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Topic: Damaged by USPS, now what?

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Subject: Damaged by USPS, now what?
Date Posted: 2/16/2012 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2012
Posts: 2
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I sent a book and it was damaged by the post office.

The other member marked it as damaged and said "This books showed up today, but it is utterly trashed by what looks like it getting stuck in a USPS conveyer belt. The outside packaging is totally ripped to shreds, with the front cover of the books so badly damaged it's almost totally missing, and several other pages being blacked, ripped and missing."

She requested her credit back, and since  I wrapped the book according to the how to, I do not feel it is necessary to refund her credit. My reply was "As far as your book is concerned, I am really sorry, but I do not feel that I can give you an additional credit for that one. It was in perfect condition when I sent it. (I bought it new for a college class, read it once, and then let it sit on my shelf until I sent it.) And I wrapped it according to PBS suggestions, including plastic wrap and taping all edges."

Her reply was "That book arrived here in shreds because you packaging wasn't solid enough to hold up during the transport. I want to be reimbursement for it as I paid a credit for that book and the end result is that I don't have a book and will have to re-order it. It's your job as the sender to provide me with a book, as I've paid you a credit to deliver me a book. I don't care if it's USPS's fault or yours. I PAID you for a f***ing book and didn't get anything I want either a f**ing book or a refund!"

(And those weren't *** in her message.) I have not responded...

I don't think I should have to respond in this case, and I because of the hostility and swearing, I feel that I should report her to PBS. As much to protect my account from an unresolved transaction as to report her bad behavior. How do I do this? Should I do anything else?

Date Posted: 2/16/2012 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2007
Posts: 17,482
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If you feel your packaging was adequate, then do not refund the credit.  Let her know that she is free to mark the transaction unresolved because  you disagree that your wrapping contributed to the damage. 

It doesn't sound like anything, regardless of how well it was wrapped, could have survived that journey. 

I would also let her know that you've reported her rude PM to the team.  You can do this by clicking on the contact us link at the bottom of the page and using the feedback button.

Date Posted: 2/16/2012 2:12 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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I think she needs a xanax more than she needs a book or a credit.

If a book gets caught in machinery it's going to get damaged no matter what the packaging is (unless it was in a steel box or something). You're not required to refund the credit and I agree with reporting her hostile PM.

Last Edited on: 2/16/12 2:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/16/2012 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 626
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Ohmygoodness, there is NEVER a reason to speak to another member the way she spoke to you, Casey.  I see that you're a new member here....  Please rest assured that the chances of running across someone that rude again on PBS is VERY slim. 

As the others said, if you're confident that your wrapping was adequate, hang on to your credit.  It's not your fult if USPS played tug-of-war with the book. 

And please do report that member to management.  They need to know about that kind of abuse. 

Happy trading in your future and welcome to PBS! 

Date Posted: 2/16/2012 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
Posts: 4,177
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Report The Beotch! And by all means, don't get hooked up in a PM Pissing Match with her.

Keep Your Credit.

Welcome to PBS; The Land of Mostly Nice Book Swappers.


Last Edited on: 2/16/12 2:49 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/16/2012 3:02 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,409
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Just a few questions...

You mention this was for a college class.  Was it just a standard mass market sized paperback like a novel or a tradesized larger paperback?  Honestly, tradesized books should be packed in more than just the 2 sheets of paper.  I see that you noted that you taped all edges, was this packing tape?  Scotch tape is not sturdy enough for packing.

If it was just a standard paperback wrapped in 2 sheets of paper and sealed with packing tape, then yes, it was adequate.  If it was larger, only wrapped in 1 sheet of paper or used standard scotch tape, then yes, packing *could* have contributed.

Either way, her response is completely out of line.  I would definitely report it as there is absolutely no reason to use profanity over a book. 

Date Posted: 2/16/2012 3:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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What Mary (and everybody else) said.   If you feel the book was adequately wrapped, you are not obligated to return the credit.  The damage sounds extensive, I doubt any normal or usual type of wrapper would have prevented the type of damage described.

Definately report that PM to TPTB, the language is unacceptable.  I would not reply for a day or two, at which time I suspect TPTB will have done something or she will open a conversation with civil language.

Last Edited on: 2/16/12 3:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/16/2012 3:41 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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Ugh, what a nasty experience. Please do not refund her a credit, and please do report that pissy email. 

Date Posted: 2/16/2012 6:25 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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Please report the other member. There's never any reason for that and the site doesn't allow it.

And I wanted to add a response on the tradesized paperbacks should be packed in more than just the 2 sheets of paper comment.

If you look at the site's wrapping tutorial, they show a tradesized paperback being wrapped in the 2 sheets of paper. Personally, I don't use it for tradesized paperbacks since I get plenty of bubble mailers I can reuse but I've received them in the paper wrapper plenty of times and if the seams are taped, they do just fine under normal mailing conditions.

