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Topic: Return to sender?

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Subject: Return to sender?
Date Posted: 10/7/2014 3:28 PM ET
Member Since: 11/25/2007
Posts: 133
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A book I sent the other week just got returned to me as "Return to sender -  refused." I've written the person that ordered the book to ask about it, but is there anything else I should do?

Date Posted: 10/7/2014 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,441
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This is NOT okay. (Media mail does not include the right to return to sender.) If this member willing did this (rather than the post office returning mail instead of forwarding it) then they are violating their agreement with PBS. (Terms of Use.)

I think PBS asks us to contact the receiver to see what went wrong. But I always suggest contacting PBS directly. I want that member's account to be put on Hold until they explain why they did this.

I'm pretty sure they are required to give you the credit. Two if they want the book reshipped. But I'm not seeing it right away.

Date Posted: 10/7/2014 4:52 PM ET
Member Since: 11/25/2007
Posts: 133
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The envelope has a bright orange sticker on it that says "Return to sender" and there's a check near the box by "refused."

I used printable postage, so I've already gotten the credit.



Last Edited on: 10/7/14 4:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Another weird one today
Date Posted: 10/7/2014 5:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2014
Posts: 15
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I sent out a book in August, it was forwarded to a new address where according to USPS there was no safe receptacle.  I contacted the member, told them it was forwarded and couldn't be delivered.  USPS was holding it at the PO.  The other member said they got it, and I got the credit.  Okay, they didn't.  After the PO held it for this member for over 4 weeks, they returned it to me, Postage due.

I paid for the book, (now looking at 7.58 postage).  I figure it's my book again, as I've paid for it, but...  It's also on oyther wishlists so I reposted it on my bookshelf.  Maybe I shouldn't have, but I figure this book should go to someone who wants it, and the help doc says I don't have to resend it to that requestor, or do I?.  Any other experience with this type?

Date Posted: 10/7/2014 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 5,682
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My initial thought is that the member moved out and the new resident doesn't want their mail. Or the post office made a mistake with the delivery address. 

This actually quite long, but here's the rules...

The most common causes for a package to be returned to sender:

  • The 13-ounce rule: The package was over 13 ounces and bore only stamps for postage, and you did not mail it by handing it to a USPS employee.
    • This is a USPS regulation if postage stamps are used for postage and the package is over 13 oz in weight.
    • The regulation does not apply to packages sent with printed postage
    • You can remail the package from the PO in this case, without adding new postage to the package.
  • Incorrect Address. Caused by 
    • transcription errors if you hand-wrote the address
    • the requestor mistyping his/her address in his/her account or not updating an old address
    • USPS error
  • Insufficient Postage Caused by 
    • Insufficient postage on the package
      • did you check and adjust the weight on the wrapper settings page before printing? this will ensure that the correct postage and postal rate will print out
      • did you forget to add postage to the package? Don't laugh - this can happen, even to the best swapper! Please read I forgot the postage! for more information about this.
    • Failure to write MediaMail on the package if the PBS Wrapper was not used.
      • USPS will charge First Class rate if MediaMail is not specified.
      • The PBS Wrapper will print out with FIRST CLASS for packages weighing 7ounces or less; packages over that weight will print wrappers marked MEDIA MAIL
    • Writing First Class on the package if the PBS Wrapper was not used.
    • Reusing Priority Mail materials (this is not permitted by USPS unless you are paying priority rate!) but applying Media Mail or First Class postage.
    • USPS error.
  • Moved, no forwarding address Caused by
    • The requestor moving before the book arrived (Media Mail is not routinely forwarded, unlike First Class mail!)
    • USPS error.
  • Address illegible Caused by
    • the wrapper tearing and the TO address being lost or obliterated
    • printer ink running because of exposure to the elements
      • to prevent this problem, you can apply a layer of clear shipping tape over the printed address portion of the wrapper.  Remember not to tape over stamps!
    • Poor handwriting (if you hand-wrote the wrapper)
      • to prevent this problem, carefully copy the address information clearly onto the wrapper - or print the wrapper from a printer.

