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Topic: need advice on RWAP / problem with SWAP tour guide!

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Subject: need advice on RWAP / problem with SWAP tour guide!
Date Posted: 5/28/2010 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2006
Posts: 532
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Hi all,

I'm in the middle of a big 'ole mess with an RWAP book and need you weigh in on the situation. (You can skim the next paragraph, which contains the details of how I got to where I now am and skip ahead to the next paragraph which contains the real humdinger).

I received the book a couple of weeks ago from a swapper who's relatively new to the site. It's a history book (not a textbook), but she used it for a college class. It was full of notes and highlighting (she did not PM me first letting me know this), so I marked it RWAP. She PM'd me that she had tagged it as a textbook on her shelf and did not know that she was supposed to PM me first about condition, then asked for me to return the book to her in exchange for getting my credit back. I let her know that I needed my credit back as well as another credit to cover the cost of shipping it back to her. She then told me that the book had only cost me one credit, so she was only going to give me one credit to return it. Then I didn't hear from her for a bit and marked it unresolved. Today I got a PM from her, letting me know that she had been waiting to hear back from her Swap Tour Guide who told her the following:

"Text books are allowed to have highlighting and even light writing. If you look at what is allowed you can confirm this. I would not indulge the woman in her unreasonableness, the site specifically allows that highlighting she should have made sure she was aware of that fact. Keep your credit, it will not reflect badly on you at all."

It's hard to say what is most upsetting about this situation. The fact that as a swapper who has swapped (literally) thousands of books on this site over the last few years with almost no problems at all, I am now this "woman" who shouldn't be "indulged in her unreasonableness", or that a Tour Guide is giving advice to new swappers that contradicts the actual rules of the swap.


Date Posted: 5/28/2010 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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sorry all I can say is WOW!!!! personally just so the Team can educate the Swap Tour Guide IF she in fact said that I'd send the info to TPTB.

Date Posted: 5/28/2010 10:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Alright, I know tour guides are just volunteer members.  But a tour guide who does not bother to read the help? 

From help:

writing or highlighting or underlining on the text pages is NOT OKAY

Exception: if it is a textbook or workbook, these are expected to have highlighting/underlining/writing

  • if you post a textbook/workbook, the condition must be described to the requestor in a Personal Message
  • AND the described condition MUST BE AGREED TO in a reply PM before the book is sent
  • This is the one of the ONLY three cases in which a PM exchange about a book is required before the book can be sent


That vented.  You have reached the end of what is available to you.  You marked the swap as unresolved.   Did this message from the new member come "attached" to the transaction archive?   Go to your transaction archive and click on the details of the swap.  Does the PM show up there?  If not, I'd copy the PM and sent a PM (from the transaction archive page) back with the copied message so her message goes on record with the swap. 

And don't send the book back without two credits.

And oh, I feel a rant coming on about the proper uses of Tags.  There is just so much wrong here.  Just give up.  Go look at a sunset or something.

Date Posted: 5/28/2010 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2005
Posts: 6,187
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Yea, as Emily stated, all of the Tour Guides are volunteers and may not know all the specific "grey" areas, or the details on everything. They try to the best of their ability to help out the members.

Here is also the information from the help center about the definition of a textbook, and how you should notify the receiver about the highlighting in the book.

If a member considers her book a textbook she may Post it with underlining/highlighting/writing on text pages, according to the "textbook exception" in the Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS; BUT since the textbook exception in the Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS require her to contact the requestor and obtain PM consent to the book's condition, she won't be in the position of sending a "stealth textbook" to someone who doesn't expect to receive one.

Examples/further explanation:

  • Member A posts an Economics 101 textbook- something that most people would clearly consider a textbook.   
  • Following the Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS textbook exception rules, she sends a Personal Message to the requestor when she gets a request, describing the book's condition.
  • Chances are good that she will get PM consent from the requestor to send the book with highlighting/etc. 
  • Member B posts a novel (fiction) that she used in a class- something that most people would NOT consider a textbook.
    • Following the Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS textbook exception rules, she sends a Personal Message to the requestor when she gets a request, describing the book's condition.
    • Chances are good that she will NOT get PM consent from the requestor to send the book with highlighting/etc.
    • If the requestor declines the book in its condition, Member B will have to cancel the request and repost her book.  It will go to the 'back of the line' for requests.  (If it is a Wish Listed book, it will be offered to the same wisher and the sender will again have to cancel.  She will have to wait for the wishing member to get a copy of this book from someone else before Member B can post her copy again.)

So, the farther the book is from a 'textbook' in common perception, the more likely it will be difficult to get consent to its condition.  Members in Member B's situation may encounter several declines, and will eventually realize that the book is not likely to be acceptable to the club in its condition.  Member B will stop trying to offer it as a "textbook"  and will consider it instead an unpostable/damaged book.

In this way, the club defines "textbook" on a case-by-case basis, and no one who is following the rules will be able to "surprise" another person with a highlighted/written-in/underlined book.


Last Edited on: 5/28/10 11:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/28/2010 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I would contact TPTB, send copies of the PMs so they can talk to the tour guide and make sure that they are aware of how wrong they got it.

Sounds like the newbie might have told her she had PM'd you and then offered to return the credit etc, not telling the TG that it was just ONE credit she was going to return and not two.

And the help guide clearly states what to do with a text book none of which the newbie followed. 

Report the TG, they are the one doing the most harm here.  The newbie did the right thing but asking her TG what to do and was then given the wrong advice.

Date Posted: 5/28/2010 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,405
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Please be aware that you are looking at one part of a message and it could be possible that the sender indicated to the tour guide that you knew of the highlighting ahead of time.  You've done what you can by marking it RWAP and unresolved.  If this was wishlisted, it should be back on your list in the #1 spot so you can receive a clean copy.

