Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: How to report theft?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: How to report theft?
Date Posted: 6/26/2010 5:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2010
Posts: 3
Back To Top

Hi there,

I have mailed eight books but have only received credit for five.  That's a pretty high ratio of poor member participation.  I see no way to report this, so in theory, these members can just request book after book after book and never give credit where credit is due.  I can't find a way to rate or review these people.  Can someone point me in the right direction?

Date Posted: 6/26/2010 6:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
Back To Top

Have the books had time to get to their destinations---the full time allowed by PBS?  Have they been officially declared "Lost" by the system?  If the answer to question #2 is no, then give time for question #1.  

ETA:  there is no way to "rate" other members. 

Last Edited on: 6/26/10 6:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 6/26/2010 6:31 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
Back To Top

If the books have been declared "lost in the mail", then the first thing to do is send a PM to the requestors. You can do this from your Transaction Archive. If they do not respond within a week, then you can use the Contact Us link at the lower right corner of the page to reach the site owners and ask them to investigate. If you sent the books with Delivery Confirmation that was not purchased here, be sure to provide that information.

Your theory is wrong by the way. The site does monitor accounts for things like not marking books received, not actually mailing books after marking them mailed, mailing late, etc. and they do close accounts if necessary.

Date Posted: 6/26/2010 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
Back To Top

"Member since 5/14/10" so I'm guessing very possibly the full time has not elapsed yet.

Date Posted: 6/26/2010 9:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

I was going to say the same thing as Diane.  You've only been a member a little over a month.  Have they gone lost yet or just taking longer then the other books you mailed.  There is a reason PBS gives nearly a month before declaring books lost (the other site I do makes you wait 6 wks before you send a reminder and like 3 months before goign lost-or something like that).  Sometimes books go cross country in 3 days and other times they take 3 wks to go across one state. 

Date Posted: 6/26/2010 9:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

And sometimes they do legitimately go lost-they get misdelivered or just disappear of the face of the earth. 

Date Posted: 6/27/2010 3:00 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
Back To Top

Here's an example of taking a long time (see below) via media mail.  I only live 350 miles from the sender of this book ... and I still don't have it:

6/4/2010 2:00 PM - Electronic Shipping Info Received - CARLSBAD,CA

6/5/2010 9:22 AM - Enroute - BELL,CA

6/6/2010 10:59 AM - Enroute - RICHMOND,CA

6/26/2010 2:09 AM - Enroute - RICHMOND,CA

6/26/2010 2:15 AM - Enroute - RICHMOND,CA

6/26/2010 6:06 PM - Enroute - RICHMOND,CA

6/26/2010 6:17 PM - Enroute - RICHMOND,CA

 You just have to have patience. It's a virtue here.

Last Edited on: 6/27/10 3:02 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/27/2010 8:17 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2007
Posts: 9,520
Back To Top

You can always use PBS postage/DC. Then, you will get an instant credit when you mark the book mailed (postage) or the book is scanned (DC only).

Date Posted: 6/27/2010 9:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
Back To Top

If 3 out of 8 books books I mailed actually went lost in the system (and not just taking a while to be marked received), I'd be looking to see if their's something I could improve on my end .

Were the books packaged securely? Did you address the packages clearly and correctly? Did you add enough postage? Are you shipping from a remote area or a state that has problems with media mail (i.e., Wisconsin)? Could your local post office be the problem? (I'd even look around my house/car to make sure the books weren't still sitting in my possession.)  3 out of 8 is an unusually high number of books to go lost.

The usps has a mail loss/rifling form (PS Form 1510) you could fill out and return to your local post office. The Postal Inspection Service has a similar online complaint reporting form. Link

As far as paperbackswap, they do keep records of all books that go lost and accounts may be suspended or closed if they have enough marks on their account.

Date Posted: 6/27/2010 1:07 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2009
Posts: 37,806
Back To Top

... curious what happened to OP

Date Posted: 6/27/2010 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
Back To Top

Maybe she felt her question was answered, and didn't think it necessary to post and let us know that the advice given her was sufficient or good enough. I guess it could fall into the "your welcome" response to "thank you's". Some just don't think about it being a polite or necessary thing to do. Just a thought anyway :)

Date Posted: 6/27/2010 2:18 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2010
Posts: 3
Back To Top

Thanks for your replies. I would have responded sooner but I didn't receive any kind of notification that anyone had replied.

