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Topic: Returning Unpostable Books?

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Subject: Returning Unpostable Books?
Date Posted: 4/23/2008 2:48 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
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I had a WL book come up that was a workbook and I have the following RCs:

If this item is a workbook or textbook, please pm me with a description of the book's condition (per PBS guidelines). 

I may still want the book with highlighting, missing pages, etc so please don't decline a Wish List book from me without checking first. 

Thanks, Char - thezookeeper

This only applies to workbooks & textbooks.

Some of my workbooks I want to keep and some I want to look at first and decide , which is why I put that I may want them with a few pages missing, etc. This happened to be a book I had heard great things about so I thought I'd check it out and if it wasn't something I wanted I could post it. The sender pm'd me to say:  "The book you requested from me is a workbook/coloring book. It looks to be in new condition to me. All the pages seem to be there and it hasn't been used at all."

I wrote back: "Thanks, I've heard a lot of good things about it. I hope it's as good as everyone is telling me."

I got the book and one page is completely torn out, it is included but not attached, plus the spine has tears (no damage to the packaging) so I marked it RWAP RCs not met and wrote: "My requestor conditions are the PBS guidelines for workbooks/textbooks. I was disappointed that the book has a page torn out, (it was included but since it is not attached I can't post the book). The sender pm'd me before mailing the book and said it looks to be in new condition. This is the first book I've had to mark RWAP."  (I should have marked it damaged by sender.)

She gave the credit back and sent a pm saying: "I didn't realize that a page was torn out of this book. I got it on PBS to use with my boys and when I received it and looked at it. I realized it wasn't what we needed. Since it is a workbook and I assume you got it use then you wouldn't be able to repost it anyway. You asked me if any pages were used and they were not. I am disappointed that you chose to mark this as you did. I sent it in good faith and now I am out the book and the credit. If this is not a book that you are going to use and I am assuming because you marked it like you did that you aren't. Then please let me pay the shipping and return it to me. Thank you"

I'm hesitant to return it, there are 13 people wishing for it, what if she posts it again? 

I haven't answered her yet, but I'm thinking I will say: "True, it is a workbook and if I used it, it would not be postable. But I, (like you), ordered this book and after receiving it decided it wasn't something we wanted to use. But with the page torn out, it is unpostable. I appreciate you giving me the credit back, I didn't ask for it so that speaks to your integrity. "

Here is where I get stuck and I'm not sure whether to just ask for a credit to ship it back or refuse to send it. What do you think?

Last Edited on: 5/6/08 7:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/23/2008 2:52 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 877
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You are not required to ship it back unless the other member covers the postage.  Even if she offers you the postage, you are still not required to ship it back.  This is covered in the help center.  If you want to ship it back, you should do so.  Your choice entirely.

Date Posted: 4/23/2008 3:15 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
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I think you need to send it back if she gave you your credit back and said she would pay to have it sent back. To get your credit back and refuse to send it back is not fair to the sender IMHO.

As a side note: spines are allowed to have tears if they are less than 1 inch.

Date Posted: 4/23/2008 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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Are you sure you got your credit back?  It appears from her message that she thinks it is automatically returned when you mark RWAP, which it isn't.  So, check your credit registry on that issue.  As to the return issue, I'd offer to return it if she sent me a second credit to cover the shipping. 

Date Posted: 4/23/2008 3:45 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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I don't understand why she would be required to send it back, Melanie? It didn't meet her RCs and therefore deserves her credit back. Nothing in the rules state that if the sender asks for it back and offers to pay the postage you HAVE to return it. I certainly wouldn't. The sender appears to have no purpose for the book other than to try to stick it to another member. She doesn't want to use it, she said so. Why else would she want it back?

Whether she wants it or not, really is irrelevant, the OP is under NO obligation to return it. If she's uneasy about it, she should just throw it away or donate it to someplace of her choice. To top it off, she has absolutely no guarantee that the send WILL send her the postage after she mails it. Someone just recently returned a book, and never did receive the postage. Maybe if she sent the postage first, but as I said, the OP is under NO obligation to agree to.

Date Posted: 4/23/2008 3:57 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
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"Your choice entirely."

