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Topic: WARNING- This could happen to you!

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Subject: WARNING- This could happen to you!
Date Posted: 4/12/2012 12:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/17/2008
Posts: 333
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The other day I try to log in to my account (which I check daily) and find that my account is suspended without warning and with no explanation, just a note to contact PBS. I check my email and the last club communication was a book received note, which when I read the comments the other member lied and claimed it was a stolen library book. I immediately called my library, as it was a book I purchased from the librray cart. The librarian told me that she had been called by this person and figured out that it hadn't been removed from the system, but had the correct withdrawal marks and that multiple copies of this book had been withdrawn. (which is true, since I saw at least two more copies on the sale cart..this is a "city" library which gets a LOT of copies of bestsellers than sells them as demand drops) . Anyway, my librarian told her that the book was fine, she would correct the error on her end and that she should keep the book. The other member THEN reports it stolen to PBS who suspends my account.

After two days and multiple emails from me giving PBS the library's phone number along with librarian's name, I get my first email back telling me I have to have the librarian contact PBS. So I had to call her back, she was really nice and helpful but of course thought this whole thing was ridiculous. PBS then reinstated my account but told me they will not reprimand the other member because she is new and they don't feel she was being malicious. I think she was. I have been a member for over four years and have sent out 450 books and I get suspended and she gets nothing???? A few weeks ago another member posted on here about a similar incident and many of the replies to her were disbelieving...well, it's true. If someone reports that you've sent a stolen library book, you will get suspended. And NOTHING happens to the member who makes the false accusation. Because of this issue, once my credits are used, i will be canceling my account. This kind of aggravation just isn't worth it, particularly with the amount of money I spend.

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
Posts: 851
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Thanks for the warning, Erin.

I have posted a few library books (officially discarded of course) and want to make sure that this situation does not happen  to me.

I think what I will do is just accept the requests, then send them a PM informing them it is ex-library (that is if they don't have RCs in place for it).

But I agree with you, you were made to jump through hoops because some 'newbie' made outrageous accusations and wasn't even reprimanded for it.

Maybe PBS would rather have a bunch of in-experienced new members than retain the more seasoned traders.

 

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 12:29 PM ET
Member Since: 3/17/2008
Posts: 333
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your welcome, Jerry! :) You know what's funny? I only recently started buying ex-library books, because 1) I thought I was doing a good thing by helping out my community library and 2) thought it would be helpful to PBS members since most of the books my library sells are fairly new releases and have a lot of wishers. The book in question had 952 wishers and if I had sent it to anyone else, i doubt this would have happened. Yet I have seen posts on the forums before about members without RC's being mad over receiving ex-library copies. If people don't want them, they need to have an RC. OR if they pose such a problem, PBS needs to ban them. Also, there should be official repercussions in place for members who make accusations like this. I had a long talk with my librarian and she made it very clear to the other member this was not a stolen book. i think this person just wanted a freebie and this was a good way to get it since if she marked it RWAP there's no guarantee she'll get a refund. In any case, PBS will be losing me as a member once my credits are exhausted.

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
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It is standard procedure to put an account on Hold when the Team needs to talk to someone. They had no way to know that the other member was lying, and until things like that are straightenout they stop the account from having activity. 

What repercussions would you like to have inflicted on the other member? You have what the librarian told you was the timeline, but don't really know what transpired between the other member and the Team. If she is one who poses a problem of complaining about books to get them for free, that pattern will show and she will be kicked off, but this is one offense for what the Team appears to believe to be a new member who doesn't know what a ex-library book is. I've seen many very intelligent members not understand  library books and freak out that they'd received a stolen book.

Stuff happens. It sucks that something as innocent as sending a book caused such headache.  I wouldn't cut off my nose to spite my face myself. You aren't punishing the other member by leaving PBS. The only one being punished by that move is yourself. 

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 3/17/2008
Posts: 333
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Honestly? I think she knew exactly what an ex-library book was. She was told by the librarian that it was NOT a stolen book and then reported it as such. She should be suspended. Period.

