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Topic: How many times do you have a problem with a book?

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Subject: How many times do you have a problem with a book?
Date Posted: 9/25/2014 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 7
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I've been a member since 2009, sent 47 books, received 45. Most of my swaps have been fine, but this year I have received 2 completely unpostable books. I tried to work with the sender of the first one, but she blew me off, used all her credits and then quit the club, so I basically threw that credit away. The second one sent me a book with a broken binding and obviously loose pages (been loose for so long the edges of the pages are completely worn and bent from where they extend past the bound pages), and she refuses to give me my credit back because I took too long in her opinion to mark it as received so she claims she finds it suspicious and insinuates I'm lying. I trade books so I can read them and retrade them, and neither of these books can be posted again because they don't meet the golden rule. PBS librarian won't get involved because she says the book was in good condition when she sent it, so it's her word against mine.

I'm wondering if I'm just lucky or if more people who don't know or care to read the rules are joining. I have a sour taste in my mouth now, have removed all books from my bookshelf, and am trying to decide what to do. Is anyone out there seeing more blatant disregard for the rules? Do I have to quit the club?

Date Posted: 9/25/2014 4:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/22/2011
Posts: 330
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I'm sorry this is happening to you.  I am pretty new here and haven't received too many books yet so I can't comment on that aspect.  I wouldn't quit though.  There are always a few bad seeds in the bunch that try to ruin it for everyone else.  

Date Posted: 9/25/2014 5:15 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
Posts: 1,022
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I've gotten quite a few unpostable books that I never notice until it's too late. When I receive a book, I just flip through it and mark in good condition but I've had quite a few when I actually sit down to read them have fallen apart completely or are in such a fragile condition, there's no way in good faith I could offer it to someone else as postable. 

That being said, the majority of books received are in excellent shape so I hope people won't be discouraged. If more and more sincere users give up on the site, there will be no site left. I wouldn't read nearly as much if not for the ease of acquiring books using PBS. 

Date Posted: 9/25/2014 5:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2014
Posts: 8,161
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I do the same as Doug but most of the books I get are in great shape...even sold real old ones that were published in the 60's. If it's only been 2 than I wouldn't get discouraged.

Date Posted: 9/25/2014 6:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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Based on what I see on the discussion boards, it seems that bad books tend to come in waves.  It sounds like you are just in the  middle of one now, I'd just ride it out, continue to mark RWAP when appropriate, and assume the tide will turn.

However, I totally understand it is frustrating now.

Date Posted: 9/25/2014 6:49 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2010
Posts: 4,314
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I get a few here & there that aren't postable, but then at times I get some that are like new or in very good condition.  I am not sure the exact number that have been "problem" books though.

Subject: Problem with a book
Date Posted: 9/25/2014 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,420
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I have been a member since 2007 and can count on one hand the books i have gotten with an issue of any kind. I flip though books when i get them and call it good and so far, I haven't been disapointed when i went to read the book...knock on wood!

Date Posted: 9/26/2014 12:58 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 7
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Thanks everyone. I'm still really upset because I would never do it to someone else, but I guess that's just the way some people are.

Date Posted: 9/26/2014 2:36 AM ET
Member Since: 7/26/2014
Posts: 63
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You just have to decide if its worth it to you. Those people may have gotten a lot of problem books and had people do the exact same thing to them and so did the same thing. Im new I havent had any problems yet. I am keeping track of my own savings (due to pbs is caculating at a higher rate then I am getting) and if I start getting a lot of problem books and lots of lost books no it wont be worth it to me.  Im new and havent had problems and have received about 25 books so far. You can subtract your postage out of your savings and keep track and decide. There are many places to get used books.

Date Posted: 9/26/2014 9:25 AM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2014
Posts: 8,161
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"I'm still really upset because I would never do it to someone else, but I guess that's just how some people are."

