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Topic: Book lost/stolen on 'community shelf' of mail!

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Subject: Book lost/stolen on 'community shelf' of mail!
Date Posted: 5/10/2010 9:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/7/2008
Posts: 72
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I mailed out a book which DC shows as being delivered back on April 20th.  I didn't use a PBS label because I already have a mailing program I pay for monthly to use with my eBay business.  PBS marked it as lost on the 11th of May, so I sent a reminder to the receiver to please mark the book as received so that I can get the credit for it. 

The guy emails me back with this:

Diana

I never received the book.  We have a community shelf for the mail in my building and someone must have stolen it.

Sorry,

Paul

I wrote him back to strongly suggest that he cancel his PBS membership immediately since his mail is not secure and it's unfair to the senders to cheat users out of their books, their credit and their postage costs.   If this guy stays a member, I expect a large percentage of the books he requests will end up 'stolen' in the free-for-all mail system in his building. 

I have no sympathy for a person who signs up for a site where the expense of sending packages to him is carried entirely by others while knowing that his mail his not secure, in fact, it's available to any and all to take what they want, especially packages.  Then again, he can just order another book that someone else will pay to send to him.....so he doesn't care.

It's members like this guy who end up destroying sites like PBS.....

Diana

Date Posted: 5/10/2010 9:32 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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I think i'd go to the Team on this one if I were you. They can watch his account and discuss the issue with him to determine if he should remain a member, have to change his receiving address, etc. They'd definitely want to know about a situation like this, and it's better to bring it to their attention now than after he has however many books go 'lost' enroute to him. PBS members have a responsibility to provide a secure means of receiving their mail. Not doing so can and will put his account in jeopardy.

ETA: Does anyone else think that maybe he's simply not being as responsible and on top of things as he would if say, he had an Amazon order delivered that he paid for? Even more reason not to have any sympathy for him.

This post makes me really glad I use PBS DC. Though, in all honesty, I've never had any problems at all with my books being delivered and marked received safely. I only started doing it because I was in Alaska and it took forever to get my credits otherwise. Now that I've moved, I only use it sometimes. Hopefully I never fail to do so should someone like this request one of my books.



Last Edited on: 5/10/10 9:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/10/2010 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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I agree with Tiffany. Especially since if it has happened once, it will probably happen again (if this is even the first time). 

Subject: Notified PBS
Date Posted: 5/10/2010 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/7/2008
Posts: 72
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i wrote to PBS explaining the situation with his response about his unsecured community mail shelf.  Hopefully, PBS will so something about it before he burns a lot of people. 

Diana

Date Posted: 5/10/2010 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 690
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Speaking as a postal employee, I don't think a "community shelf" is a proper way of delivering mail.  Our bosses have made it quite clear that carriers are not supposed to deliver even bulk mail circulars (grocery ads, walmart type of ads) by leaving them on a table or shelf.  Certainly it's wrong to leave a parcel out in a lobby or mailroom.  Good grief.
 

Subject: Book now suddenly marked as received
Date Posted: 5/10/2010 11:54 PM ET
Member Since: 9/7/2008
Posts: 72
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How interesting.  The community-mail-shelf-guy just marked the book as 'received'.  Either he was lying all along trying to scam me OR his neighbor returned the 'borrowed' book OR he realized that his mail situation will not pass muster with PBS so he marked it received hoping I'll drop it. 

Not dropping this one as I'd already reported it to PBS.

Diana

Date Posted: 5/10/2010 11:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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Or, your PM prompted him to go looking around the house and found it in the bottom of a stack of mail. Could have been an honest mistake, but yes he really does need to find a secure way of receiving his mail.

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 7:50 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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I cannot believe that anyone would allow their mail just to be placed on a community shelf.  What about security for bills, bank statements and other pieces of mail that if stolen could result in a host of problems, including identify theft?   Sheesh.  That's just asking for trouble. 

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 9:54 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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All of that aside, if I received a PM like that asking me to mark a book received just because the DC showed it as delivered, I would be really p*ssed off. DC is no guarantee that the book was delivered to the right address or person, just that it was delivered somewhere. I've had books misdelivered before, and also had books scanned delivered up to a week before I actually got them. I mark books received when I get them, and not before.

I also don't think it's kosher to tell someone to stop their membership because of their mail delivery situation. If the community shelf is good enough for the USPS, why would it not be good enough for PBS? I would say it's not up to HIM to provide a secure place to receive mail, but up to either his landlord and/or the USPS. They USPS are the ones inviting mail fraud, identity theft, etc.

Cheryl



Last Edited on: 5/11/10 9:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/11/2010 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2008
Posts: 3,291
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I have a community shelf for my mail where I live.  We have small boxes but anything bigger then a letter cannot fit in them.  All my magazines, any fliers, books, or anything I order online goes on the shelf.  I don't see that as a problem.  I have never had a problem with my mail.  My neighbors are very nice usually if somone gets their mail before me they will pick up my packages and leave them at my front door.  There are many times I will come home and see packages from Amazon or here at my front door.  I think that it depends more on the neighbors then anything.  I know most of my neighbors and trust that they won't steal my mail.  I also live in a small building so I don't have very many neighbors.  If I lived in a big apartment building with 500 other people then a community shelf might not be safe but just because he has a community shelf does not mean that his mail is unsecure or that a lot of items will go missing.

