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Topic: anyone else frustrated

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Subject: anyone else frustrated
Date Posted: 2/18/2010 5:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2010
Posts: 39
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We have recently had a run of less than stellar books.  I do expect that the books will look used so it isn't that but just today I got a book that looked like it might hold up to an adult reading once it but certainly not kids.  We purposely have sorted off anything that might cause disappointment to the receiver.  I hate to put conditions on my requests but I certainly understand why so many people do.

We have sent out several really nice hardcover books which require more postage.  Each wrapped according to the swap rules but in return we have found that some people think they can throw a book in any old envelope no matter how oversized and it will arrive safely at its destination.  It has to be cheaper to use the paper wrappers so why risk losing a book? 

It all started out so good.  We got some really nice books so all in all I haven't got any big complaints.  I just wonder if there is some way to rate the senders so that a person can avoid these people who tend to make inequitable swaps by posting worn out books or sending them in such a manner as to allow them to get damaged.  I am thinking about how on Amazon, E-bay & such you can check to see how credible the person you are dealing with is.

Subject: reply
Date Posted: 2/19/2010 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2007
Posts: 931
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PBS doesn't have a rating system per se.  BUT, if you mark the books "received with a problem", especially "damaged by sender", all of those will cause a "black mark" to be put on the member's account.  It's the same way if someone clicks that a book is mailed, but actually sends it 48+ hours later (if the receiving member fills in the postmark date).  All problem swaps are noted on the member's account and if they get too many, PBS will boot them off.

If you get a book that doesn't follow the PBS posting guidelines, make sure to mark it as a problem, and then try to work out a solution with the member.

I've had 640 books go out and 459 come in nearly three years and I've only had a handful of issues with in-coming books.  I've had a couple of crazy people say my books weren't up to the guidelines, and I usually know better, since the majority of my stuff is in brand-new condition.  Sometimes people are just trying to milk credits out of people.

What I do when someone says a book isn't up to par, is tell them that they can mail it back to me and I'll return their credit.  They usually decide to keep it.  (Now you have me nervous because I just sent two books to you recently .)

Really, DO NOT give up on PBS.  You haven't been a member very long and you have to give it some time.

As a courtesy, if I have a book that would be borderline for me if I received it (postable, but just barely so), I detail the info to the requestor and ask if they're okay with it.  That way I also have a record if they come back later and say they don't want it. ;)

I will say this, the good transactions FAR OUTWEIGH the bad ones, or I wouldn't have swapped 1100+ books to date (the numbers don't count freebies & deals).  I've received books that are so new they still creak, or they look better than one that came off the shelf at Borders.  I've received countless high school and college texts in pristine condition.  Some of these were $175 new, or sell for $90+ used.  Those books more than make up for any bad ones I get in the bunch. 

If you don't think a book is worthy of re-posting, offer it as a freebie in your profile or in any deal post.  That's what I do.  Sometimes people want a book so badly that they'll take one in poor condition just to have the information.  I've ordered books I don't need from people just to get a freebie or two of theirs.  Hang in there!

Last Edited on: 2/19/10 3:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: it's been a good lesson
Date Posted: 2/19/2010 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2010
Posts: 39
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It has been a good lesson for our kids.  They've seen what we sent out and they've seen what we received.  We've talked about how it felt and all have agreed that PBS has been a positive over all and that we should remember how it feels to be on the receiving end (delighted vs. disappointed) and do our best to to be someone that others WANT to swap with.  Thanks for your encouraging words and advice.

Date Posted: 2/19/2010 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2008
Posts: 407
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I agree very much;  A lot of times if I know the condition before I receive the book then it's not that big of a deal, as long as I am asked if I still want to book previous to shipping.  I've had someone actually say that they received a book that was missing 100 pages, but those as few a far between.  Don't give up.  PBS is such a wonderful resource.  I have saved so much on homeschool books and recommended books from our pastor.

Date Posted: 2/20/2010 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/16/2010
Posts: 25
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I've received about 12 books now and have only had a problem with one book.  I did write conditions on my books, which I think helps.  The one problem book, I just accepted it because it does follow pbs standards even if it still is a pretty worn book so I just went and added one more little thing to my conditions that help.  I hate to sound picky in my conditions, but they are pretty standard things.  I would not even post a book on my bookshelf that had any of the things in my special conditions and I hate that I have to write those special conditions out to make sure the same courdesy to taken with me.  Sometimes I will take a subpar book.  I've had about 2 of my request for a book rejected because they didn't meet my conditions and one of them I plan to re-request because I really want that book and the person told me what was subpar about it and that condition is fine with me.

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 12/20/2006
Posts: 4
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>>>What I do when someone says a book isn't up to par, is tell them that they can mail it back to me and I'll return their credit.<<<

I've been here a few years and I've had quite a few problems. As long as someone follows PBS guidelines, I have no issues, but so many people get irritated when I request a credit refund because *they* have failed to check their books. I have received books with thick mold in them, with missing pages, and the worst problem I've had is books that have been written and/or highlighted in. Some blow this off and say it's not a big deal, but it *is* a big deal if you want to repost this book once you are finished with it. If you repost it in its condition,  then you are the one who is the offender of the PBS rules.

I've had people accuse me many times of trying "milk" a credit from them... and when they ask me to return the book and then they will give me my credit... I politely copy and paste the PBS rules in a PM which states that I am not required to send the book back in order to get a refund *unless* they want to give (1) credit for both the postage to send it back to them and (1) credit for the original credit I paid for the book. Those are PBS rules, not my rules, yet people have been really nasty about it. I've almost left many times due to things like this.

