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Advertising leaflets shoved en masse into mail boxes are one of the banes of modern society.

In Germany, putting a note saying "Bitte keine Werbung" ("No advertising please") on your box protects you from them - advertisers who repeatedly ignore the note face heavy fines.

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Is there a standard English phrase that is widely used in this specific context?

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    I dunno about the UK (or other English speaking countries), but US law prohibits anyone besides the residents and the postal service from opening or using mail boxes, so I would be highly doubtful of a common phrase in the US that relates to mailboxes specifically. – waiwai933 Nov 27 '11 at 19:00
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    I don't think we put anything like that on our doors or mail boxes in the UK, but we can register not to receive such mail. It's not always effective, and I don't think a notice would be. – Barrie England Nov 27 '11 at 19:00
  • Ah, interesting. Then this practice is maybe specific to Germany. – Pekka supports GoFundMonica Nov 27 '11 at 19:05
  • Stickers are a common, and effective, practice in the Netherlands as well. – Bjorn Nov 27 '11 at 19:33
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    It would be severely illegal for the postman to withhold something addressed to that postbox. Only the recipient is allowed to throw things away. – tchrist Mar 8 '12 at 18:09
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I've never seen such a thing specifically in the US, but the phrase No Solicitation (or No Solicitations) is often posted in public places (or at private businesses) where activities like posting advertisements, handing out fliers, or asking for donations are not allowed.

  • There's also "No Solicitors". I've seen little signs on peoples' houses near their door before, since it would apply more to door to door salesmen/Jehovah's Witnesses/etc. rather than people leaving stuff in the mailbox given the whole federal offense of putting something in someone's mailbox or even just opening someone's mailbox. – Phoenix Nov 28 '11 at 7:10
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I haven't seen one for many years, but the standard sign in the South of England used to be No circulars or hawkers.

I think you'd see No circulars or junk mail more often today, but I doubt if people delivering leaflets ever take any notice of such signs.

  • NZ/Aus use similar phrasing. No circulars/No junk mail are probably more common. – deutschZuid Nov 28 '11 at 3:45
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In Australia it's very common to see a "No Junk Mail" sticker. Less commonly you might see "Authorised Australia Post Mail Only" or "Addressed Mail Only".

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The classic version is "no circulars" in the UK, but it's totally ineffective, as there's no legal backing for it.

Advertising flyers - frequently glossed as "pizza leaflets" from the endless supply that pizza firms stuff through every letterbox in their delivery area, seemingly daily - are a common bane of life in the UK, and there's no right to stop them being delivered.

In the US, the issue doesn't arise in the first place, because they don't have letterboxes in the way Europe does. European houses have a "letterbox" (though there is often no actual box) on the front door, and anyone can put something into it. Leaflets from politicians and from local advertisers are common. Newspapers are also usually delivered this way to subscribers. All sorts of delivery services, including the mail, deliver letters and small parcels (e.g. CDs, DVDs, paperback books) this way.

In US, though, you have a "mailbox", which is at the roadside, not on the doorfront. These are the classic ones on a post with a little red flag to indicate that there is new mail. Only the US Mail and the resident can put things in - and the resident can put letters in for the US Mail to collect, unlike the European system of only being able to put outgoing post into a pillarbox. It's a criminal offence to interfere with anyone else's mailbox, for the same reasons that it's a criminal offence to intercept or interfere with the mail in most countries.

  • This is not universal throughout the US. In some places, especially rural areas, people have mailboxes at the roadside as you describe. Others have boxes mounted on the outside of the house, usually near the door. Apartment buildings often will have boxes in the lobby or entryway. "Letterboxes" in the sense of a slot in the door or wall also exist, though they are not as common, and I believe it's at the carrier's discretion whether to use them. – Nate Eldredge May 21 '12 at 13:46
  • There is also no law stopping you from putting it in an envelope with no stamp or return address and sending it back, perhaps with a note, again with no return address, saying that you don't want it. It wouldn't take many people doing that to cause the business no end of trouble dealing with requests from the post office asking them to pay the postage. – BoldBen Jul 12 '18 at 8:58
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I see "no flyers please" and "no junk mail" stickers (and handmade signs) on many people's letter boxes (the personally-owned things you attach to the outside of your house, near the front door) in Canada. I don't know if they work or not. They certainly don't carry the force of the law.

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The language used in Philadelphia's municipal ordinance is as a circular free property

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Mailbox sticker

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In the United States, only the United States Postal Service (USPS) is allowed to place items directly into mailboxes.

For this reason companies that distribute unaddressed advertisements mostly use door hangers or sticky notes. Some local service companies will place a business card in a small plastic bag with a rock, and lob it onto the property. There is no reliable way to control this behavior without neighborhood hostile dogs or locked gates.

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In Australia: "no junk mail", "no advertising material", "no unaddressed advertising material"...

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In Canada you can register with Canada Post to NOT RECEIVE ANY - admail / direct mail/ which is all non - addressed mail. It's called Consumer Choice. When the mail is sorted at the depots and each postal employee will note your slot with a red dot so they know that they don't presort anything into your bundle.

The problem is ... you may not want a food flyer or a pizza flyer but maybe that free magazine or Direct mail magazine with all the savings from time to time. You have to be all or nothing!

protected by Mitch Jul 11 '18 at 17:56

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