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Bottom Line: Online Shopping E-mails

Updated: Wednesday, March 20 2013, 01:55 PM EDT

ALBANY -- If you don't already get them, this could be when they start coming.

The number of marketing e-mails that flood your inbox after shopping online is about to grow, with the start of the holiday shopping season.
To get The Bottom Line, CBS 6's Dori Marlin did a trial run. 

She bought a pair of boots from Macy's, a winter coat from Old Navy, and a blanket from Pottery Barn - ordering all the items online.

As part of the test, when checking out she clicked to "opt out" of receiving e-mails from the two stores that offered the option: Macy's, and Pottery Barn.

From the start, Macy's only sent a few e-mails, just to confirm the order.
Pottery Barn continued sending Dori e-mails after the order shipped, but then stopped after a few weeks.
As for Old Navy, they left the inbox alone for awhile - but then, every day, sent a new pitch.

"Are there any regulations when it comes to these store or service websites and their e-mails?" Dori asked Dr. Suraj Commuri, Associate Professor of Marketing at the University at Albany.

"The simple answer would be no," he answered, "Because the only way they get regulated is through self-regulation."

What can a person do to stop a store or service website from sending the e-mails?

"The easiest thing would be to go to the FTC," Commuri tells Dori. 

They'll send you to the Direct Marketing Association, where you can register "not" to receive the junk e-mails.
But, only certain companies sign up with the group - and even then, Commuri says, it's completely an honor system.

"They can choose to ignore it," he says, "And there are no checks and balances."

To register with the DMA, or file a complaint with the FTC, [click here].

Bottom Line: Online Shopping E-mails

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