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Topic: Opinions, please, about a damaged book

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Subject: Opinions, please, about a damaged book
Date Posted: 9/10/2012 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 57
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I received a PM about a book I sent that obviously had damage from the PO from its description.  I always wrap my books in heavy plastic wrapping (plastic wrapping from my mail-order prescriptions or other mail orders I've received).  They are tightly wrapped and taped with packing tape, like a gift would be.  The book was described with a torn back page, torn plastic wrapping, and a bent bottom.  Readable, but not postable.  The book was in very good condition, no tears or bending anywhere when I sent it out.  Receiver is asking for credit back, but I don't feel it's my fault and am reluctant to do so.  Any opinions?

Date Posted: 9/10/2012 7:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,649
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If  you feel that your packaging was good, then don't give the credit back.  You aren't obligated to if it's damaged by the PO.

If it's a WL book, the sender can always offer it up in the Book Bazaar and ask for a credit for it if they don't feel it's still in postable condition.  Many members watch the damaged WL book thread there and are happy to pay a credit for something even when it's damaged.

Date Posted: 9/10/2012 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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The Help Center document titled "A requestor says there is a problem with a book I sent!" covers what to do in this situation, and when you should or should not refund someone's credit.  As Sarah said, if your wrapping met PBS's standards, then the problem was with the USPS and she is out of luck -- sometimes these things happen.

No matter what you decide, it is important that you do respond to the other member about the issue, whether you decide a refund is appropriate or not; otherwise you can be penalized for being unresponsive.

Date Posted: 9/10/2012 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,213
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I would send back to them that the sender is not responsible for USPS damaged books unless the packaging directly contributed to the problem. Since your packaging did not cause the damage nor lead to it, the USPS's mishandling of the package did, you do not owe a credit refund.  You used a wrapping method recommended by the PBS site that will get a book to its destination just fine unless the USPS mishandles it.

From the Help Center:

Damaged by USPS

  • You will have the option to describe the book condition problem in a text box - the text you type in will be included in an email, and sent as a Personal Message, to the sender.
  • You will have the option to request a credit refund - this is UNchecked by default for this problem type.  If you check this option (if you believe the Wrapping contributed to the book's damage by USPS), the email the sender gets will include the request for a credit refund. If you leave this unchecked,  the email sent to the sender will NOT mention or request a credit refund.


Alternate Packaging:

  • Suggestions for alternate packaging materials:
    • Heavy brown paper (eg, from a cut-down grocery sack)
    • Manila envelope
      • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
      • if your envelope has a metal clasp, this can rub against the book cover and cause damage--a piece of tape over the inside portion of the clasp will prevent this.
    • Bubble or padded mailer
    • Tyvek or similar large envelope
      • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
    • Box
      • prevent your books from sliding around inside with crumpled paper (NOT newspaper--the ink can mark the books!) or (clean) plastic shopping bags, balled up.
      • we recommend putting tape around the entire box in both directions - this will help keep the box together as it travels to its destination.  Strapping tape (the one with fibers in it) is great, but packing tape applied tightly around the box will also help with this.
Date Posted: 9/10/2012 8:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 57
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Thanks for posting so quickly.  I have replied to the receiver and declined to return the credit due to the PO damage.  I gave a description of how the book was wrapped and hope she agrees.

Date Posted: 9/10/2012 10:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,088
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The risk of who gets burned when the PO mishandled a book is already fairly divided between senders and receivers. If the PO loses the book altogether, then the system gives the credit to the book requestor and the sender is just out of luck. When the PO delivers it, but damaged, then the sender gets the credit and the requestor gets the unpostable book. There is no credit refund necessary. I would politely decline to refund the credit.