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Topic: Duplicate accounts

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Subject: Duplicate accounts
Date Posted: 4/25/2011 6:09 AM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2008
Posts: 4
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If you have adult kids, be aware that they're shutting down accounts that have the same address as duplicate accounts.  I have 2 adult children who are sort of at home both with accounts for a couple of years, almost as long as I've had.  (They ran me out of credits soon after I got mine.)  My son suddenly got a chance to go sailing & left a lot dangling, since he thought he'd have Internet access & doesn't.  So I tried to log in to his account to check it.  It's been locked.  I explained the issue to tech support & they say he has to contact them.   In the meantime, I have no idea of the status of his account.

How are they going to tell if he contacts them when he'll likely be using my computer from my house through his Gmail account - the same as I used for him.  (Yeah, I had to get on to his email too.  Yuck.)  

I was surprised my daughter's account wasn't shut down, but it turns out that this year, since she has an apartment at college instead of being in the dorm, she changed her address to that.  Like last year, though, I wound up sending most of her books.  I asked the PBS tech what we should do about her account if she moves back in this summer since she/he had earlier said only 1 account per address.  The answer was it was fine so long as I didn't log in on her account.  Again, they'll be able to tell that how?

I never tried to impersonate my son.  I actually sent the first notice about this problem from my account & then - when there was no answer - through his email & told them the circumstances.  I asked if they'd just put his books in with mine - no answer beyond the stock 'duplicate account'.  At this point, I'd just like to shut his account down.  He's never been great about keeping up with it, anyway.  They won't tell me if they put it in vacation mode or what happens if someone orders a book or if one of his comes up for swap.  Actually, the tech i'm dealing with is being a complete dick about this.  Anyone know of any other recourse for contacting them & perhaps get a thinking human being?

Jim

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 7:57 AM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2007
Posts: 17,127
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Hi Jim,

The PBS rules state that you can't have more than two accounts per household and that each member must manage his/her own account.  You can see if his account is on vacation hold by going to his bookshelf through your account. 

Usually in situations likes this, the team puts the account on vacation hold until the member contacts them directly.  Since your son is an adult, he will have to contact the team.  If he doesn't after a certain period of time, they will most likely close the account.

Hope this helps!

Mary

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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If he wasn't paying attention to the account it might have closed for being abandoned.  If he didn't respond to book requests or WL offers and didn't log in for awhile then they would have closed it as inactive.  

But Mary S is right-you can only have 2 per household. 

 

Subject: No problem for 2 years?
Date Posted: 4/25/2011 8:57 AM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2008
Posts: 4
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Thanks, Mary.  It helps a bit, but we read it as each person can only have one account &, as kids in their early 20's, they're in & out of the house.  Since we didn't have any problem for about 2 years, it's a shame they don't make it easier to merge accounts when they suddenly get the urge to get picky.  Sending a notice would have been really nice, but we got none.  Just a notice that I couldn't log on when my son asked me to check.  

Merging his books with mine would work since it would preserve his place on books he wants.  I spent a lot of time trying to get the boy to read & I know he has been waiting for some books for quite a while.  What about any credits he has?  Do they just disappear?

It also doesn't answer the question about my daughter.  Mostly she lives 4 hours away now, but if she does come back home for a couple of months this summer, it hardly seems fair to lock up her account while she's staying with us.  If she logs into her PBS account from my PC while having the same physical address, does that automatically get her account locked up?  How do they know if it is her or me logging in as her so I can print off a label for a book she forgot to take with her?

Tech support person hasn't answered any of these questions.  They just repeat "Have your son contact us about his account.  One account per address."  I think it's a script.  Real life isn't as clean cut as that.

Jim

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 9:44 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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For your daughter's account, I would suggest that she leaves her address in the system as her school address while she is home for the summer.  Then if she requests any books, there is a place in the accepting process where she can give a different address to have the book sent to. 

While she is away at school, if she receives requests for any books that she left at home, she could "print" the label then when the label pdf comes up, she could save it and email the pdf to you. Then you can print the label from your email and send off the book.  That would keep her account clean and out of the confusion associated with your son's account.  Good luck!



Last Edited on: 4/25/11 9:44 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/25/2011 9:55 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,187
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Jim - they won't talk to you about your son's account at all, he will need to talk to them.  They are very firm on the stance that a member must maintain their own account.

I doubt they would have the capability of moving books from one accounts wish list to another, but if they did they probably would not have let you do it from a 3rd household account because it was an account set up against site Terms of Use. Per the term of Use, any credits and PBS money in an account that is closed are forfeit.

