s how:

  • iOS -> tap the green camera button > tap “Choose” on the camera screen > Allow the app permission to access your device’s photo gallery (optional, but necessary for uploading photos).
  • Android -> tap your Profile button (smiley icon) > Settings > toggle on “Offer option to use photo from gallery”.

    Then go back to the home screen and press the green camera button. Select “Gallery” from the pop-up notification asking you if you would like to take a photo or select from Gallery.

Privacy

Our whole mission is to reduce unwanted junk mail.

We will not sell or rent your information to anyone – ever. Period.

Your information is used only for the purpose of unsubscribing you. Read more in our Privacy Policy.

Your information is kept securely on Amazon’s AWS servers.

All web server activity is done via SSL (strong encryption).

We try to ask for as little personal information as possible.

However certain companies (e.g. many Yellow Pages providers) require your phone number in order to unsubscribe you.

No. Full stop.

We respect your privacy and keep it private.

We detest spam advertising in all forms, physical paper and digital, which is why we have opted for a SaaS subscription revenue model and not a business model based on selling your data to advertisers.

We do not provide your actual email to mailers, ever.

In the cases where we submit your opt-out request to a mailer via email, we proxy your email. This means we send the request via a non-identifying system email.

Any mailer response received by our system is routed and sent back to your original email address.

In certain limited cases we do provide your phone number to a mailer within an opt-out request. We only do this when it is a mailer requirement to opt-out of direct paper mail.

We also only provide your phone number to verified mailers that commit via their own privacy policies not to resell this data point.

We’re sorry to see you go 🙁

Please reach out to human@paperkarma.com and we will comply with your request.

Deleting your account is permanent and can not be reversed. All personal data and in-app activity data will be purged from our system. Your email will be added to our “do not email” suppression list.

Any pending requests will also be cancelled and will not be processed.

Please note, requesting account deletion or simply deleting the app from your device will NOT stop recurring subscriptions purchased in the App store or Google Play.  These stores do not provide us with any access or ability to manage your subscriptions.

Here’s how to cancel your subscription.

 

Requests & Statuses

Congratulations, you have submitted a request for a mailer we work with!

We have successfully processed and sent your opt-out request using the channel specified by the mailer.

Requests are marked as “pending” for one of three reasons:

  1. We work with many mailers by sending a “batch” of opt-out requests 1x per month. Your request will transition to a “success” state once our systems send the batch out.
  2. The mailer has changed it’s protocol for accepting opt-out requests (e.g. an employee change, or a new phone number or email address) and we are working with the mailer to correct the information in our system.
  3. You have submitted a request for a small, local mailer that is not in our system or for which we have not yet identified a verified method for sending opt-out requests.

PaperKarma is constantly reaching out to “pending” mailers and updating our system and database, such that you can expect most pending requests to transition to “success.”

Please note that unless you request the deletion of your account, we will continue to process pending requests for you even if you pause or terminate your subscription in the meantime.

Requests don’t fail often, but when they do, 99% of the time it’s because we can’t identify the mailer from your photo submission. Please try to take a clearer, close-up picture of the mailer name, logo or return address.

1% of the time a failure is attributable to a submission for a known “bad actor” that refuses to honor opt-out requests.

No, it’s not necessary to submit a duplicate request and it won’t speed anything up.

Once a request has been processed you will be added to a mailer’s suppression list. Sending the same request over and over again will not change or impact this.

If you notice that you are still getting mail from a mailer 8-12 weeks after submitting a successful request, you can notify us in the app to troubleshoot the issue with the mailer and resend a request:

Simply tap on the request to open its detail card, and then press “NO” to the question “Is this mailer listening?”

If you start receiving unwanted mail that you removed already, just use PaperKarma to unsubscribe again.

The quickest way to do this is NOT by submitting a duplicate request, but by notifying us in the app to resend a request:

Tap on the request to open its detail card, and then press “NO” to the question “Is this mailer listening?”

