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Topic: Was this an ok response?

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Subject: Was this an ok response?
Date Posted: 9/7/2012 10:27 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2011
Posts: 2,110
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So I have a problem trade. When I received the book, I noticed blue staining all along the edges of the pages.  When I looked at the wrapping, I saw that there was ink on the side that was against the book and apparently it either got wet or it got too hot and it stained the book.  So I sent a message explaining, marked the book RWAP and asked for my credit back since it was the wrapping that caused the problem.

Today I got this message (with no credit):

"Truly sorry to hear that the book didn't reach you in pristine condition; it was a like-new copy when I mailed it and the wrapping was standard U.S. Postal Service paper envelope. I've been enjoying Paperback Swap for years now and have never had a problem before; most of the books I've gotten were quite used, many very old, but so long as the text could be read, I've been glad to have these virtually free trades."

Alright fine, clearly snarky.  But unless I am mistaken, wrapping it in such a way that makes it unpostable means I am entitled to ask for the credit back.  I totally believe the book was not sent stained, but it got to me stained and the wrapping caused that problem.  I rolled my eyes internally at the insinuation that I expected the book to be in "pristine condition."  Anyway, here is what I sent back:

 

"I was not expecting a pristine book, however the guidelines for postable books on PBS is very clear. Staining of any kind or any severity mean that the book cannot be posted on PBS. While I do believe this book was not intentionally sent stained, because the ink side of the wrapper was against the book it stained the edges of the book. Since this makes the book unpostable, and the wrapping contributed to the problem, I feel that I am due my credit back.

I hope that this can be resolved, if I don't receive the credit by Wednesday the 12th I will be forced to mark this trade as unresolved. Have a good weekend."

 

What do you guys think?  Was this an appropriate response? 

Date Posted: 9/8/2012 12:37 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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Her response is quite snarky, but I actually disagree with you. If it is clear that a standard USPS envelope bled because the USPS got the package wet, this is USPS damage and the sender DOES NOT owe you the credit back. Plastic wrap is not required. If they had wrapped it with newspaper against the book and that rubbed off, that might be considered sender damage. But if it took an act of the USPS (getting the book wet or letting it get too hot) to cause the damage, and the book makes it to the sender and the packaging would have been fine to mail in without that USPS fault, then the sender did nothing wrong. Did it cause the damage because it got wet?



Last Edited on: 9/8/12 12:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/8/2012 2:35 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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That would kind of be the question-of-the-day, did USPS do something to the package/wrapper that caused the damage?  Or did the sender use a wrapper that damaged the book...without additional assistance from USPS?

Date Posted: 9/8/2012 8:52 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Was it a priority mailer turned inside out?  I've never noticed anything printed on the inside of a post office mailers. But then I've never really looked.

Date Posted: 9/8/2012 10:18 AM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2011
Posts: 2,110
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Did it cause the damage because it got wet?
 


Not that I can tell.  The mailer itself was not damaged in any way that indicated it got wet, and it hasn't been raining in my area so to my knowledge it has not gotten wet.  It was one of the fiber-like USPS wrappers that was turned inside out so that the ink was on the inside.  When I opened it, with no damage or anything wrong with the packaging that I could see, there were blue stains all along the outside edges of the book.  I don't know why the ink bled through to the book though it wasn't due to being wet that I could tell (I just mentioned that it might be possible but I don't know), but had the ink not been in direct contact with the book then the book would have been in fine condition with no problems. .

Date Posted: 9/8/2012 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Standard or Priority mailing envelope turned inside out contiributed to the damage, it is my opinion that you can ask for your credit back. If it bled through a standard envelope then I would mark it recieved and contact the USPS that it was damaged due to their packaging. 

It is a grey area and it is subjective.  From the help docs:

This means a book that was damaged by USPS during its journey.  Normally this is just bad luck, and does not warrant a credit refund.  However, if the Wrapping was inadequate (you didn't seal the envelope, or you left any part of the book exposed, or you used Scotch tape), the requestor may feel it contributed to the damage and may ask for a credit refund.

ETA:  I would add a requestor condition asking that the book is wrapped in plastic or for them to use packaging  that will not bleed onto a book if it becomes wet. 

 



Last Edited on: 9/8/12 11:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/8/2012 12:18 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2011
Posts: 2,110
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Thanks Robin, I don't believe USPS caused any damage that wouldn't have happened with normal handling because of how the mailer was turned inside out but I can definitely see how this is a gray area that is a case by case basis. I can't exactly say what mailer it was for sure but it was not paper or cardboard, it was more of a plastic or fiber consistency, and it had a large blue USPS ink label that would normally be the outside but was inside against the book....what had once been the plain white insde was used to put on my address and postage.

 I agonized over it because I knew that the book was most likely in great condition when it was sent.  I hate marking anything RWAP and it doesn't help when I get a snarky response as if I'm somehow trying to scam them out of something lol. 

