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Topic: Reported mailing does not match actual mailing date. Is that a problem?

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Subject: Reported mailing does not match actual mailing date. Is that a problem?
Date Posted: 7/13/2010 3:14 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 74
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I received 2 books today,  2 different senders,  on each one the mailing date on the package  was a week later than the mailing dates on the PBS "details" page for the book.

I have been sitting around waiting for books that I thought were late, given the June 28th  mailing date reported by sender, but said books were not even mailed until last week, per post office stamp date.

I could use some insight into why this happens.

Is there some advantage to sender reporting an earlier mailing date? 

PBS gets the real mailing date info. and can tell there was discrepancy, it would seem.



Date Posted: 7/13/2010 3:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Yes.  When you fill out the survey form, PBS gets both dates.  I will add details such as postmark or the stamp date to the bottom of the form.  Late mailings get an automatic email from PBS.  Chronic late mailers get put on hold. 

PBS is very clear, if you mail late, you are expected to send a PM.  From help:

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.


And more:

My requested book arrived with a late postmark!

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 and received (or will receive) 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.
Date Posted: 7/13/2010 4:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Everything Emily said is true.  It is important to note, however, that the date on the package is not necessarily the date it was mailed.  For example, members using printable postage can print out a "mailing" date several days in advance.  So, I could print out a label which says "July 19", and I could still mail it out today (but it might look like I didn't mail it until next week).  Members frequently use advance dates just in case they can't get to the post office by the end of the day, etc.

So, unless you have an actual postmark stamp from the post office with a date, it can be hard to tell when the book was actually put into the mail.

Last Edited on: 7/13/10 4:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Thank you for that info. In future I will make sure to comment in the surve
Date Posted: 7/13/2010 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 74
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I am now beginning to wonder how many of these I have overlooked.

It never occured to me that people would mark them mailed and then not mail them.


What is weird is that I sent out 2 books to different people on June 28th,

have gotten no notice they have been received,

but the 2 books with the late postmark were mailed July 8, got here  today, 

even tho they were "reported" to be mailed June 28th

Sign me  confused.


Date Posted: 7/13/2010 4:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 118
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I don't mark a book as mailed unless it is in my mailbox with the little red flag up, ready to go.  I guess some people mark it mailed with the intention of mailing "soon" which will be whenever they have time.  Are they marking it mailed just to get the credit so they can get another book?  I don't really get it either. 

Date Posted: 7/13/2010 4:50 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Tiffany - Some members have forgotten to mark the book mailed in the past so to not forget (and then get a cancelled transaction), they get into the habit of marking books mailed when they print the wrapper.

Date Posted: 7/13/2010 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,232
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I guess some people mark it mailed with the intention of mailing "soon" which will be whenever they have time.  Are they marking it mailed just to get the credit so they can get another book?

I always mark it mailed with the intention of mailing it "soon". Because it is more convenient for me to do it that way.

I mail out once a week on Sunday. I always pick the Sunday as the mailing date for book requests. Then I wrap up all my books on Saturday night and mark them mailed. Then I take them to the Post Office on Sunday and actually drop them in the mail. So, do end up getting mailed on the day that I said I would mail them. The record in PBS is a day early. Not a big deal.

Other reasons for marking it mailed when you are really going to mail it "Soon": 1. unreliable internet connection, 2. don't have access to internet every day, 3. have forgotten to mark books mailed before, etc.

Anyway, the PBS system is better handling problems caused by people who mark mailed and then dont mail it out for whatever reason ... and worse at handling problems caused by people do mail and then forget to mark the book mailed.

Date Posted: 7/13/2010 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Personally if the books arrive before they go "lost" I don't really care when they were mailed. People have lives and sometimes PBS has to take a backseat to sick kids, car break downs, power outages,last minute business trips etc.., Fill in the survey and if it's a habit with them they'll get a warning form PBS.

Date Posted: 7/13/2010 6:14 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 226
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What type of postmark is it? If it is the round stamp, then that can happen anywhere in route. I often see my own regional PO has stamped a book even though it has been in route to me for a week or more. If it is the printed tape from the PO counter itself then that is a problem.

Date Posted: 7/13/2010 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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There was a short period when the books were rolling over to being canceled several hours before the mail by date.  So I'm not surprised that folks mark the book mailed before they go to mail it.  That said, PBS does keep records of late mailings.  My theory is if this is a habit, then PBS will flag it.  If it is a one time event, then I'm fine. 

Life does happen.  Rain storms.  Power outages.  Sick kids.  Still, a PM is polite.  And required.

Date Posted: 7/13/2010 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I look at it the same way Mary (MsRight) - as long as the book arrives before it goes lost (and for me it meets PBS book conditions), it doesn't bother me.  What bothers me is receivng a book and then sending a message to the sender to mark it mailed, so  I can mark it received. 

Date Posted: 7/13/2010 9:03 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Yeah I was a victim of that glitch. It cancelled 3 of my transactions a few days before they were suppose to time out.  So there may be people who were caught in that who mark mailed as soon as they print the wrapper. 

Date Posted: 7/14/2010 12:21 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Emily said, "...Still, a PM is polite.  And required."   IIRC, PBS guidelines state that members should contact the requestor before mailing more than 4 days late.

