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Topic: Shipping question

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Subject: Shipping question
Date Posted: 11/17/2008 10:02 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 217
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Ok so I recently sent out a couple of hard back books wrapped in newspaper and taped pretty well. When they were received they were beat up. The lady is requesting her credit back. The thing is she got a two for one deal and I don't feel like I am responsible for the USPS being hard on the package. However I don't want to be a jerk? What do yall think?

Jessica

Date Posted: 11/17/2008 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 808
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You might post your question in USPS Postal Regulations forum. Despite the name, there are lots of shipping-related questions discussed there.

But since you're here... My first question would be "how badly beaten are the books?" Would they still be considered postable on PBS? If she didn't give a detailed description of the damage, ask her (politely) for that.

After all, we've all received books that were shipped in less-than-very good shape and yet still within PBS guidelines. This place is not like Amazon or Half.com in which you offered a book in "Like New" condition and it was really only "Acceptable." I would think that the post office would have to do some major-league mangling to severely damage hardcover books.

Is the recipient a new PBS member? Perhaps with unrealistic expectations? Complaining about damaged dust jackets...?

Did she mark the books as received on PBS? We've all seen the fairly recent addition of the "Received, but with a problem" checkbox. Did she inform PBS that there was a problem?

Forgive me for asking all these questions. I'm really just kinda thinking out loud here. You've been a PBS user long enough to know what you yourself expect when you request/receive a book. Ultimately, you need to be guided by your own conscience. If the damage is extensive and you would not want to receive books in that condition, then you might offer her some compensation (the credit refund or another book from your shelf).

Are we responsible for the post office's handling/abuse of the books we ship? That depends on how well we packaged the books.

You mentioned that they were wrapped in newspaper. Newspaper is not very strong. Even if you use several sheets, it tears easily. When I ship books, I either put them in a bubble mailer (I have a cheap source for these in large quantities) OR I wrap them in plastic wrap (to prevent water damage) and then in brown grocery sack paper (occasionally request paper bags at the supermarket so you'll have a supply of this stronger paper), with shipping tape reinforcing all edges.

Well, that's my nickel's worth,

Colleen

 



Last Edited on: 11/17/08 10:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/17/2008 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 217
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Apparently one of the jackets was discolored due to the newspaper and the edges of the books were bent. The other member notified PBS that the books were damaged by the post office. She told me the details mentioned above. She also specifically mentioned that she likes to give the books she gets on PBS as presents and was disappointed that they weren't in very good condition. I just feel like the books were used and you shouldn't expect gift condition. However, I have a little guilt because I wrapped them in newspaper and the PBS sheets. It was just handy at the time?

Thanks for listening ladies. I know there are probably other forums for this but I trust all of your judgments more than strangers :)

Jessica

Date Posted: 11/17/2008 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 3/24/2008
Posts: 271
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I would not give her the credit back.. Dust jackets don't have to be included with a Hardcover .It isn't your fault .She can prob straighten out the bent pages as well.

I have been on a recieving end of a badly shipped book , It was a paper back and the back cover was hanging on by a thread and bent to pieces. I didn't ask for my credit back I read it and gave it to goodwill.



Last Edited on: 11/17/08 11:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/17/2008 11:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Jessica, I'm with what Jessie said.  Since dustjackets are not a requirement, damage to one is a moot point.  It says something to this effect somewhere in the help docs, but darned if I feel like looking for it right now.  That said, let this be a lesson to you, missy:P  Newspaper... B-A-D!  But... considering the damage was to the dustjacket, and that this was a 2 for 1, I don't think you have any obligation there.  Aside from which, she already reported them damaged by USPS.  It seems sorta weird she'd ask for a credit refund after doing that.



Last Edited on: 11/17/08 11:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/18/2008 1:01 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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She doesn't get a refund for reporting it damaged: "If the requestor gets the book damaged by USPS, the requestor assumes the risk.  The requestor does need to mark the book received and does not get her credit back; the sender does get credit in this case." And goes on to say you can ask for a refund of your credit if you think the packaging contributed to the damage.

I think I would try to determine if the books were still postable. If they're not, I would refund the credit. If they are, she has no case. She certainly has no case for expecting "giftable" books from a random swap, if there's nothing in her requestor conditions.

Date Posted: 11/18/2008 2:07 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,797
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i'd just like to comment that if you're going to wrap books - any books - in paper with ink touching the books, it's a good idea to wrap the book in plastic first.  (or wrap so the paper is turned and no ink is touching the books.)  i know i got a couple of books once where the sender had wrapped the two i ordered in a paper bag, and the color from the logo on the bag had rubbed off and colored the edges of the books blue and purple.

