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Topic: Abandoned Accounts

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Subject: Abandoned Accounts
Date Posted: 11/30/2011 2:06 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2010
Posts: 220
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I have read a variety of postings about abandoned accounts, but I'm still not clear on what happens.  I do know there are two cases; here's what I think happens:

1) I request a book and the person who had posted it first has five days to accept/decline.  If they do not respond, after five days my request moves to the next sender (assuming there is one!), and the first gets flagged as non-responsive.

2) I post a book and the person who wished for it first either auto-accepts or has 2 days to accept/decline.  If they do not respond, after twodays my request moves to the next wisher (assuming there is one!), and the first gets flagged as non-responsive.

The second case isn't too bad, but the first one (with five instead of two days lag), can really drag things out.  I'm not completely clear why in one case it's two days and in one five; does anyone know?  And add me to the list of those wishing to see a more pro-active stance (e.g., people who haven't logged in in three months get an email giving them another month to log in or their entire account will be put on hold, including auto-requests.)

Date Posted: 11/30/2011 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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I don't know that the site has every given their reasoning, mine is that there is more for the sender to do. First, they need to find time to locate the book and confirm it is still in postable condition. Then they need to be able to get it packaged and mailed. Many people use the acceptance period to time when they take it to the post office. I am one who won't accept a request until I have the book in hand and know nothing has happened to it that has rendered it unpostable. I may be on line a lot, but that is often from the office and I may get home late and not have time to go looking for the book for acouple of days.

Some people also want to group together mailings, so they will let offers sit until they have a few before accepting. Members aren't expected to be on PBS and taking care of reqests every single day.

In the case of a Wish List book, all the requester needs to do is log in and say they want the book. They don't usually need anything but computer access.

Date Posted: 11/30/2011 4:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2010
Posts: 68
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I used to get annoyed by the 5-day limit for senders to accept a request. Now that I work full-time and can only get to the post office once a week I have become one of *those* senders who may let a request sit for a couple of days until I can select a mail-by date that falls on the day I can get to the post office.

:)

Date Posted: 11/30/2011 4:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2010
Posts: 220
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I have no problem with active members waiting, etc.  The problem is that if someone has abandoned their membership, it takes so long to bypass them--which is why I would like to see a more proactive weeding out of inactive accounts so the requests (or offers) don't have to sit through them.

(It's like if you're going door-to-door.  You don't mind standing a bit at a door where there seems to be someone home, but if you had to wait five minutes in front of a door on an adbandoned house, you'd get annoyed.)

 

Date Posted: 11/30/2011 4:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
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I've always thought the five day was so you could find the book, check it, and schedule when you can get to the PO.  The WL book should already be in hand and planing the PO trip before posting it.

Date Posted: 11/30/2011 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 1/10/2010
Posts: 14
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If your library is big enough and spread around the house because of it, it is not always easy to find a book...

I recently found a book that i had offered...

Three days after an order cancelled out

Smack in the middle of books that i didnt search in because I "knew" that all the books there were "Keepers".

DOH

Date Posted: 11/30/2011 5:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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I don't think we have ever been told exactly what criteria PBS uses to deactivate someone's account. We hear vague references to it, but I think it takes more than one missed request to trigger a deactivation. I too wish they would be more proactive about the weeding of inactive accounts...I mean, why wait until someone hasn't responded to two or three requests? Why not just set the system to automatically deactivate the account for anyone who has not logged in for 30 days, which puts their shelf and WL on hold and out of circulation, auto-send an email to them letting them know they've been deactivated and to log in if they want to reactivate their account. Easy peasy.

I think the reason it's longer for accepting orders than for accepting WL book offers is because wishlisted books are obviously in demand, so they know there are others looking for those books and want the turnaround to be quicker. At least that's always been my thought on it. Edited to add: The sender always has the same amount of time to send a book whether from the shelf or WL once they have accepted it...it's just the time to accept/decline/ignore request that's different.

