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Topic: how to tell if your sender is sitting on your book delivery...

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Subject: how to tell if your sender is sitting on your book delivery...
Date Posted: 1/13/2009 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 56
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...or not. A week ago, I ordered a book from someone who did an instant USPS notification the next day. When I put in the tracking # today, I get the message that "electronically notified by the shipper but no further info yet." Meaning, the shipment's not in the system. Meaning, the person probably printed out the label w/an instant USPS tracking #, but never mailed it yet, like they were supposed to.

Not to be a nudge, or impatient, or unoriginal with this question, but is this common? And fair, for people to get credits for books they aren't mailing right away? How do you make sure you aren't ordering from a lazy, overly busy shipper?

Personally, I have sent out 11 books thus far (after joining last month). I sent all of them out when I said I would, not days later. And w/media mail everyone got their books in 3 days or less, no matter what state.  Plus I have gotten a few of my other book orders in a couple of days (I just really want this one).  So to me, it's a real fluke for a book to take weeks.


Date Posted: 1/13/2009 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Books aren't always scanned when first mailed. Some make it all the way to their destination without ever being scanned while others are scanned several times.  It's delivery confirmation and not technically supposed to be scanned until delivery.  Many times they are scanned as delivered several days before reaching the requestor. You just never know.  Sometimes books take weeks. Sometimes they go on little tours of the US before getting delivered. I had a book take nearly 3 wks to get from MD to CT.  I had used DC so I checked it out: it had been scanned-in Illinois. Which is not on the way to CT. 

There is no way to know.  If the book goes lost you will get your credit back.  PBS will close them down if they make a habit of not mailing books-DC or not.

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 928
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There's no way to know. Like Mary said, the USPS is really inconsistent about scanning. I know there are some POs that won't scan a package unless you hand it to them over the counter, so it wouldn't be scanned into the system until delivery or at some point along the way.

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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Also, if the sender just used PBS DC (and not printable postage), they did not get their credit yet, either. Credit is not given until the DC is scanned.

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 7/1/2008
Posts: 6,981
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Last Edited on: 1/21/09 11:31 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/13/2009 5:33 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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Oh No Rachel, you just hit my fear of what people ordering books will think if the thing just says info recieved!  I use DC a lot, and mark mailed either after it's mailed or when I'm on my way out the door with the package in my hand and stopping at the blue box first on my way out of town.  Sadly my Post Office rarely scans it unless I hand it to the clerk.  It's hit or miss at the local sorting centers as well, so I've had books not get scanned until they were delivered.  It's really hit or miss with times too.  I had a book get to California before one mailed on the same day got to New York (I'm in NJ).  It can be frustrating.  I've had books I kknow weren't shipped when they were marked, but I try to give people the benifit of the doubt, because it's really hard to tell.

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 5:38 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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I think we all need to remember that DC means Delivery CONFIRMATION - nothing has to be scanned until delivery and then sometimes it just isn't. 

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2007
Posts: 1,642
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I would say of all the books I've received, 99% were mailed on time (or before the person even said they'd mail by) and I got them anywhere from a few days later to more than a month later. I mailed some books to Alaska (I'm in PA) and they got to the person in less than 2 weeks (and yes, it was sent media mail) whereas I have some books that I mailed (of course they are the ones I mailed without Delivery Confirmation and as part of deals so we're talking orders of 3 and 8 books respectively) that still haven't gotten to Florida and California and they'll be going lost next week. I'm still crossing fingers they get there!

Do people sometimes mail later than they say they will? Yes. But I think it's not an everyday occurence in the books you will request. In fact, I'm thinking that of all the books I've received (403 in the past year), that only 2 were mailed later than the person said--and in one case the mailer's father died suddenly and she totally forgot about the books she had wrapped and ready to go to get mailed in her car until a few weeks later).

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2006
Posts: 472
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I had books that I dumped in the blue box on the evening of Jan 6, so they should have gone out Jan 7, just scanned at the local central post office on Jan 12.    I don't know what they have been doing, but they were mailed.

It is true that some times or even most of the time media mail makes excellent time, but it won't always.  Sometimes for totally inexplicable reasons it appears to be traveling by snail.

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 6:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/23/2008
Posts: 329
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I have actually asked my local PO about the delivery time discreprencies and was told by the clerk that it really depends on the nearest airport alot of the times.  He explained that it really is a complex system of delivery and although some may make it in a few days further away others may take longer depending on the location they are to a major airport. 

