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Topic: A mini rant . . . and seeking advice, please

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Subject: A mini rant . . . and seeking advice, please
Date Posted: 10/28/2011 4:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/12/2008
Posts: 35
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"Upon first opening the book, it fell into 3 separate pieces. Just fell apart in my hands. As I attempted to further look through it, every single page I turned came out of the book."

 I’m really gonna try and not let one bad apple spoil my day.  I have done many, many successful transactions with PBS. And have always sent books in great shape and always gotten great replies and thank yous for the conditions that my books are in.   I just got the above message in regards to a trade I just did. And boy, was I surprised. The book I sent was in VERY acceptable condition when I sent it. I know this for an absolute fact.  A used book, yes, but still in very good and very acceptable condition by all PBS standards. I shipped it wrapped in plastic inside of a padded envelope.  I find it very hard to believe that the book “just fell apart” in her hands, and that “every single page turned” fell out of the book.  Truly. This is just shocking to me.  I don’t really know what to say. (I mean, I do, but whatever.)  From what I can tell, she has a long history of being with PBS.  If she was ‘new’ I would think that she was just trying to get a book for free.  But I don’t know anymore. I mean, its one person's word against another. She's got longer history, so Im sure she is the one who PBS would believe.

It just pisses me off to the nth degree that I KNOW FOR A FACT that the book was in good used condition when I sent it. I also KNOW FOR A FACT that the book was packaged well.  I read the book prior to shipping, like the week before and had NO PROBLEMS with the spine or even detected a POSSIBLE hint of the spine being weak.  Even if I had taken photos of the book prior to sending (and what a pain THAT is), I still have no way to prove anything cuz pictures don’t really prove anything.

 So. She wants her credit back.  I just want to double check: If she wants her credit back, I have every right to ask for my book to be returned, yes?  She needs to send me the book back and then I refund her TWO credits, yes? One for my returned book and one to make up the postage she used in sending it back, yes?    


 Advice please. 


Date Posted: 10/28/2011 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2011
Posts: 1,358
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It is true that when you ask her to mail back the books you are required by PBS rules to give two credits. Unfortunately not everyone is honest and I don't think asking for the book back would really do anything to help you. I would take it as a loss and move on. Be glad that it was only one book and try not to deal with that member again.

Date Posted: 10/28/2011 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,983
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You as the sender also have the right to refuse to refund her credit.  If you know it was postable when you sent it, make sure you include that fact in your messages to her.  Use the PM feature from the Transaction Archive so they are attached to the record.  She has the right to mark it unresolved if you don't refund the credit, but one RWAP is not going to flag your account. 

I would also ask her to double check the return address.  It's possible that if she had a previous request for the book that timed out because it wasn't marked mailed in time, but the sender sent it anyway.  The system would have cancelled the request and passed it on to you.  So your book may still be on it's way while the book she just got is from the first sender.   The cancelled transaction would show in her Transaction Archive. 

You may also want to ask her if she can provide pictures of the damage, either by emailing them to you or posting them to a free site like photobucket and sending you the link. 

Date Posted: 10/28/2011 4:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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She needs to send me the book back and then I refund her TWO credits, yes?

NO - if you want the book back you need to send her the credits BEFORE she returns it.

If you are that sure the book is ok, then don't refund the credit.   Like someone said, one unresolved isn't going to hurt your account.

Date Posted: 10/28/2011 4:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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This is just part of what you'll find in the help center if you browse and ask for, "someone has a problem with a book I sent" or something similar.


