Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: Was I rude?

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
Page:   Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Was I rude?
Date Posted: 12/14/2011 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2009
Posts: 196
Back To Top

I marked a book RWAP.  We went back and forth and then she gave me the credit but was not very nice.  Would you tell me if I accidentally came across as rude to her and caused this reaction.  Communication in words only   are sometimes tricky and I would like another opinion.  I replaced the names with xxxxxx and the book titles with (Book 1 & Book 2)




Problem: Damaged by Sender

The member to whom you shipped your book (Book 1) has sent you this personal message:

"I appreciate you sending me these books. The (Book 2) book is in great shape! You did a great job wrapping the books! But the (Book 1) cover has a 2.5 inch tear in a U shape. The title page has 2 holes cut out of it. The biggest one is just over 1x2 inches. The smaller one 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch. The biggest hole is cut through to the next page, but not all the way through (it has cuts, but the paper is still there). These problems make the electricity book unpostable. "

You did get credit from the system for sending the book. ***The requestor is asking you to refund credit for this book.***

For more details about this problem and how to handle it, please refer to the email sent about this transaction.

We know that no one intends to send a problem book; we appreciate you working with the requestor to resolve this problem.

Please use the box below to reply to the requestor about this problem transaction:
Her response:

The book is in the same condition that I recieved it in. The problems with the book no no way interfer with the book itself. (that is what I was told by PBS when I recieved it.) As It did what I needed it to do, I guess that they are right. As you seem to feel the other way, please send it back to me and I will be happy to refund your credit. Thanks, xxxxxxx


My response:

Hi xxxxx. I am sorry that you received a book that is not postable by Paperback Swap Guidelines. However that doesn't change my problem of getting a book I cannot repost. According to PBS guidelines I would need my credit back and another credit(or postage) to return the book. I would still be out a credit if I sent it back to you for 1 credit. I would rather just mark the situation unresolved and move on. I love PBS and I know sometimes people disagree.


Her response:

I have no problem in refunding your credit I am just asking that you send the book back. So you are saying that you do not want to send the book back to me? I am confused. You are also saying that the book is unusable? Why would you say that it is unresolved when I am trying very hard to work with you. I have even offered to send back your credit.....
My response:



I said the book is unPOSTable. Here is a link to the rules: http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/search.php?terms=cover+tear

It says: Cover not torn or chewed/gnawed some used book stores cut out a small part of the cover; if the amount missing is less than 1 square inch, this is OKAY a small rip (less than 1 inch) in the cover is OKAY

This book has a U shaped rip that is 2 1/2 inches.

I paid a credit for the book. If I sent it back to you for 1 credit I would be short a credit.

paid 1 credit for book = -1 credit
paid to return book = -1 credit
get a credit from you = +1 credit
total -1 credit

When I said that it is unresolved, I meant if I come out of this swap short a credit, I will mark the RWAP as unresolved which means you will have 2 black marks instead of 1. This will do nothing to you as long as you are having good trades. If you get too many black marks (only PBS knows how many), they will contact you.

You can verify the information I am giving you with the help documents, with your tour guide or on the forums.
Her response:
Wow. You are a spiteful person and during this season at that.

All I have asked is that you send the book back to me and I am more then happy to refund your credit. The book is postable per PBS(as it was sent to me this way and that is coming from PBS directly) I asked for it back as the book is more then useable. I do not understand how you would be out anything. I pay for the shipping back and give you a credit. How do you lose??? You want the credit and to keep the book. You have even said that the book is usable!! Does that sound fair?

You must need the credit way more then I. So I am happy to be the bigger person and send the credit back to you. I only ask for the book back as it is in very usuable condition and the school library has asked for it. I had to tell them no due to the fact that it was already committed to you. As she has seen the book-she cannot believe that someone would act this way. I have always offered to send the book back if there was a problem. I guess it just depends on your morals.

I will be sending the book credit back to you. Since you feel the need to keep the book and the credit consider the credit a gift. You must need credits pretty bad to be this petty.

May God bless you & Merry Christmas!
Date Posted: 12/14/2011 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2011
Posts: 100
Back To Top

 Wow. Just wow.   o_0

 Well, at the end she did say " I pay for the shipping back and give you a credit." So , if that's the case, then OK.. But everything else she wrote doesn't indicate a willingness to send you that postage.

 I don't think you came off as rude, but she obviously feels taken advantage of. She should learn, for the future, to send a PM if a book has any "issues".

Date Posted: 12/14/2011 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
Back To Top

The only thing I see is that you went off on marking it unresolved without ever giving her the opportunity to say she was willing to pay for the book to be returned in addition to the original credit. In the same PM that you mention needing the additional credit for postage, you go right into preferring to mark it unresolved rather than being out something. Instead of the long PM, I would have just stated that if she wanted the book back, she needed to send a postage paid envelope in addition to refunding the credit. Up to that point she had not said she wouldn't pay to have it sent back.

