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Topic: RWAP question

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Subject: RWAP question
Date Posted: 4/15/2010 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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I received a book today. It had a "received with damage" stamp from the USPS on it. It is a hardback wrapped in the two PBS printer sheets secured with scotch tape. There are approximately 27 torn pages (but it won't affect the reading).

I want to know if I should mark it RWAP since it's posible the torn pages occurred during transit because of the poor wrapping and not while in the sender's hands. Or should I just send a PM letting them know that scotch tape is a no-no?

I don't care if I get my credit back because, like I said, it's readable and with a heavy WL I can get a credit for it in the BB if I want to reswap.

I would also like to know what is a polite way to let someone know that they aren't wrapping in a way that will likely get the book to its destination without damage? As far as I can tell they've been a member since at least last August. Have they not run into anyone else who found the scotch tape thing not working?


Thanks for the help!

Date Posted: 4/15/2010 6:20 PM ET
Member Since: 9/13/2007
Posts: 2,520
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I would mark it RWAP Damaged by post office, and then message the sender to let them know what happened. You can always copy and paste the areas of the help documents that very clearly state not to use scotch tape.

Date Posted: 4/15/2010 6:42 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,424
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There is an option on RWAP by Post Office to comment that the wrapping was a factor.  We really need to record the damage by the post office. 

Be sure to mention the wrapping in the comment to PBS box.  Even if you do not ask for your credit.

Date Posted: 4/15/2010 7:13 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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According to the Help Center, if you feel the wrapping contributed to the damage, then you can ask for your credit back.  However, it's been my experience that most damage inflicted by the Post Office would take an iron box to prevent, so it's hard to pin it on the wrapping (even if it wasn't up to snuff).  I don't think a few polite suggestions on wrapping technique would be out fo order, though.  Some members just haven't yet gotten around to learning the more advanced methods more seasoned members have acquired over time.  Perhaps this is the moment in which that particular Sender has reached such a point in their Swap education.  I always see such an opportunity as a welcome task well worth performing.  It might also be a chance to show them that there are members who can be courteous when dealing with a problem swap :) 

Date Posted: 4/15/2010 8:18 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I believe it says in the help docs not to use scotch tape and the pbs wrapper on larger books-which most hardcovers would be.  I would mark it RWP damaged by sender.  If they'd wrapped it better it most likely wouldn't have gotten damaged. 

Date Posted: 4/15/2010 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Wrapping Larger/Multiple Book Shipments

The 2-page PBS wrapper works well for single paperbacks, or even two small books packaged together, but if you have a larger or heavy book, or a multiple-book shipment to send, the 2-page PBS Wrapper alone will not provide sturdy enough packaging on its own to protect your book(s) en route. 

It mentions in several places not to use scotch tape. 

Date Posted: 4/15/2010 8:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 2,941
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Yes, Mary, it does say not to use scotch tape.  However, nowhere in any of the Help Docs is there anything about marking a book Received With a Problem does it state that using scotch tape is an offense in and of itself.  Furthermore, under the category of Damaged by USPS, it says:

  • Damaged by USPS
    • This means that the book's poor condition appears to be the result of its journey in the mail.
    • This includes books that appear to have been poorly packaged for mailing by the sender.
    • Read more about USPS-damaged books here

Clicking "here" leads you to further information that includes this (italics mine):

If you feel that the wrapping of the book contributed to its damage en route:

  • You can tell the sender this in a Personal Message
    • Please be gentle!  The sender may be new to bookswapping.
    • You can ask for your credit to be refunded if you believe it is warranted.
  • You can share your own tips on wrapping technique, and/or refer the sender to the Help items on wrapping a book.
  • You can also comment on the wrapping in the Comments box at the bottom of the survey portion of the Book Received page, so these details are recorded on the transaction in our records.

It does not state that, as with, say, a stained book, the Requester is all but due a refunded credit.  It says the Requester can ask, if it's warranted.  Since Amee said she doesn't care about the credit, I would presume she doesn't feel it's particularly warranted.  The transaction should NOT be marked "damaged by sender" as this was not the case.  The Help Center clearly states that, in the event of damage caused by the USPS, including "books that appear to have been poorly packaged for mailing by the sender.", the correct designation would be "Damaged by USPS".



