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Topic: Did I really send a RWAP? Help!

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Subject: Did I really send a RWAP? Help!
Date Posted: 1/3/2010 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 5/8/2009
Posts: 9
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After mailing out over 100 books, someone is claiming that I sent an unpostable book.  The person who received it stated that:

1. the front pages were coming undone (not true!)

2. taped together with removable magic tape (there was a very small rip on the cover mended with tape)

3. bind is broken (the binding was curved - this paperback is really thick - 687 pages. Given my understanding of the phrase, the binding was curved, not broken.)

4. water damage (not true!)

Aside from the small taped tear on the cover, I didn't have a second thought about throwing it in the mail. The person stated that they would like to receive their credit back.  I'm feeling really conflicted about this. I don't want to have an unresolved issue with PBS, but I feel that the comments are not accurate. What would you do???

Date Posted: 1/3/2010 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,556
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If I knew for sure that my book was in postable condition and did not have the damage described by the receiver when I sent it, I would not return their credit.  If I was unsure or hadn't looked the book over well or read it before sending it, I would reimburse the credit.  We all post books we haven't read and it's possible to overlook damage.  You'll have to decide for yourself if you think you could have overlooked the described damage or if you're sure the book was not in the described condition. 

No one can force you to return the credit but you do need to respond to the receiver's PM.

One unresolved RWAP is not going to hurt your account.

Date Posted: 1/3/2010 4:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,476
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The thick paperbacks often receive spine damage just by mailing them media rate. They are thick enough that they can get pushed and twisted, ripping the spine.  They just seem to have a shorter posting life.

Date Posted: 1/3/2010 4:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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If I knew for sure that my book was in postable condition and did not have the damage described by the receiver when I sent it, I would not return their credit.

Same here. If you know it wasn't damaged the way they described, just state so nicely and decline to send the credit if you don't want to.

Some people are mistaking humidity wavy pages with water damage. Humidity damage isn't the same thing, but will make the pages look wavy. Also, if it's big book, if there was a lot of pressure on it during shipment, it could had hurt the spine and loosened some pages.  (Especially if it wasn't sitting square to begin with.) So that could be true, but that be a 'Damaged by the P.O." problem.

Date Posted: 1/3/2010 4:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/8/2009
Posts: 9
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Also, if it's big book, if there was a lot of pressure on it during shipment, it could had hurt the spine and loosened some pages.  (Especially if it wasn't sitting square to begin with.) So that could be true, but that be a 'Damaged by the P.O." problem.

That's a scenario I didn't even consider. Because it was such a really thick book I sent it in a bubble mailer - I wonder if it had been damaged during delivery. That would account for their statement of the binding being broken and the pages coming undone. I just got so flustered reading the email because I knew about the small tear (that's within the guidlelines of PBS) but not the other items. 

Date Posted: 1/3/2010 5:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2007
Posts: 13,134
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For larger books like that, you are always better off shipping in a cardboard box, since it is more likely to receive damage in a less sturdy mailer.

Date Posted: 1/3/2010 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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#1 & #3 - #3 could well have happened in mailing, spines get squished in the mail all the time and with it being cold out, they break even more. #1 would be a result of #3

#2 - was the tear that was taped less than 1 inch? If yes, then it doesn't matter what kind of tape was put over it, it does not make it unpostable. If the tear was over 1 inch, it was unpostable despite the attempt at mending.

#4 I would ask for a picture of water damage so you can tell if it is something that could have been missed, happened in transit, or isn't really water damage just wrinking/rippling pages.

If you believe that the spine damage was not there when you sent it, the cover tear was not over 1 inch, and the water damage was not something that could have been there and missed, then stand by your assertion that you sent a postable book and the damage rendered is due to USPS handling. One unresolved will not hurt you.

Subject: An RWAP??
Date Posted: 1/3/2010 7:19 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,430
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If you sent it in a bubble mailer did you fold the excess envelope over and tape it down?

Date Posted: 1/3/2010 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,556
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I just got so flustered reading the email

Completely understandable, I would be flustered as well.  It's always best to take a breath and step back for a minute and think about your response before you send it.  You don't have to respond immediately but you do need to respond.

Date Posted: 1/3/2010 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 5/8/2009
Posts: 9
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It fit snuggly in the mailer - it didn't have a lot of excess envelope. 

So, if I sent a postable book and the postal service caused the damage - what happens now? How does damage from the USPS get resolved? What recourse does the person who received the book have? It had to be a disappointment opening up the package, only to see a damaged book.  When I first got the email I felt defensive because I knew a book in good condition. If the damage was caused by the postal service - do you give the other reader their credit back?  And if you aren't required to, would you in the spirit of good will to another PBS member? 

Date Posted: 1/3/2010 8:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Also, if it's big book, if there was a lot of pressure on it during shipment, it could had hurt the spine and loosened some pages.  (Especially if it wasn't sitting square to begin with.) So that could be true, but that be a 'Damaged by the P.O." problem.

It would be hard - maybe impossible - for them to tell that was something that happened in shipping.  If the spine was curved, then the binding was already weakened, maybe even starting to separate without being obvious yet.  Things that are right on the edge have a way of really letting go during shipping, and a receiver may have no way of knowing that it wasn't sent that way.  And all you can really do is tell them.  They'll make a judgment on whether or not they believe that & mark the transaction as resolved or not, but as has already been said, if it's an isolated incident, it's not going to cause you any problems to have an unresolved RWAP.

I'd refund the credit myself, but you should do what you think is right, given what you know about the book.



Last Edited on: 1/3/10 8:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/4/2010 3:45 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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When mailing thicker books, I've been wrapping them in plastic then taping around the book to support the spine. Because Media Maul can be a rough way to travel.

Date Posted: 1/4/2010 6:28 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 1,442
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Sorry this happened to you, Kelly!  I probably would have felt exactly as you do, under the same circumstances.

Have you asked to see a picture of the damage they described?  Maybe they even marked the wrong book on their account page as rwap...

Date Posted: 1/4/2010 3:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/8/2009
Posts: 9
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Thanks everyone for your help and advice. I've learned some really helpful tips when it comes to shipping thick paperback books. I'm going to return the credit to the receiver. I have a valid argument that the book was damaged by the postal service, but in the end it just feels right to me. 

I've been with PBS for 6 months now and I love it - I want to keep my happy vibe that I have going. It's such a great feeling going out to the mailbox and having a book that I've been dying to read sitting there for me.  PBS rocks! Thanks again everyone for your help!

Date Posted: 1/4/2010 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2008
Posts: 3
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Kelly - I just wanted to tell you that this hapenned to me a few months ago and I felt exactly the same way as you did.  After I took some time to cool down, I ended up also refunding the credit, for pretty much the same reason that you did.  I absolutely love PBS and after tons of swaps, this was my first problem.  So I decided to focus on all the great experiences instead of the one negative, refund the credit, and move on.

I have to admit, I feel a bit of unease when sending a book now becasue I wonder if this will happen again.  But I'm sure this feeling will pass once I continue to send out more books without any problems.  I hope you feel good about the action that you took, I think you did the right thing!