Cheryl

 



Last Edited on: 11/30/11 5:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/30/2011 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,321
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Since I respond to Live Help questions, I do hear the other side of this sometimes.  A member is going to be gone for a couple of months.  He wants to know if he places his account on vacation hold and any wish list books he wants on auto-request, if he can get by without logging on to the site while he's gone.  The answer is yes -- his account won't be placed on hold for not logging in.

Also members who had a medical emergency, were in the hospital for a week or two, and come back to find that their account has been placed on temporary hold and a couple of books (that were requested) on their bookshelf or a couple of wish list books (that were offered to them) have been removed from their posted books or from their wish list.  Sometimes they're upset about it, sometimes they're grateful that the account was placed on hold after a couple of non-responses so that they didn't miss out on more requests or WL offers.

I heard from a member who was upset because she was offered a wish list book on Friday evening and didn't log on again until Monday morning.  She had been waiting for it for a long time, and didn't feel she should have to use "vacation hold" for a two day period.  She felt she should have a week to respond to any offer or request.

I imagine the current system is a compromise that works for the most members.  We who post on the forums tend to be the members who are logged on here more often.  Many of us would be good with a faster response time.  But some members only log on once or twice a week at the library, and with auto-request on wish list books, the site seems to work for all of us.

That said, the PBS Team welcomes feedback and is responsive to our ideas.  You can go down to the bottom right corner of any page, and under "company" click on "contact us" to send them "feedback."

Date Posted: 11/30/2011 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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But surely (in the case of your first example) if the account was on vacation hold, putting it inactive would not need to apply. That person is being pro-active and would seem to have intent to return, unlike all those who drift away and never come back. However, if he were going to be gone for "a couple of months" and not going to be able to log in at all, how would he then mark books received that were ordered by auto-request? If he is not marked 'inactive' that means the sender may not get their credit. IMO, that guy wants it both ways, which isn't really fair either.

Personally, if I had a medical emergency and were suddenly gone without warning, I would be glad to have the PBS system take over and inactivate my account--it's one less thing I would need to worry about and it would be certainly more fair to those trying to order from me or send me books.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 12/1/2011 12:48 AM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2009
Posts: 7,620
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Last Edited on: 9/26/13 11:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/1/2011 12:52 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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Why not just set the system to automatically deactivate the account for anyone who has not logged in for 30 days, which puts their shelf and WL on hold and out of circulation, auto-send an email to them letting them know they've been deactivated and to log in if they want to reactivate their account. Easy peasy.

I would guess there are many good more members who don't use the forums than do and therefore don't log in unless they have a transaction. I don't log into the sister sites every month. I only log in when I have something to do on the site. I haven't ever missed a transaction, but I would certainly close down all accounts except for PBS if they required me to sign into an account just for the sake of signing into an account every month. There is no purpose to it IMO. The site shouldn't be set up to penalize good members just to make sure inactive members are caught quicker. Members are still going to run into inactive accounts (within their first 30 days or an emergency) or they are going to run into active accounts that are busy. 

Date Posted: 12/1/2011 2:56 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,321
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However, if he were going to be gone for "a couple of months" and not going to be able to log in at all, how would he then mark books received that were ordered by auto-request?

If he actually had a wish list book sent to him, he planned to have the friend watering the plants call him, and then he'd log in from an internet cafe and mark it received.  Sounded good to me.

And you're right, Melanie, I only log into the other sites a few times a year.

Date Posted: 12/1/2011 8:23 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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If he was away for 2 months, would he not have had his mail held at the post office? I sure would, unless I had a house sitter...if you just had someone coming in a couple times a week to water plants, mail and packages could pile up and be stolen. And if he was away somewhere that he could log in with an internet cafe, then what's the problem with just logging in once a month anyway? Hard to believe someone accustomed to being online wouldn't at least check in once or twice while away for two months to at least check e-mail! I thought he meant he was going to Timbuktu or on an African safari or something. (Oh hell, I'm just being argumentative...but it just seems like a lot of trouble on his part if he could just go to an internet cafe in the first place. And if he couldn't, then IMO his wishlist ought to be on hold.)

