Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: # books lost in mail to given member?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: # books lost in mail to given member?
Date Posted: 5/3/2010 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 7/27/2009
Posts: 16
Back To Top

is this info kept for each member: the # books that have been sent to him and lost in mail, i.e., the sender has indicated the book has been sent and the period to receive it has expired without remittance of a credit?  is there also a measure of the average ratio of lost mailings to all mailings, across all members, or by state sent or received? 

although such things happen, it would indicate a risk if the member's ratio is significantly higher than the average.

Date Posted: 5/3/2010 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
Back To Top

These are not available to site users, but I'm sure the site admin keeps these stats, and above a certain threshold the account is flagged and reviewed.

If you are continually not receiving books, it might be something happening on your end.

I don't really stress that people I'm sending books to are deliberately not marking them received to "scam" books from the site.

From the help docs:

If you are having a lot of books declared "Lost" en route to you:

  • You should investigate this.  Excessive unreceived books may jeopardize your membership.

    • Numerous books sent separately but not arriving at your address implies that something is wrong with your mail delivery.

    • Requestors are responsible for providing correct, dependable mailing information to senders.

  • Check your address in your Account Settings, to be sure that it is correct.

  • You can send a PM to the sender of any or all of the lost books, to ask if the book was mailed late, by any chance, as described above.

  • Talk to your PO and mail carrier to see if the book might have been misdelivered to a neighbor.

  • Consider using a PO box or alternate (ie, work) address until the matter is sorted out.

Date Posted: 5/3/2010 12:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,662
Back To Top

The site tracks this info for individual members. They have been known to suspend individul accounts pending review of the info.

I don't believe that they have ever said if they track it as a number or as a percentage. And, I don't believe that they have ever said if they anaylze it by state, etc.

And, in any case, the info on membership stats is not available to other members.

Updated to add:

The way the system is set up, there is no way to scam you by not sending a book. You would eventually get your credit back in every case, and the only thing you lose is time. There is a way to scam PBS by not mailing ... if you print postage you would automatically get the credits, and then you could not mail the book ... but its not free to do it ... the sender would still be out some $. And, I think that PBS would catch on quickly that other members are not receiving their books.

You could, I suppose, get scammed by sending out books and having others not mark them received. This is not very common in my experience, although it seems to be a topic of some concern in the forums. Let me tell you my statistics:

I've sent more than 600 books out. I have never had any go lost. I have had at least 4 situations where the member didn't seem to be marking the books received, so I waited until slightly before the "lost" date and sent them a PM, inquiring. The books in question in those cases were then marked received.

That works out to less than 1% of books mailed that were ever in danger of going lost. Not a huge issue.



Last Edited on: 5/3/10 12:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/3/2010 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
Back To Top

You can find your own records under the transaction archive.   PBS has access to all of the transaction records.  A high number of problems flags your account for review by a human.  PBS keeps the amount or percent to get flagged a secret.

I've heard of one member who was put on hold while PBS contacted them.  Then PBS helped that member with their local postmaster to resolve the undelivered books. 

Date Posted: 5/9/2010 3:55 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2006
Posts: 399
Back To Top

More comes into play than just the number of lost books to or from.  Example from my personal numbers - 14 total since January 2006.  I've had a lot of transactions, I haven't moved and I've been an active member throughout, so I'm probably a good test case for percentages.  Your results may vary, of course. :)

8 of those are "To Me".  Of those, one was a package of 2 books, single (new) member.  Of those 7 members, 2 are still active accounts.  I've received 791 books.  Right around 1% LITM, depending on how you count the 2 book package.  The high for this was the first half of 2007 when PBS got a spike in press mentions (5 of 8 - yikes!) and we got a lot of new members.  As said earlier, these are "non-starters" since the credit cycles back.

Of the 6 that went LITM "From Me", 2 are still active accounts.  I've sent out 929 books, so a little over a half a percent.  My guess is that is getting ready to go up by a book since I have one lingering where the recipient has no books, no reviews, no profile and no wishlist.  2009 was the high year for these (3 of the 6) with 2007 coming in 2nd with 2.

