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Topic: Should I ask for my credit back?

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Subject: Should I ask for my credit back?
Date Posted: 8/26/2008 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,773
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I just got a badly water damaged book in the mail. This is a book that has been on my wish list since mid-2006 so I am REALLY disappointed b/c the covers are in very bad shape. The damage is technically the fault of the USPS and/or the weather as the book got wet during shipping. However, the sender's poor packaging is the *reason* the book got damaged. She shipped it in a manila FOLDER (not an envelope) and simply STAPLED the sides together and put a couple of pieces of tape between the staples. There are large gaps where the book was exposed to the elements which is why it got wet.

Since the poor packaging was the *real* culprit in the book damage, should I ask for my credit back? Or should I let it got with a polite note to the sender considering she is a newbie?

Also - I have to contact TPTB to get back to first place in line on the wish list for this book, right?

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 1:09 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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No, I don't think you should.   While her packing left a lot to be deserved, IF it hadn't rained it would have gotten there ok.   We are not required to package a book in such a way as to guarantee it will not get wet.    IF she had packaged it the way recommended by PBS - in the two sheets of paper - it still would have gotten wet and ruined.    It was damanged by the Post Office.


Date Posted: 8/26/2008 1:27 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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I agree with what Cozi wrote, although I understand why you asked!  Manilla folder with staples - that's a new one.

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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If you feel, as Cozette suggests, that the wrapping had nothing to do with the damage, then you should not ask for the return of the credit, though you should mark it RWP as well as ask TPTB to return you to the head of the FIFO line. 

According to the Help Center this does fall under "Received With a Problem - Damaged by USPS".  Here's the line from the Help Center doc: Damaged by USPS

  • This means that the book's poor condition appears to be the result of its journey in the mail.
  • This includes books that appear to have been poorly packaged for Mailing by the sender.


The Help Center also says:  If you feel that the wrapping of the book contributed to its damage en route:

  • You can tell the sender this in a Personal Message
    • Please be gentle!  The sender may be new to bookswapping.
    • You can ask for your credit to be refunded if you believe it is warranted.

I found all of this under There is a problem with a book I received!

Since stapling a manilla folder together is nowhere near the recommended method of wrapping books, and since you seem to feel the method of wrapping contributed to the damage I would say it falls under both of these sections of the guidelines.  As much as a more secure wrapper might not have completely prevented the book from getting wet, it might have had an affect regarding the severity of the damage.  It's kind of subjective and therefore up to you.  If nothing else, I'd definitely be sure to include a kind word on wrapping technique.

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,773
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I did send her a PM about changing her methods of wrapping in the future - partly because of the damage and partly because I sliced my thumb open on one of the stupid staples trying to open the package! Even if the book hadn't had water damage it would have ended up unpostable due to the blood stain that resulted...

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 1:47 PM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2005
Posts: 4,040
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Oh wow I can't believe someone would use a manila folder stapled together. I would kindly PM the person and let them know of the situation. I mummy my books and one of my books arrived to the person with water damage. The postman must have dropped it in a puddle and let it sit there.



Date Posted: 8/26/2008 5:57 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2008
Posts: 340
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I worry about every book I send out making it to its destination in as good of condition as I send it.  That's why I take time to make sure that there are no loose edges and I always wrap my books in plastic wrap before wrapping them in brown paper and using LOTS of packaging tape to secure everything.  The post office guys always comment on the way I wrap my books.

I really see no excuse for using a folder to send a book out in.  I think I would ask for my credit back.  If the sender is new, this would be a good learning experience.

Perhaps friendly instructions from the powers that be should be included in the welcome email they send out. 

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 6:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I was going to agree with Cozy on this one until I reread the OP and realized it was a manilla folder not an envelope. I'd ask for my credit back.  Yes it may have gotten wet with a manilla envelope. But Manilla folders were not meant to be used as mailers.  If she had taped the thing up really well, I would say no it's not her fault. But a couple of staples and dabs of tape on a manilla folder is not adequate packaging.  She's lucky it didn't come open and the book fall out completely. Although you would have been luckier because then technically the book would not have been received. 

I would contact PBS and ask to be put back on the #1 spot.  Hopefully you won't wait 2yrs again.

Date Posted: 8/26/2008 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Ugh, how frustrating!

I would also ask for my credit back, using the policy statements James has already cited.  The sender's wrapping job was substandard and led to the book being damaged.  If she had used "plenty of shipping tape" and "completely enclosed" the book in the wrapping as recommended by PBS, there would have been much less chance of damage.

Rain isn't the only thing that can cause water damage in transit -- my poor letter carrier has the sweatiest hands in the summertime, and all my bills, books and letters arrive ... um ... "damp", plus there's no way to know when it got wet -- if she dropped it in a puddle en route to the post office or what.

Be polite, offer to provide photos of the damage if possible, and ask PBS to put you back at the head of the WL line using the "contact us" link.  Even if you don't decide to ask for your credit back, be sure to detail the circumstances in the mini-survey, so it will be in the sender's record in the event this is a habit of his/hers.



L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 8/27/2008 7:01 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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I'd ask for the credit back as punishment for lack of common sense! :p

I have seen some doozy wrapping jobs but never a file folder....

Date Posted: 8/27/2008 7:27 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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This is a new for me, too!  I'm a fanatic about doing the very best I can to defeat wet "hazards" with the books I send out.  I've gotten 3 soaking wet books in the last 6 months.  I find it so short-sighted that people will go to the trouble of packing and paying to mail a book and getting it to the post office, but don't wrap it protectively.  It doesn't take that much more effort.  When I receive a book that is glaringly badly packaged I always thank the sender and ask that they consider using better packing measures in the future because there are many of us who live in rural areas with grouped mail boxes on main roads where we don't always know when or if there is mail.  My particular mail carrier delivers mail on a very busy 2 lane road and is always in a hurry (not to become an accident victim) so doesn't usually close up the boxes securely.So lots of mail gets weather damaged.I've also gotten books that must have fallen under the truck in the rain!!  That one probably couldn't have been saved - but the others could have been!  Anyway, I always try to push the "better packaging" message in a friendly manner.


Date Posted: 8/27/2008 9:26 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,773
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Well I didn't ask for my credit back since she is a newbie. But I did let her know she needed to package more securely in the future both because of the water damage and the risk of injury from the staples. What if this had been a book for my son and we had let him open it not noticing the staples? Bad enough that I got cut, if it had been him she wouldn't have gotten the very polite PM I did end up sending...

Date Posted: 8/28/2008 6:59 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2006
Posts: 14,634
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I just got a package that the post office tried to eat..good thing the sender wrapped and used a lot of tape!