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Topic: Lost book received...what do I do?

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Subject: Lost book received...what do I do?
Date Posted: 2/17/2009 6:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2008
Posts: 655
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Here's the story:  I requested a book on 1/14.  Label was printed on 1/16...marked mailed 1 minute later.  The book went "lost in the mail" on 2/11.  I looked up the DC information later and found out that on that same day, it showed up at  PO 277 miles from where it was mailed.  It arrived in the mail to me today (it arrived locally on 2/14--so it only took 3 days to get across the country). 

When the book arrived today, the mailer used PBS postage, so they obviously marked it as mailed immediately after printing the label to get the credit.  Because the postage was printed, the actual mailing date is not on the package.  I cannot be sure of when the book was honestly put in the mail.

My guess is that the mailer did not put it in the mail until 3 weeks after the date they said they mailed it.  That really bugs me because that is an abuse of the system. 

So, my question is...how do I mark the book as mailed late?  Do I mark it as mailed late?  I can't guarantee it was mailed late, but it is obvious it was not mailed when it was marked mailed (I know I can't print out the label and have it in the mail in a minute).  The mailer really should know it is not acceptable to mail it so late. I understand that there is a possiblity that something happened and they missed putting it in the mail, but a PM would be nice just to know what is going on.

Any advice?

Date Posted: 2/17/2009 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,534
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Hi Laura,

This is from the PBS Help Center: 

When a lost book arrives, you must mark it received.

To do so:

  • Go to your Transaction Archive:

    • From My Account: click the link "Transaction Archive" in the yellow bar at the top of the page
    • From anywhere on the site: place your cursor over My Account in the toolbar at the top of any page on the site and choose Transaction Archive from the menu that drops down
  • Sort the Transaction Archive by "Requested by me" - "Lost in mail" - "Title" - "Descending"
  • Locate the Lost transaction for this book in the list.
    • If there is more than one Lost transaction for this title, check the sender's name on the right of the transaction against the name of the sender in the return address on the package you received.
    • Click on the transaction.
    • The next pages are the regular Book Received pages:
      Click on the next page
      Provide more information about the swap on the next page
      • you will also have the option to send a message to the sender of the book
      • you will also have the option to provide comments on the swap that only we will see
  • Both your account and the sender's will be updated when you have done this.

The book will have been placed on your Wish List when it was declared Lost, so you should remove it from there if you do not wish to be offered another copy when it becomes available.


Lost books must be marked received when/if they arrive, to keep your account in good standing.

 

Hope this helps.

The sender could have printed the postage, walked out to his/her mailbox, and put the package in the box.   That only takes me a minute.



Last Edited on: 2/17/09 7:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/17/2009 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Laura--

Since you have no way of knowing for sure when the book was mailed (sometimes Media Mail sits at the post office for a while waiting for available space on a mail truck), you cannot assume it was mailed late.  If it had a late postmark, that would be a different issue, but simply going by the DC info is not enough -- I use printed postage and DC all the time myself, and I know I've seen books I've sent sit at the post office for a week or more sometimes with no change in DC status.  Media Mail is the lowest priority for the postal service.

So, per the Help Center:

"Lost books must be marked received when/if they arrive, to keep your account in good standing."

You can note in the comments section of the mini-survey your suspicions about the mailing.

Also note that:

"The book will have been placed on your Wish List when it was declared Lost, so you should remove it from there if you do not wish to be offered another copy when it becomes available."

Cheers,

Catt

 

Date Posted: 2/17/2009 7:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
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Leaving the date blank is about all you can do IMO, there is no way to mark it mailed late since you don't have anything saying it was. The sender could have mailed it on time and its been in the PO all this time lost under a counter some where (or a husband ran fo the PO when he got asked if he really mailed that book when he was supposed to).

I am sure the sender knows if they mailed it late and that they shouldn't.  I can't believe that the PO accepted a book with such stale postage. If they are doing that often, they will likely get a bunch returned to them.

Date Posted: 2/17/2009 7:19 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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If it was mailed DC, you should have some information.  The initial DC entry says something like "Acceptance" and a city, that is the person sending the book.  It's a PBS notation, not USPS.

The second DC entry should be the receiving Post Office entry also noted with location.  This is the entry that tells you when book was actually mailed because they download to PBS about midnight every day.  After this entry, there may or may not be enroute entries before the "delivery" entry.

As annoying as late mailing can be, unless DC says otherwise the sender could have mailed promptly and the PO was slow.  If DC says they mailed late, you might want to use that date when you log the book in.

