Walgreens Unsubscribe Fail

I’m usually fastidious giving my email address to anyone. If I need to give my email address to someone, I will give them an email address that is unique to them. That way if it gets out in the wild I can track it back to the source or block it. This method once exposed a PTA member who was selling parent email addresses to a local business. In the case of Walgreens, I use them for printing pictures. In my user profile I have intentionally turned off all the options for them to send me email. Aside from the receipt for an online purchase, I expect to receive no email from them. Sadly, they do not have the same view of their communication preferences.

Today I got this email from Walgreens. I recently used their photolab so I assumed that I must have forgotten to turn off some communication preference. I scrolled to the bottom of the email and found the unsubscribe link. Its not always safe to click on this link. Spammers will put unsubscribe links in their messages to get you or your email program to activate them so they can verify that the email was delivered. In this case, I verified the email was really from Walgreens and was sent to the email address that I had given them. When I click on the unsubscribe link, all I want is a message saying “you have been unsubscribed”.

That’s not what happened. When I clicked on the link, I got this message saying that I was not subscribed to any mailing lists — which I already knew. So what you have here is a marketing department that is ignoring the specific requests of their customers and sending advertising anyway. It must be easier to not have to check the opt-out settings and just send email to every email address on file.

I double checked my communication settings on their web site and verified that I had everything unchecked. This is not a matter of having to wait a few days for the unsubscribe request. My account has been setup this way for years. I call that a failure.

This problem is not unique to Walgreens. They just happen to be the email of the day. Many vendors pretend to respect customer wishes. Customers are so bombarded with message that they cannot tell the difference between spam, phishing mail, junk mail and legitimate email. This message falls in the category of junk because I have a customer relationship with Walgreens but I don’t want to get any email from them. If a vendor uses a mailing service like Constant Contact or MailChimp, then at least you can complain to them. Those companies are really good an making sure their customers behave. This email was sent from b.e.walgreens.com. Short of complaining to their ISP, there’s not recourse for this complaint. It’s not covered under the CAN-SPAM act because I’m a customer. So there we are. The junk mail continues — just like a real mailbox.

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