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Topic: lost in the mail?

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Subject: lost in the mail?
Date Posted: 12/11/2011 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2011
Posts: 26
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i sent a book a long time ago and was told not to contact til 12-11-11. that date has passed and the book has not been received  by the requestor. what do i do now? i did not get DC on the book or any kind of tracking? new here and not sure how to proceed. thanks for your help!!

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 12/11/2011 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,155
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The Help Center has lots of good information for almost anything that can happen here. Here's the relevant doc for this situation:

A book I sent is lost in the mail!

If your book does not arrive by the 26th day (the 35th day if the sender or requestor is outside the contiguous US) after you marked it mailed, it will be declared lost in the mail at PBS.  This does not mean that the book is actually lost; it may simply be delayed en route.  Also, the requestor may be away from home and unaware if the book has arrived.  If so, he or she can mark it received from his or her Transaction Archive when he or she returns home, and credit will be granted when she or he does that.

A book sent to an active member at PBS will not earn credit until the requestor marks it received, unless PBS Delivery Confirmation is used to send the book.  

If a book you sent is declared Lost in the Mail at PBS:

  • First, contact the requestor (using the PM button on the "lost" transaction in your Transaction Archive) to confirm that the book was not received.

    • Sometimes the requestor just forgot to mark it received
    • Sometimes the requestor was away from home when the book arrived
    • If you don't hear back from the requestor within a week of sending a PM asking about the book, you should contact us to look into the situation.
    • You can contact the requestor using the PM button on the "lost" transaction in your transaction archive.
  • If the requestor confirms that the book was not received:

    • As the sender, you should call 800-ASK-USPS or go to http://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/forms/MLNtRcvd.aspx (the Postal Inspection Service's website) and input the information online there . This will help USPS try to recover your book if it truly has been lost in the mail. If the link above does not work, here are directions to find the proper page: go to the website www.postalinspectors.uspis.gov or https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/ and then select "Investigations > Mail Theft > File a Mail Theft Complaint" from the menus.
      • This form at USPS is titled "Mail Theft"
      • This does  not mean only theft of mail.  USPS categorizes any mail that does not arrive or that is tampered with as "mail theft".
      • The choice that should be made under "Class" if Media Mail was used is "Parcel Post"
    • You can get the information about the transaction from the Transaction Archive:
      • Click "Transaction Archive" in the menu under My Account in the toolbar at the top of the site
      • Click the Request Details link on the right of the "lost in mail" transaction
      • If you need more information (such as requestor address) you can ask the requestor in a Personal Message for that information.
        • We are unable to provide member address information outside of the duration of an active transaction, due to the PBS Privacy Policy.
        • You can use the button on the transaction to contact the requestor.
    • If USPS does return your book to you, and it is undamaged:
      • You should ask the requestor (using the button on the Lost transaction in your Transaction Archive) if she still wants it. 
      • If she does, you can re-send it.  If she does not, you can repost it.
      • If she does not respond to your PM, you should repost the book.

If you sent the book with Delivery Confirmation and it has been recorded as delivered by USPS but hasn't been marked received yet:

  • Remember that the book could have been scanned as "delivered" at the local PO, before it went to the requestor's mailbox--the actual delivery can be a few days later  Also, the book could have been misdelivered.
  • You should FIRST contact the requestor using the button on the transaction on the Books I've Mailed tab in My Account when a few days have passed after delivery.
  • If the requestor does not respond to your PM within a week, and has not marked the book received by a week after the delivery scan, contact us.  We will look into it.
  • If you used DC purchased through PBS, or PBS Printed Postage, you will already have gotten your credit for sending the book.

If you sent the book with DC purchased elsewhere and it has been recorded as delivered by USPS but hasn't been marked received yet:

  • First, contact the requestor from the active transaction (in the Books I've Mailed tab in My Account), or from the "lost" transaction in your Transaction Archive if the book has been declared Lost in the Mail by PBS.
  • If the requestor does not respond to your PM within a few days, contact us and we will look into it.
  • We cannot grant credit for DC purchased outside PBS, but we can check if this requestor has become inactive.
  • If this requestor is inactive, your book should be marked received by the system.

If you sent the book with PBS-DC and it was never scanned (this does happen, rarely), contact us.

  • PBS could not give QuickCredit if our system was never notified of a barcode scan. 
  • If your sending record is good, you will get your credit for sending the book.  This is the CreditAssurance part of PBS-DC.

If you have a high proportion of outgoing loss (books you marked mailed that were never received) on your account, this bears looking into:

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

  • If you are mailing late, you can easily correct this. 
  • If your wrapping is inadequate, the books could be getting lost en route, and you should read the Help items about wrapping books in All Help documents about bookwrapping - in short, the book(s) need to be entirely enclosed, use shipping tape (NOT Scotch, or duct tape, or masking tape), tape the corners and seams, and don't have any loose flaps on your package.
  • If you are hand-copying the addresses onto your packages, be sure that you copy accurately.
  • Note that in damp weather, printer ink can run and make printed addresses illegible. It is a good idea to put a single layer of clear shipping tape over the addresses on the label, to make sure the ink does not run en route.
  • Check Current Postal Rates to be sure you are using enough postage for the weight of your package.
  • If there is some other issue affecting your sending, this needs to be identified and addressed.

If a high loss rate persists on any account after we have discussed this with a member, this will jeopardize membership.  Books need to get where they are going on PBS, and the USPS rate of package loss is really low--a high outgoing (or incoming) loss rate can almost never be blamed solely on USPS.  If a sender wraps well, uses the correct address and amount of postage and mails promptly, more than 99% of her packages will arrive at their destinations.

If you are just mailing the book now, and it has already been declared Lost, you need to read Can I send a book later? and follow the instructions in there.

Date Posted: 12/11/2011 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Welcome to PBS Janelle, so sorry you've lost a book already.  As already posted above, the PBS Help Documents cover just about every situation you can imagine needing.  Feel free to ask, but most of what you will need is already listed if you know where to look for it.