I'm currently waiting on a book also.  The sender waited until a mere 2 hours before the request would time-out to mark mailed.  It's marked DC, but for the past 3 business days (5 with the holiday) it's not showing on DC tracking, so I'm thinking they fibbed about mailing.  No way to tell until it's received or logged in...I have received 2 books where the DC was never entered into the USPS system.

PS more and more PBS members are relying on that 2 day window, the one that applies under a few specific conditions.  Then forget to mail, or RL messes up the plans.  Really wish they would just be honest and mark them mailed afterwards.



Last Edited on: 2/17/09 7:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/17/2009 7:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
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DC can only confirm mailing, it can't confirm non-mailing.

Date Posted: 2/17/2009 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Sheesh...  Folks, please try to remember that DC stands for Delivery Confirmation.  It is not, and never has been, a tracking system.  The PO has no obligation to scan that barcode except when it is delivered.  I use it all the time, and quite often the status never changes from "Electronic Shipping Info Received" until it actually gets to the delivery location.

As far as the "impossibility" of someone being able to get the book physically mailed in less than a minute, I do it all the time.  When I lived in Maryland I had two collection boxes (blue boxes) flanking my front door.  I could easily slap the label on a bubble mailer, slip the book in and seal it as I walked 25 feet to the front door then drop it in the box.  In my current location it takes me a little bit longer, about two minutes, because I have a bad knee and the mailbox is at the end of a very steep slope.

Date Posted: 2/17/2009 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Printed postage is only good for 48hrs after the postage date. So most likely it was mailed on time.  Books do go lost.  It happens.  I've had 2 books where the sender used DC going lost enroute to me.  One was scanned at the sending post office and never scanned again.  The other was scanned at my PO but never delivered and they couldn't find it when I went to the PO to check. 

Sometimes books get sent on little vacations. I sent a book from MD to CT and it spent a week in Illinois and too almost a month to travel what is about a 10hr drive. 

Also please keep in mind that some books never get scanned.



Last Edited on: 2/17/09 7:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/17/2009 8:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,707
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My post office can't scan DC numbers on outgoing mail (it isn't an official USPS location). If my packages go from the campus mailroom to the local post office, which I'm sure some of them do, they MIGHT get scanned there. Most often, the first scan my packages get is in Warrendale, PA, a USPS distribution center about 400 miles from where I live.

Also, printed postage is still VALID past the 48 hour mark - but you have to physically take the package to the post office and have them put a special zero postage strip on the package to update the mailing date. Doesn't cost anything - just keeps your home office from getting in trouble over holding mail for too long (which is kind of silly with media rate mail anyway since they are ALLOWED to hold it for up to TEN DAYS in any one particular location).

Date Posted: 2/17/2009 8:57 PM ET
Member Since: 11/26/2006
Posts: 221
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"The sender could have printed the postage, walked out to his/her mailbox, and put the package in the box.   That only takes me a minute."

Ditto! Thats the way I always do it....I have rural delivery and the mailbox is at the end of my driveway.

Date Posted: 2/17/2009 9:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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When I lived on an island and put books with printed postage in the blue box-they weren't usually scanned until they made to the mainland the next day.

Date Posted: 2/17/2009 9:57 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2008
Posts: 655
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From what I can gather from the responses, I just have to trust that this person really did put it in the mail when they claimed they mail it and that is that.

People seem to have latched on to the one minute mailing...I still disagree that you can print postage, wrap the book in it (it was wrapped only in PBS packing and tape), and walk it to any mailbox, and mark it mailed (in that order because I don't mark books mailed until they really have been put in the mail, not just when I intend to put them in the mail) in 60 seconds or less. But hey, maybe I'm just slow.  Who really cares, anyway...I only said that because it appeared that the person wanted the credit for the book more than they cared about sending the book.

I marked the book as mailed and noted my suspicions in the comments section (thank you Catt).  I would like to think this person really did mail it on time, but unfortunately, I don't have a lot of faith in people's honesty--yea, I'm jaded--been burned one too many times trusting people.  I just hope the sender isn't habitually doing this.

edited because I didn't like the way I wrote it at first.



Last Edited on: 2/17/09 9:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/17/2009 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Laura: please keep in mind that not everyone has computer access everyday. Some people have to mark it mailed immediately because they only have access to a computer at the library or at work.  So they mark it mailed right away incase they can't get on the computer for a few days.

I have computer access everyday and I have marked books mailed right after printing the wrapper.  I usually don't print the wrapper until I'm ready to mail the book out. Most of the time while the wrapper is printing I am getting the book into a recycled bubble mailer.  I just tape the label right on top. If I'm sticking the book right into my mail box then I'll mark it mailed right away-especially if I"m close to the deadline.