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 7:06 PM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2007
Posts: 745
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Some people leave in remote areas, so they may print postage on their home computer, but may not be able to get to a drop box but once per week. So please take that into account.

As for USPS not scanning for DC, that's real common. I used to order a few packages each summer (live animals) and I would never get an online status update until AFTER the package was delivered to my front door. That's typical USPS for you. It might be a scanning issue, or an issue with updating the USPS website computer in a timely manner.


Date Posted: 1/13/2009 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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Some people leave in remote areas, so they may print postage on their home computer, but may not be able to get to a drop box but once per week. So please take that into account - just want to point out that this is not a reason to be marking books as mailed before actually mailing them. If someone cannot mail books except once a week, they should be timing their acceptance so that the date  they need to be marked mailed coincides with the date they can. They should not just be marking books mailed and then taking them whenever they get arround to it. There are only 3 exceptions to marking books mailed prior to actually doing so in the Help Center, and those still need to be physically mailed within 48 hours of marking them mailed. 


If I drop mine at the counter, they are reported scanned by that night. If I use the APC, they are not scanned and won't be until they go thorugh a distribution center or get delivered. Showing a scan means its on its way, no showing a scan just means it hasn't been scanned, it doesn't indicate whether its been mailed or not.

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2007
Posts: 9,682
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Rachel, I've mailed books out with DC and when I checked on them a few days later they still said "no information yet" meaning, they were still sitting in the post office. I DID mail them so when you say someone's sitting on them it's not always the sender, sometimes it's simply the post office.

Date Posted: 1/14/2009 8:46 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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Welcome to PBS.  We're a great site, but certainly not instant gratification!  And we have no control over the mail system.

One thing you find, is that short of there being an actual post office printed mailing label, you can't be sure when the book was mailed.  Media mail often gets tossed in the corner of  the post office and sits.  As others have said, sometimes it moves quickly.  But unless you have a printed mailing label showing they bought the postage after the date they claimed they mailed it I'd be awful cautious about accusing someone of late mailing.

If the person habitually mails late the info from the survey is going to show that and PBS will deal with them.

I strongly recommend that you NOT start contacting people to nudge them along.  People are going to find that highly annoying and get defensive, especially since most of them will have done the right thing already.  You can't judge things by how fast you get some requests.  That's going to happen.  I've had media mail books arrive in two days.  There's no rhyme or reason, it's part of the PBS experience and once you start getting a constant flow of books coming in and aren't waiting by the mailbox for every one you'll start to take a more philosophical approach about the issue.  Eventually you'll be on the other side of a slow book and you wouldn't want anyone bugging you.

PBS keeps track of when books are going to go lost.  If it gets close they start sending alerts to both parties.  I never e-mail someone until right before it officially goes lost (basically just to acknowledge that I've been reading the alerts and no, I didn't just forget to mark it received- I really haven't gotten it yet.)

Date Posted: 1/14/2009 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,758
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My post office doesn't EVER scan outgoing DC#s - the scanner broke over a year ago and they never replaced it! My books often show "electronic info rec'd" for my post office, but never actually show a scan until they hit a distribution center like Warrendale, PA - which is often several days after I mail them.

Date Posted: 1/15/2009 8:37 AM ET
Member Since: 2/12/2008
Posts: 4,470
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Last Edited on: 3/26/09 5:15 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/15/2009 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
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I have had that electronic shipping info not be updated, EVER, til the delivered scan! I have two books right now, both mailed the same time, same blue box. This was several days ago. One of them has been updated several times. The other one has no scans at all since the 'electronic shipping information received.' I assure you, I did indeed mail both of them. So you really can't judge by that.



Date Posted: 1/15/2009 9:22 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 1,442
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I ordered a book recently where the sender used DC.  Four days after it was marked mailed, it wasn't even on the "DC" map.  The book arrived a week after she marked it mailed, and the map still had NO routing information!!  So you can't count on that map to tell you anything.

Date Posted: 1/15/2009 10:25 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2006
Posts: 2,730
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Just recently I ran into a member who purposely sat on a book.  I ordered it and they accepted and nothing happened.  Two days later, I noticed that they had sent me an email saying that  if I ordered one more, I'd get another for free.  I checked their list but didn't see anything of interest, but I didn't email them back.  Another day goes by and I received a another email with the same message.  I figured they were going to hold the book until I responded so I had to email back that I didn't want another book.  It went out that day.