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Topic: She says I violated Requestor Conditions... and there weren't any!

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Subject: She says I violated Requestor Conditions... and there weren't any!
Date Posted: 7/21/2008 10:32 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2007
Posts: 233
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I just recently sent the book Duma Key by Stephen King to someone.  There were no requestor conditions at the time I sent the book.  I received this book in a swap and it smelled of smoke and was missing its dust jacket.  So I would have defintley noticed if there were RCs for this particular book.

She jsut received it and marked it RWAP, saying that the book violated her requestor conditions.  Now, I looked at the TA just to make sure, and I was right, there are no RCs for this transaction.

Now what do i do?  She says I should have notified her of the DJ, but according to PBS guidelines, it is postable without the DJ.

Before the flames start, yes I realize that it would have been courteous to notify her, but it is not required.  If she was that concerned about the DJ then she should have had actual RCs... not try to make them up when she decides that she is unhappy.  There are like 400 wishers for this book so it isn't like I would have had a problem finding someone else.  And I know she isn't going to keep it, because she claims she won't be able to re-swap it.  Anyway, how do i get this problem swap off my record since it is a bogus claim?

Subject: I had that happen, too!
Date Posted: 7/21/2008 10:49 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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A nasty note from the recipient that he hadn't marked the book RWAP, but that I did violate his "No Bookcrossing" condition! However, I didn't register the book with Bookcrossing until after I saw that he didn't have such a condition. I suspect the problem may be that some folks take the time out to write a condition, and then fail to activate it (switch NO to YES)!



Date Posted: 7/21/2008 10:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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I wonder if thats because of the button?  When checking in a book I received recently, I saw the choice to click "Did not meet requestor conditions".  I thought that was odd because I have never had conditions.  I wonder if that is a standard choice now? regardless of whether folks have conditions or not?

I would probably have responded with a copy/paste of the official PBS rules regarding dust jackets and say that I was sorry she didn't have requestor conditions to alert me to the fact.  I would then return the credit and mention that she add requestor conditions to keep this from happening again.

Date Posted: 7/22/2008 12:08 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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Don't worry about it being on your record. Anytime they would look at the transaction, it would clearly show the reason and that it was incorrect.

In a PM let her know that the transaction history clearly shows she had no RCs in place at the time of the transaction. She has mark it incorrectly and should go into her transaction archive and mark the transaction as reported in error. Let her know that if she does not swap the book again it is her choice because the books meets PBS standards.

This situation is exactly why you SHOULD NOT have PMed her about the condition of the book. Makes people think that it is the expected when all they should expect is a book showing up that meets the sites standards and any RCs in place at the time of the order. I would also not return a credit because they complained about a book that met the conditions of the site. It also sets up bad expectations.

Date Posted: 7/22/2008 6:36 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,695
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I would like to second the comments made by Melanie....she said it well so, why should I say it again!!!

Date Posted: 7/22/2008 9:35 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,772
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It is possible that she does have RCs but had them turned off when she requested this book and forgot that she had done so. She may not know this is visible in the transaction archive.

I would not return her credit and I would let her know that she needs to mark the problem transaction as resolved. If she won't do so, you can contact the site and have it removed since the system clearly shows that she didn't have requester conditions turned on at the time of the transaction.

I would also let her know that there is absolutely no reason she shouldn't be able to repost the book as it clearly meets PBS standards.

Date Posted: 7/22/2008 11:28 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2007
Posts: 233
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Thanks, yall... I didn't think i should return the credit either, since I didn't do anything wrong.  I will take the advice of Melanie and Bren and do what you guys say... seems reasonable!

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 7/22/2008 12:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I wouldn't return the credit anyway, since the book was postable and there were no RCs in place but disagree with Melanie.  I think a courtesy PM, even if not required, is in good taste and promotes good feelings and good transactions.  If the person rejects your book because of the book's ideosyncracies, even if it is postable and the person didn't have specific requestor conditions, at least you won't be making the receiver unhappy with them getting less than they expected, and producing an unhappy swap.