Books were sent a month ago, packaged properly, with enough postage.  I didn't pay PBS fees for tracking.  I PM'd the three members.  One gave credit.  Two haven't responded.  I contacted PBS but they're not very helpful.

It's a shame there isn't any way to rate members.  Had I seen complaints on their accounts I wouldn't have sent my property.  Oh well, lesson learned.  Thanks again for your responses.

Last Edited on: 6/27/10 2:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 6/27/2010 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
Back To Top

Shannon, when contacting PBS Admin, did you let them know which members had not responded?  Mention specifically which members were non-responsive and how long you waited for a reply, this is the information that is helpful to PBS.

If it's been less than a week, you may yet receive an answer.  In our area the high school and some colleges just finished graduation....ie, people have been REALLY busy with extra family obligations.

Date Posted: 6/27/2010 4:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2010
Posts: 3
Back To Top

Thanks, Denise.  Yes, I sent PBS all of the details.  It's ok, I'm not pressed for two credits.  I have six that I can't find a use for as it is.  I just hoped there was some way to rate/review members.


Date Posted: 6/27/2010 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
Back To Top


Welcome to PBS.  I know as a new member, it can be both exciting and frustrating to wait for books and/or credits to arrive, but it is a bit extreme to be immediately claiming theft.  You've barely been here 6 weeks, and PBS allows almost a month before marking materials lost, plus a week after that for the recipient to respond to your PMs.   The Help Center document titled, "A book I sent is lost in the mail!" has a lot of helpful details for you. 

<<in theory, these members can just request book after book after book and never give credit where credit is due>>

This is not an accurate statement; the system monitors for these sorts of situations, and members not responding to PMs and/or getting too many books "lost" can have their accounts cancelled.  On the flip side, sending too many books that never arrive can also jeopardize your account. 

I've sent out over 600 books in 3 years and have never, ever had one not arrive (knock on wood), so 3 going truly lost all at once in your first month means you've either got terrible luck, or there's a problem of some sort.   Per the Help Center:

"The most common causes of a high outgoing loss rate are: late mailing, inadequate Wrapping, and non-sending."

Your fellow members have given great advice here, and there are plenty of details in the Help Center on how to make sure your wrapping is "inedible" to the postal book eating machines as well as the procedures to follow when a book goes missing.

<<It's a shame there isn't any way to rate members.>>

Members who belong to the Box-O-Books program do have a rating system they use.  If this interests you, check out the Help Center document titled, "What is Box-O-Books" for more details.

Hopefully your books are just languishing in a postal center somewhere, and will arrive soon.



Last Edited on: 6/27/10 5:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/27/2010 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
Back To Top

Bummer Shannon, those numbers really are not typical to PBS.  Hopefully your receivers have been out of town (or RL problems) and will log in soon, otherwise your bad luck should be over & finished for quite some time to come.

In addition to careful wrapping, I've been using the PBS insert as emergency address JIC there's a problem with the outer wrapper.  With a hightligher, I circle the receivers address and place it visably on top of the book before applying plastic underwrap.  Then apply the outer mailing wrapper with a good amount of packing tape.  For my own piece of mind, I now use Delivery Confirmation.

Last Edited on: 6/27/10 10:41 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/27/2010 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2010
Posts: 30
Back To Top

Sorry to jump in, but I recently had a problem where three books in a row went lost today. I sent pm's to requesters about a week ago asking if they received the books yet & no dice. It's weird (to me) because all three books were sent to fairly close locations (ie: in my state/state above me) & when I asked for advice on what/what not do to do with my tour guide, even he said that 3 weeks seemed more than sufficient time for the books to get there. I talked to UPS & they said they won't be able to do a trace to see where the books are until a month from now so I guess I'll just have to wait it out.