If your kids have separate addresses, then they could have solved the problem by using their own addresses. Using the same physical address for mailing on 3 accounts is prohibitted and they will shut down the 3rd as soon as they find it.  If your daughter used her own address, logging into the account from your computer would not trigger a problem. The fact that the kids don't live there anymore and you are accessing their accounts does make it look like you are maintaining all 3 accounts and both of the kids accounts could be closed.

There is a link to the Term of Use at the bottom of most pages. Though your life style may not be clean cut, the rules are so if your kids are unable to maintain their own accounts, they aren't eligible to have them.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 4/25/2011 10:37 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,132
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You said you wrote in from your account and told PBS that your son was unable to manage his account due to being away from home unexpectedly. They closed his account temporarily because of the information you provided. They've told you how your son can get his own account reopened. There's nothing you need to do with regard to the account. It's closed. No new transactions are being initiated. Old transactions have timed out or were canceled. He won't get any wish list books offered to him while his account is closed. When your son comes home, he can contact PBS, explain that he's back and will be managing his own account from now on, and they'll reopen his account for him.

Your daughter also needs to manage her own account, whether she lives with you during the summer or not. You can't login to her account. You can't mark her books mailed for her. You can't mark her books received for her. If she doesn't have time to manage an account because she's a busy college student, then she just needs to put it on vacation hold until she has more free time.

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2008
Posts: 4
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Christa, if my daughter moves home for the summer, it's because she's giving up her apartment at school.  (Her boyfriend graduates this year & may be moving depending on jobs.)  In that case, she'll be home for the summer & then off to the dorm for her final year.  The mail there is haphazard, at best, which was why she kept our home address her first year on PBS - AND THEY NEVER SAID A THING ABOUT IT.  Yet now she might have to put her account in vacation mode simply to keep her from getting locked out when she moves.  That's wrong.  She doesn't really live with us most of the time any more.

If there had been an email suggesting that this would be a problem, I wouldn't be upset, but to just lock up my son's account without any notice after 2 years when nothing on our side has changed is wrong.  If it is such a big deal, why did they let us set up accounts with the same physical address & use them for 2 years?

I have a feeling that people like Tech Support & Cathy A. never had kids, especially not young adult ones.  They're not really living at home or completely off on their own, but they want to be & we, the parents, want them to be.  The changeover is often chaotic, though.

Cathy,  I said I tried to sign into my son's account to check it, per his request,  from our home computer - the one he uses & has his password autofill - & his account was locked.  Then I sent feedback through my PBS account & got no reply.  It was only then that I used his email account to email tech support & told them I wasn't my son in the email.   They locked his account as a duplicate prior to any action on my part.

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,783
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Tech support person hasn't answered any of these questions.  They just repeat "Have your son contact us about his account.  One account per address."  I think it's a script.  Real life isn't as clean cut as that.

The most interesting question in this post is ... is the tech guy really saying that you can only have one account per address? Because the terms of use, as far as I know, is that 2 accounts are allowed per address (as long as they are also 2 different people).

I think you need to get that solved, perhaps by pointing out to the tech guy where it says that in the TOU and seeing if the policy, is in fact, changed.

Regardless, your daughters account should not have been allowed at your address, and your son will have to communicate to them himself to reopen his account. But his account should be allowed.

I don't know how to escalate the request though, if the "Contact Us" link is always getting you to the same person.

I only have one PBS account at my house ... but quite frankly, I handle all the household "business" for my family, which means that I pretend to be my husband all the time, for all kinds of things. I woudl be shocked if he knew any details of anything at all. If he did have a PBS account of his own, I am sure I woudl have to do things like mail out his books. (He does have his own books, but he reads many less books than I do, so right now I just order them for him on my own account). But PBS is much more strict than for example, my bank is. I log into the bank as my husband all the time, and I am not sure it is even against their rules.



Last Edited on: 4/25/11 1:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/25/2011 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,187
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Jim - sometimes the system doesn't catch it right away. There is no one looking at the addresses of 300,000+ members to see who lives at the same address, the system needs to catch it and apparently something happened in the accounts recently that either flagged the account as too many in one household or that it appeared to be too many accounts for one member. Since you don't know the specifics, and a temporary suspension looks the same as a permanent, for all you know his account could have a temporary suspension on it because he missed too many transactions or didn't respond to another member's PM on a problem. If it is locked because of 3 accounts in the same household, you had an inelligible account and they had every right to close it, notice or none. 