Date Posted: 2/16/2012 7:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,985
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Having worked for the Post Office, I can say that a good packing tape really helps.  I mummify my packages but always leave a little corner to snip along to open it.  Tape corners and edges well.  Then run your hand over and make sure it is not sticky; sometimes the tape can get turned around and not get attached to anything.  Hardbacks and TPBs are the most damaged items and often people just slap them into a mailer and tape the end closed, period.  Often the parcel gets torn or ripped or even punctured from handling.  Take a little extra care and you will have less likelihood of damage.  Just a suggestion.

I would definitely report that member to TPTB.  And then try and let it go, forget it.  There are always a few problem people everywhere but the majority here are quite nice.

Last Edited on: 2/16/12 7:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/16/2012 10:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,283
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My feeling on wrapping books is that you must wrap adequately for the average mailing trip. So, if the book is completely covered by some type of protective wrapper, the label is securly attached, and the wrapper is fastened adequately with packing tape, then you are done.

If you can toss the book package in the air without feeling like it might come undone, then you are probably good to go.

There is nothing in the rules that says you must prepare book packages so that they can survive the "worst case" mailing trip.

People have all kinds of opinions on whether or not paper is "adequate" for hardcovers, or trade sized paperbacks, etc ... but the truth is, most of the time it is just fine. And, also, PBS does not specify that it cannot be wrapped that way, so whether or not receivers have a personal feeling that hardcovers should only be mailed in bubble wrappers (or whatever they feel is adequate) the truth is, PBS does not say that.

I will take any kind of book wrapped tightly in paper over a book loose in an envelope, any day. "Loose" packages always seem to come with punctures and rips in the envelope (although luckily, very few of the books end up damaged). Sometimes tight packages are damaged too, but that is much much more rare, IMO.

Date Posted: 2/17/2012 1:10 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I agree Lsressler, I'd like to see PBS change their recommendations for TSP.  IMO the two sheets (which only cover a TSP book in a single layer of paper) is inadequate protection. 

Today I received a standard size hardcover loose inside one of those heavy (unpadded) paper envelopes.  Somewhere enroute the envelope had torn open and been repaired by USPS...luckily the book arrived safely.  Loose paper envelope and hardcover book are about the worse combination possible for potential damage.

Date Posted: 2/17/2012 2:43 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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It's those loose corners.  So tempting to hungry sorting machines. 

PBS has the default set to if the receiver puts the book as damaged by the sender, then a credit is automatically asked for.  If the damage is by the PO, then a credit is automatically NOT asked for.   The receiver is the one out the credit for post office damage.  Fortunately, it is rare.

Date Posted: 2/17/2012 5:45 AM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 5,016
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This is from the help docs as a direction to the receiver -

Damaged by USPS

  • You will have the option to describe the book condition problem in a text box - the text you type in will be included in an email, and sent as a Personal Message, to the sender.
  • You will have the option to request a credit refund - this is UNchecked by default for this problem type.  If you check this option (if you believe the Wrapping contributed to the book's damage by USPS), the email the sender gets will include the request for a credit refund. If you leave this unchecked,  the email sent to the sender will NOT mention or request a credit refund.

and from the help docs as a direction to the sender -

Damaged by USPS

  • This means a book that was damaged by USPS during its journey.  Normally this is just bad luck, and does not warrant a credit refund.  However, if the Wrapping was inadequate (you didn't seal the envelope, or you left any part of the book exposed, or you used Scotch tape), the requestor may feel it contributed to the damage and may ask for a credit refund.
  • To resolve this: review How to Wrap a Book and decide if your book wrapping was adequate.  If not, you should refund credit.  If you feel it was adequate, you should reply to the requestor politely saying that, and that you don't feel a refund is warranted.

If you feel you wrapped the book adequately, then do NOT refund her credit, the machines just get snarly at times, and things happen. Definitely report her abusive pms to you to the PBS team, as those were uncalled for and inexcusable. Thankfully, members like that are rare or unheard of as the majority of people here are nice and not so demanding with abusive language. That was good that you didn't respond anymore to her, wait until you hear from the team.

Date Posted: 2/17/2012 11:06 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 25
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If the book went through the Jersey City Post Office there's no way on Earth it could survive whatever goes on there. I've sent out a tleast 30 books from this sight & only 3 didn't make it. Al least Jersey City sent back the scraps of my address label saying it was found on the floor of the J.C. P.O. I always double wrap & have an inside address label.  You don't owe her credit & I  would report her to USPS. Mail gets shredded at the U.S.P.O.

Last Edited on: 2/17/12 11:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/17/2012 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/5/2008
Posts: 1,869
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Wow, no way that you should have received such a nasty PM.  I'm with the others....most of the people you deal with will be amazing.  I've had people offer profound apologies when their book ended up damaged even though there wasn't any credits exchanged.  Most people are trying really hard to make sure you get a decent book.  I hope that this is the one and only irate swapper you have to deal with.