Date Posted: 9/8/2012 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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Thanks Robin, I don't believe USPS caused any damage that wouldn't have happened with normal handling because of how the mailer was turned inside out but I can definitely see how this is a gray area that is a case by case basis. I can't exactly say what mailer it was for sure but it was not paper or cardboard, it was more of a plastic or fiber consistency, and it had a large blue USPS ink label that would normally be the outside but was inside against the book....what had once been the plain white insde was used to put on my address and postage.

 
Well, that seems pretty obvious to me that the blue ink stain on your book came from the blue ink label on the inside of the package that had been sitting up against your book.  What does the blue ink label look like now?  Did the blue color bleed or run down on the inside of the package too?   Does the blue label look rubbed off or smeared? 
 
If the sender makes a habit of turning that type of mailer inside out and mailing books in it, you can bet that your book is not going to be the problem there is out there.
 
Was this a priority mailer?  If it was, aren't you not allowed to turn those inside out and re-use them in any way?  Or is that another type......I know there is some mailer or box you cannot use and put media mail in it.
Date Posted: 9/8/2012 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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I feel like if there is ink on the inside of the envelope then there is going to be a chance that that ink is going to be transfered to the book.  Whether by friction, heat, melting or getting wet.  IMO, if the book is damaged and the ink source came from inside the packaging, it's the sender's fault.  It would be different if it got wet and ink from the OUTSIDE bled through, that's not the sender's fault.

 

 But if you package books with more than just plain white packaging on the inside-- touching the book, I think you are responsible for if the book becomes damaged.  If you really want to turn the packing inside out, or whatever, then take an extra step and put the book in  a zip lock bag or wrap in plastic. 

 

If I was the OP, I would want my credit back too.

Date Posted: 9/8/2012 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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The only USPS mailers like that are the Tyvek ones that are used for Express Mail and Priority Mail.   If she used one without it having been used first, then she was using the mailer improperly/illegally.  Even reusing PM mailers for something other than PM is prohibited, so it was her choice to use that mailer improperly.

Her choice of mailer caused the damage, in my opinion.  Any choice of mailing materials that causes damage would be the sender's issue in my opinion.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 9/8/2012 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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So is the ink only on the ourside edge of the pages or did it bleed into the inside? If it is just on the edge, like where a remainder mark would be, wouldn't that still be postable? 

mistie -
Date Posted: 9/8/2012 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 2,017
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To the OP, you asked it that was an appropriate response - given your opinion that the packaging caused the damage, I think your response was clear, polite & decisive.

If I was going to "nitpick"  your response, I would have left out the "be forced to".

But, at this point, I think you were clear & concise, adn just need to wait her response - then just either mark the transaction resolved or unresolved accordingly.

Date Posted: 9/8/2012 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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So is the ink only on the ourside edge of the pages or did it bleed into the inside? If it is just on the edge, like where a remainder mark would be, wouldn't that still be postable?

A stain on the book is still a stain. Just because it is on the edge where a remainder mark might be doesn't make it the same as a remainder mark. The rules say no staining or soiling of the books are allowed. This clearly sounds like staining or soiling and not intentially made marks that would fall under any of the ramainder mark or writing on edge exceptions.

Clearly only you can tell if the damage is due from the mere existance of the packaging in that position or of the handling of the post office while in transit Stephani. I was just pointing out when you mentioned water that packaging that will make it fine without mishandling from the PO is not sender damage if the PO causes it to damage the book.

Date Posted: 9/8/2012 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2011
Posts: 2,110
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Thank you all very much for the responses.  And yes Tyvex, that is the word I was looking for and couldn't think of!  And it does appear that the ink is slightly worn and lighter on certain areas of the wrapper, though nothing is running of smeared like it was wet or melted.  I feel fairly confident now that I made the right call and am not being unreasonable.  No response yet, but I'm not going to stress over it. If she responds then she responds, if not, oh well. smiley

Date Posted: 9/9/2012 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I would PM her again, mentioning reusing Priority or Express mailers turned inside out is NOT allowed by USPS, and they DO know to check and are doing the check more often with the low priced mail methods.. I know this because we had a book arrive at work, via media mail, wrapped the same way, it also came with a BILL for express mail rate, (something like $20 ) we had to pay it to get the package. We then called the sender(another library) and told them they owed us the postage cost.  They gave the "but we like to recycle" excuse so we replied that we like to follow the rules and not cost another library the amount of  a brand new hardcover book.

Date Posted: 9/11/2012 9:02 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
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I would PM her again, mentioning reusing Priority or Express mailers turned inside out is NOT allowed by USPS, and they DO know to check and are doing the check more often with the low priced mail methods.

I would NOT pm her again. Given her snarky response the first time about how "you should be happy about a pristine book on a used book site," I doubt she'd appreciate a message telling her Priority or Express mailers are illeagal to turn inside out, especially since you just sent her a message stating you expected your credit back. She's very likely to get even more snappy with you. It's not your responsibly to warn people about this kind of thing. And it's likely she already knows and is just doing it anyway.