Basically, if you get an email saying that a book you sent was marked received with a problem, you should:

  • Read the information in the email to understand what the problem was (and consult the information below if necessary to decide if this was indeed a problem swap).
  • Reply to the requestor promptly, offering resolution if there was a problem OR politely disputing the problem.
    • You can reply from the link in the email, or directly from your Personal Message center - a copy of the "problem" message will have been sent to you as a Personal Message.
    • You can refund credit from the swap in your Transaction Archive (click Request Details on the swap in your Transaction Archive to see the Refund button - detailed instructions are in How do I refund credit(s) to another member?)
    • If you dispute the nature of the problem: you should be sure to write your PM response to the requestor by using the link in the email you received, or by clicking the PM button on the swap in your Transaction Archive.  This will record your response on the transaction and if your account is ever reviewed for problem swapping, this information will be there to explain what happened in this swap.
    • If you are not sure about whether you dispute the described problem, you can ask the requestor to take digital photos of the book - she or he can upload them to a free photo-hosting site and send you a link OR send you the digital images as email attachments if you give him or her your email address.
  • Remember that the requestor is not required to send a problem book back at his or her expense.   The sender of a problem book does risk losing credit, book and postage; this is the incentive not to send problem books.
    • If you want a problem book back you can provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the requestor by snail mail (or you can give the requestor an extra Book Credit to compensate for postage, if both of you agree on that).
    • Refund and postage compensation must be completed first - before the requestor returns the book (= it is not OK to wait to refund credit until getting a problem book back in the mail, or to expect the requestor to send the book back before getting postage compensation as described above).
Date Posted: 10/28/2011 4:50 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,953
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Well, ask for pictures. That's what I would do, in a case like this.

And, book spines can break in the mail. I have some older books that I have opened up to flip thru before I post them, only to have the spine crack in half in my hand. Also, I dropped a pile of books on the staircase once, and one of them was broken when I went to gather them up again. So, even gentle handling could break a book if the glue gets brittle. Rough handling, like the mail could get, could definitely damage a book. Imagine your book sitting in a mail bin, and a heavy box gets tossed in on top of it at a bad angle. Could very easily damage your book.

I've also had a brand new from the bookstore book fall apart in my hands once ... with pages falling out and everything.

So, it is not outside the realm of possibility that the damage happened in the mail. From the receiver's perspective, if the extent of the damage is true (and it very well could be) .... imagine how she feels with you insisting the book wasn't like that when you sent it (also, true, I guess). The packaging might not be ripped, but the book could still have been damaged in the mail.

So, I would go forward with the assumption that what she is telling you COULD be true, instead of assuming that she is trying to scam you. And, see where that takes you.

Last Edited on: 10/28/11 4:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/28/2011 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 6/13/2009
Posts: 503
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If it makes you feel any better ....I got a complaint about a beautiful hardcover I mailed recently. Apparently, the edges of the top the dust jacket are slightly curled ( from being on a bookshelf... I can only assume) and this is extremely unsatisfactory to the person! Had to laugh as this was a brand new book that had sat on my shelves for months that I did not read as I decided I didn't like the first two in the series. Perhaps I should have ironed the cover prior to shipping just to be safe??????
Date Posted: 10/28/2011 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,983
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I had something lke that Tammie.  Brand new hardcover, never read, hadn't even sat on my shelf that long.  She complained because the corners of the cover were slightly bent when it arrived. 

Date Posted: 10/28/2011 5:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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And, book spines can break in the mail.

Yeah, I've seen this more than once. Even well wrapped, they get some weight on them, and the glue will split if it's brittle. The ones with bad glue won't take much weight before they're broken.

I had one really, really nice tradeback that was pristine and looked like it hadn't been read, about five years old. I'm glad I checked because when I opened it to fan it and visually check the pages, the spine snapped! One loud 'pop' and the glue had split completely apart. Opened it at another page, further down, and 'pop!' it went again. By the time I got to the end, I had one book in about six pieces, with the pages sliding off.

And I have several Indy books, self published, that have fallen apart like that. One I've punched holes in it and put in a comb binding to keep.

So I can certainly see you get a book with really crappy/stiff glue, the glue gets hard, throw it in a bin where it'll sit any which way but flat, then add a lot of weight to it as it travels in a bin with a lot of other pages and that glue's gonna give.

