Do I have to register that new product I purchased?

Product registration cards and consumer surveys

Be aware that warranty or "product registration" cards have less to do with warranties than they do with mailing lists. These cards often ask you about your hobbies, the number of people in your household, your income, and other information the company obviously does not need to guarantee the product.

Registration cards are usually not mailed to the company that manufactured the product, but to a post office box in Denver, Colorado, of Equifax Direct Marketing Solutions (formerly Polk). This company compiles buyer profiles and sells the information to other companies for marketing purposes. Experian also compiles consumer information from registration forms.

California law requires companies to inform consumers that the card or form is for product registration. The statement cannot state or imply that the form is for warranty registration. The statement must also inform the consumer that failure to complete and return the card or form does not diminish your warranty rights. (California Civil Code 1793.1)

When you buy a product, don't fill out the product registration card. In most cases your receipt ensures that you are covered by the warranty if the product is defective. If you decide to send the registration card, include only minimal information: name, address, date of purchase and product serial number. (For some products you may want the company to have a record of your purchase in case there is a safety recall.)

Consumer surveys are another marketing tool to gather in-depth information about individuals' product preferences. The same companies that issue product registration forms also distribute multi-page consumer surveys to households, often by mail or tucked into the Sunday newspaper. Such surveys often promise the respondent free coupons or a chance to win a sweepstakes in exchange for completing the forms. Consumer surveys ask for extensive information on family composition, income, education, health information, and product purchases. They result in unsolicited mail from many marketers.

Consider not responding to the multi-page consumer surveys that you receive by mail or that are included in your Sunday newspaper.

Write these companies and ask to be removed from their mailing lists:

  • Equifax

    • By phone: (888) 567-8688

    • By mail:
      Equifax Direct Marketing Solutions
      Attn: List Suppression File
      26955 Northwestern Hwy.
      South Field, MI 48034
      Include your name, address, ZIP code and phone number.

  • Experian Consumer Services

    • By phone : (888) 246 2804

    • By mail:
      Online Privacy Team
      475 Anton Blvd.
      Costa Mesa, CA 92626

  • Laura David Household Research Survey
    Shopper's Voice
    Box 1382
    Buffalo, NY 14240-1382

This oh-so-helpful information came in its entirety from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.

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