I'm not quitting to "spite" her. I am quitting because I was treated rudely. PBS would not reinstate my account until I got the librarian to contact them, they would not contact her even though I provided the information. How is that an investigation? What if my library was rude and felt this was not their concern? My credits would have been held hostage indefinitely. Thankfully my librarian was a really helpful person and i will be writing a letter commending her for her customer service.

It costs a lot of money to belong to this site (postage costs, the money you spend on books etc.) Long term members should be treated better. period. If it happened to you, you'd be just as angry as I am. I had no recourse whatsoever against this person. I'm not telling you that you should quit because of what happened to me. I'm simply stating that I will. i am one of those people who believes in the principle...if I am treated badly somewhere, i don't shop/dine there again. My consumer dollars are spent with companies that give good customer service. I stopped using Ebay years ago for this same reason. Ebay treats its sellers badly and have suffered the consequences. I don't need used books badly enough to be called a thief.

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 1:05 PM ET
Member Since: 3/17/2008
Posts: 333
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PS...I have the original complaint she sent and it was sent AFTER speaking to the librarian in the member's own words. It's not the librarian's word against hers.

J
Date Posted: 4/12/2012 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2007
Posts: 2,910
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I understand the sender's account being placed on hold while PBS was being made aware/straightening out the problem. 

BUT I think the receiver was wrong for reporting the book stolen AFTER being told by the librarian it was NOT a stolen book. 

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 1:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2010
Posts: 4,177
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Sorry for the fix you ended up in, and thanks for the heads-up.

TPTB won't get into a "she said/she said" dispute" because I imagine they don't have the time or the personel to weigh all of the mitigating factors.  They made you jump through a couple of hoops, but you did get your account restored.  I would be POed too, however I would move on and continue to enjoy the benefits of this great site.

If its a matter of prinicipal with you, then by all means follow your bliss and cancel your account.  Frankly, one less member won't mean a thing to TPTB.  I say that not to be snarky with you or critical of TPTB, its the reality that you leaving won't effect the bottom line at all.

-RD

PBSTeam - PaperBackSwap Team
Date Posted: 4/12/2012 1:28 PM ET
Member Since: 7/17/2005
Posts: 330
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We do understand Erin being upset by this, but we can point some extra details out here

  • We will always suspend an account if there is a question of an active library book being swapped here.  We are staunch library defenders and we must protect their collections, as well as the integrity of the club.  Luckily, there is almost always an innocent explanation if an active library book enters the swapping pool here.
  • This case was complicated by our recent (now solved, thank goodness) email problem - it took longer to communicate with Erin than it normally would have. She waited about 30 hours to hear from us, which is less than the 48 hour turnaround we strive for, but much longer than is usual in a case like this. We also meant to reopen Erin's account when we sent our first email response to her - but we just neglected to do that.  We did not require the communication from the librarian for this, although the librarian did write in before we got back and reopened Erin's account. We are sorry about that, Erin!  We know how it appeared to you - but we promise that was just an oversight.  We did believe what you told us.
  • The other member in this case did not ask for credit back, and also did not get credit back, because she kept the book (she was told to keep it by the librarian). Normally, active liibrary books are sent back to the library and the requestor will get credit back in that case.  She was not angry or upset and there was no evidence at all of malice on her part.  We have to conclude that she misunderstood the librarian.

Members don't have to be anxious about swapping ex-library books - either sending or receiving them.

  • It should be routine to check if a library book is still part of a library's active collection before posting it for swapping here.  To do this just (1) check for WITHDRAWN stamps or the equivalent or (2) if no stamps are visible, contact the library, provide the library's catalog number (they'll tell you where to find it on the book) and they can confirm its status.
  • If a mistake is made and an active library book is sent, we'll help sort things out and educate the erring member.


We hope this helps put this information into context.  We're glad to have Erin back with us!

