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Topic: Book lost, then found, in the mail...

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Subject: Book lost, then found, in the mail...
Date Posted: 7/18/2010 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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Let's just say I ordered a book here a while back. it was the only copy and is probably not going to be posted again for a while. The sender marks it mailed without DC, and it never shows up and no communication from them. So, the book goes "lost", I get my credit back, I end up back on the waiting list, but I get impatient and decide to go buy it from Half.com instead.

Since I now have the book from another site, what happens if my original request from PBS suddenly shows up at my door months later with a verrrrrrry late postmark and no explanation? The policy here states that if I receive the book from another PBS member, I'm under no obligation to return or give credit for the "lost" copy. It also states that if I don't reorder the book from PBS, I'm obligated to mark the book received from my archive. But I do already own the book. In fact I paid cash money plus shipping for it, just not from here.

What is the official position on something like this? Is there an official position?

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 7/18/2010 6:18 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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I think if it was mailed late you have no obligation...however if you see the postmark IS from the "mail by" date and it was lost by the post office in transit, I think you do owe the sender a credit. 

I had a book delivered by the PO fall off my porch during a snowstorm.  It was buried and I didn't find it until 2 months later.  It was totally ruined, but it certainly wasn't the sender's fault, and I sent him a very belated credit, which I believe I was obligated to do.

Date Posted: 7/18/2010 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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No innocent mistake here. Postage printed at the post office very, extremely, definitely late. As in 3 1/2 months late.

Date Posted: 7/18/2010 6:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,200
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It also states that if I don't reorder the book from PBS, I'm obligated to mark the book received from my archive.  - If you read that in the Help Center, then that would be the official position on it. I haven't found an area that it words it in that fashion.

How late are we talking about here? How long after the book was declared lost did you buy the book from somewhere else? If  the book is postmarked prior to the lost date, then I think you have no choice, you need to mark it received. If you waited at least the time PBS requires us to wait to re-order a book (2 weeks after the lost date) then I would think that you have met your required waiting period.

I would send in Feedback telling the Team the exact time line and ask. If this person send the book months after it went lost without giving you any notice I can't see why they would require you to mark it received since you had no indication that you shouldn't seek out the book elsewhere.



Last Edited on: 7/18/10 6:28 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/18/2010 6:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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If the post mark is 3.5 months late then I wouldn't mark it received. 

Matt C. (mattc) - ,
Date Posted: 7/18/2010 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 3,849
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What it actually says is:

 

"If the book arrives after it has been declared Lost, the requestor must mark it received from the Transaction Archive."

 

It does not specify how long you must wait...it suggests waiting two weeks after the lost date to reorder, but that's not a rule, and it does not say you are no longer obligated to give the sender a credit.  I think the real question is if the sender basically lied and marked a book mailed on a certain date, but actually mailed it a week (or however long) later without even sending a PM saying there might be a problem.  In that case I do not think you have to give the sender a credit, but this is not clearly stated in the rules.

Date Posted: 7/18/2010 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,200
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I agree with you Matt. The only exception to that rule is if one receives two copies from the system and it was mailed late. I don't believe the site means that one can NEVER go out and buy a book once its went lost here because if it should ever show up you'd have to give a credit and the only way out would be to get the book though the site from someone else. The site says you should not re-order for 2 weeks to give the book time to arrive. That to me is their guideline to how long you should wait before seeking the book from someone other than the first sender.

Since it isn't clearly stated in the rules, sending in Feedback and asking would be the best way to be safe. They are very reasonable people and I cannot believe they would think you need to be penalized because someone chose to mail you a book 3.5 months after they were supposed to without ever contacting you about it. But getting their official answer would protect you should the sender come after you for the credit. 

Date Posted: 7/18/2010 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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If the post mark is 3.5 months late then I wouldn't mark it received.

Yeah, I wouldn't either. And since I got no PM from them, I have no interest in asking them about it either. I don't know if they lost it under the seat of their car, had a family issue, or whatever. It doesn't matter to me at this point. If they finally took the initiative to take it to the post office, they could have also taken 15 seconds to contact me about it first.