They just don't make books for the second hand market. So some of them aren't going to survived very long if they're low quality. Especially if they're not sewn.

Date Posted: 10/28/2011 5:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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Spines are a very touchy thing when it comes to mailing books. I have had one do exactly as the person describes. Book looked fine when it was sitting on the desk. If someone had picked it up at a sale and not really opened it much it would have looked wonderfully swappable. As I read the book every single page came out of the book. It was like the glue was oily instead of actually glue.

I've had another that was older and had come from a smoker so I repeatedly checked it for smell. About the 3rd time I opened it the spine split and the book was in chunks. Had I sent it to the person after the 2nd time and they opened it on the 3rd, they'd have thought I'd mailed them a book in pieces.

The spine could have been damaged in tansit. The person could have opened it on the unlucky number 3. They have no way to know if you are honest or not and may truly believe you sent the book in the condition they are seeing it in. They have opened a book and it is unpostable so they have RWAPed it. If you are certain you sent a book that was postable (spine intact and not looking like it will fall apart on the next read) then you are not obligated to return the credit. You may end up with an unresolved RWAP on your record, but if you are a good swapper one will not make a difference.

If you are asking them to return the book, it is on your dime and payment (with a credit or postage paid envelope) should be done before the book is returned not after. If you are returning the credit, that should be done regardless of whether the book is returned or not.

Date Posted: 10/28/2011 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 6/13/2009
Posts: 503
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Lol....some people just amaze me !!! Imagine how she will feel when she gets a book that has gone thru the system a few times and traveled the states!?!?!?!! Needless to say......the person who was unhappy with me has only been here about a month .
Date Posted: 10/28/2011 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2011
Posts: 286
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Could it have been damaged by the PO? 

It happened recently to me:

I ordered a book in "new" condition from a third party seller on Amazon.  They had a 100% approval rating.  When the book came (a hard cover of over 500 pages) in a bubble mailer it looked great, until I noticed the binding was detached from book and it was ready to come apart.  The mailer was new but had a lot of dust pressed into it.  It seemed most likely to have been crushed by something during transit.  

Date Posted: 10/28/2011 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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I agree that if you are sure the book was in good condition when you sent it, you are not obligated to return the credit. If she is sure it is in fact the book you sent, and not from a previous cancelled transaction, it could have been damaged in transit and I would ask her to change the RWAP to "damaged by post office." Doing that would at least place her back at the front of the line if it was a WL book.

You have the right to keep the credit, she has the right to mark the transaction as "unresolved" if she insists. It's not going to hurt you to have one unresolved transaction here and there.

Date Posted: 10/28/2011 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Sometimes a book just ends up going on its last trip. The way some publishers bind, it's inevitable that a book will fall apart after being opened enough times. It's completely plausible that the book was intact when mailed, and fell apart upon inspection. Sadly, it's just a fact of Swap life. Having been on the receiving end of such a book, I'd considered marking it RWAP, but since the damage really didn't take place until after I'd gotten the book, I couldn't exactly blame the Sender. In the OP's instance, it seems like a simple (if frustrating) case of a postable book having been sent, and an unpostable book having been received. As others have said, one unresolved swap won't matter, they only keep track in case a pattern develops.

Date Posted: 10/28/2011 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I opened one the other day that kind of fell apart when I flipped through it. I decided not to RWP it. It's an old book and there's no signs of abuse.  I decided it probably was just barely postable when mailed and the trip putit over the line.  It's a 21 yr old out of print book.  Not that that excuses sending a bad book. But I decided this one could have truly been finally made unpostable enroute to me.

Date Posted: 10/28/2011 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I actually read a post where someone mentioned a book they recieved was in three pieces, I think it was in the CMT forum.

I would ask for photos.

But I'd also give the member the benefit of believing them.  USPS is very hard on books. With the weather recently it could have been in freezing then hot. Very hard to tell.

