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Topic: Anyone else feeling forced to use PBS postage?

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Subject: Anyone else feeling forced to use PBS postage?
Date Posted: 6/22/2016 4:03 AM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 4,979
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I have been a faithful user of PBS postage but this month my funds aren't all that good, so thought I would try and use the stamps that I have.I put stamps on 3 books and brought them to the local post office counter and they went out on May 25th.

Well the members of those books have told me they never got them. I am now out of 3 credits.sad I know the PO gives the track numbers for the books but I never really paid attention because like I said, I usually use PBS postage. I am still going to look for that receipt and hope I find it so I can track them.

I was also surprised that PBS already marked them as being "lost" 3 days ago. That was not even close yet to June 25th.

Are any of you having the same problem with books that you put stamps on? I now will only put stamps on books that will go to PBS friends, otherwise I am feeling forced to use PBS postage to make sure I get my credits due. I was really hoping to use my stamps to keep my budget in tack.I know in no way this is PBS's fault so am not blaming them at all.

I also could make sure that I keep the receipt with the tracking number and I may still do that. I am just wondering if this same thing is happening to others.



Last Edited on: 6/22/16 4:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/22/2016 4:41 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 1,442
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Sorry this happened to you!  If your book(s) were marked lost too soon, perhaps you could contact PBS and find out what happened.  To answer your question, I have never used PBS postage and have never had a book go lost.  Twice since the PO initiated 'automatic tracking' I've noticed that the book was delivered but not marked as 'received'.  After a week had passed I PM'd the recipients and they both immediately marked the book received.

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 7:27 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,915
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since the receipt has a tracking number on it I feel it is very important to keep that safe. I never throw it away until I know the book has been received and marked. I used to copy the tracking into a message to the recipient so they could follow it. I have gotten too lazy to do that anymore but I always keep up with the receipt. I usually keep them just below my monitor on my computer so it is always handy. To date I have not had anything go missing.

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 8:11 AM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 15,676
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I used PBS postage for a long time but lately I find myself without a working printer and can't find one to buy that's compatible with the new Win 10 computer which in itself has been an enormous headache. I have started using the no extra service option and handwriting the labels. Luckily the few dozen books I've sent with handwritten labels have all arrived. Saving the fee for PBS postage has been a boon but it's nice to have the credit directly so I don't know what i'll do in future.

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 8:27 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
Posts: 852
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Because timely marked received books have become a rarity here I always keep my post office receipts with the tracking number.  I actually do PM the folks who fail to mark my books received by providing them the tracking number, politely of course.  They all end up marking the books received.  Too bad that we have to do that.

Once a book is marked lost in the mail the honorary thing to do is for the receiver to mark it 'received' through the transaction menu.  I wonder how many fail to do that and are just happy to have received free books without having to spend a credit.

I am sorry you lost your credits.  Just make sure you hold on to the receipts when you send them from the P.O. . Tracking through them is free now.

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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I agree that it seems they were marked lost a few days earlier than expected but having said that, I have found that I increasingly have to send receivers PMs asking if they have received the book or stating that the PO indicates the book was delivered (fill in the date) and 99% of the time the book is then marked received. In the forums you can see that this has become a huge problem lately of people not marking books received. I do send books out with stamps probably 75% of the time, only going to the PO when I have a book to mail over 13 oz. Pretty much refuse to use PBS Postage because of the fee.

I would strongly suggest PMing the people whose books have gone lost, inquiring whether they have received them, and also asking them to either mark the book received or acknowledge receipt of your PM so that you know that they are an active member. If they don't mark the book received and you receive no acknowledgment of receipt, definitely refer them to PBS and they will verify whether they are inactive and if they are you WILL get your credit released to you by PBS. If we let non-responsive members get away with it, the problem is just going to grow!

Edited to add: OOOPS! I see that you apparently have been in touch with the members (missed that in the first reading)...I would PM them to let them know how to mark books received in their transaction archive. I find it suspicious that all three books mailed at the same time and same place would go lost...me thinks they are sitting in a mail sack or cart somewhere...



Last Edited on: 6/22/16 9:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 6/22/2016 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,139
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If 3 books, going in 3 different directions all got lost, I think the problem is more likely with the USPS rather than all three recipients. I wonder if a bin or bag got misplaced or if a bunch of mail was ruined by water. Since it's most likely that the problem occurred before the packages were split into different routes, you might just ask at your PO if they recall any incident around that time.