Last Edited on: 4/15/10 9:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 4/15/2010 11:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,333
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I would say something like,

 

"Thanks so much for mailing that book to me.  The book arrived, but unfortunately the wrapper was torn and the book was damaged en route.  The Post Office sorting machines can be pretty rough on books, and scotch tape just can't take the heat and stress.  Packaging tape holds up well.  When I'm mailing a book that won't fit neatly into the PBS wrapper, I... (and then describe your method of wrapping.)  I am not asking for my credit back -- some of the pages are torn, but I'll be able to read the book.  I'm really looking forward to it.  Hope this is helpful.  Thanks again!"

Date Posted: 4/16/2010 12:03 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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Thanks everyone! I was unsure about marking it damaged by sender vs. post office since it was damaged by the post office, but most likely from her wrapping (and then there's the whole not caring about the credit deal). I know it's important PBS has these things on record.


Thank you, Patty. I am going to use your message. I wasn't sure how to politely tell them scotch tape is bad without being cold or overly apologetic for pointing out rules.

Date Posted: 4/16/2010 10:25 AM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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Must be the week for it...I too received a hardcover with the pbs wrapper, one page for the front and one for the back! It's hard to believe that someone would think a single sheet of paper would be adequate protection, but luckily my book received no more than the expected damage - torn wrapping and dented/crunched corners.  

Date Posted: 4/16/2010 10:34 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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The corners on mine actually made it out okay. The top and bottom of the spine are a bit squished, but that's it (and the torn pages, of course).

Date Posted: 4/17/2010 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Funny...I just read the PBS Newswire and this question was on it (which pertains a lot to our conversation!)

Dear Librarian -  I got a book that barely made it through the mail!  The packaging was hanging off the book and the sender used Scotch tape.  The wrapping job was appalling.  It is sheer luck that the book got to me and wasn't lost or severely damaged.  How can we tell people to wrap better?   - Determined in Detroit

Dear Troy,

We have all that info in the Help Center about wrapping, and the information about not using Scotch tape right on the wrapper itself!  What you may not realize is that the package probably looked pretty good when it started its journey, but along the way the tape peeled off and the wrapper tore.  We can tell folks all day long in the Help Center (and we do) about wrapping, but nothing brings the message home like a helpful word from a member who actually got the book at the other end.  Just let this sender know that the USPS journey was tough on this wrapping, and that Scotch tape doesn't hold up very well in general, and we bet that your advice will have more effect than a zillion reminders from us. 

Please be gentle, if you do have to give feedback about wrapping to a sender.   Remember that the person was trying to get the book to you and was doing his or her best.  Even if it looks like their best was "appalling," it probably did not start out that way, and if the sender knew that the wrapping would fall apart, he or she would have done better.  Give him or her a kind and positive helping hand to know how to do better next time.  It will make the club experience better for everyone - including the books!

Date Posted: 4/17/2010 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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That is exactly like my swap! I was preparing for a negative response to my PM, but they seemed nice enough. They thanked me for the tip but didn't act like it was a big deal. I guess if it had been me I would have been apologizing all over and vowing to do it right the next time. :P

Date Posted: 4/17/2010 9:46 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2010
Posts: 388
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Aimee, I would have been apologizing up one side and down the other, too.  But, on the other hand, how many different ways do they have to be told not to use scotch tape?

 

Geesh!  I'm still a newbie and I caught that one.  I've been working on making my wrapping better (and still be economical).  I've made mistakes but not that one. 


Well, the only think I can think of is either they didn't really care or they didn't have anything BUT scotch tape. 

ehhh.  That dog don't hunt either.  Just have to get tape at the store next time.

Date Posted: 4/18/2010 8:51 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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They thanked me for the tip but didn't act like it was a big deal.

Well, hopefully she did take it to heart and won't do it again. Did you by any chance wrote in the comments section about the wrapping?

Date Posted: 4/18/2010 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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Yes, D. G. I did make a note in the PBS comments section about how it was wrapped, the damage in had, and that I was letting the sender know about not using scotch tape. I wanted to make sure PBS has all that on file just in case it was/is someone who will become a repeat offender.