IS one credit going to break you? Or can you stand to loose one and jsut chalk it up to bad luck?? (

Date Posted: 10/28/2011 6:09 PM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 4,982
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If you honestly feel that your book was not in the condition described by the receiver when you sent it, don't return her credit. Make sure your disputes are in your messages to her. She will then mark the transaction as unresolved. As mentioned by others, one unresolved RWAP or two won't hurt you. I disputed a RWAP last year and didn't return her credit and I'm still here.


Date Posted: 10/29/2011 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 9/12/2008
Posts: 35
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Thank you all for the advice. I have sent the person a PM requesting to verify the address and to send me photos, and explaining that I am very hesitant to return a credit for a book that I know was in good condition and was wrapped well . . . and that I know it for a fact!  I mean, I just read the book and it was fine with no hint of a damaged spine!   Fingers crossed this can be resolved amicalbly without any drama.

I would hate to have an unresolved thing on my account . . . but the book WAS in good condition! It WAS!  REALLLY!  I wrapped it GOOD! I DID! ;-)

Thank you all,



Date Posted: 10/29/2011 9:50 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,664
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I had a feeling I'd find you here, Laura.

I've been a member here for a very very long time, and except for this year when I had 3 RWAP's, have almost never marked a book as  such.  Yes, as I said in the PM I just sent you, your letter was very polite and I said I'd send you photos if you sent your email. 

Just so it is clear, I opened the book and it was in pieces that fell right out.  No damage to the package, and it was well wrapped.

Keep your darn credit...it isn't worth this public  fuss.

xenab, that wasn't me who posted in CMT.

Date Posted: 10/29/2011 11:52 AM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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I agree with others--the damage certainly could have happened in the mail--even if the package is in good shape.  I recently received two hardback books in an order.   No damage to the package.  One of the books was in great shape.  The other looked like it was in great shape until I opened it.  The spine was completely broken so you could see the netting in both the front and the back of the book.  I was surprised and marked the book RWAP, but didn't ask for my credit back since I felt the book was still readable.   I sent pictures of the damage to the sender, who was a long time member.  She responded with surprise stating that she would never send out a book like that.  I totally believe her and assume the damage must have happened in transit.  I marked the transaction resolved and that was the end of it.

Date Posted: 10/29/2011 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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Keep your darn credit...it isn't worth this public  fuss.

Your identity was not known until you posted here, so this isn't really a "public fuss." 

The purpose of this forum is for people to ask questions just like this. It gives them a chane to get some advice on how to respond to a situation they are not familiar or comfortable with.

Subject: Re: asking for photos
Date Posted: 10/29/2011 2:44 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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If I were the sender who received a RWAP, I would only ask for photos if I was prepared to refund a credit if the photo showed unpostable damage.

It would be disingenuous to ask for a picture and then revert back to "but I know it was fine when I mailed it" as the reason to refuse a refund if the photo shows damage.

Seeing a photo doesn't actually add that much information, actually. It doesn't prove that the book was well packaged or it was in postable condition when it left the sender's hands.  Asking for a photo does work in deterring lazy scammers, but that's about it. There's always the possibility that the person is determined enough to win this argument and ruin the book on purpose in order to have a photograph of damage book.


Date Posted: 10/29/2011 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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I have to agree with Lisa on this, it was not public fuss. It was a member asking for advice with a situation. You have been here such a long time and so many posts I am taken back that you would throw yourself into this....

Date Posted: 10/29/2011 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 621
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Laura, I'm sure you didn't send out a damaged book... You don't sound like the type of person who would do that.  It sounds like USPS had their way with it.

Bonnie, I don't blame you for being upset about a book falling apart when you open the package.  And I can understand why you marked it RWAP with a note.

I understand why Laura doesn't feel she should need to refund the credit and why Bonnie requested one.  Each has a valid point. 

Bonnie, I'm buddying you a credit.  My son returned from Afghanistan safely yesterday and I want to share the love. 

Problem solved.