At this point it sounds like she has refunded the credit? If she has, you should mark the transaction as resolved (she's returned the credit). And I would PM her thanking her for returning the credit, let her know the transaction was marked resolved, and if she still wanted the book back, she would need to send the postage paid return envelope as the Help Center explains. If she has not returned the credit, I would probably send a PM saying that you are sorry she feels you are doing something wrong, you are just following the procedures the site recommends and she can read more information in the Help Center by searching for "problem with a book I sent". If she returns the credit you will mark the transaction resolved. If she wants the book back, she will need to return the credit and send a postage paid return envelope. If the credit is not returned within 7 days you will assume she is not returning it and will mark it unresolved.

Last Edited on: 12/14/11 7:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/14/2011 7:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,365
Back To Top

No, you're not rude at all.  She's just not clear on the rules, and she may feel you mentioned marking it unresolved too early, since she was still looking for a solution.

  I would try one more time.  Send her to this help doc:

A requestor says there is a problem with a book I sent!

which says


  • Remember that the requestor is not required to send a problem book back at his or her expense.   The sender of a problem book does risk losing credit, book and postage; this is the incentive not to send problem books.
    • If you want a problem book back you can provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope to the requestor by snail mail (or you can give the requestor an extra Book Credit to compensate for postage, if both of you agree on that).
    • Refund and postage compensation must be completed first - before the requestor returns the book (= it is not OK to wait to refund credit until getting a problem book back in the mail, or to expect the requestor to send the book back before getting postage compensation as described above).


Also when she says "The book is postable per PBS(as it was sent to me this way and that is coming from PBS directly)", the book didn't come to her from PBS but from a member who apparently didn't understand the "Book Condition Criteria for 'Swappability' at PBS".  If it came to her like that, she should have marked it Received with a Problem and asked for her credit back.

You quoted from the help doc, but I don't think she went to find and read it.

She's upset  now, though. :-)  Maybe just tell her where to find a "live help" tour guide that she can talk to about this.   One of us can clarify the rules for her.

ETA: Oops, Melanie and I were posting at the same time smiley

Last Edited on: 12/14/11 7:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/14/2011 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 5/1/2007
Posts: 6,559
Back To Top

I don't think you were rude. 

It seems to me that the person who sent the book couldn't understand why it would be unpostable since she was apparently told by PBS that it was postable when she received it in that condition.

Date Posted: 12/14/2011 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
Back To Top

I also do not think you were rude.  

The other member seems misguided & I'm a bit curious where she gets the stuff about 'PBS said' etc...b/c neither TPTB nor any of the offical TGs would say a cover tear of that size is postable.  She also seems to be deliberately ignoring the part about her obligation to cover postage before you return the book.  As suggested, post or direct her to that specific guideline...then I'd let her run with it or not.

Date Posted: 12/14/2011 9:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,136
Back To Top

I'll bet she got the book from someone using the PBS address as their return address.  She could even have questioned the book condition and didn't realize that the message she got back was from another member instead of PBS.


Date Posted: 12/14/2011 11:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,365
Back To Top

Diane said: I'll bet she got the book from someone using the PBS address as their return address.

I hadn't thought of that!  Good point, Diane!  Members who don't want to use their own return address have the option of using the PBS address as their return address.  The PBS admin team wouldn't have looked at the book or known of it's condition, but I can see how someone might think the book came directly from PBS.


Date Posted: 12/14/2011 11:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
Back To Top

I don't see anything wrong there. If I had a problem with someone like this after I've clearly explained the problem, I'd simply ask them to refer to the help docs if they had any more questions and tell them I'd like my credit returned by XXX time or I will mark the transaction as unresolved.

Sometimes, trying to reason with someone only makes things worse. The rules are all in the help docs, spelled out very clearly. 

Last Edited on: 12/14/11 11:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/15/2011 12:47 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
Back To Top

Sharon, I'm sorry you're having this experience. I think, sometimes, that it must be a rite of passage for PBS members, to get an unpostable book with the "this is the way I got it from PBS" and "you must return my book before I return your credit" stipulations.  Good on you for not allowing this other member to bully you.

The advice given above is good.  I'd also add, straight from the Help Center:

"If the other member in a problem swap becomes rude or abusive in Personal Messages, contact us [the PBS Team]. Courtesy is important in the club.  We will Review the PM exchange and take commensurate action."

You can reach the PBS staff using the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of any PBS page, then the "Feedback" button.

Date Posted: 12/15/2011 12:54 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
Back To Top

I don't think you were rude, but I agree with Melanie's assessment about expressing preference for marking it unresolved.

However, what I might have done differently was refer to the rules concerning the usual protocol for problem swaps and how you were acting in accordance with them. Without this, to a person who is unfamiliar with the rules it might seem as if you were pursuing the return postage based on a personal standard of fairness, so I can see where she was coming from. This doesn't excuse her rudeness though.  


(The URL you provided leads to the following links to Help Docs, which doesn't really describe the rules) 

Date Posted: 12/15/2011 1:58 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 346
Back To Top

Just my 2 cents:

You did come across a touch rude in your last message to her. Mainly by stating unPOSTable, and the talk of the black marks on her record (though I can see it for the exasperation that it probably was).

