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Topic: Account on Hold

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Subject: Account on Hold
Date Posted: 4/13/2010 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2010
Posts: 1
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I'm a bit frustrated twice lately I've had my account placed on hold for lack of response and in both cases I had already shipped the books.  What I'm guilty of is not clicking the shipped button when I print the label.  In my house I create the label put it with the book then set them to be mailed.  Once I know its gone out I go back into paperback swap and click sent.  If I forget I get my account suspended.


I guess from now on I'm going to click mailed immediately even if it sits in the house a couple days. 



Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 4/13/2010 11:55 AM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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PBS guidelines allow a two-day "grace period" to get the book in the mail once you've marked the book as Mailed in the system.  So, it's ok to print your label, package up your book, and then print the Mailed button, as long as you get the books actually in the mail within two days.  If for some reason it ends up being longer than 2 days before you can get the books in the mail, you should contact your Requestor to let them know of the delay.

From the Help Center:

If you have accepted a request but know you will not be able to mail a book within 2 days of when you said you would mail it, you should ask the requestor's consent to mail the book late. 

  • You can contact the requestor by clicking the button on the request for the book on your My Account page--it will be on the Books to Mail tab after you accept it, and before you have marked it mailed.

If you accepted a request and something comes up unexpectedly, contact the sender to let him or her know that mailing was delayed, as soon as you have mailed the book. Most requestors don't mind a little delay, as long as they are kept informed of the situation. 

If you do arrange late mailing with a requestor, you should mark the book mailed before the deadline to prevent the transaction from being canceled.

If you marked the book mailed but did not mail it and you want to mail it late (more than 4 days after the date you marked it as mailed),  you MUST contact the requestor using the PM button on the transaction, to be sure that the requestor still wants the book.  (If the book has already been declared "lost", the PM button is on the "lost in mail" transaction in your Transaction Archive.)

Date Posted: 4/13/2010 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Sorry if you are frustrated but those are the rules, Ed. Marking a book mailed is VERY IMPORTANT and if you are forgetting to do it, it makes sense that PBS is suspending your account. It causes a LOT of problems (both to senders and requestors.) We Tour Guides get Live Help questions every single day from requestors who get several books because senders forget to mark books mailed and I tell you, it ain't pretty. If PBS didn't have any steps to minimize the 'forgetting to mark books mailed' problem, we would be overrun by members mailing books and not marking them mailed and the site wouldn't work as well as it does now.

So I think you have to figure out some steps on your end to make sure you don't forget this step. Either marking the books mailed when you print the wrapper - which you can do if you know you will mail within 2 days - or just put a post it note on top of the book, computer, etc. with - remember to log into PBS and mark the book mailed.

Last Edited on: 4/13/10 3:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/13/2010 5:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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They set up time limits like this to prevent people from basically holding someone's book request hostage by taking a long time to mail the book. If you don't mark it mailed and it times out then PBS assumes you didn't mail the book and orders another one for the person-who shouldn't have to pay 2 credits when they only wanted 1 copy.  I belong to another bookclub that doesnt' have these time requirements and let me tell ya-people have no problem lettting your book request sit there for weeks on end with no action.  And they don't close accoutns even when the person hasn't logged on for years. 

If you can't remember to mark a book mailed then you need to do it right away.  Just be sure to mail it withing 48hrs of markign it mailed.  I normally don't even print the address until I'm ready to wrap and mail the book. 

Date Posted: 4/13/2010 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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Yes indeed...I've had it happen to me several times where I'll order a book, the person accepts the order and prints the label, then never marks it mailed. So PBS cancels the request, and it gets passed along to the next person in line who has that book. They send the book, then I get a message from the first person, who never marked the book mailed. "Gee I forgot to mail the book! Can you mark it received when you get it?" Well, sorry...PBS says I'm not obligated to do that if someone else has already responded to the request that was passed to them. Why would I want two copies of the book, and to spend two credits for it?

What I do is to wait to print the label til I'm getting ready to mail the books. I print, wrap, and then mark the books mailed as I'm on my way out the door to mail them. Once you get into a routine, it's easier to remember.


Date Posted: 4/13/2010 8:47 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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I have also received two books because the first was never marked mailed.  I'm rather reassured that PBS does put accounts on hold. 

Date Posted: 4/13/2010 11:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Look at it this way - the PBS FIFO system is set up to work automatically. If you don't tell the system you've mailed the book, thesystem is programmed to assume it hasn't been mailed and it does what it can to get a book to that member who ordered a book.  Nothing you can do in this situation except to learn to mark them mailed.  PBS does send warnings to mark the book mailed.  So if you are checking in at all regularly or reading your email you should see these warning messages.  It's a habit you have to learn to do.  That way the system works smoothly.


Date Posted: 4/14/2010 12:35 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,212
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IMO a book should not be marked mailed unless it actually IS mailed. BUT... if you are really having a repeated problem with this and you do in fact mail them within the 48 hours that PBS forgives, then mark the dang things mailed as soon as you print the label and save yourself and the receivers the headache. Of course if you don't mail them within the 48 hours of marking them mailed you would start getting emails about late postmarks so you truly would need to mail them on time.

Date Posted: 4/14/2010 8:29 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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Just an FYI, it is not against PBS rules to mark a book mailed before you've mailed it, as long as you actually DO mail it within 48 hours of marking it so. Any later than that and you're supposed to contact the sender to let them know.

From the PBS help docs:

A book must be mailed within 48 hours of marking it mailed

  • It is okay to mark your book mailed before you have mailed it if:

    • The deadline date falls on a postal holiday
    • Your computer/Internet access is unreliable
    • You plan to mail the book on your way out of town
  • It is not okay to mark your book mailed and delay mailing it for longer than 48 hours
    • We understand that sometimes circumstances interfere with prompt mailing!  But this should not be a habit.
    • If your mailing is delayed, you must inform the requestor as soon as possible, so that she doesn't think the book is lost in the mail if it was merely mailed late.


Date Posted: 4/14/2010 12:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,976
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I agree with Melanie---   I receive a lot of books lately where on the system it was marked as mailed on day X but when I receive it in the mail it was actually mailed 1-5 days later!

I get a lot of requests on Fridays for some reason. I print label and wrap immediately, but then go to PO on Monday.  (Blue boxes aren't allowed to take packages here in northern Illinois, only envelopes 5x7 or smaller--same was true in DC area and on military bases)    I always wait til book is actually mailed before marking it so in the system!

Date Posted: 4/15/2010 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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Just got another PM today from someone who mailed a book but forgot to mark it mailed and wanted me to cancel any current order because they DID mail it. Unfortunately, the request had already moved along to the next person who accepted yesterday morning and marked the book mailed yesterday afternoon...so I can't cancel, and I'm going to have 2 copies of yet another book. This is the FOURTH one of these in the past month, where people forget to mark them mailed.

I would rather have someone mark a book mailed and mail it 2 days later than forget to mark it mailed. I don't really care if they mail it a week later as long as they PM to let me know to expect it a bit later. Communication is the key, IMO.


Date Posted: 4/15/2010 4:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Wow -- that's frustrating -- but still better to have someone mail the book and forget to mark it mailed than to have someone who marks it mailed and never mails it (and then have to wait 4 weeks for book to be declared lost)!

Oh, well....

Date Posted: 4/15/2010 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Welcome to PBS Ed!  Sorry you are feeling frustrated, but hopefully some of the above comments will help you understand other viewpoints on the matter.  Frankly, we're just glad you're one of the members that mails on time...maybe a big colorful post-it on your computer to remind you to mark books mailed??