I don't think people are doing this intentionally to bother you or "get" someone so they lose a credit or anything like that. I think some people feel (and I've heard this) well, I got this in the swap this way so I can send it on. I think they don't realize that sometimes, you just need to take them out of the swap.

I do think some will see a broken binding as readable even though most of us wouldn't. In your case you have 2 out of 45 that came in bad shape and I don't think that's too bad. 

I just think folks don't do this intentionally and just think it's ok. I think in any exchange you have to be willing to let some stuff go esp. when most of your transactions go well. I don't say that lightly, I have been in your position as well. Right now, I can't be sure if someone even mailed a book to me, it's going to be marked lost, she hasn't answered my PM and I think if she responds to PBS with, well I mailed it, I lose the credit. If that happens, I'll go back on the wishlist, 1 less credit without the book but I know that happens so rarely, I'll shrug it off and hope someone posts another copy soon. And I am so thrilled with almost every book I've received, that a loss here and there doesn't shake my confidence in the folks on here. 

Date Posted: 9/26/2014 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Actually, Michele, if the book goes lost, the book goes back onto your WL AND you will get your credit back.

Date Posted: 9/26/2014 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 7
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I figure they either don't know to read the rules or don't care? The first time was a person who admitted the book did have the damage, but didn't return my credit and then quit the club. The second one won't completely admit the damage, will just say its a well worn copy, and refuses to give me my credit back because she thinks I took too long to mark received. This one has such a broken binding that I can't open the book without more pages falling out so I'm not sure how I'm going to read it. It will be incovenient to read at the least, certainly not worth keeping even if I did want to (was going to read and post again), and Goodwill won't take it. Best use will be starting my winter fires with the pages?

As you can tell, I'm still pretty upset.

zeke68 -
Date Posted: 9/26/2014 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2008
Posts: 2,810
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Every book comes to the end of its posting life eventually.  Unfortunately, in your case, Ananda, they should have been retired before they reached you.  But that's not an everyday occurrence here.  I wouldn't even say it's an every month occurrence.  I've been here since 2008 with nearly 400 books mailed and just over 360 books received and I've received 2 problem books in all that time.

Really, all you can do right now is leave the RWAPs unresolved, especially for the second one.  Too many of those on a member's account is a red flag to PBS.  And keep on trading with those who actually follow the rules of the site, unless you really think it's just too aggravating to chance receiving another bad book, because there is always that chance.  However, most people will happily refund your credit, as long as you're pleasant and polite when asking for it.

Hope you stay.

Date Posted: 9/27/2014 12:47 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 7
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I do wish you could block people, choose who you want to trade with, and leave and read reviews of swappers. That would help, right?

Date Posted: 9/27/2014 10:39 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
Posts: 1,022
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The  problem with blocking people and rating is some  members would only trade with A+ members and new members would have a hard time earning the reputation as a "good" trader. 

I wouldn't mind an ebay type rating system but I like the first in line design here at PBS. 

Date Posted: 9/27/2014 11:07 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 7
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Yes, that does make sense, but I do customer service and tech support for a home exchange program that at least tells you how many times they have exchanged and you can choose to be references as well as contact references. New members do get exchanges, but if there a rare bad exchange, they can leave a review to other members know. We do the same thing as far as not allowing them to renew if they have several complaints, but we also give the member wanting to exchange with them a chance to check references. Of course these are more unique swaps with a lot more at stake, so maybe it doesn't apply here.

Date Posted: 9/30/2014 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2010
Posts: 6
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I do wish you could block people, choose who you want to trade with, and leave and read reviews of swappers. That would help, right?

YES! -- As someone who is thinking of quitting the club after 4+ years because of a scammer who RWAPed me recently, I'd do anything to BLOCK this, ahem...not very nice person (remarkable restraint exercised here based on what I would have LIKED to say about the scammer).