Date Posted: 5/28/2010 11:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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I've seen this quite a few times, people claiming that a Tour Guide had told them suchandsuch, trying to bolster their case.  For the fact that the issue in question is one of the more basic problems one might have here, I honestly doubt the paraphrasal of the Tour Guide is all that accurate, if at all true.  I can't speak for all Tour Guides, but I can see at least three or four aspects of the alleged Tour Guide response that are out of line with what I would consider to be an appropriate response.  If the comments being attribtued to the Tour Guide have been conveyed accurately, it's definitely something that needs to be brought to PBS's attention.  Still, I'd be willing to bet this is a matter of either an actual Tour Guide's words being twisted, or a Tour Guide being conjured from thin air.

Date Posted: 5/28/2010 11:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Yes.  We can all hope that the tour guide was quoted out of context.  Or edited.  Oh, how I do hope so. 

Still.  Highlighting, misuse of Tags, expecting a return of a book with only one credit, then quoting (or misquoting) the tour guide?  I just have to go shake off all the wrongness.  And I wasn't the one labeled with the "indulge the woman in her unreasonableness".  Put it in your transaction archive.  I'm sending a large dose of sympathy. 

Date Posted: 5/28/2010 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 295
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Wow, that situation really sucks.  If it were me, I would send all of the info and message logs to the PBS team.  Message her back copying the information about textbooks that was posted above as well as the portion of the help docs that say that a RWAP being noted as unresolved will leave a "double black mark" in their file and be peeved until I got my next perfectly smooth transaction finished.  You have truckloads of sympathy coming at you from my direction as well.

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 1:17 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 37,936
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...and let us know what tptb tell you

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 7:02 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I'm wondering if maybe the sender told the TG that you were informed of the highlighting but neglected to tell the TG that she considers tagging the books as "informing" you. 

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 10:42 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,717
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I'd let the PBS team know too.  They can look up the PMs between this member and her TG and see what really was said and educate both the sender and the TG if necessary.

The TG could have quoted the Help center and the other member just chose to hear what she wanted to hear.  The PBS team can find out for sure.

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 10:48 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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It could very well be, as James suggested a conjured TG, or (and this is what my spider senses say:P) The TG could have asked if you were informed in advance of the highlighting & notes, and rather than saying that she tagged it that way, she just said yes.  Not that you shouldn't forward it to PBS to look into - because they're in a better position to find these things out than you are - but I would bring it across as more of a head's up, just in case this is really what the TG advised her to do, and you're passing it along to them just in case it's something they need to address.

Last Edited on: 5/29/10 10:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/29/2010 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/10/2009
Posts: 1,691
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Last Edited on: 8/20/10 2:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/29/2010 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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They expanded the rule awhile back to include any book that "might" have been used in a class room at sometime. Which basically opens it to any book.  But the requirement is still there to PM first.

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 2:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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and this is what my spider senses say:P)

Wouldn't that be your "ducky sense" instead of spidey sense,  Kim?  laugh

Date Posted: 5/29/2010 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Lol.  Yes, I suppose it would:P

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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They expanded the rule awhile back to include any book that "might" have been used in a class room at sometime. Which basically opens it to any book.  But the requirement is still there to PM first.


This is why it's really a good thing (necessary to me) to come here frequently to see what's new and what's changed.  Sometimes these little changes don't make it to the rules and Help Docs for a while if ever.  And we should all look at the rules and Help Docs once in a while to refresh our memories.  At least I should!!  This is getting to be a big site and with new things and changes it can get away from me if I don't make an effort to keep up!  ;D

I most suspect that the sender was told the requester needed to know about the textbook issues with the book, but either she chose not to see that or skipped it or lied.  It happens.  It's strange to me how "important" we allow these used books become so that we will lie or just ignore the rules about them.  They are only $3.45 at most - unless you add in postage.  We all agreed to that when we joined.  So why do we let them get so important to us we do these things?  I guess somehow we get them confused with our pride.


Date Posted: 5/31/2010 5:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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How often have you noticed a Tag that reffered to one specific copy of a book?  I've seen Tags quite often that mention things like dust jackets or ex library books.  The OP mentioned that the sender had "tagged" the book as a textbook.   A Tag is not the same as a PM textbook notice.

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I always mark those kind of tags as inappropriate.  Don't know if it works to permanately remove them. But I figure if others are the same then mine helps.  I think it's set up that more than one person has to ding it to get it removed to prevent someone from dinging and removing legitimate tags.  People seem to get confused as to what kind of personal tags are appropriate (like In Box #32 for someone to see where they've stored a book) and when they aren't (like slight water damage).  I tag my unpostables but it's clearly a personal tag that is obvious to apply only to my copy. 

Date Posted: 5/31/2010 6:59 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Agreeing with the majority here Mary:

1.  Be done with the transaction, unless the sender buys a clue and refunds two credits for the book return.

2.  JIC pm to TPTB.  They can check if a Tour Guide needs accurate information/education, or has been misquoted.

3.  PBS guidelines define 'textbook' to mean any book that has been used as a text (probably half of DD's college texts have not been actual text books).  These are postable FIFO...but only when the textbook clause has been properly involked, which involves an accurate description of book condition from sender and acceptance/permission by receiver prior to sending.

ETA - IIRC there's a specific PBS guideline stating that tags and book reviews are not forums intended for members to comment on the condition of individual books (damage, DJ, autograph, etc).  Therefore there's no reason to believe doing such is adequate notification to sender of damaged book, nor that a receiver would know which copy (of many potential copies of the book) such a comment would refer to.

Last Edited on: 6/1/10 2:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 4