The "lost in mail" date is actually 26 days after you clicked Book Has Been Mailed. So if you mailed your books on May 25, then they should be marked "lost" at about 3:00 AM ET on June 20.



Last Edited on: 6/22/16 9:30 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/22/2016 9:49 AM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 4,979
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I rarely use PBS postage, simply because I refuse to pay 55 cents for a service that the PO provides for free...and then also pay to add PBS money to my account to use that service. I also had an issue recently where money was removed from my PBS money in error, but it took a week for that money to be restored, so I try to not to keep much PBS money in my account. I buy APC stamps for $2.61 and then add additional postage as needed. I also add a USPS Tracking barcode to each shipment, and send the Tracking number to the requestor when I send out the book.

I am one of the posters here who has had an increasing problem with members not marking books received...to the point where over 1/4 of my shipments required follow up PMs and sometimes help from TPTB. (See: http://www.paperbackswap.com/Why-Members-Answer-PMs-Rant/topic/308231/).  To answer the OP's original question: Yes, I feel pressured to use PBS postage because every time I mention how I'm running into more and more members who aren't marking received in a timelyfashion (if at all), other members tell me I should use PBS postage. Besides the reasons I mentioned already, I also don't want to use PBS postage because I don't feel that I should have to pay an additional 55 cents per shipment because several recipients seem to be having a hard time clicking the received button.

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,468
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I only use PBS postage the one time a month it's free. I try to time it where I'm using it to send out bigger shipments or WL books.  The rest of the time I use stamps.com Dymo printer postage. I keep a balance around $10 and there's no fee. Plus my Dymo printer has two label rolls, I use the second interchangably for address & folder labels and even to print the cardboard tabs for the hanging folders. And when I send out books with stamps.com postage I use the free USPS tracking stickers (Label 400, if you want to order them). It's not guaranteed like PBS postage, but you don't have to go to the PO counter to get a tracking receipt and it has a small sticker with the number on it that you keep so you can look up where the package is. A few times I have also used the paypal postage, which also includes the tracking, but I find the stamps.com easier since I already have the scale & printer.

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,721
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I don't use PBS postage, have always used PO or stamps and only had one book really go 'lost'.  

+1-- what Charles said, keep receipt til books marked received.

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2009
Posts: 104
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I will never use PBS postage, don't want to pay extra for what the PO provides as it is easy for me to get to the PO. Luckily I have not had a problem with people not marking books received, (knock on wood). It must be very annoying and I don't understand why so many members won't do it properly. We all are members and want our books.

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 6:03 PM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2010
Posts: 3,014
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The PBS postage fee includes credit assurance though, the PO's included tracking does not... Sometimes TPtB will follow-up with PO tracking, but it seems like it's only if the matter is pursued by the sender. I don't think that the site should allow packages sent without credit assurance to receive credit assurance in any but the rarest circumstances (for instance, if a recipient replies to a tracking # PM that they received the book but aren't going to be marking it received at all).

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 793
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I always use postage through PayPal.  I also agree with others that I'm having to send mark received reminders much more frequently and it isn't only during summer vacations.  They have always gotten a positive response.  As a matter of fact I have one to send now that had 2 books in the shipment.

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 8:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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I don't think that the site should allow packages sent without credit assurance to receive credit assurance in any but the rarest circumstances.

The reason PBS does do it without credit assurance, and without PO tracking as well, is because members have become inactive...there has been no response to PMs sent by the sender inquiring as to receipt, and I am sure PBS has records of who's visited the site and who hasn't. And yes, they will only do it if the sender pursues it...where is the problem? When PBS determines inactivity they withdraw the credit from the inactive member's account, PBS is not donating the credit. If they required PBS postage to be used in addition to those of us who have paid memberships, I think there would be such a mass exodus than PBS would not survive.

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 9:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 620
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Theresa, I use Paypal postage too, simply for the convenience of being able to drop bigger books into my mailbox rather than take them to the PO.  I think I used PBS postage a few times but didn't like having to jump through the hoops of periodically adding money and having to pay the fee, blah,blah, blah.  The instant credit wasn't important to me.  Connie, maybe that would be an option for you?  (I'm embarrassed to say that I can't remember what the Paypal fee is.)