Going forward I would address the problem of the kids not maintaining their own accounts.Once in a while, in an emergency it is ok to access their accounts, but it is not OK to have someone else maintaining your account so if they are too busy to mail their own books, their accounts should probably be made dormant or on vacation hold until they can handle them themselves. Otherwise you could end up losing both the kids accounts. Its great that your kids want to read and are using the site, but they have to follow the Terms of Use just  like the rest of us.

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I've never heard of TPTB merging accounts...don't think it's possible.

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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You need to step back and let them worry about their own accounts, as you can't do those things for them any more. Let your son worry about it when he gets home. Let your daughter figure it out on her own if she comes back from school. She may want to get a P.O. Box instead. Leave it up to her.

The site isn't wrong for enforcing their own rules, whether they catch the problems quickly or not. The rules are the same for all, so we all have to keep up on them.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 4/25/2011 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,132
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Jim - I have an 18 year old daughter. If she wants a PBS account, I can assure you, I will not be logging in to check on it for her. She is an adult. She is responsible for her own business transactions.

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 541
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This makes me wonder, why does PBS only allow 2 accounts per address? I've been in housesharing situations with roommates in the past, and there could have been 4 or 5 of us, theoretically, interested in bookswapping. Teenagers and their parents living in the same house, or an extended family - all seem reasonable to me. Is there some expectation that abuse will be more frequent?

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 7:28 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,783
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I believe the idea is to prevent someone from pretending to be multiple people in order to have multiple wish lists. I think that's the main reason they don't allow unlimited accounts from the same address.

Date Posted: 4/25/2011 8:47 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2008
Posts: 89
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I live on my own, but moved back with my parents for a few months last year when recovering from surgery. Since both my mother and sister have accounts, I just rented a PO box for the duration. Problem solved.

Date Posted: 4/26/2011 12:39 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Jim, the Terms of Use, which you read and agreed to abide by when you joined the site state:

"One Account per Person, Maximum of Two Accounts per Address or Household
No individual is permitted to register more than one account. No individual may register "for" another person, or manage more than one account. No more than two accounts are permitted per address or household."

So, you knew up front that those limits were in place.  That you decided they didn't apply to your family and then didn't get caught for a year is not grounds for the PBS Team to extend your rule-breaking period.

PBS is not going to discuss your adult son's account with you without your son giving them permission.  It is a privacy issue, and potentially a legal one.  It is not a script -- it just sounds like you will not accept "we can only discuss your son's account with your son" as an answer.  If your son truly lacks any email or internet access, there are other communication forms available via the "Contact Us" page.

You should not be logging into your children's account regardless of whether they live with you or not.  They're grown up, and responsible for their own affairs.  It also violates the Terms of Use for you to do so except in rare emergencies.  Password sharing is prohibited in the ToU as well.

I'm not sure whom you've been contacting for assistance, since there is no "tech support" -- if you're contacting the "Live Help" folks, that's staffed by Tour Guides like me -- we're all volunteers and fellow PBS member and have no access to anyone's account information, so saying they're being a "dick" and using a "script" is harsh and inappropriate.  If you've been writing in to Feedback, they're the in-house staff who do have account access, and your assumptions about their personal lives, aside from being irrelevant to the rules, are inaccurate.

As others have stated, it sounds like you need to take a step back and let the kids manage their own affairs, even if they do a poor job of it at first-- that's what you raised them to do, right?  Take care of themselves, make good decisions, learn from their mistakes, be self-supporting, etc etc? It isn't always easy or comfortable -- I've been there too -- but it is the job we're there to do ;-)

Date Posted: 4/26/2011 6:20 AM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2008
Posts: 4
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When family members share the same computer & one is traveling a lot, especially a sudden, fanastic trip, others step in to take care of loose ends.  Anyone who thinks no one else in the family should ever print a mailer or accept a book isn't living in our household. 

I guess the rules are the rules, but I think it's mighty narrow-minded.

Date Posted: 4/26/2011 7:17 AM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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Jim said, "I guess the rules are the rules"

And therein lies the bottom line, PBS has rules that they have deemed important to protect the membership and the site. Being that it is their site, the rules are theirs to make as they see fit.

 

Date Posted: 4/26/2011 7:49 AM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2011
Posts: 2,395
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Jim,

I hope it all works out for you. I hope your son is having some fun! I'm sure he'll straighten out the swap prob when he gets back.

Perhaps you could add all his books to your bookshelf and thereby not lose any swaps or credits. Then delete his inventory when he can.

Well, good luck. I'm sure it will all be OK!