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Hate junk mail? You might have to get used to more

Deal between postal service and direct mail provider could mean more ad circulars in your mailbox.

CORRECTION: This story originally misidentified Newspaper Association of America president Caroline Little and the television show "Extreme Couponing." The text below has been corrected.

Kai Ryssdal: You know those ad circulars you get stuffed in your mailbox? By the annoying handful? There's a fight a' brewin' over who gets to send 'em to you, and how many of 'em they can send. Sabri Ben-Achour has the story.


Sabri Ben-Achour:So what do you do with the inserts, the coupons, the flyers you get in your mailbox?          

 

Amritha Ibrahim: Before I even walk into my house, I throw it in the recycling bin on the way to my house.

That was Washington, D.C., resident Amritha Ibrahim. But somebody’s  clearly looking at that stuff because it keeps coming and people are even fighting over it. The U.S Postal Service cut a deal with direct mail company Valassis to lower the rate it charges to deliver ad circulars if Valassis agrees to send more mailers. The nearly bankrupt Postal Service says it stands to make $107 million. Meanwhile, the Newspaper Association of America is suing to block the deal. It says the lower rates will allow Valassis to undercut what newspapers charge advertisers for the coupon bundle in Sunday papers. Newspapers stand to lose a billion dollars. Caroline Little is CEO of the Newspaper Association.

Caroline Little: This is not going to be helping the post office significantly, and it’s really hurting our business. We just think it’s incredibly unfair; we think it's really wrong and anti competitive.

However the fight shakes out, it’s possible you could get more junk mail. 

Jodi Meyer Crothers: No it’s not. It’s money! It’s money in the bank.

Jodi Meyer Crothers is a star on TLC’s "Extreme Couponing." She’s the one who actually opens this stuff.

Meyer Crothers: I would love more coupons, more of that junk mail coming out.

For everyone else like Liz Tunick:

Liz Tunick: I stick it right in the recycling bin. It’s annoying, but there are many things that annoy me more than junk mail.

I don’t know, like maybe the downfall of newspapers, or the bankruptcy of the postal service?

I’m Sabri Ben-Achour for Marketplace.

About the author

Sabri Ben-Achour is a reporter for Marketplace, based in the New York City bureau. He covers Wall Street, finance, and anything New York and money related.

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