I guess my point is this: if PBS is important to people, they will find a way to check in.  I firmly believe that most of the inactive accounts are just that: abandoned and inactive, and I think deactivating those accounts with no login is the way to get rid of them. If 30 days is too short of a time, how about 60? It's hard to imagine that someone who has gotten no book requests or wishlisted books offered to them for 2 months (and thus no notifications that would prompt them to login) would still be interested in staying a PBS member.

Cheryl

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 12/1/2011 10:19 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,117
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Over at SwapaDVD, my transaction history has these dates:

9/14/2010
2/12/2011
4/15/2011
7/10/2011
10/10/2011
11/4/2011

I never login there unless I get an email telling me about a pending transaction, but I still want to remain a member. I like the fact that the site is there and working for me even though I pay it absolutely no attention, and I'd have been disappointed if my account were suspended just because there was no activity for several months. Judging from a lot of the small bookshelves with common books that I see, there are a whole lot of PBS members with accounts like my DVD account.

It's incomprehensible to me that there are people for whom books are not that important, but I'm sure a lot them don't understand my relatively low interest in movies either.

Date Posted: 12/1/2011 2:28 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Many active members post they wish TPTB would be a bit more proactive weeding out inactive accounts.  I've no complaint waiting on active members (we all participate under different RL circumstances), but waiting on several inactive members while the transaction times out...again...  crying.

Not sure where the criteria might be, but even if PBS suspended any account not signed into for the last 6 months...that would be a start.  What about 3 or 4 months?  Not to put too many restrictions on members, but even on vacation hold a person should be able to check in every 4 to 6 months or so.  And it's not like a suspended account can't be reopened if the member contacts PBS admin.



Last Edited on: 12/1/11 2:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
mistie -
Date Posted: 12/2/2011 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 2,017
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Not sure where the criteria might be, but even if PBS suspended any account not signed into for the last 6 months...that would be a start.

 

Or, if no log on for a six month period, then how about an email from PBS giving them 30 days to log in , then after that time they will be put on inactivate status until they do log in.

If someone can't respond and log in at least once, when prompted, in a 30 day period, then, IMHO, they should be considered inactive. The obvious exception would be accounts that had been placed on vacation hold.



Last Edited on: 12/2/11 1:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/2/2011 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,664
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So, basically, what you are asking for is that people who have not had requests to answer (and who have also not had occasion to log in) will be suspended so they won't get any Wish List book offers.

Sounds crappy to me. I think it would make all those members furious to suddenly login one day and realize that their account has been suspeded for the past 4 months. Or whatever.

There is NO advantage to PBS to kick off members for any reason. Less active members makes the site less attractive to partners, investors, etc.

So, I think the current system is a  happy balance between suspending people that can't be relied upon to answer book requests or offers .... and leaving as active those that can, when they receive them. I see no reason why PBS should go make an effort to p*ss off that second group. Where would be the advantage for PBS in that?

Date Posted: 12/2/2011 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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For a change, I'm going to disagree with you Sara blush

I like the suggestion to send an e-mail reminder to log in.  Since several people have commented that they only log in when notified of a transaction, a 30 day notice after 6 months inactivity...works for me.  PBS has already established that routine and active members (even sporatically active members) are used to noticing and responding to the e-mails.

Lets be honest, if a member hasn't logged in for some reason or another in 6 months...I'd say well over half of those accounts in reality ARE inactive/abandoned and unlikely to respond to a book request or log in an auto-request book.    How many times have we seen comments posted where a sender is burned because the book they mailed hasn't been logged in (and the requester hasn't signed in for months)?  How many credits have been lost by active senders when inactive receivers do not log in the books (and DC was not used)?  If PBS admin has statistics that say different, I'd be interested in seeing them.