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 11:16 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2007
Posts: 9,493
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First off, I would not assume that the person is out to scam everyone in PBS for a few free paperbacks-after all, he must have credits to order books so he got them by either buying credits or sending out books himself...Second of all, he may have gone looking for the book and found it somewhere in the room, then marked it received.

And finally, PBS provides not one, but two remedies to avoid these situations: PBS DC, and PBS postage/DC. Both ensure that you can get your credit no matter what happens to the book.

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 11:42 AM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2007
Posts: 304
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Wait, when a book goes lost don't both parties get their credit back?

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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Wait, when a book goes lost don't both parties get their credit back?

No. Unless the sender used a PBS-DC, they will not get credit on a book that is never marked received.

 

I also don't think it's kosher to tell someone to stop their membership because of their mail delivery situation. If the community shelf is good enough for the USPS, why would it not be good enough for PBS? I would say it's not up to HIM to provide a secure place to receive mail, but up to either his landlord and/or the USPS. They USPS are the ones inviting mail fraud, identity theft, etc.

Just because a carrier delivers mail that way doesn't mean that it is accepted by the USPS. USPS rules dictate that packages should not be left unless they are secure.  PBS does require a secure place to receive mail in the Tof U so if this member doesn't have one, he would not be eligible to be a member. That said, I don't believe that a "community shelf" would be unsecure. Individual circumstances would dictate that.

From the Tof U:

Address
Members are required to provide a current, dependable, and secure mailing address at which items may be reliably received. In the event of a change of address, Members are responsible for updating such changes to their Site account. Failure to report change of address in a timely fashion may result in loss of Book Credit for misaddressed items.

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 11:53 AM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2007
Posts: 304
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Ahh thank you Melanie. I knew that. I'm getting old. It's hard to keep all these things straight.

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 12:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I also don't think it's kosher to tell someone to stop their membership because of their mail delivery situation. If the community shelf is good enough for the USPS, why would it not be good enough for PBS? I would say it's not up to HIM to provide a secure place to receive mail, but up to either his landlord and/or the USPS. They USPS are the ones inviting mail fraud, identity theft, etc.

As Melanie quoted from the ToU, one of the membership requirements is a dependable, secure mailing address, and if you don't have one, you run an increased risk of having your account suspended.  They'll look at accounts that get flagged for a pattern of lost books, and very likely suspend the account, especially in circumstances like this.  I recommend PBS DC in any case, just because you never know where your package may actually end up & credit assurance means one less worry.



Last Edited on: 5/11/10 12:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/11/2010 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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We have boxes at my apartment complex for up to medium sized boxes. (shoe box size).  Anything bigger then that is kept in the leasing office and each person has to sign for the package, handed over by the leasing office worker.  The USPS makes them sign for the packages too. If no one is in the leasing office when the mail carrier comes through then we get the postcard telling us to pick it up at the post office or sign it for 2nd attempt delivery.

I think in most apartment complexes they could do something like this with whomever "watches over" the buildings.



Last Edited on: 5/11/10 1:20 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/11/2010 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,978
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With my apartment complex we have to sign for everything that's larger than a letter.  We have individual mailboxes, but they are flat and skinny, not much bigger than the slot you drop letters into at the post office.  Anything that doesn't fit goes to the office and we have to pick it up with a photo ID there and sign for it. 

Same with UPS/FedEx/etc. since outside delievery drivers are not allowed within the gates of the complex. 

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 8:40 PM ET
Member Since: 4/10/2009
Posts: 1,691
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Last Edited on: 8/20/10 2:35 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/11/2010 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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The last time I lived in a complex of homes, we each had our individual boxes, which didn't hold much.  Then there were two large boxes per bank of 10 units and if there was a package in one of them for you, you would find the key to the larger box in your mailbox.  I can't imagine living somewhere that my mail was put on a "community shelf".  That shelf would not only be accessible to the people who lived there but also to anyone who was visiting.  With identity theft what it is today, securing your mail is more important than ever.

All of that aside, if I received a PM like that asking me to mark a book received just because the DC showed it as delivered, I would be really p*ssed off.

And why would you take it personally and get "pissed off"?  Are you saying it isn't possible that you forgot to mark a book received?  I was mortified today to discover that I received a book last week and hadn't yet marked it received.  I noticed it because I had already read the book and was reposting it!  I would not have been at all "pissed off" if the sender had sent me a PM asking me to mark it received because DC showed it was received.

Subject: Mailbox mail not secure either
Date Posted: 5/11/2010 11:35 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,504
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Anyone with a home mailbox (the kind you buy at a Loew's, Home Depot, etc)  does not have "secure" mail either whether the box is on a post near the driveway or on the house near the front door.  Anyone can go to them after mail delivery each day and go thru your mail if you're not home! 