I know, I'm just undecided. On the one hand I shouldn't care if she takes it back and re-posts it. On the other hand I don't want someone else to be disappointed the way I was. On the 3rd hand (if I had one), I don't know that she will re-post it anyway, maybe she just wants it back.

"As a side note: spines are allowed to have tears if they are less than 1 inch."

Oh I know, I was trying to make the point that she described the book as new when it very obviously was not. 

I guess I'll take the credit & send it back. This is the first time I've marked RWAP and it leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth, even though I did nothing wrong.

Thanks for your thoughts.

Date Posted: 4/23/2008 4:07 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
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Lisa, yes I did check the credit registry and it shows up. So she made good in that regard.

I try not to think too negatively about members so I'd like to believe she made an honest mistake in sending it. (Quite possibly she may think I'm the dishonest one and that is why she's asking me to send it back).

"The sender appears to have no purpose for the book other than to try to stick it to another member. She doesn't want to use it, she said so. Why else would she want it back?"

Exactly why I'm uneasy. But I can't let this trouble me too much. If she posts it again hopefully the next person in line will mark it RWAP also and that will throw a flag up for Richard & the PBS team.



Date Posted: 4/23/2008 4:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,209
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There is definitely nothing that says she is required to send it back Sherry, as I said it is my opinion. I do not think that a person receiving the book is being fair if they want the book and the credit both. Now if the sender would not reimb the postage, then I would feel differently, but if the receiver is out nothing by returning the book, then why are they keeping it? Are they using the book and getting their credit back (which is totally right by the system, but unfair to the sender IMHO) If the sender gave back the credit without being asked for it, I don't think they are trying to stick it to anyone. Maybe they want to donate the book to another outlet that will be ok with the condition of the book. In my opinion, once the credit is returned, the sender is the one who owns the book and has a right to ask for it back as long as they pay for it.

I cannot imagine anyone paying a full credit to get a book back only to repost it here. Why? It would cost them more to do that than to just let the person keep it. They would be out the credit they give for postage plus the postage to resend the book.

Date Posted: 4/23/2008 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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My question is...if they have already said they have no use for it and that is why they posted it and since it is unpostable why would they want to pay additional after returning the credit to get it back...excuse me they've already said they had no use for it!!  I'd be suspicious too...I think I'd just offer it as a freebie when someone ordered something off my shelf but, then again if she sent you the credit before you mailed it you wouldn't be out anything to send it to her.  Odd though that she'd want it back!!!

Date Posted: 4/24/2008 1:41 AM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
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I decided to pm and tell her I'd gladly return it, so she wanted a PayPal account to send the money to. Trouble is, I don't have an account and I don't intend to open one for this.

She said it would have been a lot less trouble if I had pm'd her before I left the feedback that I did. huh? So I'm not supposed to mark it RWAP even though it was?? I'm trying to be patient and nice, I really am, but this is becoming more time consuming than I like.


Date Posted: 4/24/2008 1:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,343
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Often in this situation, someone will pay the return postage by giving a credit.  She could also mail you a check, or stamps.  But a credit is easiest, and usually close enough to the postage price.

Date Posted: 4/24/2008 9:30 AM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2007
Posts: 323
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i think perhaps everyone's jumping to conclusions and i don't think it's fair to accuse the sender of having ill-intentions. for whatever reason she wants it back, i think if she gave the credit back for the RWAP and offered postage, she should be able to get it back.

i do not think it's fair to get a credit returned and keep the book when you've been asked to return it and offered postage. if that's the case, everyone would start marking things RWAP so they could have a book and a credit.

Date Posted: 4/29/2008 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2007
Posts: 4,588
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I got another email from the sender today: "I have decided that I don't want to waste another credit having you return this book to me. I am disappointed in the way you handled this and it has already cost me a book and a credit and I really don't want to spend another one having you return so I guess you can keep the book."

How should I have handled it? I received an unpostable book and marked it as such. I simply followed the rules.

I did not ask for my credit back, she gave it. And while I do appreciate that, I'm starting to feel like I have to defend myself or something.  I'm sorry that I don't have a PayPal account for her to send the postage to but I've never needed one before and I dont' want to open one so that she can send me $2- $3. She could send a check.