In my experience, your chance of a "LITM", both outbound and inbound, relates more to the other party being new than anything else - that said, new members usually bring a lot of WL books into the system and PBS has changed the "entry rules" to mitigate the problems of 2007.  On the inbound side, they just never sent them.  On the outbound side, they quit the site and never bother to mark the books as received.  Both of those types of members weed themselves out of the system pretty quickly and neither is what I would call "malicious scamming".  "Lost books" skyrocket whenever PBS gets press and a lot of new members enter the system.  I would also expect that the economy played a part in the increase last year.

The USPS does a danged good job in my experience and I'd estimate that (on the high side) about 50% of my LITMs (both ways) were actually lost - though as I said earlier, I don't think the others were so much dishonest as just a poor exit. Even if all were legitimate and if you include damaged by USPS (of which I've had 3 total, 2 inbound, 1 outbound), that's still less than 1% of my total site activity.  I'd think if a member's numbers got a great deal higher than this, something other than the "normal" USPS is at play - a move, hand addressing, member has left the site, etc.

So, in summary - that's a fairly low percentage overall to spend any time worrying before you mail or investigating the other member, I think.



Last Edited on: 5/9/10 4:16 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 5/10/2010 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 12/5/2009
Posts: 21
Back To Top

Wow.  I just received a book that went lost in February.  Interestingly it was postmarked last week. So I wonder if the sender forgot to mail it or if its been hanging out (lost)  in the post office in in the other state for awhile. 

Date Posted: 5/10/2010 8:15 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
Back To Top

Be sure to note the post mark on the PBS survey form.  That will trigger a late mailing PM from PBS and a flag on their account if it repeatedly happens. 

If you have already received a second copy, then (and only then) you are not required to mark it received.  See the help docs.

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/5/2009
Posts: 21
Back To Top

Will do! Thanks

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,321
Back To Top

I recently mailed a book, and PMd the person when it was about to go lost.  I didn't receive a reply, and kind of suspected it was one of those people who joined, ordered, and then just didn't follow up -- nothing evil. 

The system worked well.  Because she hadn't logged on for a while (we're not told how long "a while" is) the system marked my book "received" instead of lost.  I've mailed out hundreds of books too, and haven't had any marked lost yet, so I agree the Post Office does a great job.

Date Posted: 5/11/2010 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
Back To Top

I've noticed that I tend to have books go missing when there is some terrible weather related problems in the country somewhere.  I lost 2 books coming from Texas when they had Hurricane Ike.  Tornadoes can ruin post offices and distribution centers or wreck postal trucks.  Floods in the country can affect a whole lot of states.  That's usually what I've noticed.  But then there's those who were supposed to mail out a book then PM you 2 days before it goes "lost" saying "I'm sorry I couldn't send you this book because the cat peed on it."    2 days later declared lost.  Newish member.

Ruth

Date Posted: 5/13/2010 5:32 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2006
Posts: 32
Back To Top

I recently requested a book that was marked lost by pbs.  I requested it again from a different member and they sent it DC.  It's been in my area since May 1st (according to the pbs tracking) and I still haven't received it. I have another book on the way and it was sent DC and has been in my area for a few days now and am still waiting for that one.    I take all my books to the my local neighborhood post office. I have never had a book go missing.  How accurate is DC?  Any suggestions on how to track these book?  I did double check my personal info and everything is correct.

Date Posted: 5/13/2010 6:14 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 692
Back To Top

Donna,

USPS DC is very accurate, but not 100%.  Call your local post office and have them look into on their end.

Date Posted: 5/13/2010 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
Back To Top

Once they get to your PO, that's when they can lose track of DC books.  My PO is well-known in the state for being really bad.  Fortunately, the only books they "lost" for a while was my first big order of 19 books.  For some reason that box just sat there for a LONG time.  They finally got it delivered.