The only time since college where I had a locked mailbox was in the first home I owned in Colorado Springs in a new development that only allowed community mailboxes where each of 12 residents had a very small locked metal square in an array of them. Packages had to be signed for if it didn't fit in the "square" which meant everything larger than a box of checks!  Those of us who worked had to wait til Saturday and go to the post office with the slip to pick up our packages--- a real pain around holidays (glad it was before the days of online shopping!)

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I think it happens more often than a lot of us who post & use the site daily realize.  The longest I've ever forgotten to mark one was about 24hrs, and I felt bad enough about that, knowing someone was waiting for their credit.  But people get busy & forget things.  I've only reminded one person in the last couple of years, and sure enough, she was having a hectic week & just forgot.  I just said something along the lines of "did you get these yet?", mostly because I had sent her about 16 books, so I really was concerned that something had happened to the package en route.  I had DC on them though, so getting the credits in a timely manner wasn't an issue.

Anyone with a home mailbox (the kind you buy at a Loew's, Home Depot, etc)  does not have "secure" mail either whether the box is on a post near the driveway or on the house near the front door.  Anyone can go to them after mail delivery each day and go thru your mail if you're not home!

I think the purpose of the statement in the ToU is to make it clear to the membership that you have to take all reasonable precautions to insure that you get the books that are shipped to you.  Standard mailboxes may not be anymore secure than a shelf in an apartment building lobby, but they do belong to you and it is slightly different if someone is stealing mail out of your box vs. random pilfering from a community shelf.  PBS would still, btw, suspend an account if your mailbox was being repeatedly robbed and you had a pattern of lost books.  It doesn't have to be the receiver's fault in any way, and I'm sure they'd sympathize; they just can't allow an active account to have a repeated pattern of problems like that.



Last Edited on: 5/11/10 11:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/12/2010 9:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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Katie wrote: And why would you take it personally and get "pissed off"?  Are you saying it isn't possible that you forgot to mark a book received? 

No, not at all, although to the best of my knowledge, I never have forgotten to mark one received. I have a system that works pretty well for me.

I wouldn't be pissed off at a PM sent close to the time the book is due to go lost ASKING ME if I had received the book....I would be pissed off if the PM was worded the way the OP stated it, " sent a reminder to please mark the book received so I could get a credit for it," which is making an assumption that the receiver had indeed gotten it and is either forgetful or deliberately holding out on marking it received.

Members are required to provide a current, dependable, and secure mailing address at which items may be reliably received.

So basically then, per the TOU, anyone who frequently gets wet books because either their mailbox isn't weatherproof or their mailbox isn't big enough and the mailman sets them outside or whatever other reason is actually violating the PBS rules because they don't have a place at which items can be 'reliably received?' Interesting! That helps me understand why PBS doesn't *require* plastic wrap or waterproofing.

Cheryl

 

 

 

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 10:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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So basically then, per the TOU, anyone who frequently gets wet books because either their mailbox isn't weatherproof or their mailbox isn't big enough and the mailman sets them outside or whatever other reason is actually violating the PBS rules because they don't have a place at which items can be 'reliably received?

I don't think so, no.  A box that isn't weatherproofed wouldn't account for a pattern of books going lost.  Received wet would still be received.

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 10:53 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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So basically then, per the TOU, anyone who frequently gets wet books because either their mailbox isn't weatherproof or their mailbox isn't big enough and the mailman sets them outside or whatever other reason is actually violating the PBS rules because they don't have a place at which items can be 'reliably received?' Interesting! That helps me understand why PBS doesn't *require* plastic wrap or waterproofing.

Cheryl

So, Cheryl, I take it that this was an intentional shot at me personally.  First, I have only received a few wet books, so where you get the "frequently" is beyond me.  Second, I have never said anything about "their mailbox isn't big enough and the mailman sets them outside", that is simply your incorrect intrepretaiton of something I said or didn't say.  I feel very sorry for you that you find a need to justify your need to feel "pissed off" if someone were to PM you asking if you may have forgotten to mark a book as having been received.  I can't tell you how reassured I am that there are people out there who as perfect as you are.

Date Posted: 5/12/2010 11:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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Kate wrote: So, Cheryl, I take it that this was an intentional shot at me personally.

Um, no. You can take it that way if it makes you feel better, but no...It really ISN'T "all about you," as unbelievable as it seems. There have been a lot of posts from a lot of people about the plastic wrap issue. I have no recollection about just what your situation or particular gripe about it was. I hardly ever read the forums anymore, actually.

And please...READ what I said....which was, that I would NOT be angry if someone sent a PM "asking" if I had gotten a book. I would be angry if I got a PM TELLING ME to mark a book received when the sender has no idea if I have really received it. There is a difference. I feel sorry for you that you feel sorry for me. Does that cancel all the sorry feeling out? Gosh, I hope so. I might not be able to sleep otherwise.

Yeah...mwaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

Cheryl

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