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Topic: Considered USPS damage by PBS?

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Subject: Considered USPS damage by PBS?
Date Posted: 3/23/2010 10:30 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 401
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I received some books yesterday that I had requested from a WL forum. They were in a manilla envelope with no tape at all to protect or secure the books... Just closed with the clasp on the envelope. One side was totally torn open (surprised the books were still in it!) and there were several other holes and rips. The books were wrapped in plastic, which was great and none of them were damaged. BUT one has a cut that goes through the cover and several pages, like a box cutter was used on it, but no cut in the plastic.

These past couple of weeks I've received four packages that have no tape for protection on thin envelopes, so they were torn so badly on the sides and just about everywhere. One was to have 2 books in it, but 1 was lost and the other was still in it with an USPS damage sticker on it. (I marked that one received and PM'd the sender about what happened.)

Tape is not a requirement, correct? In a situation like the first, do I mark RWAP by USPS? I feel bad because these were WL'd books from a forum, if that makes sense:) I'm not sure if I want to ask for the point back for the cut book, but I won't be able to repost it.

Sorry if this has been discussed previously. I'm just not sure what to do and how to word it if I RWAP it...  Advice is greatly appreciated!!:)

Date Posted: 3/23/2010 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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The books were wrapped in plastic, which was great and none of them were damaged. BUT one has a cut that goes through the cover and several pages, like a box cutter was used on it, but no cut in the plastic.

If the cut is less than an inch, and not on text pages, it's allowed. If it's more than an inch, it's RWAP by the sender. They shouldn't have sent it if it was cut/ripped/torn more than what the guidelines allow. You should request the credit back from the sender if it's large.

If the damage is under the plastic, and the plastic is fine, it would not be RWAP P.O. They obviously couldn't have done that damage.

One was to have 2 books in it, but 1 was lost and the other was still in it with an USPS damage sticker on it. (I marked that one received and PM'd the sender about what happened.)

You did this right, not marking the missing book received, because you didn't receive it. PMing the sender may help them re-think their wrapping technique. And they won't know if you don't tell them. And since the guidelines leave a lot of leeway in packing material, it's always going to be an individual thing. Some people will mummy a book, and other's not realize that scotch tape alone isn't allowed and will not do the job.

I think people should also be aware that small cover tears that meet guidelines when wrapped can turn into bigger tears on the book if it can slide around inside the wrapper at all. So wrapping snuggly and using good packing tape can keep a postable book with a small tear from arriving with the tear enlarged.

 

Date Posted: 3/23/2010 12:10 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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Tape IS a requirement.  If you read the wrapping instructions they clearly say to use packing tape and to tape the wrapper tightly around the book.  Unfortunately this site is rather black and white about issues like this.  To them once the book leaves the sender's hand, any damage that occurs must be attributed to the PO rather than to poor packaging by the sender.  I think that is wrong and totally unfair to the PO.  It's not their fault when someone doesn't wrap up corners and they end up stuck in a machine.  The Post Office will even reject a package wrapped as you describe (or at least my PO will).  I saw them do it once when the person in front of me gave them a package that looked a lot like a book in a manilla envelope.  The PO clerk gave the package back and told the person to wrap the package tightly around the book and then come back to mail it.  The clerk told the person that the exposed corners were likely to get caught in their sorting machinery.

BTW, if the two books were wrapped in plastic together, that's probably why they were still in the package.  It is another reason why wrapping in plastic is a good idea.  It keeps books together.  I once received a shipment of six books where one entire side of the package was torn off.  I truly believe if the books had not been wrapped together in a plastic bag, that some of them would have fallen out and gone missing.

Date Posted: 3/23/2010 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 401
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Thanks:) Wasn't too sure about tape being a requirement. I wrap tape around the whole package because I know that packages can get caught up in a machine. (There was one time when I only wrapped around the edges thinking that it would be handled better, being first class, but it still got damaged!)

These books weren't damaged so no RWAP (the one that was cut is about an inch). But I hate leaving a note to the sender about the wrapping... Not sure how to word it without being rude. I suppose I'll just leave a remark in the box available when marking the book(s) received.

It is frustrating getting packages that have no tape for protection and are so torn up.

