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Topic: would you refund the credit?

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Subject: would you refund the credit?
Date Posted: 8/8/2012 5:04 PM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2008
Posts: 2
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Hi all, I have been posting and requesting books here for ages. Two times I have had someone ask for credit- one time, it was totally my fault, there was no map in a book that was a city guide.  But this time, I got the request for credit for a book that is "musty and yellowed." The book is over 30 years old, it says that on the ISBN page. When I responded with this, she said that the book "clearly had water damage" - which I dont think it did.

I'm just having a hard time giving credit for this because I think she is just being difficult. I never had a problem with this book and would not have had one if it had come to me in this shape (no writing, no smoke, binding good). It's not as much about the $3.00 and book, just the general frustration that I think people take advantage of the system, and I feel like this is the case here.

What would you do?

Date Posted: 8/8/2012 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,585
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I would decline politely; tell her the book is 30 years old and musty and yellowed is fairly common for vintage books. Did she have a RC for odor?  If not, she does not have grounds to be picky about it. 

If there's discoloration it's probably due to foxing, which is not unusual for older books.  Water damage would be evidenced by wavy or rough pages or discernable 'bleed' marks to the edge of where the water infiltrated (athough there may be the possibility water damage happened enroute).

You could ask for a picture of what she thinks the problem is, but my best advice is not to draw it out; respond nicely (you have to respond to this type of RWAP) but simply state that the book was not damaged, just old, as the description and publication date clearly indicate.

Date Posted: 8/8/2012 5:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,354
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I would respond to the claim of water damage.  I'd ask her if she could take some pictures, post them on a free site like photobucket, and send me the link.  I figure it's always possible that I missed something.

Date Posted: 8/8/2012 6:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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If you are convinced the book is postable, politely and firmly decline returning the credit.

If I am reading this correctly, the recipient first tried to get a credit refund for "musty and yellowed." When told that these are postable, she changed it to "water damage," something that is clearly not allowed. Given the changing complaint, I would be more suspicious.

As for asking for  photos, only do that if you are willing to refund if the photos show damage. It would be disingenuous to ask for photos and then say "well, the book didn't look like that when I mailed it." Remember there's a non-zero probability that someone would damage the book so the pictures show damage (although I think this is very unlikely and only motivated by spite).

Date Posted: 8/8/2012 6:36 PM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2008
Posts: 2
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Thanks all!  Yes, she changed her complaint from "musty and yellowed" to "water damage" which seemed odd to me. I declined the first time and she pressed it. I'm willing to give the benefit of the doubt that she thought both of these things were wrong. I have asked her to send a picture, and because (like Patty said) it is possible that I could have missed it, although in my opinion, doubtful. Lets see if any pictures end up being provided!  

Date Posted: 10/6/2012 11:48 AM ET
Member Since: 6/22/2008
Posts: 839
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I had an "irate customer"  claim a problem on a  paperback book that I had inspected carefully as I wrapped it up.  She was also pretty porky about the fact that I use "quick credit"  in order to trace the book and make sure it was actually delivered.  I believe she was clearly in the wrong---the book was fine, and I have plenty of credits.  But I refunded her credit anyhow   and asked her to send a pm telling me exactly what problem she saw.  She never answered me, so  I conclude that she was just getting testy to scam a credit.  At the time I did it because this is just a hobby to me and I didn't want to be bothered further by her, but now I'm sorry because I encouraged rude behavior next time.  I shall never send anything out to her again, needless to say, but I still feel guilty that I refunded the credit.

Date Posted: 10/6/2012 12:59 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2009
Posts: 193
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Because of having had a similar problem, I have been wondering if it is possible to rate our experience, as requestor and sender, with each transaction.  That way, if a sender gets a request she or he can see if the requestor has a low to high rating and vice versa for a requestor.  Like Barbara, there is a member out there I will never send another book to, but it would be kind of nice to have a crystal ball before sending out a book or ordering one.

Date Posted: 10/6/2012 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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Maxine, this site is based on the first in, first so ratings don't play a part in the trades. That's why it's important to mark trades as RWAP if you get a book that doesn't meet the site guidelines, or clearly state your reasoning in your response if you get a RWAP when you feel you sent out a postable book. The site does have checks and balances and too many bad marks will weed out bad members.

Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 10/6/2012 2:18 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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 She was also pretty porky about the fact that I use "quick credit"  in order to trace the book and make sure it was actually delivered.

Wow, what's up with that? I use PBS postage because I'm disabled and can't get to the post office, an accusation like that would annoy me. It does sound like they were disappointed they couldn't claim it wasn't delivered. 


Older books get a definite smell, I don't know what it is but it can be kind of off-putting. You can't stop it though and you didn't cause it, it may smell like something caused by water damage but it's not. You just have to deal with it with these older books. Yellowing too, it's normal. Unless she can come up with pictures of actual water damage or black mildew spots I don't think you did anything wrong either. 

Date Posted: 10/6/2012 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2006
Posts: 3,462
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I have several "yellowed and musty" older books on my keeper shelf. They definitely have a distinct "odor" to them, but they are NOT water/liquid damaged in any way. They are just OLD. I agree with the other poster than she changed her story when yellowed and musty turned out to be very much postable.


Date Posted: 10/6/2012 3:41 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2006
Posts: 35,125
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Barbara, I think I would have asked the requester for a description of the problem first and then decided if I was going to refund the credit.  Rather than refunding the credit and then asking to describe the problem.

Date Posted: 10/6/2012 5:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/22/2008
Posts: 839
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Barb and Hunter, you both are totally correct, of course.  I thought and acted too quickly because I  didn't want to deal with  vile accusations, although now on third thought I think in the long run I encouraged bad behavior on the swap.

Date Posted: 10/6/2012 7:45 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2009
Posts: 193
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Thank you for the information, Lsressler.  I see how that would not work.  Luckily, all but one of my transactions have been positive.

Date Posted: 10/7/2012 2:37 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2011
Posts: 179
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No.  If I sent a postable book I would not refund the credit. 

Date Posted: 10/8/2012 5:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,602
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Ditto here. If I know the book was postable when I sent it, and I packaged it well, I would not refund the credit. I would respectfully decline and not be nasty, but I would not refund it, even though I've got a couple hundred credits. That I don't NEED the credit isn't an issue. I sent a postable book, you got it. Period.


Subject: Postable book...
Date Posted: 10/11/2012 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,445
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That is All i send out...OK there was one time...if  i know it was postable I would have also declined.

Date Posted: 10/11/2012 6:42 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 2,311
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Did she ever respond to your request for photos, OP?

Date Posted: 10/12/2012 9:03 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 154
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I feel for you. I am old (and sometimes musty) too. 

Sometimes rules just don't work because there are those out to make them work to their own advantage. Sounds like you found one.

Keep the credit and rest easy in the assurance that someday she will be old (and musty) too and might finally understand.

Last Edited on: 10/12/12 2:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/12/2012 9:30 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2010
Posts: 220
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If "musty" means moldy, yes, you should refund the credit.  If it just means that it smells like an old book, no.