I would send her a thank you for her credit, then mention that you did not know she wanted to pay shipping and offer to send it back to her if she would still honor the shipping. And maybe a small clarification about the possible PBS address confusion.

Try not to leave this with bad feelings. Sure just a simple misunderstanding.

Date Posted: 12/15/2011 6:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
Back To Top

Just a little off-topic mini-rant:  I wish the Help Docs would refer to postal mail, not snail mail.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 12/15/2011 10:34 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,156
Back To Top

Diane -- have you asked them to change that?

Date Posted: 12/15/2011 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 1,516
Back To Top

This sounds like a lady I dealt with on one of my very first swaps.  There just was no reasoning with her and no matter how many times I explained the rules or copy and pasted them, she refused to see that readable does not always equal postable and that if she wanted it back I needed another credit.  That transaction was marked unresolved.  If she gave your credit back for the book, I would mark it resolved and forget about it.  I wouldn't try talking to her anymore.  And no, I don't think you were rude and her last message was totally uncalled for.  

Date Posted: 12/15/2011 12:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,290
Back To Top

I agree with one of the above posters who said that your lady probably believes that your request for an extra credit to cover the expense of shipping the book back is someting that you think personally is fair, but not a rule in PBS.

I don't see that in your communications to her, you made it clear that that is laid out in the PBS rules as the proper procedure.

Next time (although hopefully this won't happen again) you might want to say something along the lines of:

"PBS has rules that cover the return of a problem book back to the sender. The rules say that if the sender of a problem book wants the book back, they must refund the credit used to order the book, plus provide compensation to cover the return postage. Tis postage compensation can be in the form of a second credit, or if you prefer, perhaps you would like to mail me stamps. You can see that PBS rule explained here: add-url-here"

Date Posted: 12/15/2011 12:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
Back To Top

I thought the same thing as Diana as I was reading that: she mentioned more than once that she got the book from PBS themselves.  Probably someone using the PBS address and then telling her the book was postable.  She probably assumed the person who responded was part of the PBS team. 

I don't think you were rude. 

Date Posted: 12/15/2011 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
Back To Top

Why would PBS say 2 cut out holes on the title page is ok?

I would thank her for the returned credit, tell her that according to the rules, if she wants it back, to credit you another credit OR send you postage to cover it BEFORE it is sent.  If she got it from PBS you can also click on the footprint to see where it came from.

Date Posted: 12/15/2011 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 1,410
Back To Top

If the book was an ex library book, it's permissible for the library's RFID to be cut out from a non-text page.  Also, non-text pages are allowed to be missing.

From former discussions (links go back several generations) it looks like a grey area mostly siding with the sender as long as they were only non-text pages.



Last Edited on: 12/15/11 2:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/15/2011 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,409
Back To Top

And this is exactly why I send just 1 message to give the person who sent a bad book the chance to redeem themselves then simply mark it resolved if they refund or unresolved and get on with my life.  Enitrely too much effort was wasted on this.  Were you rude? No.  A tad condescending perhaps and the veiled threat of 2 black marks was a bit much.  Honestly, if she actually returned the credit, then mark it resolved and move on.  If she didn't, then mark it unresolved and, again, move on. 

Date Posted: 12/15/2011 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 11/9/2009
Posts: 196
Back To Top

Thanks everybody!  I learn so much on the forum.   She did return my credit and I marked it resolved.  I will send her one last message thanking her for the credit. 

Date Posted: 12/15/2011 8:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,365
Back To Top

Good outcome, Sharon!

Ronda (RONDA) - ,
Date Posted: 12/16/2011 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 3/3/2009
Posts: 415
Back To Top

I have had to do 3 RWAPs in my time here and I have gotten a similar reaction from the sender.  they don't understand about the sending the book back costing the reciever money.  I point them to the help doc, so it does not sound like I am making it up.

So don't think you are the only one.  & don't be too hard on her.  It is not pleasant for people when they are told they did something wrong and they often react badly.

Date Posted: 12/16/2011 2:13 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
Back To Top

She clearly just wasn't familiar with the rules. That's why, in these situations, I always fall back on the old "the help doc at [url] says: xxx" thing while explaining, once I realize they are seemingly clueless, so they know it's straight from the site itself. Your messages are fine for talking to someone already completely familiar with the rules, but don't do the best job of clearly explaining things to someone not familiar with the rules, know what I mean? Of course, I also would have felt obligated to explain to her about how the book she got could not have been from PBS itself unless she bought it new, and nor were the messages she received. But then, I am a Tour Guide, and so wouldn't need to refer her to Live Help. lol.

But, at least it all turned out okay.

Date Posted: 12/18/2011 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 11/12/2011
Posts: 473
Back To Top

Well put, Tiffany. yes Your messages are fine for talking to someone already completely familiar with the rules, but don't do the best job of clearly explaining things to someone not familiar with the rules, know what I mean?