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Topic: Black Marks on Record

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Subject: Black Marks on Record
Date Posted: 2/7/2010 12:21 AM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 465
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Sorry for starting a separate post so soon after the other, but this is an entirely separate question. I'm a little confused about what counts as a black mark on your record and how many marks you can have before action is taken by PBS. 

Example- I sent out a book that the receiving member did not feel was postable.  After discussing it with them I decided to refund their credit (mostly just to be nice and because I don't like disappointing people).  Is this book a mark against me despite the fact that I returned the credit?

How about if you post a book and then realize for whatever reason you can't send it? I've particularly worried about this because my first week here I did it a number of times.  I posted all of my books and a goodly number got accepted within the first three days, which I did not at all expect. I realized there was no way I could afford to send them at once.  I contacted a tour guide and they asked me to contact the site and let them know.  PBS told me to go ahead and mark that I could not send the books and put my account on hold until I got it straightened out.  Now I'm worrying that I'm carrying a number of black marks on my record.  Is there a set number of marks you can have before you end up suspended? Obviously I don't plan to get more, but I'm going to worry if I ever have a book marked as damaged again (even if it did in fact fall under guidelines) that it's going to tip me over some kind of edge and I'll end up suspended.  Does PBS investigate or contact the member before suspending the account?

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 12:46 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Simply put: black marks don't mean as much as everyone typically thinks.  If numerous and/or frequent, they definitely have an effect on the way PBS might view a member in the event of a problem, but so long as you do your best to keep your nose clean, it's not nearly the "blemish on your permanent record" we were all threatened with as children.  Each transgression has its own degree of severity, and to be honest a problem like having to suddenly renege on a swap to avoid a problem transaction isn't really much of a black mark at all.  Especially considering you were advised by PBS to do as you did, I can't see how they could possibly hold it against you, and wouldn't worry too much about it.  You're nowhere near the edge, if there is such a thing, and the fact that you're concerned makes you out to be a better swapper than some. 

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 2:41 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,423
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I think of it as if you have too many "black marks" then the computer system will flag you for review by an actual person.  PBS will contact folks and ask what is going on.  Or they can review the transaction archives with the PMs.  They do not release the statistics of what gets you flagged.  (That would defeat the system.) 

PBS has put accounts on hold while trying to find out what is happening.  They have been known to help if you are having problems with your post office branch.  They also turn off accounts that appear inactive.  If you do not respond to their questions, then your account will get closed.

If there is a problem, we can contact PBS.  Which would be a manual flag for review.

One of the things PBS looks for when reviewing is habits.   Several one time actions would not count like repeated poor wrapping or repeated lost books.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 8:56 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2010
Posts: 400
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I think they would also look at how long you have been a member.  And past record.  Newbies (like me) I would think would be given some slack, we are learning. 

A member who has been here for a few years and had a problem just a few times then has your sistuation, then time passes and have a few problems will be understood.  Life happens and sometimes people just have a run of problems.

 

Janette

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I don't think the problems you mentioned are anything to worry about unless they start happenign repeatedly. The occassional complaint about a book you sent isn't going to get your account closed especially if you refunded the credit. Now if you are getting complaints left and right-they might put a hold on your account and contact you. 

Same with cancelling book transactions.  If you are routinely cancelling a high number of requests-then you might hear from PBS about it.  I'm assuming you've learned now to budget posting WL books and the account hold feature to help control your postage costs.  We all have to cancel the occassional transactions-books get damaged after you post them, you miss something when you posted it and don't notice until you get it out to mail, cars breakdown, kids get sick etc.., 

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 1:53 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 465
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Thanks for the reassurance, everyone.  I'm much more careful about controlling my posted books now- my wishlist items seem to be the type that post very slowly (if ever), so I just try to keep one or two credits at all times.  I was just worried that I was already tettering on the edge- and I've only been a member for a month! I do think this site is a great deal- I'm used to only being able to afford books once or twice a year.  They may be more spread out this way, but the costs are also lower, so I'm willing to wait.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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One thing I hope that PBS tracks is how often a book "goes missing" when sent to a particular member.  If they don't track that, it leaves a way for someone to scam the system and get free books.  All they need to do is never mark it as received, and after 28 days they will get their credit back.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,187
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Communication goes a long way on this site, and it looks like you are doing that well and really working to remedy situations so I really don't think you have anything to worry about. "Black marks" are just a way for the system to track things so the admin can accounts they need to look deeper at. If they looked at yours and saw that you when you run into issues, you are talking to LH and the Team to work things out and are not getting massive numbers of RWAPs and when you do you work things out, they would know you are not a member to worry about.

