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Topic: Question about "lost books" received

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Subject: Question about "lost books" received
Date Posted: 4/28/2010 9:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2009
Posts: 5
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I have a pair of books I just received that the system had marked lost a couple of days ago. They were marked sent on March 21 after a long delay, but the postmark says it was mailed April 19. I would have been fine with this had I been notified, but I wasn't.

I'm a little miffed that there seems to be no penalty to the sender for this long delay if I mark them received. The books are in excellent condition and all, and like I said, I wasn't in a rush - I just really don't like that I didn't even get a PM. Is there any standard procedure here? Advice?

Date Posted: 4/28/2010 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Be sure to mark the mailing date in the survey page.  PBS will automatically send a late mailing email.  Put additional details in the box for PBS on the bottom of the survey.  Such as type of postage (metered? date canceled?) .  Comment that you did not receive a late mailing PM.  These details go on a person's record.  PBS can find them if there is a habit of late mailings.  A certain (secret) number or percentage triggers review of the account.  PBS specifically looks for repeated patterns of mis-deeds.  PBS does contact flagged folks with questions and possible suspension.

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 1:52 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Try this:

If you marked the book mailed but did not mail it and you want to mail it late (more than 4 days after the date you marked it as mailed),  you MUST contact the requestor using the PM button on the transaction, to be sure that the requestor still wants the book.  (If the book has already been declared "lost", the PM button is on the "lost in mail" transaction in your Transaction Archive.)

  • If she replies that she does still want it you can mail it to her.  She can mark it received and you will get credit at that time.
    • If the book has already been declared "lost" she can mark it received from her Transaction Archive and you will get credit at that time.
  • If she replies that she does NOT want it (she may have gotten a copy from someone else in the meantime), you should NOT MAIL - you should ask us to cancel the "en route" transaction and you can repost the book for someone else to request.
  • If she does not respond to your PM, you should repost the book.  It will be offered to her automatically if she still wants a copy.
  • You should not mail a "lost" book to the original requestor unless she has confirmed that she still wants it in a Personal Message.  If you mail it and she has already gotten another copy, she will NOT be obligated to mark the book received, or to return it to you.
Date Posted: 4/29/2010 4:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,283
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Jessica, you are required to mark the books received, as long as you do not have a second copy already ordered / arriving / already arrived. That is the only circumstance where you are not required to mark the books received.

You would do this by going into your transaction archive and marking the books received from there.

Yes, it is unfortunate that there is no immediate punishment for mailing late .... but PBS does track it and they will take care of it if it becomes a persistant issue with that sender.

Also, regarding postmarks .... if the date you are referring to is on the actual postage, then it was the date mailed. If the postmark is a hand cancelled stamp ... that could have been applied to the package at any point on its journey and does not necessarily represent the date mailed at all. Those stamps can be applied at the middle or end of a package journey. So, you can't really tell by those kind of postmarks when it was mailed.

Here is the PBS rule:

When a lost book arrives, you must mark it received.

To do so:

  • Go to your Transaction Archive:

    • From My Account: click the link "Transaction Archive" in the yellow bar at the top of the page
    • From anywhere on the site: place your cursor over My Account in the toolbar at the top of any page on the site and choose Transaction Archive from the menu that drops down
  • Sort the Transaction Archive by "Requested by me" - "Lost in mail" - "Title" - "Descending"
  • Locate the Lost transaction for this book in the list.
    • If there is more than one Lost transaction for this title, check the sender's name on the right of the transaction against the name of the sender in the return address on the package you received.
    • Click on the transaction.
    • The next pages are the regular Book Received pages:
      Click on the next page
      Provide more information about the swap on the next page
      • you will also have the option to send a message to the sender of the book
      • you will also have the option to provide comments on the swap that only we will see
  • Both your account and the sender's will be updated when you have done this.

The book will have been placed on your Wish List when it was declared Lost, so you should remove it from there if you do not wish to be offered another copy when it becomes available.

Lost books must be marked received when/if they arrive, to keep your account in good standing.

If the book has a very late postmark on it and you have re-requested it and you will end up with 2 copies, see My requested book arrived with a late postmark! for information.


Books that arrive with a late postmark need to be marked received normally, and the information about the postmark should be recorded in the survey portion of the Book Received page.

  • Providing the late postmark in the survey portion of the Book Received page will generate an auto-email to the sender of the book, reminding him or her that late mailing is not acceptable at PBS.
    • The email includes the information that the late postmark could have been entered in error
    • The email includes the information that sometimes postmarks are delayed a few days, even if the book was mailed on time
    • The email includes the information that if the late mailing was agreed to by the requestor, this is not a problem
  • You can contact the sender using the text box on the Book Received page:
    • Please be gentle!  You can't know what might have delayed this shipment
  • If the book was declared lost in the mail and you requested a second copy because you thought the first one was really lost:
    • If the postmark was from the week before the book was declared lost (or later!), and you got no notification from the sender that the book would be/was mailed late: you do not have to mark this book received (this is the ONE case in which you don't have to mark a received book received: if a very late mailer without notice caused you to reorder the book and end up with two copies).  
    • OR: You can mark it received to note the late postmark, and ask for your credit back in your Personal Message to the sender.  If you don't hear back/don't get the credit back within 3 days you should contact us using the Feedback link at the top of the Contact Us page.
    • You can also note this information about the late mailing in the Comments box at the bottom of the Book Received page, while marking the book received: this will go onto the sender's record.
  • A pattern of late mailing will cause account suspension and possibly termination of membership
    • Sometimes late mailing happens for very good reasons, but chronic late mailing will not be tolerated.

Last Edited on: 4/29/10 4:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/29/2010 7:05 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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That would irk me as well.  The last 3 books that I had go "lost" have never appeared, and I strongly suspect they were never mailed to start with.  I was going through my transactions last night and clicked on those members, just out of curiousity, and both of them were inactive.  Hmmmm....

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 7:31 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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What Emily said. :) Mark the book received from your TA and make sure to fill out the survey info with the late postmark, etc. If they do this often, they will get contacted by the PBS Team about it.

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,365
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The book will have been placed on your Wish List when it was declared Lost, so you should remove it from there if you do not wish to be offered another copy when it becomes available.

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2009
Posts: 5
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Thank you all so much for your help and for pointing me to the correct area of the rules for both my conduct and theirs. I have marked them received and noted the late mailing in the survey area. The postage was printed by the P.O. - at least, it's what my postage always looks like when I go directly to the counter.

Again, thank you all for the quick and informative responses.

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Jessica, counter postage is distinctive (and most accurate maililng date).  Only APC looks similar, but those are clearly marked APC and the date is less accurate b/c APC may be purchased now and used later (like a stamp).

Subject: Make sure not APO!
Date Posted: 4/30/2010 3:40 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,365
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Just a thought------With the volcanic ash situation, any mail coming out of Europe or middle East was greatly delayed so the 4-5 week normal delivery time for media mail  from APO AE would be delayed.   Though the postmark should be from the date mailed in Europe, sometimes those mail items don't get stamped til they reach the USPO in New York where all APO AE mail goes through.