I want all my books to go to people who want them.  If my hardback is missing the DJ, and I courtesy PM a requestor about it and they decide they don't want it without the DJ, even though I -could- technically send it to them because it is postable and they don't specifically state in requestor conditions that they need DJs, yes I could send it and get a credit, but I'd be making receiver unhappy.  That isn't worth the credit to me.  I want to help people have GOOD PBS experiences!    (One time I PM'd someone about missing DJ, and they said they didn't need it, but I felt bad so I made a homemade DJ with the cover picture and back cover picture and they were thrilled with the surprise addition!)

Most people I courtesy PM about book ideosyncracies want my book anyway, and this way I'm sure they won't be disappointed when they get it.  This way we both have a happy swap.

Date Posted: 7/22/2008 1:37 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,752
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You are setting yourself up for a bad situation though, Robin.  Suppose they don't respond to you in time, and then you mail the book.  The next day, they reply that they don't want your book because it doesn't have a dustjacket, even though it wasn't required and they didn't have conditions.  It's too late, you've already mailed it, but now they are upset with you.  Or suppose they reply that they don't want it but refuse to cancel.  That means YOU have to cancel, and then you end up losing your place in the FIFO line.  If you were in the 100th place, you have to start all over again.  There is a reason the system is set up the way it is.  If people want specific conditions, they should use them.  The system is set up to work around that without penalizing anyone.  To do it outside the system can become an unpredictable free for all.  It can also confuse and upset newer members, who get a book later without a dustjacket, and want to know why they didn't get a pm about it first when they did in the past.  When people start pm'ing people about individual transactions, it complicates things.  I know when I order a book, I have no conditions outside what PBS requires, and I just want the person to process my order and send it to me.

While it is nice to go the extra mile, there is a saying that holds true...."No good deed goes unpunished."  It is my experience anyway that most people that want things like dustjackets have that in their conditions....the rest just want to read the book and pass it on.

Date Posted: 7/22/2008 2:09 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2005
Posts: 2,372
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The problem is less that Robin is setting herself up for a bad situation, than she is setting everyone else up.

I don't PM if my book meets PBS conditions. I don't consider it at all necessary.  I would rather not receive such PMs (mild preference-I'm hardly going to get upset about it).

The problem for me is if a requestor has in the past received PMs about things that are perfectly fine, and I send a perfectly fine book that I didn't PM about, now there is a higher chance the requestor is going to be upset with me.   Without valid reason, because my book is prefectly fine according to PBS requirements.

Date Posted: 7/22/2008 4:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I agree.  Don't give people an expectation that things will be done any way other than according to the site rules.  There's no reason for someone who followed the rules to the letter to have to deal with trying to get an incorrect RWP removed from their account, because the person who reported it mistakenly got the impression (probably from some well-meaning individual who wanted them to have a very happy PBS experience:P) that certain things are against PBS rules when they are not.  Things that PBS suggests you do - like using plastic wrap to protect books from water damage - I think are perfectly fine, but nobody officially suggests we PM members about missing dustjackets, etc. and some people, once they are done that extra courtesy by a concientious member, will mistakenly get the idea that anyone who doesn't go that extra mile is violating the rules.

Date Posted: 7/22/2008 9:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2008
Posts: 8
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I agree that a pm shouldn't be necessary.  You did nothing wrong here.  Recently I requested a hardcover book that I *really* wanted the cool dj for, and then the book came without one.  I figured oh well, I got the book and was happy for the hardcover and it was totally within PBS guidelines.  I do think that a PM sounds like a nice gesture, but it does seem to set up an expectation that other members will do the same, which most won't.

Date Posted: 7/22/2008 9:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2005
Posts: 7,606
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I have to also agree that a pm over a book that meets the guidelines isn't necessary and can lead to problems down the line.  Could this happen?

All of my WL books are on autorequest and I don't have RCs... I go on vacation,  one of my WL books is posted and the sender pm's me about a book that already meets the guidelines.  I don't see the pm because I'm out of town and after a few days (with no reply from me) the sender decides to decline the request or lets it time out.  I'd miss out on a book that may have been on my WL since I joined, right?

I think the idea behind a pm is honorable, but I just think the practice can also lead to problems at some point.

Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 7/22/2008 11:56 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I can't believe all the people who are politely slamming me for my courtesy PMs!  I already knew there was a bias in the Forum posts against extra PMs, I've seen it in other discussions, but I did not expect the responses I've seen here.  And I am somewhat offended that people think my actions are "setting up expectations" of some sort of standard that cannot be attained by other members.

I never meant in any way to say that this is the way it SHOULD be done, or that all other members should follow my example. or implying that PMs are/should be required or necessary.    I was just stating my opinion that I thought, and still think, a courtesy PM is a nice gesture and helps smooth transactions along.  It has been my experience that it has been helpful for me many times, and I have not had a bad experience because of it.  I never ever said that someone should get a RWAP because they didn't have the foresight to PM someone ahead of time, in fact I said just the opposite, that Jessica should NOT return the credit because she didn't do anything wrong.

Ah well, I will keep sending my courtesy PMs because they work really well for me, and when the mood strikes me, I will continue to sometimes go the extra mile on processing requests.  I'm sorry if that type of behavior "sets up expectations" in other members for similar nice treatment from other members (but I do hope it inspires others to treat me similarly!)


Date Posted: 7/23/2008 12:48 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I think you're taking what's been said a little personally, Robin, and it's not intended that way at all.  I'm simply stating my opinion on the matter - which I'm 100% entitled to, and which is, incidentally, based entirely upon PBS rules and guidelines.  I said it politely because I meant it politely.  I go above & beyond what's required of a member in good standing myself with regard to book condition, packaging and shipping, so I'm far and away from personally slamming anyone who tries to go the extra mile to make sure that all of their swaps are happy ones.  All I am saying is that things like courtesy inboxes stating things (like a missing dustjacket or that a book is a former library copy) that people can & do stipulate in their requestor conditions that they'd rather not receive, sets up an expectation in people who probably aren't - for whatever reason - entirely familiar with the rules & guidelines.  And I think we all know that there are many, many PBS members who aren't nearly as familiar with the rules as they should be.  It's simply my belief that everyone who does understand and interpret the rules correctly can do the PBS system & its members the most good by being conscious of that in such situations.  I want the people requesting my books to be happy, yes, but I also want PBS to continue to flourish.  It's in all our best interests if it does, surely, and I think it's designed to do that, so when we change any small thing, we need to consider the impact beyond just the individual  swap.

Date Posted: 7/23/2008 1:00 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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I agree with Kim, Robin, that you are taking offense to disagreements as being "politely slamming" you. No one has said anything rude, simply pointed out to you that when people, especially new members, get the "polite PMs" they believe that is the expected way and then the next person, simply follows the rules and sends a postable book, that they didn't like, and then they are like "Well, the OTHER member sent a PM, why didn't you???" That's senting the member up for expectations that just aren't going to happen by the majority of the members.

That doesn't mean that you aren't entitled to continue to do as you have been, simply that many of us disagree with what you do, and have stated a reason rather than just arbitrarily disagreeing with you. HTHs the medicine go down ;)

Last Edited on: 7/23/08 1:01 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/23/2008 1:34 AM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2007
Posts: 527
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If I can squeek in... I think in a way all of you are right, depending on how you phrase the PM. I mean it's all in the wording, isn't it?

I could see how a straight out, "I'm sending you this PM because my hard cover doesn't have a DJ. Do you still want it." could lead a new member to believe it's maditory.

But a "Hey, I know this technically isn't required, but (Key words) my personal habit is to forwarn recievers that my HC is comeing without a cover and give you a chance to decline it if this bothers you. If you don't reply before my next trip to the PO I'll take that as a yes, and send it on." I think something like that would give new members a heads up that this isn't required, that Robin's just "going the extra mile" and would allow Robin to feel more confident about how the book will be recieved all at the same time. Hey, it may even give some of the newest members (who might not have read the rules, yet for whatever reason) a heads up that it is O.K., according to PBS, to send HCs without the DJ, so they need a RC if they don't want those.

Anyways... All in how you word it. Or that's my opinion.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 7/23/2008 1:56 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Sherry wrote: when people, especially new members, get the "polite PMs" they believe that is the expected way and then the next person, simply follows the rules and sends a postable book, that they didn't like, and then they are like "Well, the OTHER member sent a PM, why didn't you???" That's senting the member up for expectations that just aren't going to happen by the majority of the members.

