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Topic: Lost books (Spin-off of "Is this site really worth it?)

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Subject: Lost books (Spin-off of "Is this site really worth it?)
Date Posted: 4/23/2008 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 5,297
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I was reading through peoples responses and noticed the amount of people who said lost books are very rare. I am finding to be rather common. Before I moved, I had two books that were being sent to me come up lost (I moved but didn't forward my mail until a week after PBS declared them lost because I knew they were coming. I still have access to that house and this was two months ago. Still no books.) During that time, a book I sent out also became lost. Since I moved, three books have been declared lost. That is three books in two months. Is this just bad luck on my end or could my post office really be that bad? I only moved about 10 miles away and I use the same PO to ship out but the PO in charge of my mail did change because the zip code is different. Where are all these books with my name on them, haha???

Date Posted: 4/24/2008 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I think I answered this on another board.  I've sent out over 200 books and received around 100.  Out of all those I've only had 1 book go lost on it's way to me. It only went lost because she forgot to mail it out. She marked it mailed and then forgot it in her car.  Even with mailing it late, it was only "lost" for a few days.  I've had more bad luck w/books being wrapped well but getting damaged by the post office. 

Where are these books coming from?  If they're coming from Hawaii, Alaska or an FPO/APO address-that could be why. 

Subject: forwarding
Date Posted: 4/24/2008 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I've exchanged about the same number of books as previous poster.  Maybe one of my sent was lost, and one or two on their way to me (and a couple that were never sent).    I find this site very worthwhile.  Although, I have been shipping my books out with delivery confirmation.  Now I will know if lost books are postal error, or receiver error.

You might check what types of mail are forwarded, I'm pretty sure that third class is not forwarded.  Have no idea if Media Mail is forwarded.  That might be part of your issue?

Date Posted: 4/24/2008 5:20 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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Media mail is forwardable but will arrive at the new address postage due.


Subject: Lost Books
Date Posted: 4/25/2008 10:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2005
Posts: 504
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In the 2 1/2 years I've been on this site, I mailed 3584 books and received 1134.  Out of the total (4718), 20 books have been marked lost in the mail (0.4%) and 5 (0.1%) were damaged by the post office. These are impressive statistics.

I've had a much larger problem in getting people to mark books received, which is why I started using delivery confirmation.

Of the lost books, two were delivered to the wrong address. I know because the delivery confirmation records showed them scanned in at the wrong town and zip code. Another book was returned to me eventually in almost unrecognizable shape: it had been on a train that derailed and was soaked in water and mud then thoughtfully wrapped in plastic by someone so it couldn't dry out and mailed back to me.

Date Posted: 4/25/2008 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 387
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I joined in August 2006. Since then I have sent out 1,092 books and received 720. In my experience, lost books are very rare.

Seven books I sent have gone lost (three of them just recently went "lost" on their way to an APO address, so I do expect them to arrive eventually). I know that all seven were actually sent.

Five books sent to me have gone lost in the mail. Obviously, there is no way for me to know how many of these were truly sent in the first place.

ETA: The three books that went lost on their way to the APO address showed up, as expected. So only four books I have sent out have gone lost and stayed lost.

Last Edited on: 5/12/08 2:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/25/2008 7:23 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,649
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Today is my 1 year swap-a-versary.  I've mailed out 80 books and received 71.  Just had my first book sent to me declared lost last week.  I've never had one I've sent go lost.

Date Posted: 4/26/2008 3:51 AM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2008
Posts: 1
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I just joined PBS in February, and have had one book I sent reported as lost (and I wrapped them all very carefully, with packing tape around all the edges of the PBS wrapper), and have had THREE of the perhaps 15 or so books I've ordered reported as lost. I have enjoyed PBS up to this point, but I am disappointed with the success rate of getting books I order - all from different sellers. I came to this forum to see if not receiving books was common, and it seems it's not... I guess I'm just venting, but I'm less inclined to use PBS at this point.

Date Posted: 4/26/2008 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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I've received a little over 300 books in two years.  I've had perhaps four go lost.  One was a victim of a postal machine (the sender got a mangled envelope back).  A couple I suspect were never sent because I never heard from the senders about them.  One is about to go lost and the sender and I have been in communication about it.

I have sent about 270 books and none have gone lost (although one took until the very last day -- first class mail -- to get to its destination).

I'm sorry that several people have had much higher % of lost books.  Hopefully your luck will change soon.

Date Posted: 4/28/2008 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2008
Posts: 797
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I have had 48 regular transactions and 15 BOB transactions.  My TA shows three lost in the mail.  One was never mailed by the sender and the other two were sent by me to the same person.  It was frustrating because it was actually 6 books (a 3/1 deal from the bazaar) but it happens! I've never had a problem with BOB getting lost. 

Date Posted: 5/11/2008 5:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2007
Posts: 261
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I have sent out 82 books and received 66. Out of those I sent out - 2 were marked lost. For the ones, I received, 1 was marked lost but later arrived because someone forgot to send it.

Over all, it is a very good statistic.

Date Posted: 5/14/2008 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
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I've not had a single book in a regular trade get "lost" but with BOBs, at least I have not received 6 trades.  Given that the 6 did not respond to my PMs, I'm inclined to believe they never shipped them, rather than the PO losing them.  Actually 1 of the 6 didn't even mark her books to me mailed so I'm sure she never shipped them.  Overall, I think my stats are fantastic. 

