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Topic: Oh no!

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Jodie -
Subject: Oh no!
Date Posted: 8/28/2010 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2010
Posts: 31
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I got my first RWAP for a book that I sent.  The receiver said that it arrived ripped in half and black like it had been burnt.  The receiver also said that there was a note on it from her post office saying that it had arrived there in that condition! I refunded that gal her credit, but I am getting really nervous because there are two other books that I sent out on the same day that have not been marked as received yet and I sent all three books first class.  Can I contact my post office about this issue or anything.  I did not have DC or insurance on them and I am thankful that they were all cheap books, but I feel bad because they were all wishlisted books.


Also, should I ask the receiver to mark it as resolved or can she change it to a problem with the post office so that it doesn't look bad on my account?

Laura M. (LMM) - ,
Date Posted: 8/28/2010 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 12/12/2005
Posts: 524
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It should have been marked as "RWAP: Damaged by Post Office" in the first place. I don't think they can change the RWAP type now. If you have sent them a credit then yes it has been resolved and they should mark it as such. You were under no obligation to send them a credit for a PO damaged book however:

A book is considered Damaged by USPS if it was damaged in transit (while in the mail).

  • This is usually just bad luck
    • Even the most well-wrapped packages can get mangled by a postal sorting machine
    • We have tried to divide the risk fairly between the sender and the requestor:
      • If the sender gets the book back damaged, the sender assumes the risk: she should contact us to cancel the request.  The requestor gets the credit back when we do that, and the sender does not get credit unless she used PBS-DC or PBS Printed Postage
      • If the requestor gets the book damaged by USPS, the requestor assumes the risk.  The requestor does need to mark the book received and does not get her credit back; the sender does get credit in this case.


Date Posted: 8/28/2010 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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PBS has actual humans look at accounts that have problems.  I think a computer flags the accounts, but a human reviews them.  The fact that you resolved the issue by doing more than what is required will also appear on your record. 

Don't worry about it.  PBS is well aware that we cannot control the post office.

Jodie -
Date Posted: 8/28/2010 4:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/24/2010
Posts: 31
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Thanks for the replies.  So you think that I should PM the other two poeple waiting for books to let them know that there might be a problem?  I know that when I am waiting for a book I like to know why it might be taking so long expecially when it is light enough to go first class. Or would I just be opening myself up for a bunch of problems by doing that?

Date Posted: 8/28/2010 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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I wouldn't be surprised if some joker set a mailbox on fire. Have you taken a look at the one you dropped your packages in?

If the P.O. said it "arrived" that way, it still happened somewhere along its route. Even if a postal worker or their machinery wasn't directly responsible for the damage, it should have still been marked as damaged by USPS since you did not send it out in that condition.

Crazy stuff can happen though. I don't think anybody is going to fault you for scorched and mangled packages.

Date Posted: 8/28/2010 5:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Since this is such an unusual circumstance (at least, I sure hope having one's books burnt en route is not going to become common for any of us), you might post in the "USPS Postal Regulations" section of the forums where PBS members who work for the postal service often respond to questions.  I don't think there's anything wrong with calling your local office and asking "did someone torch the mailbox recently?", but those members would know the best channels to go through.

Date Posted: 8/28/2010 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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This happened to me once - some rocket scientist threw their cigarette into the blue box on my corner.  You shouldn't be held responsible.

Date Posted: 8/28/2010 10:43 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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It might not hurt to send a note to the other two people who have not marked their books received, and give them a heads up about it. Tell them if they receive their books burnt or otherwise damaged to make sure they mark it RWAP - Damaged by Post Office. If a mailbox really did get torched they might not get the books at all, or it could have happened after the packages were separated and they might get them just fine. 

Date Posted: 8/29/2010 9:56 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,726
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A postal vehicle might also have gotten into an accident and caught fire. If this is the case, yes, the other books might be late and/or damaged. Plus it's entirely possible if there was a fire that the others were damaged badly enough that they couldn't read either the recipient's address or the return address, in which case they will be disposed of in whatever way the post office does those things.

We had one of those big Jen Bar USPS tractor trailers go off a bridge into a river here a few years back. It was MONTHS before they got any of the mail into good enough condition to be able to send it on its way and much of it was too badly damaged to be sent on at all.

Date Posted: 8/30/2010 8:56 PM ET
Member Since: 10/21/2007
Posts: 3,430
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When the PO stamps a package received damaged, I think that can be stamped at any point in the journey...so if the book got damaged at point B, then the post office at point C can mark it received damaged so it doesn't mean the book started its journey damaged. 

If any postal worker sees this post and it's not correct, let me know.