Date Posted: 11/18/2008 8:48 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2007
Posts: 453
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Since you're asking for people's opinions, here goes.

People have made lots of good points here.  If it were me, honestly, I'd probably give the credit back. 

Not because the letter of the law of PBS requires it and you have to, but because it would bother me to know that yeah, I didn't really do an adequate job wrapping them.  In my case personally I would rather make that right with myself and move on.  Call it PBS karma.

I understand what everyone is saying about the dust jackets/giftable, etc.  But if the jackets hadn't been there, let's be honest, the newspaper ink would have ended up all over the actual cover.  The comment from the receiver about wishing it was giftable is annoying, yes, but ultimately for me wouldn't be the point.

I would put this one into the live and learn category, return the credit, and say goodbye to any guilt I might feel over the transaction. 

Sara

Date Posted: 11/18/2008 9:19 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I'm kind of with Sara on this one.  I would never have sent a book wrapped in newspaper much less a hardback.  No matter how well you tape them, they need extra cushioning. Also newspaper bleeds.  The dust jacket is probably the only thing that kept the actual book cover from being damaged.  I always send hardbacks in a small box or a cushioned envelope.  I've also used a cereal box and plastic bags for cushioning. You'd think the hard cover would make them sturdier to survive mailing. But the hard points break through wrapping and get damaged and bent. 

But if the books are technically still postable than I'm not sure she should get a credit back. If you want books as gifts-you need to buy them new or at a UBS where you can inspect them.  I have a lot of books that are perfectly postable-but I wouldnt give them as gifts.  If she didn't have a dust jacket RC than she's lucky she even got one.

Date Posted: 11/18/2008 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 217
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Thanks for all your replies....I do agree that I am within PBS requirements, so I technically shouldn't have to give the credit back. But I feel guilty about the packaging issue. I honestly didn't think about bleeding when I used it.  I had wrapped it so that I felt the newspaper would hold up. Again lesson learned. I won't use newspaper anymore. I think I am going to get some of that brown packaging paper and saran wrap for future shipments. I am going to give her the credit back because like Sara said I do feel responsible for poor packaging. It embarrasses me a little. I should have had more forethought!

Thanks ladies!

Jessica

 

Date Posted: 11/18/2008 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/6/2008
Posts: 5,341
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I would give the credit back, and hope she   sends at least one book back. Here's what I expect from the books from PBS...That they're readable. Anything more than that means they can go back in to the club.

Date Posted: 11/18/2008 3:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 376
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Just a remark about brown paper - almost every package with multiple books that I've gotten wrapped only in brown paper was torn at the edges, not the taped seams. Maybe every package, I don't remember for sure. The packages in computer paper hold up better. I had one really well wrapped that I recommend following - they used brown paper then covered it with the pbs label/whole sheet of paper. The white paper covered the edges but didn't completely cover the package, still it protected the edges.

So brown paper is not the best answer unless you tape it so well it cannot ever be opened (grrrr. a peeve), or cover it the edges with regular paper or tape.

Just MHO.

Date Posted: 11/18/2008 3:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I just got one in a manila envelope and it looks like it's been through a war:P  A total mess.  I think the sorting machine ate it, but something besides this flimsy envelope probably would have made all the difference.  Honestly, Jessica, just do what you think is the right thing.  Knowing me, I probably would give her the credit too, really just depending on if the damage was to one book or both, and if they were both perfectly fine aside from one ruined dustjacket.  Eating the postage and being out two books - especially hardcovers, which I'm sure weren't cheap to mail - seems a little excessive to me for the loss of a dustjacket.



Last Edited on: 11/18/08 3:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/18/2008 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 217
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Yeah I am a little peeved that it happened to be TWO books she ended up getting for free. But I am the one that offered the special and we did discuss the quality of the books before hand. But really I am not to blame for the post office. I gave her the credit back though. It just makes me feel better. I will definitively know better next time though.

Thanks for the tip Melinda. I think the edges breaking may have been the issue with the newspaper also. I can't stand it when my books are so taped up they are impossible to open, too! I will try just taping the edges extra and see if that works!

