Two weeks ago Sensis dumped some rubbish on the private property that is the foyer of the block of apartments I live in. It does not have the permission of the owners corporation to distribute its White Pages books on the property. No one wants them. It appears that not a single copy has been taken by the residents. We have access to a much better source of information called the internet.

whitepages1 Sensis is guilty of littering and distributing junk mail

They left a lame card (below) in my letterbox trying to excuse their unjustifiable behaviour. Littering is not a legitimate business model. Sensis needs to understand and accept that their phone books are antiquated tools that no one wants or needs.

whitepages2 Sensis is guilty of littering and distributing junk mail

The promise made on the card to remove the unwanted books within 7 days has not been honoured. It’s been 14 days now and they remain in our foyer. Sensis are liars with no social conscience. They waste trees printing books that no one wants then waste fuel distributing them.

Their corporate behaviour is socially, ethically and environmentally unacceptable. I’m going to report this littering to the Environmental Protection Agency and start a campaign to have such dumping recognised as junk mail and littering so it can be banned and prosecuted.

Sensis is guilty of littering and distributing junk mail

42 thoughts on “Sensis is guilty of littering and distributing junk mail

  • 9 July 2010 at 12:41 am
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    While phone books can be useful when the net goes down, they should just be available by request. The company is quite good about removing unwanted phone books from out apartment building. It is just a transitional moment between online and hard copy. How would my mother find a phone number without a phone book?

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  • 9 July 2010 at 1:10 am
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    @Andrew
    Your mother should ring up and request a phone book if she wants one.

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  • 9 July 2010 at 12:17 pm
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    same happened at my place with the Yellow Pages a few month ago, unceremoniously dumped by the front gate. in the rain.

    i lugged them into the foyer, where they ALL sat unclaimed for weeks.

    i spat the dummy on Twitter, and a ‘Steve’ asked me to DM him my address so they could arrange collection. He wasn’t following me to be able to DM him.

    i saw mentions of a page on yellowpages.com.au, & a 1800 to call, for arranging collection, but neither worked/existed.

    they persist with this belligerence to maintain their fake inflated distribution numbers that they dupe advertisers with.

    i eventually put all 6 into the recycling :(

    the recent WhitePages were a little different, about 40% were claimed. the rest also went into recycling :( I didn’t get the flyer that you did though.

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  • 9 July 2010 at 1:33 pm
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    i am outraged that they insist on delivering the book and then the onus is on us to dispose of it or contact them to collect it. i didn’t ask for it and i don’t want it or any other kind of junk mail. i discussed this with my friends earlier this year and we spoke about arranging one day where those of us fed up with sensis junk mail being dumped on our doorsteps can dump the books outside the sensis building on lonsdale street. i think the book should only be delivered on request but the problem is that not many people would request it which would effect distrubution and then the money they get for paid advertising as a result.

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    • 9 July 2010 at 2:32 pm
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      The antiquated nature of the Sensis business model is not the public’s problem. They must recognise that we no longer NEED their product and act aon the fact that we actively DON’T WANT it.

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  • 9 July 2010 at 4:19 pm
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    Hi Brian,

    We apologise the directories have not yet been collected. If you are able to send me your address, we will arrange to pick them up as soon as possible. You can email me at sustainability@sensis.com.au or call me on my direct line: 03 8653 4732.

    The distribution of the directories is based on choice, so if you would like to stop receiving them you can arrange this by calling 1800 008 292. There is more information about this on our website (http://tinyurl.com/2e2gddw) and inside the directories.

    Choice and sustainability are really important to us. You might be interested in our recent carbon neutrality announcement regarding the print and online directories, there’s more information about that on our website (http://tinyurl.com/23f86n3) as well.

    Brian, again I apologise you have had this experience and we would really appreciate the opportunity to rectify this situation as soon as possible.

    Cheers,
    Jess from Sensis

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  • 9 July 2010 at 5:48 pm
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    I rung that number to have my Yellow Pages picked up – apparently this is not possible unless you have a landline phone number – an antiquated and arbitrary policy.