Thanks for letting me vent. I'll be marking the trade resolved and donating the book to a local homeschool group.

This is my first RWAP and now I know why people hesitate to mark them RWAP even when they obviously are. They are time-consuming and a headache.


Date Posted: 4/29/2008 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,631
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Char, you didn't do anything wrong and shouldn't have to defend yourself.  The rules are clear, if the sender wants their unpostable book back, they need to send  you the postage or a credit to cover the return shipping.  You shouldn't have to open a Paypal account for this, it's just as easy for the sender to mail you a check or stick some cash in an envelope and mail it to you to cover the cost.

I think you handled this exactly as you should have.  Don't let the other member make you feel bad and don't let this stop you from marking things RWAP when they clearly need to be.

Date Posted: 4/29/2008 11:03 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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I agree, Char, you did exactly what you should have. If it makes you feel any better, think about the next person that this person would have sent a bad book to. Maybe they won't do it now, and that other member won't have to go thru what you did, so you have done a good deed by taking the crap that the next person would have.

Date Posted: 4/30/2008 12:32 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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You handled the situation exactly as you should have; you might refer the sender to Help Center to review the rules, as you can (and should) be disappointed in the sender's actions and response, not your own.



Date Posted: 4/30/2008 1:52 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 3,205
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Char, you did nothing wrong in how you handled it.

I just had my first RWAP that was non-requester conditions, sender at fault type.  Also a wishlist book with lots of other wishers.  It had coffee damage across the top and the back and when I told the sender about it she seemed very surprised.  Don't really know how because it was on the outside of the book and the envelope was undamaged.

She asked for it back, and gave me an extra credit for the postage.  Am I concerned that she may repost it?  Sure, but I won't make the assumpation.  And if she does?  Well, then she'll wind up with another RWAP mark in her account.  What goes around, comes around.

And, Char, I just have to say that the Polar Express book you sent me is the best condition book I've ever gotten through PBS so thanks again!

Date Posted: 4/30/2008 5:53 AM ET
Member Since: 5/21/2007
Posts: 835
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I'm having the same problems. I got a book that was a ARC, not meeting my requester conditions, and softback instead of hardback and I marked RWAP and PMed the sender. She said she would be glad to give me my credit back, if I sent the book back to her. I don't think that's fair, because this is a WLed book and if I send it back, I think she will repost it. Then, I'm still having to pay to send it.

Date Posted: 4/30/2008 8:21 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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Yes, you handled it correctly.  No, you should not have pm'd the person before marking RWAP.

I think people get confused about this because it's sort of different than some other types of on-line transactions.  For example, on e-bay, generally if you've got an issue you're supposed to contact the seller, try to work it out, and then you leave feedback based on the final outcome of the transaction.

Here, the first step is simply that you are supposed to acknowledge receipt of the book, and during that process check whether or not a problem exists.  This doesn't require you to make a judgement about the senders intent, just a factual reporting.

The second step is to give info about whether or not the problem was resolved.  This is where the real "feedback" occurs, at least for R. 

Unlike e-bay, nobody has access (leaving boxing out of this) to any sort of rating for you except the site itself.  But I don't think many people realize that.  They just react to "I got poor feedback".   What really counts is step two but people don't think about that.  They feel personally attacked.

You were perfectly fair and appropriate, and the fact that this person is trying to make you feel guilty makes me not have much sympathy for them.  They are trying to make their problem into your problem.

For the last time people, you do not have to contact the sender before marking RWAP.  That's not the protocol.  It would not have made this transaction easier to deal with- it would have made it more confusing. 


Date Posted: 4/30/2008 8:59 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,631
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Holly, read up this thread.  If the sender wants their book back they need to send you the postage before you mail it.  Or they can send you another credit to cover postage.  The Help documents clearly say this.

Don't worry about what the sender will do with the book, like Kimberly said, if she does repost it she'll get another RWAP on her account.

Date Posted: 4/30/2008 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 5/21/2007
Posts: 835
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Well, I talked to her and she said that to get my credit, I should send the book back to her. I don't want to really waste the money, since it wasn't my fault, so I guess I'm stuck.

