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Topic: Possibly one of the more BIZARRE Swap problems ever?

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Subject: Possibly one of the more BIZARRE Swap problems ever?
Date Posted: 10/13/2010 3:42 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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My postmaster and I were scratching our heads.

I received my book, and there was NO POSTAGE on it at all.  Just the PBS wrapper, without DC or anything, with my address and the postage calculations in the little box at upper right, telling what postage needs to go onto the book.

In order to get the book, I had to pay to get it.

But that's not the end of it.  LOL   As we began to unwrap the item, our hands got black.  It was like carbon.  It was under the tape as well, but also inside the package, and inside all the pages of the book.  They let me into the back to the ladies room, and gave me paper towels to wipe the book down.

Once I did that, the postmaster smelled it, as we couldn't figure out what the black stuff was!  It smelled like ashes.  I started to inspect the book further, and the ends of the pages were, indeed, burnt up.  LOL

There is of course, no way to know if the book was sitting at sender's home too close to the fireplace LOL or if perhaps on a mail truck, a tire blew and caused a fire in the back of the truck and some of the mail got burnt up?????  It's very bizzare, isn't it?

So, I'm new, and have never filed a problem before, but this book falls under BOTH official and unofficial problems (no postage, plus damaged). So, can somebody tell me how to mark the book received, and exactly what I should mark, official or unofficial problems?

Of course, the book is not only unreadable, but I had to pay to get it.  LOL


P.S.  the reason I went ahead and got the package was because before we looked at it, by just glancing, it only looked like black INK on the outside of the wrapper.  There were two distinct black thick lines, so I thought "oh, this book just got caught in a machine!".  It wasn't until we started to inspect and smell it, that it turned out it was black soot......LOL.......and you would not have seen it until you OPENED the package.  Other than the thick black lines, there wasn't soot coming from outside the pacakge, LOL.  Upon opening, soot was just falling out all over us. 

Last Edited on: 10/13/10 3:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/13/2010 3:52 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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And by the way, this is sort of like solving a MYSTERY, isn't it?  :) 

For anyone up to a challenge, what is your thoughts about how it got burnt up?  LOL  Like I said, from the outside, it just looked like some heavy black ink lines along the very edges of one side of the package.  You had to actually OPEN the package to see that underneath those black lines inside the book was burnt up.  LOL

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 6:37 AM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2009
Posts: 6,035
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Was it one of those spicy erotica books?  Maybe it spontaneously combusted from all the heat inside!  devil

I would say that you handle it using the "official" route.  Actually, either route starts with you PM'ing the other person.  Good luck!

Last Edited on: 10/13/10 6:43 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/13/2010 6:51 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2009
Posts: 20,210
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lol wow Laura, just wow. I hope it all works out for you :)

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 8:42 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,497
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You should most definitely get your credit back for that one- make sure you tell the sender clearly in your PM if you want it back! 

If that happens again, I'd refuse the package... (unless it's a WL book you have to have!)

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 8:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2009
Posts: 10,083
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If this was April I'd say it was an April Fool's Day prank. 

My theory is the person dropped a cigarette ash while wrapping the book and it smoldered inside the package.  Then it finally burnt out without totally igniting the whole package.  Could you imagine the disaster if it smoldered and caught the whole load of mail it was with on fire.  Yikes

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 10/13/2010 9:18 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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I would not mention the burned part to the sender, because if that is USPS damage, you wouldn't get your credit back. You are entitled to the amount you paid for postage, and the sender can reimburse you by Paypal, sending you stamps or by refunding your credit. It's his/her choice how to reimburse you.

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 626
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Jiminy Christmas!  The first thing that comes to mind is "Farenheit 451!"  That will definitely go down in the annals of weirdest swaps.

If I'm understanding, it sounds like the ash damage was on the inside of the package as opposed to the outside, eliminating post office damage.  I'd be snapping pictures of that baby to send to the mailer.... If only for the sake of posterity.  LOL 

I don't know how these things work, but it seems to me that you're entitled to your original credit back and an extra one for having to pay the postage due (and perhaps a drycleaning bill LOL).  Whether that's the official "ruling" or not, if I were the sender, that's what I would do. 

Good luck and let us know how it turns out!  Can't wait to see what the sender says about it! 

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 9:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I received my book, and there was NO POSTAGE on it at all.  Just the PBS wrapper, without DC or anything, with my address and the postage calculations in the little box at upper right, telling what postage needs to go onto the book.

This can happen with any kind of self-stick stamps. I use the APC machine and calculate the rate and write it on the package before I go. Then I buy all the stamps from the machine in bulk, then apply them. I try to rub them down, but suspect that the glue on those isn't the best. I've seen people just barely press them on then dump their packages into the package drop. Wouldn't take much for them to fall off or get stuck on another package and come off.

LOL  Like I said, from the outside, it just looked like some heavy black ink lines along the very edges of one side of the package.

It could have gotten caught by a roller in a sorting machine. If it did for even a minute or so it could really get hot as the roller kept running against it. I've had books arrive where the package has had what looked like a 'roller burn' before.