    I also requested to return my phone books, however this is not possible unless I have 20 or more… this makes the idea to drop off all of our books at the time and on the same day a very appealing idea.

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  • 9 July 2010 at 11:33 pm
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    “The distribution of the directories is based on choice”

    Then shouldn’t it be opt-in, not opt-out?

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    • 10 July 2010 at 12:12 am
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      Exactly. Sensis needs to recognise that it does not have the right to dump its product on private property without consent. This requires an opt in approach, not an opt out.

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  • 14 July 2010 at 10:20 am
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    Is it still a part of the Tenancy agreement that every premises must have a White and Yellow Pages? I know some feeling of legal obligation is the only reason I’ve ever dragged one in off the street in the last several years.

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    • 14 July 2010 at 11:15 am
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      I don’t know about this but it is ridiculous – if this is true it is the equivalent of having to provide a bucket of water for horses at your property.

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  • 14 July 2010 at 1:39 pm
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    Jess from Sensis – I don’t believe this: “Choice and sustainability are really important to us.” If this were true then you wouldn’t presume everyone wanted the book. You wouldn’t print copies and distribute them unless people had requested the book.

    Do you plan to change your current approach? It’s backwards and you should do something about it before you end up dealing with a nation-wide campaign to dump the books on your doorstep.

    I don’t hate your product – I use Yellow Pages and White Pages online. I just think your approach to printing and distribution is a joke if you claim that choice and sustainability are important to you. It sounds like an empty value to me.

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  • 16 July 2010 at 10:30 am
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    +1 from me on this one.

    They hit our street yesterday and today every single house I walked past as I left for work had their copy sitting outside, still in its plastic wrapping, unwanted and untouched.

    Have just phoned the 1800 008 292 to opt out from future deliveries but I’m not confident–we’ll see what happens in a year I guess.

    What a waste of resources.

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    • 16 July 2010 at 10:37 am
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      Sensis needs to respond to the preferences of digital natives. Anyone under 40 who lives in the inner city is likely to be online and not want a dead tree book. The figures Sensis quotes about use may be accurate but I suspect they’re mostly barely literate over 40 suburbans who don’t know how to use the internet.

      With an aging population Sensis may continue to produce dead tree books for some time to meet the needs of the suburbans, but unless they also acknowledge and respect the wishes of the inner elites, who are also the most wealthy and socially mobile people, they will bring great dislike and distrust on themselves.

      Would I buy shares in a company that refuses to listen to me as a customer? No. Do I buy services from a company that refuses to meet my needs? No or unwillingly, and with an immediate desire to terminate all relations with them. Are you listening Telstra? There will be consequences to your actions that you evidently have not anticipated…

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  • 16 July 2010 at 1:42 pm
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    Um, what’s this ‘under 40’ business? Ageism??? Please up this to ‘under 55’ thanks. Anything over 55 means ‘old gits’ who think Malware is how one should dress when one goes shopping, thus they are THEN (and only then) deserving of your casual dismissiveness and thinly veiled contempt.

    :-P

    D the Hypocrite.

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    • 16 July 2010 at 1:47 pm
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      Of course there are exceptions to the rule on both sides – I met an 18 year old a year or so ago who said ‘what is a blog?’ True story!

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  • 16 July 2010 at 2:37 pm
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    I Facebook therefore I am…

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  • 21 July 2010 at 1:58 pm
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    Phone directories are very very useful as laptop stands and for props at the back of deep cupboards. I’ve tried to find ways to utilise these practically useless things and have occasionally looked for phone numbers in them when online fails happen. I don’t think they should stop them all together as their are many who don’t have/aren’t able to access internet. But they certainly should be opt in not opt out and no company that really cares about the environment should be doing their distribution in this way.

    On the age thing: My father is nearly 60 and has worked with computers for nearly 30 years, my grandparents are nearly 90 and are on facebook – I work somewhere with public terminals where lots of the clients are pensioners. There’s a lot more people over 40 or 55 or 60 that are comfortable with the internet than you realise.