Date Posted: 3/23/2010 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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edited to add: I didn't catch that the books hadn't been damaged themselves.  If it's only the packaging that wound up being damaged, then a polite, informative message to the Sender about their wrapping technique is definitely in order, but otherwise I would think "no harm, no foul" would apply.  Still, should anyone happen upon this thread while looking for help on resolving damaged packaging containing damaged items, the Help Center information might prove useful.  My original post:

From the Help Center:

A book is considered Damaged by USPS if it was damaged in transit (while in the mail).

  • This is usually just bad luck
    • Even the most well-wrapped packages can get mangled by a postal sorting machine
    • We have tried to divide the risk fairly between the sender and the requestor:
      • If the sender gets the book back damaged, the sender assumes the risk: she should contact us to cancel the request.  The requestor gets the credit back when we do that, and the sender does not get credit unless she used PBS-DC or PBS Printed Postage
      • If the requestor gets the book damaged by USPS, the requestor assumes the risk.  The requestor does need to mark the book received and does not get her credit back; the sender does get credit in this case.
  • If you feel that the wrapping of the book contributed to its damage en route:
    • You can tell the sender this in a Personal Message
      • Please be gentle!  The sender may be new to bookswapping.
      • You can ask for your credit to be refunded if you believe it is warranted.
    • You can share your own tips on wrapping technique, and/or refer the sender to the Help items on wrapping a book.
    • You can also comment on the wrapping in the Comments box at the bottom of the survey portion of the Book Received page, so these details are recorded on the transaction in our records.

I've underlined what I believe to be the information most pertinent to the op's issues, and emphasized in bold a response to Kate's comments.  As much as it might not be fair to blame the Post Office, it's not like they're going to get their account suspended for poor swapping habits.  If the damage occurred at the Post Office, then it's the Post Office that damaged the book.  If the wrapping contributed, there are places where the requester may say so should they feel inclined, and there is the option of asking for a refund in such an event.



Last Edited on: 3/23/10 1:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/23/2010 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,182
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Be careful about parroting the tape requirement. Put in an envelope, I've never heard of tape a requirement. I could be wrong but I believe the taping instructions are for use when using the PBS wrapper or brown paper etc ... NOT when dropped in an envelope. 

I agree, people don't understand the importance of not allowing a book to slide around in an envelope, especially a manilla one, but there is no rule against it (wrapping suggestions, yes) and no tape required when the book is put in a sealable envelope. 



Last Edited on: 3/23/10 1:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/23/2010 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 401
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OK:) I thought tape may not be a requirement, just a suggestion. Everyone, thanks for the help!

Date Posted: 3/23/2010 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
Posts: 5,238
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The PBS wrapping instructions do have this to say about manilla envelopes.

Manila envelope

  • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
  • if your envelope has a metal clasp, this can rub against the book cover and cause damage--a piece of tape over the inside portion of the clasp will prevent this.

Sounds to me like the DO want the sender to use plenty of tape with a manilla envelope, so NOT using tape would be grounds for asking for return of a credit if a book was damaged enroute.

Date Posted: 3/23/2010 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,978
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The Help Documents do state that if a Damaged by PO was due to poor wrapping technique, the sender should refund the credit.  If it was bad luck (things do get damaged even when well wrapped unfortunately) then the sender is not obligated to return the credit. 

Date Posted: 3/24/2010 1:13 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,182
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Sounds to me like the DO want the sender to use plenty of tape with a manilla envelope, so NOT using tape would be grounds for asking for return of a credit if a book was damaged enroute.

See, I interpret these as guidelines because elsewhere in the help docs they are specific about what is a RULE and where you can ask for a credit back and when you MUST follow something OR "this will happen.".

Help Documents do state that if a Damaged by PO was due to poor wrapping technique,

Very subjective and very difficult to prove in many cases. And honestly, I'll have to go look that u in the help docs cuz I've never seen it before. 

In no way do I condone just throwing in a manilla envelope and mailing but I've never heard of it being OK to ask for a credit back because someone does use tape on a manilla envelope. 