And the accounts don't have to be closed (or members kicked off).  Suspended accounts can be reactivated if the member contacts PBS. Pi$$ed off holders of abandoned accounts...aren't around to even know or care.



Last Edited on: 12/2/11 2:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 12/2/2011 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,664
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 How many times have we seen comments posted where a sender is burned because the book they mailed hasn't been logged in (and the requester hasn't signed in for months)? 

The only way this could happen is if the book is a WL book on auto request. Otherwise, the member would have had to log in to the account to order the book, so they are not inactive. People just post that they "think" the other member is inactive. I bet most of the time people post about this, they are mistaken and the account is not inactive, instead the other member is not responsive.

And PBS says they mark books recieved on inactive accounts. So, if you have sent a WL book on auto request to someone and they are not marking it received ... .presumably PBS would mark it received for you automatically (although maybe you have to ask them, I don't know).

 How many credits have been lost by active senders when inactive receivers do not log in the books (and DC was not used)? 

I don't really think there can be that many. Books cannot be ordered from inactive accounts except as stated above. So, the receiving member might not be marking books received like they should ... but their account cannot be inactive, by definition.

Date Posted: 12/2/2011 5:10 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2009
Posts: 382
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Perhaps instead of a suspension, if someone does not log in after the reminder email, they could just have all of their Auto Requests changed to 48 Hour status. Then they would keep their place in line but would not be sent any books automatically until they logged back in.

Date Posted: 12/2/2011 7:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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How many times have we seen comments posted where a sender is burned because the book they mailed hasn't been logged in (and the requester hasn't signed in for months)? How many credits have been lost by active senders when inactive receivers do not log in the books (and DC was not used)? If PBS admin has statistics that say different, I'd be interested in seeing them.

And the sender knows the requester hasn't logged in for months how?  I would say there are ZERO lost credits that way and if a sender is saying it did they are just venting because their book went lost. If a member hasn't signed into the account for months and a book reaches the lost date the site will deem the account inactive and record the book as received regardless of DC.

Perhaps instead of a suspension, if someone does not log in after the reminder email, they could just have all of their Auto Requests changed to 48 Hour status. Then they would keep their place in line but would not be sent any books automatically until they logged back in.

The whole point of auto-request is to not have to log in to respond to 48hr offers. A member can easily be logging in books they receive in a timely matter, but not be able to respond to 48-hr requests and they wouldn't keep their place in line, if they didn't respond to the 48-hr offer the book gets removed from their WL completely. I see no point in messing with auto-request and making it only for those who are on the site every day, those are the people who don't need it. AR is for people who want a maintenance free PBS account.

Date Posted: 12/2/2011 10:44 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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And the sender knows the requester hasn't logged in for months how?  - Didn't we used to have access to that information?  I thought it used to be on our member profile page unless set to private?

If a member hasn't signed into the account for months and a book reaches the lost date the site will deem the account inactive and record the book as received regardless of DC.  - For some reason I was under the impression that those books were just noted as lost by USPS and credits returned (to the inactive receiver)...unless the sender contacts TPTB and initiates a review of the transaction.  So you're saying PBS automatically cross checks all 'lost' transactions against accounts that haven't been logged into for an unstated long period of time?

The only way this could happen is if the book is a WL book on auto request  - Yes, I was referring to auto requested books from abandoned/inactive accounts.

Thank you for the answers and discussion Melanie & Sara.

mistie -
Date Posted: 12/2/2011 10:46 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 2,017
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So, basically, what you are asking for is that people who have not had requests to answer (and who have also not had occasion to log in) will be suspended so they won't get any Wish List book offers.

No, I'm asking that members who have not have logged in for 6  months receive an email from PBS asking them to respond within 30 days. IMHO, if someone is unable to respond to an email within 30 days, they are not going to be responding to a book request/or offer either.

Sounds crappy to me. I think it would make all those members furious to suddenly login one day and realize that their account has been suspeded for the past 4 months. Or whatever.