This is *exactly* what happened to me.  A newish member once marked a book I sent "received with a problem" because it had library stickers on it (completely postable!), and then proceeded to read me the riot act because I didn't PM them first "like everyone else has".


Date Posted: 7/23/2008 2:25 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I just didn't want anyone to get the impression that I was saying "you're ruining it for all of us" if you try to be a good & conscientious PBSer:P  I love conscientious members.  I love getting carefully packaged books & little extra touches that make the packages I receive more personal & enjoyable, and I love adding those little embellishments myself.  It makes my day to get a thank you note for something extra I did to make another member happy they got their book from me.  I started reusing gift tissue, for instance, as an extra protective layer between plastic wrap and the books I send out, because I once got a book and the plastic wrap somehow stuck to the cover and lifted part of the image.  The people who received them all said it was like getting a giftwrapped present, and since it served a productive purpose & made people happy, I kept doing it.  I thought about it, & considered whether or not people would start to think tissue was a requirement, but in the end I decided that from what I've read on this forum, everyone does their packaging differently, and it was unlikely that anyone would develop an expectation of tissue wrap, when the vast majority of what they receive is going to be wrapped exactly as that little wrapping tutorial demonstrates.  Some things will vary, but mostly, books are going to be mailed out under 2 sheets of printer paper and that's it.  Anyway, I'm just saying that any possible negative impact upon the system in general should be considered before doing things differently - however well-meaning they may be.  And the discussions regarding these things are good too, btw.  I'm always interested in seeing how other members do things & why.

Last Edited on: 7/23/08 2:30 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 7/23/2008 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I am not upset, really I'm not, just somewhat offended by the notion that others felt they had to tell me that I was "ruining it for everyone else."  I thought it was a bit ridiculous and a bit sad that my actions to try to make happy good swaps were considered wrong because I was "setting up" unrealistic expectations. 

I know that people were just stating their opinions, just as I had.  And they have every right to do so.  As I also will have opinions and feelings about their feedback.  To which my second reply was a response.  I couldn't just leave well enough alone, didn't want anyone reading this discussion to think that these alternate opinions were ones that I agree with because my own opinion is that a little extra communication isn't going to hurt anyone and I wish more people would communicate with me more often, and I wanted to have some encouragement for others like me who might be reading the forums that there were people like me out there.  (I do read so many other discussions where extra PMs are condemned as unnecessary and even evil (!) and I'm of the entirely opposite school of thought!)

And for the record, I agree with Kris.  I'm a Tour Guide, so I like to help others learn the PBS rules.  My courtesy PMs always state the rules.  Such as:  "Although PBS guidelines allow hardbacks to be posted without dustjackets, I know some people really want them and I wanted you to know that this book doesn't have one. "  I think that's why I was mildly offended that some of you folks thought I was setting a bad example for everyone.  Because I do try, very hard, to be a conscientious and helpful and courteous member, the one that people will remember with good thoughts when they think back on a transaction.

And a special thanks to Kim for her last post, it really made me feel better.

Last Edited on: 7/23/08 1:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/23/2008 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Well, I'm sorry if what I said offended you in any way, Robin.  I realize my initial comment was a little abrupt, but that was more a matter of just typing what I thought as briefly as possible, and not that I was thinking you were doing anything "wrong".  I understand what motivates sending the inboxes, believe me, and I greatly appreciate anyone who does the extra little bit to make their receivers happy.  I don't do that myself for the reasons I already gave, but the impulse is there, believe me.  I'm considerate by nature, and it's hard to change what comes automatically to begin with.  A bit OT - but I'm also in that unique position that I recently started trying to collect hardcover copies of some of my keeper books.  When I realized I wanted dustcovers on them, I added that to my conditions, and all of a sudden, my requests weren't being accepted as quickly as they had been, and some were rolling over to the next person in line:P  I finally gave up & dropped the RC.  I figured I'll just have to deal with books not having dustcovers when I get them - lol.  The tradeoff being I don't want to wait.  I took some of them off of my WL, and I'm starting to lean toward buying them used from half.com, or looking for them at the local UBSs.  I'm thinking for a collection it probably worth the extra hassle.