Date Posted: 5/15/2008 6:09 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 253
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I think it's just plain rediculous that mail can get lost.  We are paying for a service and can't even get a refund when we don't recieve the service.  I paid for priority mail and delivery confirmation for a package that "got lost"  and got an "oh well sometimes that happens and no you can't get your money back"   I'm sure there will be a ton of people replying saying something about the machines eating it or that's just the way it goes sometimes.  Would you say that if a server dropped your food on the floor and handed it to you anyway saying ..well most of the plates arrive ok and it's just a little dirty........  and no you don't get a refund... 

So what if the post office handles a bazillion pieces of mail.  You would think the volume would have dropped by now that we have email.  Shouldn't they realize the volume and adjust accordingly?  

Subject: Lost books
Date Posted: 5/18/2008 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,443
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I had to go back in the srchives, to check, but I have had three books go lost and one of those eventually got to me. I've been here over 2 years............

Date Posted: 5/18/2008 6:06 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 253
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man i didn't mean to sound so grouchy.  yikes....i think i need some chocolate.

Date Posted: 5/22/2008 1:34 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 253
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Mailed a book today + delivery confirmation...... wish me luck...

Date Posted: 5/22/2008 5:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2008
Posts: 1,673
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I have been here less than 4 mos. and I have had 2 sent  to me that are lost, and another one that should have been here by now (it probably will be lost).  I do use the postage paid feature and it sounds like that is a good idea.  To me, this site is worth it!

Subject: I'm a Postal Supervisor at a P & DC
Date Posted: 6/6/2008 9:12 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 562
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Letters and packages have a couple of different scenarios for damage and loss.

Let's start with letters:

Rain (getting wet) as well as people shipping liquids that spill. Address smears and is unreadible, no return address. Damp mail doesn't work well on our automation machines.

Letters with keys, buttons, medalions, ink pens, coins, rosary, small metal name tags, etc. These hard objects will jam and rip up the envelopes. Recently I had a letter with 67 music show tickets in it that ripped open on a Automation machine (due to thickness) and it took 4 people 20 minutes to find all of the tickets.

I have two people assigned to "patch" torn and damaged letters back together as their only job every day as well as one person who gets to "repackage" torn and open packages.

Boxes & Packages:

Most of the loss and damage is due to improper or insufficient packaging and taping. Please don't use masking tape or scotch tape, One piece of packing tape will not keep a box of books sealed. There is nothing worse than opening up a container of mail and finding two or three broken boxes with items scattered everywhere. If we can't figure out where things go then it gets sent to Atlanta to the mail recovery center.

A lot of our small packages and boxes are sorted on equipment that uses belts and conveyors that drop (2-4 feet)these items into containers such as bags or pallet sized carboard boxes. A poorly taped box can easily open.

If it's fragile please package it to protect. If it's dangerous (and legal to ship) package it properly. I had a clerk toss a priority box into a container and it contained a 12 inch hunting knife (without any additional protection for the blade) that pierced the box and stuck into the container.

Postal drop boxes (Blue Box) get hit by vehicles occasionally.

On very rare occasions we do have the worst case scenario of a Postal vehicle being involved in an accident, or a semi full of mail dumping it all over the highway.

The top four things I would recommend for people to do:

1) Never send cash through the mail, use a postal money order. (Yes, people mail $100 bills to pay their JC Penny bill)

2) Always put a return address label on your envelope or package.

3) Use enough packing material and tape to properly seal and protect your items.

4) Keep your bank envelope full of cash on payday away from any mail you need to drop in a blue box. About once a week I get a phone call (or we find a bank envelope full of cash in our collection mail) from a customer desperately wanting help getting their cash back,

 Kevin Scott

Last Edited on: 6/6/08 1:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/9/2008 12:15 AM ET
Member Since: 11/22/2006
Posts: 1,068
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Thanks for the tips Kevin.  I am a little paranoid about my packages so I use a lot of shipping tape.  I'm sure some of the people who receive my boxes/books are a little irritated about having to use scissors to open them but oh well!!  I also put clear shipping tape over the address so that if the package does get wet then the address won't smear and the post office knows where to deliver. Usually the only part of a box that isn't taped is the DC# and where the stamps go:)  I also wrap the book inside with plastic wrap or wax paper in case the outer wrapping gets wet.  When you live in Northern Indiana, you have to look out for snow and rain often.

As far as books going missing, my guess is that a lot of them weren't wrapped properly.  I've gotten books wrapped in a single layer of paper, with the addresses handwritten and by the time the books got to me, they were practically falling out of the wrapping!  Unfortunately, this has happened more than once but luckily most get here.   I still think PBS is definitely worth it!  I've gotten tons of brand new/ like new books for the cost of postage - you can't beat that.

Date Posted: 6/9/2008 3:14 AM ET
Member Since: 6/9/2008
Posts: 1
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If you are mailing books to FPO or APO addresses it is goping to take about twice as long to get there. They go through about 4 different PO before they get to where they are going.

Date Posted: 6/9/2008 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2005
Posts: 12,167
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Hmm.  I've mailed about 500 books, received about 400.  I've never had a book I mailed go lost.  I've had two on the way to me go "lost".  Of those two, one was (admittedly) never mailed.  I strongly suspect the other was never mailed as the sender's account disappeared immediately afterward. 

I think that's a pretty impressive performance record for the PO.

Date Posted: 7/21/2008 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Last Edited on: 5/19/10 9:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1