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Topic: Credit Scammers?

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Subject: Credit Scammers?
Date Posted: 6/27/2015 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2006
Posts: 7
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I just had two books in a row where the receiver wanted a return credit because of problems with the book.  The first said there was water damage (there was not). The second claimed it was mildewed (it was not). The first came off my bookshelf and the second was in a dry box in my dry closet. I've never had a complaint before. Do some people just pull this scam just to get credits back?  I can see how easy that would be.

Date Posted: 6/27/2015 2:21 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 5,706
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Just recently someone had posted that they had 60+ book order and they pack them up and sent them. and they were declared lost in the mail and that person was out a lot of credits.....So yep I think it does happen sometimes.

Date Posted: 6/27/2015 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,857
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In regards to smelling mildew, some people have more sensitive noses than others. Could it be that your nose is not very sensitive? (Not that it matters anyway, as smell is not a problem that requires a return credit by PBS) ... but it doesn't mean that the receiver doesn't smell mildew.

My husband believes that he has a normal sense of smell, but I can assure you, he is deluding himself. I once came running down the stairs from the opposite end of the house because I could smell gas ... while Mr. "I have a great sense of smell" was ... in the family room next to the kitchen. Sure enough, a burner wasn't turned off on the stove. He also can't smell moldy bread, and has made me, more than once, a sandwich that I could not eat because of the moldy smell as soon as I went to take a bite. I now check any questionable food before it is used because he just can't smell if it's starting to go bad.

As far as water damage, I've been mailed books that the sender did not believe were water damaged, but when I took a picture, they were able to see the damage then. I've also received books that had pages actually falling out, that the sender didn't believe. Pictures helped that as well.

It's possible for damage to be found by one person while being missed by another.

So, I don't know if your receivers are trying to scam you or not, but if you keep getting reports of your books being damaged, I would suggest also checking your books real carefully instead of believing that multiple separate people are trying to scam you.

On the other hand, sure, there are some bad actors out there, and you may have gotten a couple in a row. My experience here leads me to believe that they are few and far between, though.



Last Edited on: 6/27/15 2:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/27/2015 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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I think the 60 + book order was a different situation, posted by the receiver who never got the books.  Another member also had ordered from the same member and never got the books.  Something was fishy with the sender and I think the account was closed. PBS returned the receiver's credits. 

Chip, I wish there was a clear description of water damage other than water damage. To me the book would have some serious wavy pages and maybe the color ran.  I wonder if some people consider even a small wave on a page or 2 water damage.  To me water damages is not clearly defined. 

Mildew,  maybe the book is not covered in mildew but smells like mildew.  I don't know how this is handled. I would have a neighbor give a sniff test to your closet and closet books. We get used to smells in our own home and do not notice them.  I would like to hear what other members say about books that smell like mildew, postable or unpostable?

One of the requirements of posting a book is no mildew. 

 



Last Edited on: 6/27/15 2:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 6/27/2015 3:00 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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My thinking is mold is the same as mildew.   Both are undesirable and I cannot imagine a mildew book would be okay but no books with mold. One would have to conduct CSI like test to determine if it's mold or mildew. 

From the Help Center

Overall Condition:

No damage at all from water or other liquid
Not soiled
No stains (exception for cookbooks--see below)
No mold
no highlighting, underlining or writing on text pages (exception for Textbooks/Workbooks and travel guidebooks --see below)



Last Edited on: 6/27/15 3:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/27/2015 5:36 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,123
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Somewhat related to this is a request I received soon after I joined PBS years ago. A member PMed me and said he wanted 27 books I had posted.  He listed them and asked if I would I be willing to give him a deal of 3 for 1 credit? After some thought, I agreed. His next message stated he only had a few credits available and could he just order three he listed at that time.

A bell went off in my head and I backed out of the deal. After some other experiences of this sort, I also believe a few of the members here aren't quite as honest as we would hope.  Sometimes the best way to limit their behavior is to defend what you sent, as long as you are absolutely sure their complaints are not valid.  I've done this a few times and it sometimes resulted in the member dropping the complaint.

Plus, the PBS team, as I'm told, tracks trends among members and is able to identify those not playing fair. Of course, it is to PBS' advantage to do this. Who would want to participate in a swap site where rogues ran rampant?

There were a few times I sent a message to the PM team identifying a possible problem member, after returning the credit. The member gets their credit back and is happy. But maybe the PBS team makes a little mark in their record which helps them identify a problem member if that practice continues.

Still, 98% of my swaps have been problem free. The vast majority of the members are very good people.

