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Topic: How much "damaged" is "damaged"?

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Subject: How much "damaged" is "damaged"?
Date Posted: 5/16/2014 2:53 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2014
Posts: 4
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I get used books from PBS and from Amazon, to read and then pass them along through PBS.  I recently sent a book via PBS for which the receiver wants me to refund the credit, as part of the book had water damage.  This is the first time this has happened to me.  I noticed the damage when it arrived, but none of the pages were stuck together or stiffened and it caused no difficulty in reading the book, and the book wasn't torn or in any other way marked or damaged.  I would not have passed it along if the damage were severe or made the book difficult to read.

I've asked the person to return the book and then I would refund the credit. I would put the book up again and p.m. anyone who wants it that it is water damaged before I send it, because I THINK there are many like myself who only want a book to read, and for under $3.00, that book still has value.  Am I wrong to feel this way?  I'm fairly new, so appreciate any advice.  Thank you.


Date Posted: 5/16/2014 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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According to PBS posting guidelines no water damage is allowed - partly because most people will have different ideas about what constitutes "a lot" and that would cause pretty much endless problems.  If you want the person to return the book you must send them two credits prior to them sending back the book (one for the book, the second for postage).  I'm sorry this happened on one of your first transactions, it might not be a terrible idea to take another look at the posting guidelines to keep this from happening again.

The following is from the help center document "A requestor says there is a problem with a book I sent!"

Basically, if you get an email saying that a book you sent was marked received with a problem, you should:

  • Read the information in the email to understand what the problem was (and consult the information below if necessary to decide if this was indeed a problem swap).
  • Reply to the requestor promptlyoffering resolution if there was a problem OR politely disputing the problem.
    • You can reply from the link in the email, or directly from your Personal Message center - a copy of the "problem" message will have been sent to you as a Personal Message.
    • You can refund credit from the swap in your Transaction Archive (click Request Details on the swap in your Transaction Archive to see the Refund button - detailed instructions are in How do I refund credit(s) to another member?)
    • If you dispute the nature of the problem: you should be sure to write your PM response to the requestor by using the link in the email you received, or by clicking the PM button on the swap in your Transaction Archive.  This will record your response on the transaction and if your account is ever reviewed for problem swapping, this information will be there to explain what happened in this swap.
    • If you are not sure about whether you dispute the described problem, you can ask the requestor to take digital photos of the book - she or he can upload them to a free photo-hosting site and send you a link OR send you the digital images as email attachments if you give him or her your email address.
  • Remember that the requestor is not required to send a problem book back at his or her expense.   The sender of a problem book does risk losing credit, book and postage; this is the incentive not to send problem books. 
    • If you want a problem book back you can provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the requestor by snail mail (or you can give the requestor an extra Book Credit to compensate for postage, if both of you agree on that).
    • Refund and postage compensation must be completed first - before the requestor returns the book (= it is not OK to wait to refund credit until getting a problem book back in the mail, or to expect the requestor to send the book back before getting postage compensation as described above).
Date Posted: 5/16/2014 3:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,318
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Unfortunately any water damage-- even if it's minimal-- makes the book unpostable. I've received books that had water damage & they didn't affect the text or being able to read the book, but those books were still not in postable condition.  I'm guessing the reason that PBS states that books can't have any water damage at all (even if it's minor damage) is so that there are no grey areas.  The book either has water damage or it doesn't.

And unfortunately if your book had water damage, then you shouldn't have sent it.

Date Posted: 5/16/2014 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,318
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And just so you don't feel frustrated, we all make mistakes at times!  It happens.  But like caviglia said, it does help to look over the rules again.

And welcome to PBS!!  If you just familiarize yourself with the rules, you should be good to go.

zeke68 -
Date Posted: 5/16/2014 3:26 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 2,810
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If the book is wishlisted, you can offer it in the book bazaar under the unpostable wishlist books thread.

Date Posted: 5/16/2014 5:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2010
Posts: 2,393
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Hi Niki,

Welcome to pbs. It's a great place to get books. You'll meet a lot of great people. There is a bit of a learning curve tho. You should take a good look at the guidelines. There are 5 or 6 no-nos and water damage is one of them. Any water damage.

Some members don't care what condition the book is in as long as it is readable. But there are those (like myself and your requester) who do. I don't always RWAP when I receive an unpostable. Sometimes I don't feel like persuing the issue. But I would never re-list it because the receiver is completely within their rights to demand their credit back.

Date Posted: 5/16/2014 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2006
Posts: 35,125
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Liquid damage, no matter how large or small, can cause mold & mildew and ruin other books in a library/collection.  I work in a library and it doesn't matter how large or small the liquid damage, if it's dried or not, if the book is still readable or not.  Liquid damage is a HUGE issue and oftentimes will effect much more than just the book with the damage.  So, NO liquid damage of any kind in order for a book to be postable.

Date Posted: 5/16/2014 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2010
Posts: 8,460
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Caviglia gave you what you needed.  Welcome to PBS!  There's a lot to learn, but my guess is you'll figure it all out really quickly now.  And we're all here to help.  I have a couple of things to add.  You can always still offer damaged books as freebies, even if they're not wishlisted.  See my profile for ideas.  The other thing is the other member would have to agree on that second credit to return the book.  Since postage has gone up, and credits are selling for only $2 in the Book Bazaar now, I wouldn't accept a second credit to send the book back.  I would want the full cost of postage covered.  So if you really want the book back, you have to find a means acceptable to both of you.  Good luck to you in your swapping future!

Date Posted: 5/16/2014 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,086
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Hi Niki! Welcome to PBS.

Yup, the rules are strict about water damage to books. It's just not allowed.

Even members that aren't personally bothered by water damage are not likely to want to receive the book without notice because they know that they won't be able to  trade it again, regardless of whether or not they actually personally care about the damage.

You can find the book posting guidelines here

I also wouldn't bother getting the book back from the receiver, because it will cost you a second credit to do so. (If it were me, I would just save that money and spend it on a different used book without damage). Just refund their credit and chalk it up to a learning experience.

Last Edited on: 5/16/14 11:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: How much "damaged" is "damaged"?
Date Posted: 5/17/2014 8:31 AM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2014
Posts: 4
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Thanx for all the good input, folks, I appreciate it.  After the first two responses, I p.m.'d them that I'd refund the credit, no problem.  I'd still like to get the book back, and offered to send postage for them to return it in addition to refunding the credit, but haven't heard back from them.

Thanx Zeke and Sassy for your suggestions, if they choose to send it back, I'll do that, or find another way to share the book with someone else, 'cuz I'm an environmentalist and conservationist, and hate to think of it just being trashed.

I did read the guidelines in the very beginning; I obviously didn't read carefully enough.  I had someone p.m. me about a book I requested, saying it had something wrong with it, did I still want it, but as long as a book is intact and readable, I don't care and told 'em no problem.  I'll re-read the guidelines again.


Date Posted: 5/18/2014 2:47 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Welcome to PBS Niki!

Don't feel bad...although PBS rules are fairly simple, there are rather alot.  Once read and understood tho, they are mostly common sense.