Date Posted: 3/24/2010 1:53 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 401
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I wouldn't ask for a credit back for someone not using tape:) I would if a book got damaged because of poor wrapping, which has only happened once if I remember correctly. On the other hand, I received a book that was torn into pieces while in transit and it had nothing to do with poor wrapping. It's like the suggestion of using plastic of some sort to wrap the book in. I received one book that was twice the size of a normal book because of the water damage made from rain while in transit. And it was not a legit reason to ask for a point because it is not required to wrap in plastic. I suppose there are many different thoughts of what is considered acceptable wrapping:)

Date Posted: 3/24/2010 1:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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If your book was damaged en route due to poor packaging, you should refund the credit.

The problem here is that it all hinges on opinion of "poor packaging" and obviously in almost all instances the sender thinks they wrapped it well enough to make it and the receiver disagrees because the only way they are getting the credit back is if the damage is somehow the sender's fault.

 

 I've never heard of tape a requirement. I could be wrong but I believe the taping instructions are for use when using the PBS wrapper or brown paper etc ... NOT when dropped in an envelope

It doesn't actually ever call it a requirement, but the alternative wrapping option do repeatedly say to tape edges and seams:

Alternate Packaging:

  • Suggestions for alternate packaging materials:
  • Heavy brown paper (from a cut-down grocery sack)
  • Manila envelope
    • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
    • if your envelope has a metal clasp, this can rub against the book cover and cause damage--a piece of tape over the inside portion of the clasp will prevent this.
  • Bubble or padded mailer
  • Tyvek or similar large envelope
    • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
  • Box
    • prevent your books from sliding around inside with crumpled paper (NOT newspaper--the ink can mark the books!) or (clean) plastic shopping bags, balled up.
    • we recommend putting tape around the entire box in both directions - this will help keep the box together as it travels to its destination.  Strapping tape (the one with fibers in it) is great, but packing tape applied tightly around the box will also help with this.


Last Edited on: 3/24/10 2:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/25/2010 1:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,322
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General Guidelines for Wrapping:

  • Your book(s) must be completely enclosed in the wrapping

  • Use plenty of tape (2" shipping tape, not Scotch)
    • especially at the corners and seams.
    • You can get shipping tape at any store that sells stationery or shipping supplies.
    • Do not apply tape directly to the book! This can damage the book when the package is opened.
      • If you apply tape directly to the book and it is then damaged when the package is opened, you will not receive a credit.
    • Do not tape over the postage (USPS does not accept this)
    • Do not apply postage to tape (it can fall off)
    • It is okay to apply clear tape over the DC barcode if you are sending a package with PBS-DC or Printable Postage
      • If you do this, avoid wrinkles in the tape that can interfere with barcode scanning
  • Make sure that all flaps and folds, on whatever type of wrapping you use, are secured tightly to your package.
    • It is easy for flaps or folds that are not secured to get snagged by sorting machines in the USPS system, and this can cause damage to (or loss of) your book.
  • Consider using an inner layer of plastic
    • You can use Saran Wrap, or clean plastic grocery bags, or any kind of clean plastic material
    • please do not use "Press and Seal". This product contains some type of glue that sticks to the books.
      • If you wrap your book in this and it is then damaged when the package is opened, you will not receive a credit.
      • If you get a book that was wrapped using Press-and-Seal, a little rubbing alcohol will remove the residue from the book cover.
Date Posted: 3/25/2010 2:13 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,182
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I don't think general wrapping guidelines were the problem here nor were any of the highlighted areas. Did you have a reason for posting that, Patty? I don't see anything about not using tape and losing a credit, nor anything about manilla envelopes or postal RWAP. 

Can you help? Should she mark it RWAP by the USPS? Should she ask for a credit back for the cut book since she feels she can't repost it? 

Date Posted: 3/25/2010 9:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,124
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At the very least I think you should let the sender know about what happened, and hopefully she will wrap more carefully in the future.  If you don't let people know what their packages look like when they arrive, they have no way of knowing.

Date Posted: 3/25/2010 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 401
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Yeah, I wanted to do that but I wasn't sure how to word it without seeming rude. I think I wrap my books good to keep them protected but if I were wrong I would like someone to let me know:) I'm terrible with words though!