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  • 17 August 2010 at 10:03 pm
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    To Jess From Sensis

    I am a former Sensis employee. I hated every second of my time there, stuck amongst what can only be described as a rampant bullying culture lead by inane marketing fruit-loops and an upper management chain in complete denial about the lack of relevance of their unwanted print and online products.

    You talk about choice and sustainability – what an absolute joke.

    Choice – don’t just assume our choice is YES PLEASE PROVIDE ME WITH A PHONE BOOK. Instead do the right and ethical thing and allow people to contact you for your product if they want one.

    Sustainability – just take a walk around your Lonsdale Street premises for a few minutes and have a look at all the paper that is wasted on an hourly basis in your offices. Your recycling wheelie bins (yes, there are many of them) are constantly overflowing; your salespeople are constantly printing large documents that they hardly ever use (or only need one or two pages even though they’ve printed an 80 page document); contracts printed by mistake then discarded, the list goes on an on.

    It is absolutely appalling the way your company abuses everything it touches, and I for one am glad that after 7 HORRIBLE weeks I chose to RUN AWAY!!!!!

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  • 12 September 2010 at 1:32 pm
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    @ Chelsea – Ran Away? Contract wasn’t renewed? Sounds like you’ve just got a beef.

    If you think the paper wastage is worse at Sensis than any other company of that size (worldwide) it might be time to pluck your head from the sand and see what goes on everywhere in the world.

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    • 12 September 2010 at 3:28 pm
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      We are not customers of every corporation in the world. We are customers of Telstra and we are demanding that they respect our wishes.

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  • 15 October 2010 at 12:16 am
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    To Tim from Chelsea

    I was actually employed on a permanent contract. As a matter of fact I was poached to come and work for Senseless. I was mislead into believing Senseless was an “employer of choice” – since that’s what they like to call themselves. Boy was I mistaken! Worse decision of my career!

    Now Tim, if you think pointing out appalling behaviour is having a beef, then you are a very disturbed product of our sad times. Also, I’m so shocked you have such a blase attitude towards the wastage of paper, it really says a lot about you, in the worst kind of way.

    I have worked for several large organisations and whilst there was a lot of paper wastage there as well, NOTHING compared to what I saw at my short (but not short enough) time there.

    So Tim, what department of Senseless do you work in? Or more correctly, what department of Senseless do you spend time waffling on and achieving very little in????

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  • 18 October 2010 at 4:21 pm
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    I totally agree with Chelsea, I too was a victim of Senselss. I worked for this embarrassing company for more than 7 years. During that time was the merge of Yellow and White Pages systems together. Indeed the amount of unused phone books through out Sydney is disgusting. Not to mention being micro managed by evil, untrustworthy management. HO is based in Melbourne but management there have a personality of a stop sign. In Sydney it’s worse as you’ll find the dodgy, thieving consultants I worked with were treated like royalty. The amount of poor staff that walked through the doors and out amazed me to say the least. Not only is their internal databases stuffed, the treatment of their staff is truly unfair. I hope one day the media will test this disgusting company and realise how much they’ve ripped of their clients. I believe in the product but do not believe in how they would trick, steal from clients. I know alot of consultants who did this who are still reaping the rewards and given a pat on the back from Management. This company should be disbanded they are true evil!!!

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  • 2 April 2011 at 9:42 am
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    Last year after reading this article I phoned up Sensis and asked to be taken off their list so that I wouldn’t get any more of their waste-of-trees directories. I even took mine round to the post office (on their advice) so that it could be re-used (rather than recycled).

    This morning at 7 am (on a Saturday!) I was woken up by a massive thud. This turned out to be someone throwing the latest Yellow Pages onto the verandah of my house in Collingwood.

    I’ll be phoning them again on Monday but clearly any talk of sustainability is just lies and nonsense. They don’t care and there is apparently no way to opt out of getting this product…

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    • 2 April 2011 at 11:00 am
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      Same here! I organised an opt out for the whole building approved and actioned by the owners corporation, yet the Yellow Pages arrived last week. I’ve had enough. I’m complaining to the EPA on Monday.