Date Posted: 9/30/2014 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2014
Posts: 8,161
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But you're getting upset with 2 out of over 40 transactions! It's overkill...if most is fine than it works like it's supposed too. Not every single transaction made is going to go exactly perfectly. If the majority is working out..then yes, everything's fine.
Date Posted: 10/3/2014 9:01 AM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2007
Posts: 108
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I agree with most of the above posters about 2/45 not being that bad, but I also totally sympathize with your frustration!! As a book lover it HURTS me to receive a book that's damaged, and it's sometimes an emotional reaction.

As for choosing who you want to trade with... I've said this before, but I add people from good swaps to my friends list and use the gold key feature to search their bookshelves when I am looking to order new books. Doesn't work for every swap but I do think it helps my overall success rate.

Date Posted: 10/3/2014 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 7
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That is a fantastic idea Beverly! Thank you!

I know it must seem silly to many people to be upset about 2 books out of 47, but I think of it this way: If I went to the store and bought 47 chicken breasts and 2 were rotted, would I go back to the store to get a refund? If I worked 47 hours and only got paid for 45, would I be upset? While it only costs about $3 to mail most books, I also consider the time involved, the original price I paid for the book, etc. as well as the fact that there are rules to being in this club. If there were no rules, I wouldn't be upset because I could then still repost these books after I was done reading them without feeling guilty. I guess I have an issue with making rules without enforcing them - if the rules won't be enforced, then why have rules at all?

Date Posted: 10/3/2014 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Ananda, this may seem too obvious, but are you taking all the appropriate steps to work things out with the sender?  These steps would include:

  • politely but explicitly requesting your credit be refunded (and maybe providing brief instructions on how to refund it) -- some folks neglect to do this, so senders don't know what you want, and some senders don't know that refunding is an option
  • including, if possible, a photograph of the damage to be helpful for clarification -- post the photo to a photo sharing site (i.e. Photobucket, Flickr, etc), then provide the URL in your message to the sender
  • politely reminding them that if you have to mark the transaction as "sender has failed to resolve the problem", that it will put a double black mark on their account, and you'd hate to do that to them
  • marking the transaction as "sender has failed to resolve the problem" when you're truly unable to resolve things -- this automatically prompts PBS to send a message to the sender, asking them to work things out with you
  • reporting extreme problems to the PBS staff, i.e. a sender whose messages are abusive, or when a member admits to sending a damaged item, but refuses to refund the credit

I've received over 900 books over the years, with a handful of damaged/unpostable ones, and I've always been able to get a credit refund from the sender when it was appropriate.  Politeness and empathy (i.e. "I'm sure it was just an oversight; no hard feelings") go a long way when working with senders, in my experience.

 

 

 

Date Posted: 10/3/2014 2:19 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2009
Posts: 7
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Hi Elizabeth, yes, I did everything on that list except include a photo. The first member that sent me a problem book admitted to the issue, but wouldn't answer after that and quit the club so PBS couldn't do anything. The second member was very rude, wouldn't admit to the issue, tried to blame me, and made it clear there was nothing I could do or say to get her to return my credit. Since she wouldn't admit the damage, PBS couldn't/wouldn't intervene because it was my word against hers. Both transactions have been marked as an unresolved problem. If it truly makes a difference in the long run, great, but I am not yet convinced marking a swap unresolved does anything.

John B. (cwousn) - ,
Date Posted: 10/4/2014 5:57 PM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2010
Posts: 81
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I've received some books that were unpostable by club rules, but never let it bother me. If I can read it, I'm happy. Most books that I receive from PBS end up going to my nearby charity shop. I will repost wish listed books but if there are more than 10 copies of a book in the system, it doesn't go on my bookshelf. Conversely, I've posted books that meet club rules and have been told they were damaged (One person complained about writing on the title page - it was the author's autograph. I gave them their credit back) If aanyone has a complaint about a book I've posted, I give them back their credit. Probably 90% of the books I post come from sources other than PBS.  For every bad apple, there's an untold number of good people to counter them,. Life's too short to sweat the small stuff (It's all small stuff!).