Date Posted: 4/30/2008 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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Holly,  she needs to send you 2 credits BEFORE you send the book back.  that is only fair because you are out shipping if she doesn't give the credits after you send them.

You might want to advise her that ARC's are not postable here per PBS rules (and if you can find it in the help docs, copy and paste them).  At the very least she should give you 1 credit back because she did not send the correct book.

If she refuses to give you your credit back, make sure to send in feedback and that she sent an ARC (already against rules) and refuses to give you your credit back for sending the wrong book.  You may not get your credit back but at least you know that YOU followed the rules!  :)

Date Posted: 4/30/2008 9:31 AM ET
Member Since: 5/21/2007
Posts: 835
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She said that I should be forgiving and send the book back, then she would give me 1 credit back.

When you say to send in feedback, you do mean RWAP or do I email R about it?

Date Posted: 4/30/2008 10:23 AM ET
Member Since: 5/28/2005
Posts: 22
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Holly, I would just copy the help center docs and forward them to her:


The vast majority of swaps take place without a problem at PBS.  But of course nothing is perfect!  If you receive a book with an "official" problem as listed below, you should mark it received with a problem to note this on the sender's record and contact the sender for your credit refund. 

You are not obligated to return the problem item at your expense, but if the sender gives you an extra credit or postage to do so, of course you may. 

Unofficial problems are noted during the process of marking a book received (on the survey portion of the Book Received page).

If a pattern of "official" or "unofficial" problems (especially official problems that are not resolved according to requestor follow-up) emerges on a sender's account, we will take action.

  • "Official" problems (Wrong books/Inappropriate items, Damaged books, Damaged by USPS books, and books that violate Requestor Conditions) are marked as such during the process of marking the book received (see below for instructions)


    We cannot mediate individual problem swaps at PBS.  We can't adjudicate from a distance; moreover, the club is large enough that even intervening in the small percentage of disputed transactions would not be possible time-wise.  This is why marking a problem swap received "with a problem" is so important: if a sender's account shows a pattern of problems, we will intervene and the sender may be expelled from the club. 

    If a book you requested with a credit arrives with a problem, you need to send a Personal Message to the sender (1) during the process of marking the book received and/or (2) using the PM button on the transaction in your Transaction Archive, as described in How do I contact another member?.

    Your PM should clearly ask for a response, and if you want a credit refund, this information should also be included in the PM.

    You should give the sender a week to respond.

  • If the sender does not respond to your PM within a week, submit this information in follow-up from the transaction archive
  • If the problem is resolved by the sender, submit that information in follow-up from your transaction archive.
  • If the problem is NOT resolved by the sender (and negotiations are finished), submit that information in follow-up from your transaction archive.
  • Read more about submitting follow-up about a problem swap in Follow-up on Problem swaps.
  • If a member (sender or requestor) is rude or abusive during a PM exchange about a book, we can be notifiedWe will Review the PM exchange and take action commensurate to the offense.

    The "official" problem options are:

  • Wrong Book
    • This includes inappropriate items such as ARCs or leaflets/pamphlets/booklets without ISBNs
    • This includes the wrong versions of books (ie, the ISBN, title, author or booktype of the book you received doesn't match the PBS listing of the book you requested)
    • This includes regular-font books when you requested a Large Print book
    • If you received a title you did not request, you can PM the sender as described in I received a book I didn't request!
      • this may have been a mixed-up request and can be easily rectified.
      • You don't have to mark the book received with a problem before sending a PM in this situation.
  • Damaged by Sender
    • This means the book appears to have been unacceptable for swapping at PBS before it was put in the mail
    • This includes books packaged using tape applied to the book if the book is damaged and rendered unrepostable by opening the package.
    • Read more about sender-damaged books here
  • 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
  • Requestor Conditions Violation
    • This means the book does not meet the specifications in your Requestor Conditions
    • Read more about Requestor Conditions violations here.

Click here for instructions on what to do if your book arrives with an "official" problem as described above.

Date Posted: 4/30/2008 10:41 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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Last Edited on: 5/17/10 9:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 2