Date Posted: 6/28/2010 2:55 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2009
Posts: 1,652
Back To Top


Lots of us have discovered that within the state is actually WORSE than mailing long distances.  For example, I can send anything media mail within my own town and it will first leave the state of Kentucky and go either to Ohio, WV, Indiana, or Virginia (minimum of two hours away) before coming back to my lovely little town.  For some reason, the postal service LOVES it sorting centers and around here everything has to go through one out of state.  If members don't respond to a PM within a week (and give them a full week) contact PBS through the contact link and pass the info along to them.

However, as was said above, real life does happen.  Sometimes people have a book set to auto-request and they are out of town on a vacation and the post office is holding their mail for them, sometimes family emergencies happen making PBS fall low on the list of priorities, sometimes people lose internet access for a period of time (I had no power, no way of checking e-mail, anything for 2 full weeks before Christmas, we had one heck of a storm and our area of the country isn't high on AEPs list of places that need power now).

Date Posted: 6/28/2010 8:28 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,602
Back To Top

Welcome, new folks. :) The hardest thing to come by when you're new to PBS is patience! I still remember those early days when logging on to PBS was like being a kid in a candy store! The biggest thing to mention is that media mail is quite unpredictable. A book you send 50 miles away might take 3 weeks to get there, and one sent halfway across country could get there in 3 days. There really isn't a way to predict. I'm sorry you (Shannon & Amaryllis) have had to play the 'waiting game' right off the bat, but it does happen.

I can say that truly "lost" books are a very rare occurance. I've been at PBS almost 5 years now, and sent and received 1500+ books in each direction, and the number of lost books in that time frame are less than a dozen total. PBS doesn't allow members who abuse the system (ie, ordering books but never marking received) to stay members very long, so don't worry about 'rating' them. If they have problem transactions often enough they are talked to, suspended and booted out if need be. Anyone, even the best member, can have a book go lost occasionally, and it does no one any good to jump to conclusions about that person based on your one brief contact with them.

Anyway....put on your patience boots and stick around! PBS is a great place, a great resource and you will meet a lot of great people here! :)


Date Posted: 6/28/2010 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

Have you tried looking at the members profiles/accounts?  You can only do this if they set up a profile.  If their name is blue linked when you hit the button-the blue link will take you to their profile or bookshelf.  You might be able to see if they're on vacation.  It is vacation season and while people don't plan on letting books go lost while they're gone-if a book takes the scenic route and arrives while they're gone-that could be what happened.  I usually stop ordering quite a ways before a vacation but if a WL book is offered and it might arrive while I'm goign to be gone-I'm still going to accept it so I don't lose my place in line. 

Anyway-if you can't see that they are on vacation and they aren't responding to your PMs-contact PBS. They normally dont' get involved.  But they will mark a book received if the account looks in active.  If it wasn't put on vacation by the requestor, they aren't answering PMs, have other transactions timing out or haven't logged on for a bit-they'll mark it received and take back the credit.  If it wasn't used on an autorequested WL book. 

Date Posted: 6/30/2010 8:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
Posts: 905
Back To Top
Date Posted: 6/30/2010 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
Posts: 905
Back To Top

Sorry for the blank note.  I have sent or received over 7000 books and have had a total of 36 go lost in the 4 1/2 years I've been on here.  A couple of the latest ones may yet arrive as they went to APO's.  This is a miniscule percentage, I think, and that's why I dont spend (waste, I think) money on delivery confirmation, though many do and are happy with the results.  I know that I am atypical, but maybe the statistics are more accurate if the sample size is larger.  (???)

Date Posted: 6/30/2010 8:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
Back To Top

It looks like the OP has closed her account.  Or at least set everything to private.

Last Edited on: 6/30/10 8:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/1/2010 5:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 2,207
Back To Top

I think the settings were on private from the get-go. That was a 'flag' for me.

Date Posted: 7/1/2010 10:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
Back To Top


I think the settings were on private from the get-go. That was a 'flag' for me.


From what I understand from the forum, all new member settings are 'default' to 'private' and you have to go in to open them up. So you have to be here long enough to know about them and change them.

Really, privacy settings mean nothing. They're not clues to nefarious activities.

And if her account was closed or suspended, it would say it was.