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    • 18 May 2011 at 4:45 pm
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      A partial victory. It must then follow to the Yellow Pages. The Telstra business empire is in terminal decline!

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  • 19 May 2011 at 9:58 pm
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    hooray! down with the printed phone directory! i may like film photos but i hate these useless bricks wasting paper ;-)

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  • 23 May 2011 at 6:21 pm
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    I wonder how many people would request to receive the Yellow Pages directory if that also became opt in?

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  • 19 June 2011 at 4:00 pm
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    OK, turns out I was wrong about the White Pages…I received the Business and Governments book yesterday. So did my neighbours. We didn’t opt in. I guess they mean the residential listings are now opt in. Makes sense because they don’t make any money from selling those listings so they had nothing to lose. Nice PR re the opt in scheme – can’t believe I fell for it!

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  • 27 March 2012 at 10:08 am
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    So it’s now March 2012 and I’ve been trying to opt out of the Yellow/White Pages for nearly two years (see my previous comments on this post), but they just keep on coming…

    July 2010 – Dead tree book delivered; phoned up the opt out line.
    April 2011 – Another one delivered regardless; filled in their web form requesting no more.
    March 2012 – Yellow Pages delivered.

    So I’ve just re-registered on their “don’t send me any more” list, even though it clearly doesn’t achieve anything…

    The best bit? I also sent them an angry email and their auto-reply says this in the footer:

    “Sensis cares for the environment – think before you print.”

    Yeah. Sure they do.

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    • 27 March 2012 at 10:14 am
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      I’ve had enough of this littering and rubbish dumping on private property, which are criminal acts. We need a class action lawsuit against Telstra to stop this.

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  • 27 March 2012 at 7:44 pm
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    I am serious about starting a campaign to get everyone to dump their unwanted Yellow Pages and White Pages books on a particular day. Maybe turning it into some kind of enormous arty tree design at a park/oval or something. I am not in Melbourne at the moment but I want it to stop. Their actions need to match their values (and email footer tag)!

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    • 27 March 2012 at 7:50 pm
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      We should turn up at their corporate HQ and have a big dump.

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    • 28 March 2012 at 2:57 pm
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      That is amazing but I’d actually like it to be an ugly messy pile in the Telstra foyer, as this would be a true representation of the problem.

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  • 21 February 2013 at 12:03 pm
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    Sensis has just announced that on the back of a massive profit slump, mass sackings of 650 staff are about to take place.

    Their CEO John Allen appears to have had an epiphany, stating that:
    Until now we have been operating with an outdated print-based model – this is no longer sustainable for us“. However he goes on to say that Sensis will “continue to produce Yellow and White Pages books to meet the needs of customers and advertisers who rely on the printed directories.” I wonder whether they’ll be radically reducing the directory production quantities?

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    • 21 February 2013 at 12:20 pm
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      They should just shut the whole thing down. It’s almost useless and is only used by the elderly who don’t want to use the internet. If circulation and distribution are drastically reduced so will the advertising rates and the corresponding income. It would not be worthwhile for businesses to advertise in it and I am surprised that any still do. That money would be better invested in their websites.

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  • 6 July 2013 at 4:17 pm
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    I would like to add that I opted out and had them delivered again. Went straight into recycling and didn’t make it into the house.

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  • 31 March 2014 at 9:09 pm
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    …And we’re back. Two years on from my last comment on this blog post and I just got home to find another yellow pages sitting on my porch. It’s gone straight into the recycling bin. Again.

    Almost four years now since I first tried to opt out.

    They just don’t care, do they?

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    • 31 March 2014 at 11:41 pm
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      Not only don’t they care, they deliberately break the law in dumping their rubbish on private property. I believe this could also be captured under current laws about stalking. Someone should prosecute Telstra for stalking you. It’s possibly also a breach of the Spam Act and the Privacy Act in relation to unwanted contact.

      Reply

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