Date Posted: 10/13/2010 10:34 AM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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I hope you kept the wrapper.  Because if you scan it, proving there was no postage on it, and the member refuses to refund your credit, I believe that PBS will probably do it for them. 

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 10:45 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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Yikes! That definitely sounds like a sender damage issue. The one time I got a blackened book smelling of ashes, the PO had to rewrap it themselves because the package was completely gone. I assume it was some sort of mail truck accident because of the strong gasoline/smoke smell and black burn marks.

It's his/her choice how to reimburse you.

Really? What if you as the receiver just want the reimbursement in credits because you don't have Paypal (or just don't want to give them your info.)?

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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I've had a document sized envelop burned by the USPS, I was sent just the address label with the crispy edges with a note saying that they could try to look for the contents but figured it was all burned up! It had happened in a machine. SO it is possible the black was USPS damage BUT the postage due needs to be RWAP and a credit given.

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 12:41 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
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Very weird happenings!!!

Ashes to me signify hot at one time or another. I'm wondering, since it's just glue holding the postage on, could the glue have melted and the postage slipped off? You'd think some sort of residue would be left over but who knows .... this whole thing is really weird!

One would think it would be sender generated because of the ashes inside. And then the missing postage you had to pay ... seems like 2 credits due to you but since you can't force the sender to do anything, all you can do is ask.

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 12:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
Posts: 4,177
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"Ashes Ashes We All Fall Down!"  wink


Date Posted: 10/13/2010 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,085
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So, you actually have 2 things wrong with the book, and since you have paid for the book twice (once with a credit and once for the postage), I agree in a fair world you would be entitled to 2 credits back from the sender. So, I might start out by explaining both issues to the sender and ask for 2 credits back to compensate you. (You might not get them, but it won't hurt to start out by asking for them).

Keep in mind that the postage may have fallen off in transit ... so the sender may not want to refund you for it. When I go to the PO and have them apply postage for me, I actually reach across the counter to press the stamps down after they put them on ... because one of the counter ladies at my PO just sticks them on so lightly that you can actually see a gap on parts of it where it isn't stuck down. No doubt, she thinks I am crazy .... but I would rather have her be slightly annoyed at me than think about my postage falling off 2 minutes after she dumps the package in a bin.

I would be extra nice to the sender because it sounds like you think that the damage was also possibly caused en route ... I have no idea on the damage, but if you think its possible that the PO did that too, and with the possibility that the postage fell off en route ... well, I would refrain from guessing at what happened until you get some kind of response from her.

Here is what I think:

1. The damage was apparent inside the book package. Mark the book "RWAP - Damaged by Sender" and ask for your credit back.

2. Ask for a second credit for the postage due.

3. See what she answers and go from there.

4. You cannot RWAP for postage due alone. That is not an official problem. Here is what you are supposed to do for a poatage due book:

If you receive a book postage-due that bears your current address on it (it was not forwarded), and you have accepted the package from the mail carrier already, you should contact the sender to discuss this.  Please be polite: this was probably a simple mistake.

  • You should mark the book received normally, and use the mini-survey portion of the "book received" page to make a note about the postage amount due.

  • The sender will get credit for sending the book automatically, but she or he should compensate you for the missing postage.

    • You can contact the sender during the process of marking the book received, or afterward using the PM button on the completed transaction for the book in your Transaction Archive
    • Be sure to note the postage-due on the "survey" portion of the Book Received page.
  • You can arrange any solution that you like (the sender can give the credit back, or send you postage, or another book for no credits...whatever you agree on)

Last Edited on: 10/13/10 1:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/13/2010 2:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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I  really appreciate the responses. 

I think I will just ask the sender for my credit back, and "forgive" asking for a 2nd credit, although I know I am within my rights to ask for a 2nd one, since I am out both a credit and money for postage.

That seems like a generous proposal on my part, and so I expect the sender will have no problem with that.

This is WHY I always put DC and electronic postage on my packages.....because then I have a RECORD, either from PBS or Paypal shipping, that I did pay postage on my package.   

The burned up part is still a stumper, but since the book was damaged INSIDE the package, as well as having soot inside the contents of the book, I would have to settle on "damage by sender." 

At any rate,  even if the book was not damaged, I would still be out both a credit and postage anyway.  LOL  So I certainly do feel that I'm being generous by  just asking for my original credit back 

Last Edited on: 10/13/10 2:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/13/2010 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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You sure got burned on that trade! :) 


I also once received a book with NO postage whatsoever... however no one caught it and it did not arrive postage due. It is possible that the postage fell off enroute, kind of hard to say. I think that sometimes the PBS labels sans postage look so official, that they can somehow get overlooked in the sorting process. 

Date Posted: 10/13/2010 4:44 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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Swapper was very nice and agreed to give me back my credit.  I only asked for one, since the situation was so bizarre, I figured both our "karmas" were involved  LOL

You guys sure did CRACK ME UP with the wonderful puns though!!!!!!  Thanks for brightening my day.

I couldn't have asked for more "excitement" so in a way, I can't really say this has been a bad experience  hahahaha