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Topic: Book lost in mail--post office question

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Subject: Book lost in mail--post office question
Date Posted: 10/7/2010 3:05 PM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2009
Posts: 2,402
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I sent a book with PBS delivery confirmation about a week ago. DC shows it as delivered 3 days ago and it was marked as received-successful transaction here at the same time. However, I just received an message from the receiving member that the package arrived empty with a 'sorry' message from the post office. I expect I'll just refund the recipient's credit even though the disparity in the dates seems odd. My question, I guess, is what--if anything--can be done to have the post office look for the missing book?

Date Posted: 10/7/2010 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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From the Help  Center:

If a book you sent is declared Lost in the Mail at PBS:

  • First, contact the requestor to confirm that the book was not received.

    • Sometimes the requestor just forgot to mark it received
    • Sometimes the requestor was away from home when the book arrived
    • If you don't hear back from the requestor within a week of sending a PM asking about the book, you should contact us to look into the situation.
    • You can contact the requestor using the PM button on the "lost" transaction in your transaction archive.
  • If the requestor confirms that the book was not received:

    • As the sender, you should call 800-ASK-USPS or go to http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MLNtRcvd.aspx (the Postal Inspection Service's website) and input the information online there . This will help USPS try to recover your book if it truly has been lost in the mail. If the link above does not work, here are directions to find the proper page: go to the website www.postalinspectors.uspis.gov or https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/ and then select "Investigations > Mail Theft > File a Mail Theft Complaint" from the menus.
      • This form at USPS is titled "Mail Theft"
      • This does  not mean only theft of mail.  USPS categorizes any mail that does not arrive or that is tampered with as "mail theft".
      • The choice that should be made under "Class" if Media Mail was used is "Parcel Post"
    • You can get the information about the transaction from the Transaction Archive:
      • Click "Transaction Archive" in the menu under My Account in the toolbar at the top of the site
      • Click the Request Details link on the right of the "lost in mail" transaction
      • If you need more information (such as requestor address) you can ask the requestor in a Personal Message for that information.
        • We are unable to provide member address information outside of the duration of an active transaction, due to the PBS Privacy Policy.
        • You can use the button on the transaction to contact the requestor.
    • If USPS does return your book to you, and it is undamaged:
      • You should ask the requestor (using the button on the Lost transaction in your Transaction Archive) if she still wants it. 
      • If she does, you can re-send it.  If she does not, you can repost it.
      • If she does not respond to your PM, you should repost the book.

Last Edited on: 10/7/10 3:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/7/2010 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,221
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Meghan, I know this isn't your question, but I wanted to address your use of PBS DC and the credit guarantee. The receiver did not do what they were supposed to when the book was not there so you are being penalized if you return the credit. She was not supposed to mark the book received and the site would have returned her credit, not you. That's what the fee covers. I would recommend contacting the Team via the Contact Us link in the lower right and ask them how to handle this when Credit Guarantee should have handled it and you would have kept your credit had the receiver had followed the rules.


For tracking the book through the USPS, go up to the Help Center and search for "empty wrapper arrived" and you should get a section that has all of the contact information for starting a trace in the USPS. Odds are the book will not be recovered, but it can't hurt to have them look.

Last Edited on: 10/7/10 3:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/7/2010 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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I personally wouldn't return her credit. Why would she mark it as received and then wait three days to say it hadn't?

I would be more understanding if they had sent a PM the same day and only marked it received because they didn't realize they shouldn't.

Date Posted: 10/7/2010 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Hmm. Since you used PBS DC-she should not hav emarked the book received because she didn't get it-just the wrapper.  She would have gotten her credit back when it went lost and you would have kept your credit. You do not have to refund her credit.  It's not your fault that the post office lost the book.  You refunding the credit kind of defeats the purpose of paying the DC fee.

I'm not sure how to file a lost item claim or which one of you has to file it.

Last Edited on: 10/7/10 3:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/7/2010 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I personally wouldn't return her credit. Why would she mark it as received and then wait three days to say it hadn't?

I agree. If she didn't get the book she should not have marked it received.

Part of the way the system works is that you have to be responsible for marking things correctly. And since you have a question about the delay, (and I do think it'd be hard to mistake an empty envelope for one with a book in it) I wouldn't worry about giving her her credit back. It'd just be rewarding her for making a mistake and punish you for no reason.

You can tell her you're sorry it didn't arrive, and let her know to contact the site, but it's really her problem to deal with now.

Date Posted: 10/7/2010 11:26 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,081
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Are we sure intended recipient marked it rec'd or because of DC did the sender automatically get the credit when PO showed that wrapper had arrived?   A similar thing just happened to me but with a 2 book order so the sender got 2 credits even though package broke open in the transportation process and PO resealed it with just one book inside--they probably didn't even know a second book had been in it!  Anyway, even though I marked just the one book rec'd, the system gave the sender 2 credits so she "friended" me a credit in payment for the missing book, but she's probably still out the book since we have no idea where along the way it broke through and fell out of the large envelope.

Date Posted: 10/7/2010 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,221
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But Jeanne, she should NOT have friended you one of her credits because now you will get 2 back for that one book since you did not mark it received when the system returns your credit. She is SUPPOSED to get 2 credits when she uses PBS-DC even if the books do not make it. That is the whole point of buying PBS-DC - the system returns the credit to the receiver not the sender. 

Date Posted: 10/8/2010 1:09 AM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2010
Posts: 188
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I agree with those who are telling you not to refund the credit. Here's how this transaction should have worked:

You used PBS Delivery Confirmation; therefore, you received a credit when the DC barcode was scanned.

The receiver got an empty wrapper. She should not have marked the book received since she did not get the book. She should have waited for the book to go lost in the mail.

When the book went lost, the receiver would have received her credit back. You would have kept the credit you received for mailing the book since you used PBS DC. Neither of you would have lost out on a credit.


Since it sounds like this member didn't mark the transaction correctly, my feeling is that it is now on her to contact PBS to see what can be done.

Date Posted: 10/8/2010 1:18 AM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2010
Posts: 188
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"did the sender automatically get the credit when PO showed that wrapper had arrived?"


Remember that when you use PBS Delivery Confirmation, you get your credit when the DC barcode is scanned.  When a DC package does go lost, neither the sender nor the receiver loses out on a credit. That's the point of paying extra money for the DC.

Date Posted: 10/8/2010 7:23 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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I would not refund the credit, and would send a polite PM with why I was not going to.