I don't know if there's been an increase in people who don't mark books received since I haven't monitored it all along, but there certainly seems to be a lot of them.  I'm not nearly as generous as some others who wait a week to message the person.  I give it 3 days and then I send a message saying something like, "Wanted to make sure you got the book.  USPS says it was delivered on ....  If that's not the case, please let me know so I can get a trace started through the post office."  INEVITABLY, it's marked received within hours, usually without response to the message. 

Date Posted: 6/22/2016 10:13 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 793
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There is no Paypal fee.

Date Posted: 6/23/2016 12:49 AM ET
Member Since: 1/25/2010
Posts: 3,014
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Sally: The reason PBS does do it without credit assurance, and without PO tracking as well, is because members have become inactive...there has been no response to PMs sent by the sender inquiring as to receipt, and I am sure PBS has records of who's visited the site and who hasn't. And yes, they will only do it if the sender pursues it...where is the problem? When PBS determines inactivity they withdraw the credit from the inactive member's account, PBS is not donating the credit. If they required PBS postage to be used in addition to those of us who have paid memberships, I think there would be such a mass exodus than PBS would not survive.

That's a good point. I spend too much time loggede on to the swap sites... I officially ammend my position to include thinking that the freebie credit assurance should include instances where the recipient hasn't logged on in that 30 day period and if someone that's logged on hasn't responded to the PM. Is that what they do now?
Date Posted: 6/23/2016 5:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,915
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I don't think I have ever received a book package with pbs postage on it. The only time I use pbs money is to pay the subscription once a year.

Date Posted: 6/23/2016 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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Connie,  I rarely use site postage anymore because of the fee.  I feel like paying the fee means I'm paying the cost of losing a credit many many times over.  It's a better deal to lose a credit now and then instead of paying and paying a fee for a maybe losing someday.

 I think the Credit Assurance guards you against a lost package.  If you're a member in good standing and you use site postage, you get your credit if the package gets lost

That said out of the hundreds of package I have mailed on the sister sites I have never sent out a package that got lost.  I have never had a person not mark a package received. 



Last Edited on: 6/23/16 11:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/23/2016 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 4,979
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Thanks everyone for your input. Whenever I use stamps to send a book in the future, I am going to keep the receipt near my monitor like Charles K. does.

I think I will use PBS postage sparingly.

Well, I think those 3 books got stuck somewhere in the back of the PO or maybe a truck even. One "lost" book was marked as received today. Thanks goodness she went through her archives to mark it as received as soon as she got it today. She had to wait a long time and was quite excited to finally get it. Another book reached its destination  a couple of days ago. Now waiting on one more book to finally get to the receiver.

Date Posted: 6/23/2016 6:36 PM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 4,979
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Well, just got the notice and a pm from the receiver of the 3rd book that she just received her book today. Now all 3 books have reached their destination finally, yay! Since it was all 3 that were gone that long of time, my guess is they were stuck in some corner of my local PO for a while and finally someone found them.

Date Posted: 6/23/2016 11:11 PM ET
Member Since: 4/1/2014
Posts: 379
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I never use PBS postage.  I did have one book go lost, actually two.  I sent the extra one as a freebie.  I had the tracking number and according to the tracking it was delivered.  But it was to a third address in an apartment in Chicago.  The requester did give me a credit, but I feel really bad the books never showed up.  It's only been a couple of months so I still have hope.  But because it was an apartment building, I'n doubtful.  The one book was a very large children's book that probably didn't fit in their mail box.

Date Posted: 6/24/2016 8:38 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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I had one that went lost, like Tina B., delivered at an apartment address. Several months later the recipient contacted me to let me know that she had finally gotten the book...it was delivered to a neighbor who was out of town for 4 months and upon his return he gave her the book. Gotta love those honest members!

Date Posted: 6/24/2016 4:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2014
Posts: 9,660
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I don't want to because it adds up..but at least you get your credits.

Date Posted: 6/25/2016 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 789
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Never used PBS postage. Just does not seem worth it at all. Since 2008, had one book never maked received and I think the person was just a scammer. Now that USPS provides tracking. I include myself in their notification system and they send me an email when the book is delivered. I then forward the email to requester asking they mark the book received.

Mary Anne

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