Subject: Slow mailing and DC
Date Posted: 2/18/2009 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2005
Posts: 608
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I mark my books mailed when I print the mailer because I use a public computer. I use PBS DC and have the books scanned at the PO. (All this information is in my Profile.) The recipient can start tracking the book as soon as the information gets to PBS--I get a message the day after mailing. I only get the credit when the information comes through. I have lots of credits so I am not in a hurry to get more. I have had two books that I know of spend three weeks at my Bulk Mailing Center (Springfield, MA, not Boston or Brookline) and possibly the same thing happened to other books but it didn't come to my attention. Maybe this post helps clarify some of these situations. Best regards, Elaine

Date Posted: 2/18/2009 3:28 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2009
Posts: 227
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Last Edited on: 2/7/10 10:05 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/18/2009 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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People mark books mailed at different times, which is perfectly fine, within reason. Some mark it mailed right before taking it to the PO/mailbox, some mark it immediately after getting back, and some people have to mark it mailed a day or two early because they don't have constant internet access. All of these are fine, in my opinion. You shouldn't be upset if someone has a different procedure they follow than you do. Just because you don't mark a book mailed until you've physically put it in the mailbox, doesn't mean that's how everyone has to do it.

Date Posted: 2/18/2009 11:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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Bernhard, I've mailed and received many DC books and with only two exceptions there are a minimum of three entries (1PBS, 1 USPS acceptance, & 1 USPS delivery).  The vast majority have one or more enroute entries also.  Therefore, I use them for tracking all the time.

Melanie, It's an either/or situation, not much gray area there.  If it isn't confirmed as mailed, we can reasonably assume it has not been mailed...especially after say 48 hours with no PO acceptance entry.

The button says "mailed" not "I will probably mail sometime in the future"

PBS guide says:

A book must be mailed within 48 hours of marking it mailed

  • It is okay to mark your book mailed before you have mailed it if:

    • The deadline date falls on a postal holiday
    • Your computer/Internet access is unreliable
    • You plan to mail the book on your way out of town
  • It is not okay to mark your book mailed and delay Mailing it for longer than 48 hours
    • We understand that sometimes circumstances interfere with prompt mailing!  But this should not be a habit.
    • If your mailing is delayed, you must inform the requestor as soon as possible, so that she doesn't think the book is lost in the mail if it was merely mailed late.

I currently have a requested book that was marked mailed at 11pm on Feb 12th (not likely).  It's also noted as DC, but still isn't logged into the USPS.  Since these are downloaded around midnight, I assume that 6 days later the sender still hasn't sent the book. 

I only see three conditions whereby it's allowed to mark your book mailed before you have mailed it.  AFTER MARKING A BOOK MAILED, THE LONGER YOU WAIT THE MORE LIKELY IT IS THAT REAL LIFE WILL INTERFERE.  PLEASE MAIL PROMPTLY.  I've received several books postmarked weeks after they were marked mailed. 



Last Edited on: 2/18/09 11:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 2/18/2009 11:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,714
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I currently have a requested book that was marked mailed at 11pm on Feb 12th (not likely). 

I've noticed a couple of things about times on PBS. One thing is that all times are Eastern, regardless of where you live. And, maybe the person did what most of the posters seem to want them to do, which is take it to the PO first(earlier in the day), and come back later to mark it mailed.

I don't think you can judge anything by the times. (the date should be good, but the time??? not likely).

Date Posted: 2/19/2009 7:24 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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"I currently have a requested book that was marked mailed at 11pm on Feb 12th (not likely)"

Why do you think that is unlikely Denise?  Because of the time?  I routinely mail things at odd hours because I'm a night-owl.  Sometimes they get put in my mailbox for pickup, sometimes I'll drop them in a blue collection box when I go out for coffee and a donut at 2 AM.  In many major cities (NY for one) there are main post offices that are open 24 hours.

Date Posted: 2/19/2009 8:03 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,599
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My husband works night shift and there's a blue box right next to his place of work. Sometimes when I'm checking PBS before heading to bed, if there's an order, I'll accept, print and wrap the book, hand it to him as he's walking out the door and mark it mailed, so it certainly is possible to mail a book at 11 pm. Once it's left my hands I consider it mailed, even if I drop it in a blue box on Sunday and I know it won't be picked up til the next day.

I have sent books with printable postage that took days to get a scan on them. Sometimes the books are marked received before there is any indication that the book was even sent. It does happen.

Bottom line--you received the book, and you have no proof it was mailed late, so it should be simply marked received. Of course you can add any comment you like in the comment section, that's up to you.