We’ll contact the company to troubleshoot the issue and make sure your contact preferences are up-to-date.

Subscriptions

Following your free trial, a PaperKarma subscription is required for continued access to the service.

There are currently two plans available:

  1. Monthly Plan (Unlimited Unsubscribes): $1.99 /mo
  2. Yearly Plan (Unlimited Unsubscribes):     $19.99 /mo

How do I know which plan is right for me?

Monthly plans offer a convenient way to get rid of individual mailers and light junk mail problems.

Yearly plans offer best value and are recommended for stopping a wide variety of mailers over all possible seasonal campaigns.

Subscriptions may purchased from PaperKarma or within your app (in-app purchases).

In-app subscription options are technically sold and managed via the Google Play and Apple App Stores, respectively. Here’s how to purchase:

Android

Navigate to in-app subscription icon (credit card icon) > select a plan

Apple iOS

Navigate to in-app subscription icon (credit card icon) > select a plan

This is an easily resolved issue common to Apple’s standard in-app subscriptions.

If you purposefully log out of the app, or if Apple logs you out during a software or Operating System update, you will be required to “Restore” your subscription.

Navigate to in-app subscription icon (credit cards icon) > press “Restore Previous Purchase”.

If you used PaperKarma on an iOS device between 2011-2017, you may still have an older, deprecated version of the app on your device. You will recognize this unsupported app by its unique “postage stamp” app icon.

Our latest, supported app has our “Karma Chameleon icon.

Here’s how to rejoin us and renew your subscription:

  1. Delete the old app!
  2. Download our new app from the app store.
  3. Login to the new PaperKarma app with your existing credentials, or create a new account to start from scratch.
  4. You may purchase a new subscription by tapping on the subscriptions (credit cards) icon and selecting a plan.

There is a specific way to cancel your subscription, depending on where you purchased it.

How to cancel an Apple App Store subscription (in-app purchase):

  1. On your iPhone go to Settings > [your name] > iTunes & App Store.
  2. Tap your Apple ID at the top of the screen.
  3. Tap View Apple ID. You might need to sign in or use Touch /Face ID.
  4. Scroll down and tap Subscriptions to manage or cancel your subscription

 

How to cancel a Google Play subscription (in-app purchase):

  1. Open the Google Play app on your device
  2. Press the “hamburger” settings icon (3 bars) at the top left (it’s often in the search bar)
  3. Scroll to “Account”
  4. Tap on “Subscriptions” to manage or cancel your subscription

 

Did you purchase elsewhere, or need more assistance?

Reach out to us at human@paperkarma.com!

Troubleshooting

Contact us anytime for technical issues or account questions at helpdesk@paperkarma.com!

You can also contact us within your Android or iOS app via in-app messaging.

Here’s how:

Navigate to Profile (smiley icon) > Support > In-app Support and write your message in the in-app messenger.

If you used PaperKarma on an iOS device between 2011-2017, you may still have an older, deprecated version of the app on your device. You will recognize this unsupported app by its unique “postage stamp” app icon.

Our latest, supported app has our “Karma Chameleon icon.

Here’s how to rejoin us and renew your subscription:

  1. Delete the old app!
  2. Download our new app from the app store.
  3. Login to the new PaperKarma app with your existing credentials, or create a new account to start from scratch.
  4. You may purchase a new subscription by tapping on the subscriptions (credit cards) icon and selecting a plan.

To reset your password, simply open your app and click on “Forgot Password?” on the login screen.

You will be redirected to a page where you can request an email link to reset your password.

PaperKarma requests won’t stop important account, billing, legal or membership mails from reaching you – only direct marketing offers.

If it’s been less than 24 hours since your request, contact us and we may be able to remove it from our queue.

Otherwise, we suggest you contact the mailer’s customer support and notify them you wish to be re-added to their mailing list.

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Have another question?

We’d love to hear from you!

Questions:
questions@paperkarma.com