Ruth

Date Posted: 5/14/2010 5:39 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2006
Posts: 32
Back To Top

Thanks Christina, I will check with my post office. 

Date Posted: 5/14/2010 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2007
Posts: 2,015
Back To Top


Last Edited on: 2/3/15 5:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 5/14/2010 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,321
Back To Top

"I'm sorry I couldn't send you this book because the cat peed on it."  ROFL!  I'm with Jeri!  I can picture her mailing it, then protesting: "but your profile says you like cats!!"

Date Posted: 5/20/2010 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2006
Posts: 32
Back To Top

I checked with my post office on my missing book.  The dc number has it in the system on 4/27 at 10:25  in Suwanee, GA but the pbs system details say Harrisburg, PA at 10:00 on 4/27.  Anybody have any clue what that means? 

Ms K. (MsK) -
Date Posted: 5/22/2010 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2005
Posts: 117
Back To Top

A couple of years ago, I lived in an apartment building where the carrier would place the packages on top of the mailboxes instead of putting them in front of apartment doors or taking them back to the post office.  When two packages with DC showed that they had been delivered & I hadn't gotten them, I got a post office box.  After that, no lost books.

Aren't neighbors & their visitors wonderful?

Date Posted: 5/23/2010 7:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2006
Posts: 399
Back To Top

Of the 6 that went LITM "From Me", 2 are still active accounts.  I've sent out 929 books, so a little over a half a percent.  My guess is that is getting ready to go up by a book since I have one lingering where the recipient has no books, no reviews, no profile and no wishlist.  2009 was the high year for these (3 of the 6) with 2007 coming in 2nd with 2.

Just an update from my previous post - yep, the book sent to the new member with no books who has now disappeared into the mist has indeed done so with the book I sent.  Amusing irony?  Title of the book was: Don't Let Jerks Get the Best of You: Advice For Dealing with Difficult People.

*snerk*

Edit to post - sent a PM to the member and a FB e-mail to R&R.  I need to correct myself, it was not a new member, but amember who has apparently been away from their account for a while.  Incorrect assumption on my part - my bad.



Last Edited on: 5/23/10 9:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/4/2010 6:42 AM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2006
Posts: 32
Back To Top

Sooo frustrated!  In the past 6 months or so 5 books have been LITM.  Some were sent DC so I can see they made it to the main sorting facility in my state.  When I contacted my post office they just said ... I guess some likes your books ha ha.  NOT FUNNY!  In the past 4 1/2 years I have been a member I have sent out 238 books.   Not one was LITM.  I don't have a po box. I don't live in an apartment.   My address is correct in the system.  Last month 3 books were mailed to me in the same week and only 2 made it.   WTH? 

 

Donna

Subject: If it does happen excessively...
Date Posted: 10/4/2010 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 5/24/2010
Posts: 288
Back To Top

I've never had a problem with PBS, but my Netflix movies were disappearing at an alarming rate a few months back, particularly new releases. I ended up filing a complaint with the post office. As it turned out, the mail delivery guy was accidentally putting them in our neighbor's box and their teens were keeping them. So mail theft was the reason and it saved me from losing my Netflix account.

Date Posted: 10/4/2010 11:31 AM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
Back To Top

I believe they keep a record of "lost in the mail" for both the sender and the receiver.  If either have a large number, that would indicate something is wrong.  With the receiver, it's easy to see if they are allowing books to "go lost" to receive free books.  If the member re-ordered the book after it went lost, that pretty much indicates they never got the book in the first place.  After almost a year on this site I had my first lost book last week.  Only, it ended up in being two lost books in the week.  I reported this to my PO since I once had Netflix movies going lost and they found a new employee who was stealing Netflix movies. 

Date Posted: 10/4/2010 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 3/21/2006
Posts: 32
Back To Top

Actually, if you can believe it 2 of the same books were LITM.  First request went missing.  Then requested book second time and that too went missing.  Finally received book after third request.  Third times the charm I guess.