If the book was returned to you through an error on the requestor's part, you can ask him or her for an extra credit (or money for the postage) to re-send the book,

If the book was returned to you through USPS error, you can take it to the PO in the packaging in which it was returned, and explain the situation - that it was returned in error from a current, deliverable address.  They can check the address and if it is correct and the book was returned through USPS error, they can send it again "under cover" from Post Office to Post Office, without requiring more postage.

If the book was returned to you because you forgot postage or the address was illegible, etc:

  • You can reprint the address using the "RePrint Wrapper" button on the transaction on the Books I've Mailed tab on your My Account page.
  • You should use the  button on the transaction, to let the other member know about what happened.
    • Then if the book is declared "lost" by the system before it arrives, the other member knows it is coming and does not re-order it.
    • The requestor can mark the book received when it arrives (if it has been declared "lost" by then it will need to be marked received from the Transaction Archive).

What to do if your book is returned to you:

If the book has NOT been declared Lost in the Mail yet: you should contact the requestor using the button on the active request on your My Account main page, to let him/her know that the book was returned, and to confirm the address.

  • You should not re-send the book if it is damaged.  If it is damaged, contact us to cancel the transaction.

    • If the book has already been declared Lost in the Mail, you do not need to contact us to cancel.
  • You are not obligated to re-send the book to the requestor if this happened due to a problem with the requestor's address.   If the book was not damaged when it came back to you, and you do not want to re-send the book to the previous requestor, you can simply repost it.

    • If you do not get a reply message from the requestor within 5 days of your PM, contact us.

To re-send the book:

  • You can reprint the address using the "RePrint Wrapper" button on the transaction on the Books I've Mailed tab on your My Account page.
  • You should use the  button on the transaction, to let the other member know about what happened.
    • Then if the book is declared "lost" by the system before it arrives, the other member knows it is coming and does not re-order it.
    • The requestor can mark the book received when it arrives (if it has been declared "lost" by then it will need to be marked received from the Transaction Archive).

If you mailed with Printable Postage and you need to generate a new wrapper:

  • Since you can't print postage again - it's illegal to use printed postage twice - you need to use the "mail to a friend" option to create a new postage-paid wrapper.
    • If the return was USPS's fault, you can mail "under cover" to the other PO for no additional postage, so you should take the package to your local PO and explain what happened.
  • To generate a new postage-paid wrapper by creating a "mail-to-a-friend" (noncredit) swap for the book:
    • Detailed Instructions on how to do this are in Can I send a book to a friend/alternate address?
    • Basically, you choose this option from the More Options menu on the Book Details page and supply the name/address, then choose postage when printing.
    • This will print new postage and you can use that to remail the book.

If the book HAS been declared Lost in the Mail: you should contact the requestor to find out what happened to cause the book to be returned (if the reason is not clear) and to make sure that the requestor still wants the book (and that the address is correct) before remailing it. You can use the button on the "lost" transaction in your Transaction Archive (linked from the top of your My Account page) to send a message to the requestor.

  • If the requestor no longer wants the book (if he or she has gotten another copy from someone else after yours was declared lost, for example), you should REPOST it to offer it to the rest of the club for swapping.
  •  If you do not get a reply to your PM

    • do not re-mail your book - you should repost it to your Bookshelf if you do not get consent from the requestor to re-mail the book.  If you repost and the new request is from the same member, contact us for help.

  • If you do not receive a reply to your PM within 5 days, contact us for help.

Please note: If the requestor still wants the book, and you re-send it, it may be declared Lost in the Mail before it arrives. 

  • The requestor can mark it received from the Lost transaction in his or her Transaction Archive, and you will get credit.
  • When she or he does this, if he or she notes the postmark, you may get a "late postmark" email - the system can't tell that the late postmark is from RE mailing the book.  Don't worry if you get one of these emails - as long as you do not have a habit of late mailing, one of these emails will not affect your account at all.