Date Posted: 4/19/2010 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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Thanks everyone! I was unsure about marking it damaged by sender vs. post office since it was damaged by the post office, but most likely from her wrapping (and then there's the whole not caring about the credit deal). I know it's important PBS has these things on record.

This bothers me too.  It upsets me to have to blame the Post Office for damage that was caused by the senderl's inadequate wrapping techniquest.  I think they should have a third choice "Damaged due to inadequate wrapping by sender".  It IS NOT the fault of the PO when a book in a manilla envelope with exposed corners gets caught in their sorting machine.  It IS NOT the fault of the PO when a book sent with nothing other than scotch tape ends up uncovered because the tape peeled off. 

Date Posted: 4/23/2010 7:39 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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I agree with you here, Kate. In my opinion, if they didn't wrap the book well enough to remotely make the trip (which very few do with scotch tape) then it's THEIR fault, not the PO's I mark them RWAP when they come damaged and only scotch/office tape was used. The other situation is when people use office manilla envelopes and don't have decent tight taping on them. If they just plop it in a manilla, meant for inter-office use, not postal use, and don't tape it down good to the book and put tape in stressful places, then that's getting a RWAP from me, too.

Date Posted: 4/23/2010 10:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I agree that manila envelopes aren't for mailing books across country & all that, but since the only place inadequate packaging is mentioned in the help docs is under the section on marking RWAP "Damaged by USPS", it should be mentioned that if anyone is marking inadequately packaged RWAPs as sender damaged, they aren't following the correct procedures as outlined in the help docs.   In order to avoid any confusion among newer members, I think we should be clear when discussing this, that this is simply an opinion & not what the rules state.  I suppose everyone is free to feel it's the sender's fault, and I don't entirely disagree with that philosophy, but PBS doesn't appear to agree with it & theirs is the opinion we have to defer to.  As James put it very succinctly above:  "The Help Center clearly states that, in the event of damage caused by the USPS, including "books that appear to have been poorly packaged for mailing by the sender.", the correct designation would be "Damaged by USPS"."

Date Posted: 4/23/2010 11:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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Well, I'll stand partially corrected by you, Kim. You are right that PBS does not state that improper wrapping is sender damage, but it does state:

If you feel that the wrapping of the book contributed to its damage en route:

  • You can tell the sender this in a Personal Message
    • Please be gentle!  The sender may be new to bookswapping.
    • You can ask for your credit to be refunded if you believe it is warranted.

So, however you mark it, you are still entitled to your credit back if the damage is due to inadequate wrapping. I still thought I remembered seeing it originally, some time ago, listed under "caused by sender" but I don't seem to find it. But, as I said, you are entitled to your credit back, because the sender was the cause of the damage.

Date Posted: 4/23/2010 11:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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For whatever it's worth, Sherry, I think it's certainly correct & reasonable to ask for the credit refund.  The only point I was trying to make is that people who aren't so familiar with the help docs could misconstrue some of the comments as suggesting that inadequate packaging necessitates an RWAP - "damaged by sender", when strictly speaking, they are supposed to be marked as damaged by USPS.

Date Posted: 4/24/2010 4:28 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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Yes, Kim, and I appreciated the correction, small in some ways, yet in others not. I really think it used to be worded the other way, and I'll do some extensive searching for it to see if I can find it sometime, but for now, the facts are

Damage en route due to inadequate wrapping, is RWAP >> Damaged by the PO, with the right to have your credit returned, because the sender was at fault for not decently wrapping the book.

How's that sound to you and others? I think we portray it completely with that statement. Now, if people will just see it, and read it when they do! hahahaha

Date Posted: 4/25/2010 8:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Lol.  Yeah, that's the tricky part:P  I know some of those little nuances in the rules confuse me sometimes, and I think you're right and it may have been worded differently at one time.  They could have updated that due to a lot of mismarked RWAPs or something...  Anyway, I think that little things like that are confusing sometimes when we talk about them here & some people who aren't that familiar with the help docs could think that because they can ask senders for a credit refund, they should mark it as sender damaged, rather than USPS damaged.