Date Posted: 6/27/2015 9:36 PM ET
Member Since: 3/15/2006
Posts: 7
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The thing is, I do check the books before sending. Maybe I don't actually take a big whiff of each book, but I know I would have seen water damage.  The receiver stated that the package was not damaged so it must have been mailed that way. I VERY much doubt that I sent it out that way.  Anyway, I sent back the credits back and chalked it up to lesson learned.

Date Posted: 6/28/2015 10:35 AM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 4,349
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When talking about mildew vs. mold, most everyone seems to agree that mold is tangible, it's visible in/on the book.  Mildew is one of those 'subjectives'.  Many refer to that slightly damp, rank smell as 'mildew' without any visible spotting.  I've never had a problem getting rid of that 'smells like mildew' odor from books I've received, but I wouldn't mail one just to avoid hassle (perfume, otoh, has caused me to give up and throw a couple of books away).

 

Date Posted: 6/28/2015 11:05 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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Anna, what method do you use to get rid of mildew smell?

I have DVD's I received from SwapaDVD and I have never been able to get rid of the mildew smell.  I washed the case, disc and aired out the artwork for weeks and the smell is still there.  I cannot imagine getting rid of mildew smell from a book.  When I watch a DVD I only smell it when I set it up to play and turn it off.   A book is right in front of me when I read and all the smells that come with it. For me personally of the smells to get rid of I rank mildew the most difficult.  

Date Posted: 6/28/2015 12:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 4,349
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First, San Diego County is DRY (even without the drought- it's low humidity). 

Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks, but I bury the book for a few days in silica sand (crystal cat litter is easiest to find), check it and re-bury if it is still noticeably smelly; then stand it on end with pages fanned open on porch or open window sill and check it in a day or two. I cannot leave a book  in direct sunshine here even for a day, unless I want dried, curled pages and sun-bleached cover.  Anyway, this works for me.

Oh, and I hold my books about 14" away from my face when I'm reading - this could make a difference if yours are closer.
 

Date Posted: 6/28/2015 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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Thanks Anna!  I will try that.  I have several boxes of Kitty litter that I bought before Sagwa died.  It's the clumping kind, hope that's okay.  

Date Posted: 6/28/2015 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2006
Posts: 4,349
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Valerie, it may not be quite as effective, but certainly worth trying.  Silica is what comes in all those little packets that are inserted in packaged items to keep them dry -- you know, the ones labeled Do Not Eat...  :^)   It is amazingly absorbent.



Last Edited on: 6/28/15 10:37 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/29/2015 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2009
Posts: 101
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I do think that some people are scammers, but a very few.

One time someone requested a book that was used as a textbook, something about Chinese poetry. He had so many RC's that I almost didn't send it. But it was in PERFECT condition, so I did go ahead and send it. The requester said it had "severe water damage but that the packaging was dry" so I had clearly sent it in that condition. I knew it was not damaged before I sent it and told him so, but returned his credit. I know that I will never mail to him again.

Unfortunately it only takes a very few to ruin it for the rest of us.

Date Posted: 6/30/2015 4:59 AM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2014
Posts: 852
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Last Edited on: 7/15/17 11:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/30/2015 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2007
Posts: 53
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I am the one that received Chip's water damaged book.  This was very easily visible to me by simply turning the book sideways and looking at the wavy pages.  You can see the stains too, if you look under light.  As a long-time member and a former librarian, I know the difference between water damage and cheap paper.  Chip, you were welcome to send an extra credit and have the book returned, as the rules here state.  If a book is borderline or questionable, I'll usually chalk it up to subjectivity and let it go.  But this was clear cut to me, and I'm not comfortable re-posting the book, so I marked it RWAP. 

 

 

 

Date Posted: 7/1/2015 2:53 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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Well we've all had disappointing experiences, but I think the good traders make it worth it and they far out number the bad ones.

I received a book from someone who has been here 2 years longer than me (I joined in 2010) and they sent me a book with underlining..yellow..I was pretty surprised.  I really wanted the book so I didn't feel like arguing about it.  It would have been hard not to notice, there was a lot of yellow.

 The real scammers know to look for tracking and if there isn't any, they declare lost.  That has happened to me a few times on one of the sister sites.


 

Date Posted: 7/3/2015 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 15,522
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I just returned a credit to someone who claimed the book I sent smelled of mildew. There was an RC but not for smells and the book was in like new condition. Still I didn't want the fuss although I doubt the book smelled.

I PMed the requester and noted that if she felt the book was unacceptable then she should not repost it but I wonder how to tell whether or not she does.

Date Posted: 7/4/2015 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2009
Posts: 25
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Sometimes I wonder what are considering to be damage. I recently sent out a perfectly in-condition, almost brand new book. It had never been read. She claimed it had water damage and nothing done to package. She said she'd send pictures but never did after I requested a few times. I didn't refund the credit. Is it a person's fault if it is damaged in transit?