 



Last Edited on: 10/7/14 5:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/7/2014 9:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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In Abigail's instance, the requester probably marked it received knowing that they had moved and the book might get lost.  They may not have known it would be sent back postage due.  It would not have been unreasonable to contact them and ask them for a few credits to cover the return postage. 

In the first instance, it's also possible that it was delivered to the wrong address.  Instead of making a note of that when they gave it back to the post office, the person who received it could have written "refused" on it thinking it was some sort of book club thing like Book of The Month Club or something.  Hopefully the requester will respond quickly.

Subject: Maybe
Date Posted: 10/7/2014 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2014
Posts: 15
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"In Abigail's instance, the requester probably marked it received knowing that they had moved and the book might get lost.  They may not have known it would be sent back postage due.  It would not have been unreasonable to contact them and ask them for a few credits to cover the return postage."

It arrived at original destinatiom.  Forwarded, arrived at second destnation.  7 days later, I pm'ed the member, detailing what the DC showed and asking for the correct address.  No response.  I was relieved when it was finally marked received before it was declared lost in the mail.  I thought nothing of it until it showed back up with postage due.  Package shows that three package motices were left at the forwarded address.  No pm from member in all that time.  They are out 1 credit, I am out $7.52 cents.  As they never responded previously, had two bad addresses, I think it is better to move on and send it again at my expense to someone who wants it.  Perhaps I am being unreasonable.



Last Edited on: 10/7/14 9:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/7/2014 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,657
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It has been known to happen when a spouse or roommate moves out and a PBS book arrives for the member who moved, the person remaining at the residence has 'refused' their mail to get back at them.........just letting you know there are other reasons mail gets refused.

Date Posted: 10/8/2014 12:09 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Annie, What Emily said yes  It is a PBS members responsibility to keep their mailing address current and deliverable.  You can wait a few days to see if they reply, but do forward to PBS admin.

Abigail, Yes, just post the book to your bookshelf and swap as usual.  PM the requester and let them know the book was returned and that they have a problem with their mail and also contact PBS admin.  For the same reason as Annie, members are required to keep their mailing address current or they are in violation of Terms of Use.  Since return postage is not included with Media Mail, this makes for way too much expense to sending members.



Last Edited on: 10/8/14 12:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/8/2014 8:59 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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You are not being unreasonable in trying to contact them. I would have contacted PBS and they may have been able to give you a couple of the requester's credits if they had any and put the account on hold before it could happen to another sender.

Subject: I was on the other end of this just recently
Date Posted: 10/8/2014 10:35 AM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2009
Posts: 21
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We just moved and I found out that the post office returned two books to two different members here but I had not asked them to.  I was told that they would not forward media mail (did not know that)  But the one did come back around to me without heading back to member who sent it (with $3 postage due)  - and the other - she was super sweet enough to resend and I gave her another credit for doing so.  I also credited the other member when I found out this happened, even though I had not rec'd the book yet.  It was no one's fault - the senders fulfilled their end of the deal so I owed them that.  

I would contact the person you sent it to first - wait a few weeks to see if they even know it was returned - I found out from lady at post office that they think they put it in the wrong box and that person refused it especially since postage was due because of it being forwarded media (the post office will charge you several dollars if they try to forward media to you)    I know this does not really make sense - why didn't the post office look and notice that they put it in wrong box, why didn't the other person mention it was in wrong box but there was so much black marker marks all over it that you couldn't make out the address - the post office is busy - they just toss in a crate to head back without paying attention.  Stuff happens - no biggie.  Hopefully it does not happen often.    I've had super positive luck on PBSwap

 



Last Edited on: 10/8/14 10:36 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/9/2014 2:06 AM ET
Member Since: 11/25/2007
Posts: 133
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No response forty-eight hours later and I'm not sure there will be one.

At least I still got the credit.