In the situation I am describing they would have received an email "warning" and possible even a reminder.

There is NO advantage to PBS to kick off members for any reason. Less active members makes the site less attractive to partners, investors, etc.

I see an advantage in that kicking off inactive members enables book requests to be processed more quickly - many less "five-day rollovers", this would increase satisfaction by active members.

So, I think the current system is a  happy balance between suspending people that can't be relied upon to answer book requests or offers .... and leaving as active those that can, when they receive them.

Once again, the method I am suggesting would not be inactivating those who respond to a PBS request. If someone is unable to respond to a request from TPTB, then any requests to their shelf will also be being ignored.

I see no reason why PBS should go make an effort to p*ss off that second group. Where would be the advantage for PBS in that?

The advantage to PBS would be increasing the operating efficiency. In effect not p*ssing off the majority of members.

Date Posted: 12/2/2011 11:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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Sara wrote: There is NO advantage to PBS to kick off members for any reason.

I have to heartily disagree with that "for any reason" part. People who don't live up to the TOS (which they agreed to abide by when joining) who repeatedly send books that don't meet posting guidelines, who harass other members, who send their porn video emails to members, etc. should most definitely be kicked off.

BUT...for the purpose of this discussion, re: inactivity, I don't think anyone has said people should be "kicked off." People have said that PBS should flag accounts where the person hasn't logged in for a given time--be it 30, 60, 90 days or whatever time has been agreed on--and send them an e-mail asking if they are still interested in PBS, and if so, to please log in. If that email is ignored, suspend the account. Which is not the same as 'kicking them off.' At all.

Paring down the deadwood can only be good for PBS, IMO. Say you have a book showing 600 copies available. People who have that book on their shelf want it to be chosen...if 200 of those copies are lying there on dormant accounts, it just means it will take that much longer for their book to be picked via FIFO...and people who actually want the book don't have to want to wait through 3 or 4 or 5 cycles of 5 days waiting for someone to say they can send the book, either. How often do we hear that people just 'give up waiting, cancel the order and buy it at a UBS.' Perhaps this is one of the reasons people with good intentions end up leaving, thus abandoning their accounts and adding to the very problem they're frustrated with.

This text is from the "Terms of Use" so it already seems that PBS does have the right to close dormant accounts (AND reclaim any credits). It doesn't addressed frequency of login though, just orders placed/shipped. Who knows if they actually do this or not? I hope so. 

Dormant Accounts
An account may be deemed "dormant" when no items have been ordered, shipped, or purchased within any 1 year period. Dormant accounts may be closed and any accumulated Book Credits forfeited without compensation to the account holder.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 12/3/2011 4:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,321
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Cheryl said "If he was away for 2 months, would he not have had his mail held at the post office?"

I didn't ask him about that.  I never have the Post Office hold my mail -- we have a slot in the door, so everything but a largish package can slip through into the house.  Any book would fit.  Or maybe the friend watering the plants was staying in his house.

"And if he was away somewhere that he could log in with an internet cafe, then what's the problem with just logging in once a month anyway?"

Maybe he didn't want to log in unless he had to, I don't know.  It didn't seem odd to me. I normally don't log on to anything when I'm on vacation unless I need to pay a bill or make a bank transfer, although I make an exception if I run into a place where I have free internet access.  I couldn't think of any reason he should log in if he didn't have any business on the site, so I didn't suggest it. 

I'm fine with members' accounts being placed on hold after a couple of non-responses.  And people's accounts are actually suspended after a year of inactivity.  I heard from someone a couple of months ago who was surprised when it happened to her.  I don't know what happened next -- I sent her to the PBS Team. 

I think there are a lot of methods that would work for weeding out inactive accounts.  The current one seems good enough to me, but that's not to say someone can't come up with a better one.  To offer feedback to the Admin Team (they don't monitor the forums and likely won't see this) go to the bottom right corner of any page, and under "company" click on "contact us."  There's a "feedback option.

 

 

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