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Topic: Book Damaged by USPS ---How is this problem handled...Need Advice

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Subject: Book Damaged by USPS ---How is this problem handled...Need Advice
Date Posted: 8/11/2016 3:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2010
Posts: 104
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Information::  I received a PM from the person I shipped a book to and she states book was damaged by USPS, front cover is damaged and several pages missing. I really wanted to ask for a picture of the book as proof,(that sounds like A LOT of damage) but then thought that was accusing member of lying. I replied that I was not responsible for damage by USPS, but offered to refund the credit to this person.

Question:  How do I handle this situation? Should the book receiver send me a photo of damaged book or return it to me? Or should I just refund credit and assume member's honesty?

Thank you....I have been trading books for a few years now and this is a new issue for me.

Deb K


Date Posted: 8/11/2016 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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IIRC you are not expected to refund credits for books damaged by USPS unless the packaging was at fault.  If  you packaged the book per PBS guidelines, the receiver merely marks the book RWAP and selects the option 'damaged by USPS'.  You say 'sorry to hear of the unfortunate accident' and that sould be the end of the situation.  If you have alot of these, consider filing a report b/c there could be a problem at your local PO.


Date Posted: 8/11/2016 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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Yes, you are not expected to return a credit for a book damaged by USPS. It would be a different situation if the receiver felt that the book was damaged because you packaged the book inadequately, and then they would be justified is asking for a credit return.

I always suggest that when a situation arises that you haven't encountered before, check the Help Center...they provide answers on how to deal with the most common problems that occur when swapping.

Date Posted: 8/11/2016 6:04 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,175
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Yes, you do NOT owe a credit refund for a book that is damaged by the Post Office.

There are 2 things that can go wrong once the PO has the book, and PBS assigns the responsibility in one case to the sender and one case to the receiver, which is fair:

1. It goes missing, in which case the sender never receives the credit (unless they used PBS postage) and the requestor gets their credit back.

2. It gets damaged, in which case, the sender keeps the credit because they did nothing wrong, and the receiver can, in MOST cases, read the book anyway although it may not be postable, so although they are not 100% whole, they are not 100% damaged, either. So, it's a win/mostly win situation.

So, for you, you do not need to offer a credit refund.


In a more general sense, as far as asking for pictures, you can do that if you want to, although it makes more sense in a case where the receiver has marked it "Damaged by Sender" so that you can see what they think makes the book unpostable. However, the book receiver may not have a camera, may not know how to post pictures, etc, and is not REQUIRED to provide pictures in order to reasonably request a refund from a sender.

So, in a case where a credit refund has been requested from you, you can certainly request pictures, but you can't require them. And lack of pictures doesn't imply that the book requestor is lying about damage.

If you want to ask, just phrase it politely without implying that you think they are lying. "Would you mind posting a few pictures of the damage, I am curious to see what happened to the book?" ... something along those lines.

But in this specific case, no need to ask for pictures as you don't owe a credit refund for PO damage anyway. 

Date Posted: 8/12/2016 9:44 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2010
Posts: 597
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I have received 2 books damaged by USPS. One of them, the cover was mutilated. It must have gotten stuck in a sorter as it chewed up the front and back covers and had black rubber marks all over what was left, it so I can believe your receivers story. 

Subject: Thank you Everyone for your reply
Date Posted: 8/12/2016 2:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2010
Posts: 104
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All replies were very helpful.

Deb K


Date Posted: 9/1/2016 8:49 AM ET
Member Since: 10/5/2012
Posts: 106
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A book I sent to a member in Kansas City, KS was damaged by the postal delivery person. (He/she tried to cram more into the mail box than it would hold.) I mentioned this to the post office. They said that she should report this to the post office and that worker would be reprimanded. They said that a postal worker here in Topeka had made a habit of doing that same thing and that worker is no longer with the postal service. I don't want anyone to lose a job but he/she should know better than to damage mail just so he/she will not have to make another trip.

Date Posted: 9/1/2016 7:40 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,697
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Yes, I would encourage the person that got the book to report the problem to their local PO.  I certainly would if the mail carrier folded stuff like books to get them into our box!  Luckily we have a great postal carrier who will pull into the driveway and bring the mail up to the door if there's a lot of it or any packages (and we get packages a lot).