Date Posted: 7/4/2015 2:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,857
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No, if a book is damaged by the post office, that is not considered the sender's fault and the receiver can mark the book RWAP due to mailing damage. They should not request a credit back in that case.

Date Posted: 7/5/2015 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,271
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Somewhat related to this is a request I received soon after I joined PBS years ago. A member PMed me and said he wanted 27 books I had posted.  He listed them and asked if I would I be willing to give him a deal of 3 for 1 credit? After some thought, I agreed. His next message stated he only had a few credits available and could he just order three he listed at that time.

I had almost the identical experience as Thomas (quoted above), I did send the 3 books for 1 credit and then did not hear another peep from that member for perhaps a year, until she tried the same thing again and that time I refused. I have swapped 1000s of books since joining in 2007 and have to say that I have had no other instances of "credit scamming". Yes, there have been the members who claimed "severe water damage" until I asked for pictures and they melted away. There were members who RWAPed because there were lines on the external spine but the binding was tight and within guidelines...a case where they needed an RC, but didn't know what that was. More cases of books meeting PBS's guidelines but not meeting the requestor's expectations. Those I don't consider credit scamming but just ignorance.

Date Posted: 7/5/2015 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 2,541
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I have not experienced this type of scammers.  

But I'm suspicious of the "Lost in the Mail" ones.  I have sent out 1161 books according to my transaction archives,  9 books I have sent have been lost in the mail.  I'm sure USPS does lose the occasional item, but I just think that is a little high.  And since their is now a charge for using PBS  I have been reserving my printable postage for multi-book orders and sending single books with no extra services.  I pay more attention than I used too.  

Or maybe I am just paranoid and place too much trust in the postal service LOL.  

I have to say that if I was sure that my book was postable, I will not refund the credit. 

Date Posted: 7/6/2015 10:09 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,271
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Shannon, it has been my experience that many of my lost in the mail books have been cases of misdelivery by the post office...often because the member moved and didn't change their address, assuming books would be forwarded. I always contact members a day or two before a book is declared lost, assuring them I mailed it when I did, giving them instructions on how to mark a book received in their transaction archive and asking whether they have recently moved. As a result several members have returned to their old address where they found the book. Several books appeared weeks after going lost when they were delivered to a neighbor by mistake who took their sweet time getting it to the person who was to receive the book. But some books really do get lost or eaten by PO machinery. I've had several mangled empty wrappers returned to me by the post office. I've also had books coming to me taken 6 weeks to travel a few hundred miles. It is frustrating when they do go lost.

Date Posted: 7/6/2015 10:24 AM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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UPS delivered an empty package from Amazon to my house.  It was a bubble mailer with a hole on one end. I ordered a heavy meat pounder which should have been mailed in a box.  

Date Posted: 7/6/2015 11:31 AM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 793
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Shannon, Do you send out a PM asking if the book was actually received before it goes lost?  I get DC on all my books and a week after the DC says it was delivered I PM the receiver.  You wouldn't believe how many times for one reason or another it has forgotten to be received.

ETA:  I just checked my Transaction Archive and of the 1700+ books I've mailed none have been lost in the mail but of 1000+ books I've ordered 15 have been lost in the mail.  I guarantee you I never received those books and I never received an inquiry from the sender.  My feeling is they never were sent.



Last Edited on: 7/6/15 11:38 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/6/2015 3:24 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 2,541
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No, I don't send out a PM.  The system sends out a message.  I did it the 1st 2 times,  went through this whole rig amarole going to the post office filling out forms, giving it to a clerk who actually once said to me "this is for a regular book?", yep, just for 1 paperback.  Not including the original time I spent on the transaction, I spent about another hour p.m.'ng member, filling out form, going to post office.  I'm not doing that again.  See, I do what I am supposed to.  I mail good books out.  I wrap well.  

 I have been a member here for a minute or 2.  I understand that wrappers get mangled.  I do believe SOME items get lost in the mail.  That is not what my post is speaking of.  I am commiserating with other members who feel they have been scammed in some way.  Like I said.  This club (like every slice of life) has scammers, cheats, etc.  I have been told that in a multi book mailing, the package was opened and 1 book was missing.  I return the credit, not because I have to, but because I wanted too.   (not much) Later, I see the same book on the members shelf.  Possibly they got the book from another source.  Who knows.  

And Theresa, I have also had books sent to me that were "Lost in the mail".  I think about 75% of that is bull.  Those books were never sent.  

All are my own personal opinion of course. 

P/S  none of my book packages included meat pounders and if they had I would have wrapped them correctly lol.  

 

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