 

Kate -rest easy, they track everything that might be a sign of scamming the site.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 3:18 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2007
Posts: 9,497
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Also a tip: When posting a book, do an advanced search first-that way you can see if it is wishlisted and prepare for a request.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 3:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I just wanted to add to the chorus of people who think you're fine.

On a side note: I just took a look at your WL, and I've both posted and received graphc novels - the lists don't move quickly, but they do move.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 7:52 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 465
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Kathy- I honestly had no idea that was possible.  I was putting my account on vacation hold everytime I posted something just so I could then see if it was wishlisted or not without having to send it.  You just saved me a lot of effort!



Last Edited on: 2/7/10 7:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/7/2010 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 465
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I have to admit, Caviglia, with two hundred books on my wishlist it is a little disappointing that the vast majority are marked as N/A on the estimate.  I guess I need to start reading some new genres- nonfiction, cookbooks, and graphic novels don't seem to be too popular.  Glad to hear I might eventually see some of them though!

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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As far as I've been able to tell, nearly everything that CAN be posted, eventually WILL be posted.  It just takes a little longer for some lines to move.  I'm a fan of graphic novels.  The problem isn't so much that they aren't popular, but rather that a lot of the trading of graphic novels are tied up in forum specific games, with which I never acquainted myself.  If you're after those types of books, you might want to check out the Graphic Novels & Manga forum.  You're likely to have better luck than just wishing and waiting.

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Unfortunately, AFAIK, the graphic novel forum isn't very active.  I'm not sure if there are swaps in the Games forum as I don't play them.  I think the larger problem is that people tend to keep them. 

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 11:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Not really games, I guess...and you're right, the forum isn't very active.  But I do recall frustration at finding that all the graphic novel fans were swapping them with each other, and not the general PBS population (no offense to them, really, I just found it irksome to be out of the loop, you know how it is...).  Still, it'd probably help a little, maybe?

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 465
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I think that probably is the case- I know I'm more likely to hold onto, say, a Sandman graphic novel than I am a book, even if I didn't like that particular graphic novel as much as others in set.  They are comics, after all, and there's that tendency to want to collect them and complete the full series. 

Date Posted: 2/7/2010 11:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I'm mostly all about FIFO, so I know I've helped.  I posted lots of Sandman at one point as I was replacing them with the Absolute compilations - making some people very, very happy I'm sure. 

ETA - the irony is I'm here procrastinating doing work on my own web comic, which is completely and totally counterproductive.  Must work now!



Last Edited on: 2/7/10 11:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/8/2010 12:19 AM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 465
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I'm supposed to be working on my query letter for my book- quick, someone give me another excuse to stay online!  I don't know why I thought it would be easy, but it turns out query letters are harder to write than an entire book. 

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 2/8/2010 4:57 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I'm active with a lot of graphic novel swapping, and even though the forums aren't very active, any messages posted there DO get read by fans of the genre.  Any time I've posted notes there, action has happened, either getting my books ordered or helping me find books.  A lot of responses come from PMs from members who have seen posted topics there. 

Manga that I post here tends to swap quickly, it never stays on my shelf long.  LOL  Most of the 400+ books I've traded here have been Graphic Novels and Manga genre.

There used to be a once-a-month game for swapping manga, but it has been inactive recently.  However, there would most likely be interest if you wanted to start a game and posted about it in the discussion forum...

Date Posted: 2/8/2010 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2007
Posts: 9,497
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Jennifer, if you really want to get techie, invest in a Cue Cat Scanner. Its about 15.00 online via various sources. It scans ISBN's right into the ISBN field. I use it all the time to check in Advanced Search when I'm posting books. That way I can find the exact book I am posting without typing. It plugs right into your USB port with no installation needed.

Date Posted: 2/8/2010 7:34 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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The one thing to make sure of when you do get a book marked Received With A Problem (RWAP) is after you return the credit, when and if you do, always make sure to follow up to see that the receiver marks the transaction resolved. If they mark it resolved it counts even less on your account, but if left unresolved, it will be quicker to trip a flag for attention to your account.

As Jimi says, the marks aren't nearly as bad as one might think, unless they are frequent and close together. If you have only a few black marks, even after a period of time, it will doubtfully get you into trouble to get another at any time. It's the frequent flags that get the attention.