Cheryl

Date Posted: 2/19/2009 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Let me go a little further here...

Not every PO even has the equipment to scan a barcode.  My local PO is a contract station, and they do not have the scanners.  If you ask them they will tell you that it will be scanned when it gets to Richmond (60 miles away) but I've never found that to be the case.  A good example is a book I sent recently to Texas.  It took 8 days to get there, during which the DC never changed, then was marked received.  Possibly it was scanned when delivered but I have no way to check that once it gets marked received, so for all intents and purposes it may never have been scanned.

And, while you can get a rough idea of where a book has been by looking at the DC entries, they don't tell you where it is now.  The PO itself says, on their site, that DC is delivery confirmation only, and should not be used for tracking.  If you choose to disregard that and use it as a tracking tool anyway then that's up to you.

"I only see three conditions whereby it's allowed to mark your book mailed before you have mailed it."

No, those are examples, not conditions.  The only rule is right above that where it says that a book must be mailed within 48 hours of marking it mailed.  PBS even underlines it for emphisis.  They even go on to say, below that, in the section that says it's not okay to delay mailing beyond 48 hours, that they understand that circumstances may interfere with prompt mailing.  But they don't say it's totally prohibited, just not to make a habit of it.

It seems pretty clear to me, from what PBS themselves have placed in the Help section, that while you are expected to mail books within 48 hours of making them mailed, if something comes up and you have to mail beyond that 48 hour mark, so long as you notify the requestor and don't make a regular habit of it then no one at PBS is going to really get bent out of shape over it.

Of course, as always, these are only my own opinions and interpertations, yours may differ.

 ETF: typos



Last Edited on: 2/19/09 8:46 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/19/2009 8:56 AM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,311
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Wow.  I had no idea that peeps were paying this much attention to the time books are marked mailed.  I've been wrapping my books in the evening and DH has been mailing them for me the next day. I wait until I get home from work to actually mark them mailed, just to make sure that they made it to the PO. If something comes up and I can't get on the computer until later that evening, they'll be marked mailed well after our post office has closed. 

On the other hand, if I'm mailing them from home on a day off, our PO is less than a two minute walk from our backyard.  If a request comes through while I'm on PBS I can pop the book in a bubble envelope, slap on a mailing label and have it mailed within less than 10 minutes.

I'm just happy when books get to me in good shape anymore, LOL.

 

Date Posted: 2/19/2009 12:18 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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I didn't have any idea either Jo. It's not something I pay too much attention to, so it didn't occur to me that others would be. Since reading all of the threads about it on here I have become a bit paranoid about it. So much so that when I forgot to mark a book mailed the other day till almost the end of the 48 hour period (before you can no longer mark it mailed), I messaged the receiver to let them know that it HAD gone out on the correct day. I feel like I have done this in the past and not thought anything of it, but now I'm a bit more aware and worried that someone will think I'm slacking off. I can understand the problem people have with marking books mailed before they are mailed. However, I think I would rather have them be peeved at me for that than royally pissed off because I forgot to mark a book mailed and now they are getting two.
Date Posted: 2/19/2009 12:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
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No, those are examples, not conditions.  The only rule is right above that where it says that a book must be mailed within 48 hours of marking it mailed.  PBS even underlines it for emphisis. 

I don't read that section the way you do either. I read it as the other poster, PBS states you must mail it within 48 hours, and then say that you can mark it mailed prior to doing so if: and list the reasons. It doesn't say 'or any other reason you might want' or any other phasing that implies they are only examples, they just list the circumstances that you are allowed to mark them before mailing them. They do go on to say that stuff happens and if it does, what you are supposed to do, but I in no way see how that is saying that you can mark mailed before sending it without being for one of the reasons listed.

But, I also think that people are little to obsessive about watching a book to see if was mailed exactly when it was marked as mailed. THATS JUST NOT POSSIBLE! unless someone has net on their phone and logs on from the PO, people are either going to have to mark then as mailed later, or mark them before. To be following PBS rules, unless they fall within the list of reasons PBS gives, they should be marking it after the book has been placed in to USPS's posession. IN the grand scheme of life a book mailed later in the day from it being marked as such isn't a big deal. But people at least fess up to the fact that it isn't the correct procedure on the site.

Date Posted: 2/19/2009 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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I think we'll have to "agree to disagree" Melanie, at least until PBS changes or clarifies that section of the rules.  You read it one way, I read another, and I'm sure there are members who have other understandings of that section as well.

For my part, I'll continue to mail and mark books the way I've always done.  If someone wants to complain about it then that's their right to do and we'll let TPTB settle it then.

 

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