Jessica

 



Last Edited on: 11/18/08 3:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/18/2008 7:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 1,012
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Books stuffed inside a manila envelope always end up getting ripped open for some reason.  So, I figured out how to keep that from happening.  I cut the envelope down the side and bottom and wrap the book like a present so that the ends are really strong.  I usually wrap the books in the printed second page from PBS first and then wrap with the envelope.  I use saran wrap first when i am home and have access.  Sometimes I ship from work, so I leave it off then.

I'm also one of those people that overtapes the ends, but I would rather it be protected than ruined. 

Date Posted: 11/19/2008 1:02 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Well, bless her heart, she messaged me a big apology and refunded my credit without me even asking for it.  I thanked her & gave it back to her, and offered some helpful advice on packing - at least, I hope it was helpful:P   I despise manila envelopes, unless you insulate them well with plastic inside and tape the outside to death:P  Poor kid, she felt just awful about it.  I didn't have the heart to keep the credit.  I'm a regular pillar of Jello:P



Last Edited on: 11/19/08 1:03 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/19/2008 10:05 AM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 217
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Dern she makes me look like a real b*&%^. To be fair though I did message my lady once I realized there was postal damage, and I asked her how she wanted to handle the situation. I gave her an opening to request the credit back...I just didn't want to actaully give it. I am credit poor as always because I see too many books I want! :)

Jessica



Last Edited on: 11/19/08 10:07 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/19/2008 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2008
Posts: 12,776
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Oh no....I ship in manilla envelopes all the time!!!!  I have only had one report of postal damage.....I didn't realize it could be such a problem!!!

Anne

Date Posted: 11/19/2008 10:36 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2008
Posts: 2,553
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I ship in manilla envelopes often too. I try to fold the extra edges of unused space up tight to keep them from tearing and I always wrap the books in plastic (or put them in a ziplock if I'm being lazy) before mailing too. I have had one person tell me the packaging ripped open on my books before, but that was with a bubble mailer. The books were in fine condition so it wasn't necessary to give the credit back, but I liked knowing about my packaging so I can avoid similar problems in the future.



Last Edited on: 11/19/08 10:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/19/2008 11:42 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I've used them because I had them (& taped them to death), or those white ones with the peel & stick adhesive strips.  The problem is usually the seams splitting open, but this thing just got chewed all to hell, so aside from good insulation around the book, and possibly laminating the entire outside, I'm not sure that much of the damage could have been prevented.  It looks like somebody fed the upper left section of the book into a wood chipper:P  And it's bent.  Lengthwise.  I think it was a pretty nice, new looking book before the sorting machine ate it, and unless the sharp edges of the envelope somehow contributed to it getting dragged in there, I doubt if it would have done any better wrapped in with the 2 sheet method either.



Last Edited on: 11/19/08 11:43 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/19/2008 11:53 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Oh - and this was the inbox exchange, in case you guys are interested:

She said:  I am so sorry. Of course I will return your credit.

And I replied:  This was damaged by the machinery at the USPS processing center - not anything you did. It's pretty obvious, and it's not really your fault, so you shouldn't have to give up your credit for it either. Maybe you could try plastic insulation around the books you send, and taping heavier all around the outside if you use manila envelopes, but that's just a suggestion. I really don't need the credit refunded. I have enough to reorder it without any problems. I appreciate the thought though:)

And then she replied:  Whatever you want to do is fine with me. I'll take your advice on the plastic insulation and heavier taping. Thanks!

Now see what a great member I am?  I was so nice, I converted someone to using plastic, so all of y'all will be in good shape if you order anything from her.  Now build shrines to me in your homes & send me presents:P

Date Posted: 11/19/2008 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2008
Posts: 7,333
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LOL!! I am one of those brown paper postal wrappers!! I wrap my book first in bubble wrap or plastic wrap then I use the brown postal paper, wrap it like a present and then TAPE IT TO DEATH!! lol  I also tape over the seams and ends of the book pretty heavily.  When I find a good sale on padded envelopes than I use those but not to often.  Most of the books I mail our Trade size so the computer paper doesn't cut it.  I will apologize in advance if you have to cut through my tape...but I want the member to get the book in the condition I mailed it in :)

Date Posted: 11/19/2008 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 3/11/2008
Posts: 217
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"Now build shrines to me in your homes & send me presents:P"

Hmmm what kind of presents do you send to a PBS deity? :)

Jessica



Last Edited on: 11/19/08 12:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 11/19/2008 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2006
Posts: 6,436
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Hmmm what kind of presents do you send to a PBS deity? :)

Books, of course!

Date Posted: 11/19/2008 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Lol!  Yeah, what Willa said.  Lord knows you can't ever have too many of those:P

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