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Topic: FPO Book "Lost" - Is This Normal?

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Lori - ,
Subject: FPO Book "Lost" - Is This Normal?
Date Posted: 2/9/2011 7:58 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2009
Posts: 79
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I mailed a book to an FPO address over a month ago.  About a week ago, I sent a PM to the requestor and asked if it had arrived yet.  She replied back and said that it hadn't, but that it usually took more than a month for books to arrive.  This morning, I received an e-mail from PBS, telling me that the book had been marked as "lost" and that I would not get my credit unless the requestor marked the book as "received."  Is this normal for FPO books to take so long to arrive?  I'm running low on credits, so the possibility of losing this one is kind of ticking me off, since I mailed the book less than 12 hours after it was requested.  I've never mailed books to an FPO before, so I'm not sure what to expect from this.

Date Posted: 2/9/2011 8:14 AM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2007
Posts: 17,055
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It can take as much as 6 weeks to reach their destination - so, yes, it is normal for PBS to mark it lost.  Our Armed Service members do a great job marking the books received once they arrive. 

Lori - ,
Date Posted: 2/9/2011 8:19 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2009
Posts: 79
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Thanks, Mary!  I don't doubt she'll mark it if it gets there - she answered my PM really fast.  I think I'm just more concerned about the book REALLY getting lost and losing that credit, and the fact that it's taking so long to get there.  There should be a way for PBS to recognize that the book is going to an FPO and allow more time before auto-marking it as lost.

Date Posted: 2/9/2011 8:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,597
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VERY normal. I don't send books to APO/FPO anymore because they do require a customs form and I never go to the post office due to my work hours. Same thing with Hawaii and Alaska--if you are sending books there and low on credits, it's always best to use PBS DC or online postage to be sure you get the credit more quickly.

Books to APO and FPO addresses DO get more time--35 days instead of 26, I believe. At least that's what the Help Docs say.

Cheryl



Last Edited on: 2/9/11 8:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Lori - ,
Date Posted: 2/9/2011 10:25 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2009
Posts: 79
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Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 2/9/2011 10:26 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,121
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There should be a way for PBS to recognize that the book is going to an FPO and allow more time before auto-marking it as lost.

a) They do allow more time.

b) The system allowing more time has absolutely no effect on when you get your credit. If you don't use PBS Postage or DC, then you will get your credit when the book is marked received. You would not get your credit any sooner if the book were still on your My Account page.

Before you sent the book, you should have seen these RCs that explain there is likely to be a delay:

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The following are the mandatory Requestor Conditions for requests to APO/FPO/DPO addresses:

This request was submitted to be sent to a US government/military address outside the USA. Postage will cost the same as within the USA. Packages sent to these addresses sometimes take longer than usual in transit, but if you use PBS-DC or PBS Printed Postage, you will receive credit for sending the book before the book reaches its destination.

To send the book(s), you will need to fill out and attach a 2976-A customs form ("the white form") to the package. You can get the form at your post office. You will also need to hand your package to a postal employee at the PO to mail it, for National Security reasons.

I hope you are willing to send your book to this address. However, if you do not wish to complete the short customs form and mail your book from the post office, please click "My book does not meet these conditions." This will cancel the request, and your book will stay at the front of the FIFO line.

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Lori - ,
Date Posted: 2/9/2011 12:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2009
Posts: 79
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Cathy -

The book was marked by PBS as "lost" exactly one month after it was sent... just like a non-FPO swap.  So how did that allow for more time?

And, as I said in my second post, I'm more concerned now that the book actually IS lost.

I certainly did see the RC about sending to an FPO, including the fact that it can take longer to arrive, but I don't think it's fair not to send books to our military personnel just because it takes longer, so of course I went ahead and sent the book.  RCs are never an issue with me and I have never declined to send a book just because there was an RC on the request.  I'm just concerned that the book won't get there at all and I'll lose both the book AND the credit.

If an FPO book can take up to six weeks to reach the recipient, it would be nice if PBS would allow that extra time before marking it "lost."  In this case, they didn't.

Date Posted: 2/9/2011 12:39 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 6,377
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This is one reason I use printable postage for FPO and other similar addresses.  I sent a book in October that arrived the first week of January - but it did arrive.

Lori - ,
Date Posted: 2/9/2011 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2009
Posts: 79
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Christine - Well, I certainly learned my lesson this time!!!  LOL - Next time I ship to an FPO, I'll do the printable postage.  I just prefer not to because I'm usually going into the post office anyway, for work.

Date Posted: 2/9/2011 1:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
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I generally use PBS DC for FPO/APO and states over water.  I'll also move the postage up to first class if it is a paperback.  Those extra few cents make a big difference.  While the tracking doesn't seem to help with the military mail, the instant credit really helps me.

Date Posted: 2/9/2011 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Good points Emily.  So far I've only mailed one FPO/APO and don't remember a mail dealy, but I also use PBS DC so my credit was automatically transferred and I wasn't watching real close.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 2/9/2011 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,121
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The book was marked by PBS as "lost" exactly one month after it was sent... just like a non-FPO swap.  So how did that allow for more time?

Can you look at the request details and count up the actual number of days after marking the book mailed until it was canceled? PBS does not use exactly one month for any transaction. It's supposed to be 26 days inside the contiguous U.S. and 35 days for outside. If you count up the days and see that your book was marked lost after only 26 days, that's a bug, and you should report it using the Contact Us link below.

Also, if you go to the Pulse of PBS page under Community and scroll to the bottom, you can put in any two states and see the average transit time between them. The average time from TX to AE is 23 days, and TX to AP is 24 days -- so while some books might take 6 weeks, that is not the norm.

I'm sorry your book is lost, and I hope it turns up eventually.

Date Posted: 2/9/2011 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 4,953
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I requested a book from an APO address last year in March. I didn't receive it until May! The date on the sticker said mailed March 5th, and was received on May 5th. Took a long time but it got here. I went into my archives and marked it as received long after it was marked lost, do the same thing can happen the other way around. I always use PBS/DC postage anytime the book is going over water and also to Alaska. They can take up to weeks or months, depends. I did have one book sent to me from Hawaii that took only 4 days. Shocked me, but she did send it first class.

Date Posted: 2/9/2011 2:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I don't normally use DC but I do on the APO/FPO, VI, PR type books.  I also up to 1st class if I can but that doesn't always help. I have one I sent to the Virgin Islands, 1st Class,  about to go lost.  I used DC on that one.  Not because I'm in a hurry for a credit. But becuase I'm likely to forget about it completely if it goes lost. 



Last Edited on: 2/9/11 2:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/9/2011 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,222
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Anytime I'm sending to APO/FPO/DPO, Alaska, Hawaai, VI or PR, I always use PBS DC, and like Mary I try to go 1st Class if possible.  I've never had anything go lost to an APO/FPO/DPO, so hang in there.  Had a book take six weeks to go to OK from KS though - LOL.  Pat

Lori - ,
Date Posted: 2/11/2011 8:57 AM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2009
Posts: 79
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Got a message this morning -- the book arrived safely!  Yay!  And next time I know what to do differently so that I can avoid the worry.