I don't think I'm going to have an issue with them, I was just interested in the official P.O.V. After all, any dishonest person can just refrain from marking a book or two as "received" then say "hey, I never got it and bought it somewhere else" if anyone decides to question them about it. 

 

And thank you everybody for the input. I realize there is probably no issue here. I was just a little curious. The rules are sometimes a little hard to sort out, and when some aren't followed there's sometimes nothing you can do about it anyway.

Laura M. (LMM) - ,
Date Posted: 7/18/2010 9:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/12/2005
Posts: 524
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The Help Documents say:

If the book was declared lost in the mail and you requested and received (or will receive) a second copy because you thought the first one was really lost:

  • If the postmark was from the week before the book was declared lost (or later!), and you got no notification from the sender that the book would be/was mailed late: you do not have to mark this book received (this is the ONE case in which you don't have to mark a received book received: if a very late mailer without notice caused you to reorder the book and end up with two copies).

 

This to me is what you did. You reordered the book (in your case from Half.com) and ended up with two copies.

You are under no obligation to mark it recieved.

Date Posted: 7/18/2010 9:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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This to me is what you did. You reordered the book (in your case from Half.com) and ended up with two copies.

Yeah, to me too.

The way I read it, the word "reorder" implies ordering again from the PBS site itself. The wording doesn't take into account trading, buying or borrowing the book from anywhere else. That little twist is what had me confused.

Heck, even if I would have gone to the library and just borrowed it, I still wouldn't have wanted the book sent to me now.  I could have told them that if they'd asked, and saved them a couple dollars. 

As it stands, I brought the book to work and put it on the book-trade shelf. I wouldn't feel quite right reposting it here for a credit.

Date Posted: 7/18/2010 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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I think you did the right thing. I personally would not mark a book that went lost on me over two months ago as received because I have since (about 4 weeks after it went lost) bought a copy at a UBS. I have "reordered" another copy, so if they somehow decide to send it without first PMing to make sure I still want it, then I don't feel the obligation to give them a credit. I would only mark it received if the postmark was before it went lost.

Date Posted: 7/19/2010 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I agree Melanie, it would be interesting to get clarification on this  from TPTB.  We are seeing this question posted rather frequently lately, just where does the credit obligation end for requester?  10 days, 10 weeks, 10 months?  Once ordered from another member, is the transaction completely open ended until the book is received or until reordered through PBS?

Site guidelines state that the sender MUST contact the receiver after a specific period of late mailing, BEFORE sending JIC the requester no longer wants the book.  But we don't really see this enforced or clarified in the guidelines.

I had a book that tried to go missing (Warrenton, PA).  Mailed with DC, the requester & I had already been in touch to establish book status when it appeared MIA.   So when it was returned to me (anonymously) I was then able to re-mail with requesters permission & full knowledge of the situation. 

Date Posted: 7/20/2010 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2007
Posts: 2,015
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Last Edited on: 2/3/15 5:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/22/2010 10:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,200
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Here is the Feedback I received from the Team:

As the Help doc "My requested book arrived with a late postmark!" in the Help Center makes clear, if a book is (1) mailed late without notice so that (2) it is "lost" in the mail before it arrives and (3) the requestor ends up with 2 copies of the book as a result, the requestor does not have to mark the late-mailed book received, regardless of where the second copy came from.

Since there has been a lot of discussion on late mailed books, I sent in Feedback and asked them to clarify some of the shady spots.



Last Edited on: 7/22/10 10:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/22/2010 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2008
Posts: 1,869
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Thanks, Melanie!  It looks like we've had several cases of these things happening lately, and it sure helps to know the official position on this one.

Date Posted: 7/23/2010 12:23 AM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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Ok, I feel better now. Thanks for sharing that. :)

Date Posted: 7/23/2010 3:36 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Thanks Melanie, that's helpful information!!

Date Posted: 7/23/2010 4:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,336
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Thanks Melanie!  Good to be able to quote that.