Remember that regular postmarks can be applied at any time enroute and are therefore not accurate for determining mailing date.  Pre-printed PBS postage also may not reflect the true mailing date....same with APC postage.  USPS counter postage is the most accurate method for detecting true mailing date, so if this date reflects a late mailing use the Comment Box to notifiy PBS Admin. 

Last Edited on: 7/14/10 12:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/14/2010 10:48 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2010
Posts: 150
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I use the blue boxes, and sometimes forget to pay attention to pick up times.  When I get a request, I print the wrapper, wrap the book, mark as mailed, and trot out to the mailbox and dump it in.  After reading this thread, I realize that sometimes the post office stamps (like for Saturday night requests that I do put in the mail on Saturday night) won't match the day I marked it as mailed.  I guess, though, the post office doesn't take off mail collection for over a week at any point :).

Subject: Thank you all.USPS counter postage
Date Posted: 8/3/2010 4:24 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 74
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I re=read the answers today to my question, and learned some USPS counter postage.

I had no idea that the PO would  re-stamp a mailing date along the route. Thus I will take extra care to make sure I am looking at the original mailing date. on the US counter postage.

Still, it is frustrating to see on the PBS page that book was mailed on, say, July 1, then wait 3 weeks to find it was not mailed until

July 15. Esp. if it is a much wanted book.


Thanks all for your helpful comments and suggestions.

Date Posted: 8/5/2010 5:50 PM ET
Member Since: 4/16/2008
Posts: 770
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I have to say I am very guilty of picking the last possible date for mailing a book and then turning around and sending it with printable postage the next day. 

This could be a problem because sometimes I forget to change the date on the label.

So on August 5th (today) I could have said I would mail by Monday the 10th.  If decide to wrap it and throw it in the blue box tonight, and then I mark it mailed...but forgot to change the date it (the label) l might look like I lied about getting my book out on when I said I did. 

I have had books get to their destination before the date it was "mailed" on the package--talk about quick delivery!  (oops)

To be truthul I never look at postage dates unless a book goes lost or is close to being lost.

***edited because I forgot how to spell**

Last Edited on: 8/5/10 5:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/5/2010 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,357
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The "FAQs about printable postage" help doc is long, but it has some good info, including this:

What is the significance of the postmark date on the Wrapper Settings page?  Does it matter what date I choose there?

  • Yes, it is important to choose the date properly--you need to mail the book by that date.
  • You cannot change the postmark date after you have downloaded/printed the wrapper.
  • If you mail AFTER that date, you can go to the PO and have a new metered $0.00 strip with that day's date applied to the package.
  • It is okay to mail it earlier than the date; your package may be returned to you if you mail it after that date.
    • If you put it into a collection box after the last day's scheduled collection, then the package will be accepted with the previous day's date when the next collection happens on the next day.
  • If you are into legalese, here are the USPS regulations on this ("indicia" = postmark):
      • Mailpieces bearing a complete date in the indicia must be deposited or presented on that date, except that pieces entered after the day's last scheduled collection from the post office or collection box may bear the actual date of entry or the date of the next scheduled collection from the post office or collection box. When authorized by USPS, presort mail accepted after midnight may bear the previous day's date. If the mailer knows that the mail is not to be deposited or presented on the date in the indicia, the mailer must use a date correction indicium under 4.4.1. (from DMM, 4.5.2 Mailing Date Accuracy and Mailing Periods)
Date Posted: 8/6/2010 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 12/5/2009
Posts: 1,114
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I mailed a book on 5/20 at my local Post Office. It went lost and was finally received in the middle of July. It was postmarked on July 10 I believe. Was that probably a random stamp somewhere along the line? I felt badly and did not want the other person to think I mailed so late. At least they got the books and I know I mailed it.....



Date Posted: 8/6/2010 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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I try to minimize my trips to the post ofice by buying postage in the most common denominations for media mail ahead of time, then when I get a request, I can wrap it up, apply the postage, and put the book in the outgoing mail at work.  So the date on the postage may be days or even weeks earlier than the date it was actually sent.  It's possible that could be the case with the books you received.

Date Posted: 8/6/2010 3:02 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Denise (cute name btw wink), postmarks (cancellation stamp) can be applied anywhere enroute and therefore are not an accurate indicater of actual mailing date.

Date Posted: 8/7/2010 6:06 AM ET
Member Since: 12/5/2009
Posts: 1,114
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Thanks Denise, lol!

Date Posted: 8/8/2010 1:00 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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Several times I have received a book that was postmarked a day or two after the first of PBS's reminder e-mails went out.  I always mark the actual date on the postage because I believe that if you ignore bad behavior, it will simply continue.  On the other hand, if someone PM'ed me and told me that they somehow misplaced the book and it didn't get mailed, I would probably not mark the date it was actually mailed.  Communication is KIng!

Subject: My philosophy as well
Date Posted: 8/8/2010 2:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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"On the other hand, if someone PM'ed me and told me that they somehow misplaced the book and it didn't get mailed, I would probably not mark the date it was actually mailed.  Communication is KIng"

I don't mind if the person tells me they need extra time, and then PM's me when the book is actually sent, That's fine.