I am the last person who would ever try to cheat anyone out of anything, much less a measly credit, but I am a stickler for the rules because the rules are what make the club work as it should. When some people don't hold others accountable, it hurts everyone because the offenders feel that they can do it again. I'm sure many times people accidently post illegal books, but rules are still rules and I am out a credit if I cannot repost a book that was sent to me "illegally."

I first tried adding conditions to my books to deal with this problem. The only conditions I had were that people check to make sure that the book that they were sending me was "legal" in the system (no writing, highlighting, mold, water damage, missing pages, etc.). This worked okay at first and I only had a few automatic rejections when people saw the conditions, but then I began to get rejection after rejection, sometimes with a very nasty PM saying that they didn't "deal" with people who were "too picky." So by following the PBS posting guidelines I am being too picky. I mean, really, we should all be quite satisfied with waterlogged books containing enough mold to grow penicillin cultures, right? How sweet some people can be. ;)

All sarcasm aside, I have received far more fabulous books than I have received bad ones. It is frustrating when I go through a spell when three or four in a row are damaged in one way or another and I feel like a criminal for asking for a refund. I have a friend who has been on here a few years and she's only had a handful of issues compared to my many issues. I did ask myself if maybe I was beign too "picky" as I was accused of being, but I'm only asking for a refund when someone isends a book and I cannot use or repost the book due to the problem. (My friend hasn't had moldy books or writing problems, which I find baffling considering the large number that I've had.) If you can just bring yourself to copy and paste the PBS rules into a PM when you have a bad book, request a refund politely, and then just let the bad experiences roll off your back (easier said than done when people accuse you of being a con artist ), I think you will, in the end, feel as if this has *overall* been beneficial to you in a big way. Even if someone doesn't want to refund your credit, as stated by someone else, they will get a 'mark' on their account if you mark the book as damaged and they don't rectify the problem. At least you feel like something has been done and they didn't completely get away with sending a damaged book.

Hope things get better for you.

Last Edited on: 2/25/10 11:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: most swaps great
Date Posted: 3/6/2010 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2006
Posts: 181
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I've been a member for a few years. Nearly all the swaps are great but I know when something bad happens it can be a real downer. This week I got a book that the person carefully wrapped in food wrap plastic but the kind with sticky on one side and it left the entire cover all sticky and gross. So best laid plans...I actually got it off in the end with full strength Citra Solv thank goodness.


Sometimes the USPS wrecks the book. I had once read, like new book the receiver said they wanted books in very good condition. I replied it was like new. I put it in a bubble wrap mailer. It was caught in a USPS machine and she said had big punctures through it, like it was stabbed with a knife. How disappointing.


I now have "no smoking" condition but I still get books that reek of smoke sometimes. One sender was rude and said they don't smoke. Well they must have bought it used and the former owner smoked. I know cigarette smoke when I smell it and it reeks so bad that we couldn't handle reading it.


People are not perfect that's the bottom line. I'm not perfect either. Twice while rushing to pack multiple books at the same time I sent books to the other receipients and made good on that by refunding credits and organzing them to send to the right people. Oops. I changed my system to pick up one label and one book, go to the other room and pack it, then go get the next two etc. This sounds ridiculous but it prevents errors!


For my packing I re-use bubble wrap mailers and the carboard book jackets that some of my Amazon.com purchases come in. I refuse to use just the computer paper for wrapping. I really want the hardcovers not to get wrecked while in shipment. That's my choice. When I wrap in a plain mailing envelope I first wrap in Saran Wrap in case some moisture gets on it. (I've had one package with smashed on pokeberries all over it and the seeds too LOL and another doused in black coffee!)

I try to focus on the overall good of this site and its members rather than focus on the few bad experiences. Happy book swapping!

Date Posted: 3/23/2010 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2008
Posts: 9,371
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pbs is great!

Sometimes...some members...not so great.  Some people aren't grown up enough to realize the rules apply to them. 

Most of the time I just chock an unpostable up to the person being careless...mistakes happen.  As long as they make it right, no hard feelings.

I do get asked to take photos and to mail back...photos I will try my best, but since most books have white pages...it's usually not easy to make things out...not unless it's a dark stain.  Ever try to photograph a cleaving book?  Geesh!  Anyway, I also will copy the help doc about sending postage or a credit to return a book.  Usually they don't want to.  Did send a stained book back this week though...and am really grateful that another one is on the way, cause I really really do want to read it!

I've had people say that it wasn't a big deal...and they thought I should deal with it...and worse, but probably only 3 times in 2 years.  One person was having a family health crisis and felt like he couldn't be bothered with my little problem.  I kindof understood...but at the same time, it takes as much time to return a credit as to tell me his problem, ya know?!  No, I don't think I should eat someone else's mistake. 

And I absolutely agree...whatever the rules are...it's my goal to follow them.  I will also reuse packaging...preferring the bubble envelopes, but if not, then I will also reuse the plastic wrap inside paper envelopes with tape all over them.  I NEVER EVER use just a couple pieces of paper on any book and wish the rules would change about that!!  Sure sometimes it works out...but it's darn risky.  And folks...if you use a plastic bag with writing on it...make sure the writing is on the outside, not facing the book!  ; )

Anyway...it hardly ever becomes a real problem...I've only got burned a couple of times...I got over it.  I've had many pleasant transactions and plan to have many more. 

Also, I too will PM anyone if I notice something or think it's even a gray area, or with Xlibrary, even though they are postable, some folks don't want them...so I tell them first.  It only takes a sec...and I'd rather not disappoint.

For me, every package is like getting a present; I get so excited!!!!  Unpostables are such a downer..........