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,239
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I'm sorry this happened to you, but have to fault your library to a certain extent also.  They should have stamped the book in some fashion as WITHDRAWN from the library. Mine does.  I get a lot of books from the Friends of the Library (FOL) and all the books show that they're "NO LONGER PROPERTY OF XXXX".   In addition, my library marks through the barcode on the back of the book, and I've received books from PBS members where the word WITHDRAWN is just stamped in the book.

I send out a lot of ex-library books, and except for one person who said they didn't realize it would be an ex-library book (No RCs in place), I've never had anyone even make a comment about ex-library books.   Good luck.  Pat

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 1:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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I usually side with TPTB, their approach is often very sensible.  But Erin brings up some valid points.

PBS specifically allows library discards.  If this continues to be a problem, they should seriously consider banning them.

What's with the uber paranoid members calling out of town libraries?  When receiving a library discard, it would not be my first thought that the book is 'stolen' then take it upon myself to hunt up the library and ask.  Then to top it off by tattling like an 8 year old on the playground? And then to fib about it too?  Yesh.

And yes, The Team often suspends accounts while investigating...but for a library discard?  There's several scam scenario's here at PBS that just don't make financial sense, and this is one of them.  There's really no incentive for members to be mailing un-discarded library books.  If they check them out, they will be billed for the missing book...much more expensive than buying credits.  I'm confident that 99.99% (virtually all) of the library books swapped at PBS are totally legit library discards...no need for anyone to get their panties in a twist and make wild accusations. 

If the other member is insinuating that you actually walked into the library and 'stole' the book (instead of checking it out)...well, how do I know that the book I received yesterday wasn't 'stolen' from Barnes & Noble?  It looked brand new, should I call the B&N closest to the sender's return address and see if they are missing any copies...then report it to PBS?

I know (and appreciate) the fact that TPTB quickly suspend accounts of members obviously engaging in spam, advertising, solicitation, etc.  But because the chances of the book actually being stolen (by you) is so very small, it's a bit much that your account was suspended during this time.  And that you were judged guilty until proven innocent.

Considering that we are seeing an upturn in this little 'snoop & tattle' game, I think members that mail library discards should seriously consider purchasing 'permanent' sticky labels and cover any and all library markings on their books before mailing.  Receivers will probably complain about the 'ugly' stickers, but at least they won't be able to read under them.   I know I'll have second (third, and fourth) thoughts about sharing library books in the future.

*hugs* Erin.  PBS has much to offer and is generally a great place to swap books and hang out, but I can understand why you feel a bit miffed over this.  I do hope you reconsider closing your membership over this one incident tho.

 

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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Pat, many (if not most) libraries no longer use the 'discard' stamps.  I'm fairly sure KCLS where I live no longer does so, and it's one of the largest in the nation.  They discard oodles of books annually.  We might wish they did, but that doesn't make it happen.

AND the team posted while I was writing my novel yes  sounds like your situation was further complicated by that e-mail snafu earlier this week.



Last Edited on: 4/12/12 1:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/12/2012 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
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And yes, The Team often suspends accounts while investigating...but for a library discard?

We are all going by facts given to us second hand in the forum, but from what the OP said, it sounded to me like the receiver told the site that she had contacted the library and was told it was in fact a stolen book, not that the OP was suspended just for the mere fact the book was a library discard.

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2009
Posts: 851
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I will be very careful with my library discards, which I actually get from the local Goodwill, and only see to trade off the current ones I have.

Once they are traded off I will no longer get any library discards, no matter how many wishers there are or how expensive they are on Amazon.

I wanted a certain hardcover book and had to pay almost $30.00 for a used copy from Amazon ( the new ones were even more pricey). Can you imagine how upset I was to discover the book last Saturday at Goodwill as a library discard for $2.99.  If I only had waited....

Erin, don't leave. I feel your pain.  I wish new members really read all the rules and put in RCs, rather than assuming foul play or marking RWAP, just to reply with a flippant 'well I didn't read all the rules' when caught.

Deep sigh from the person who actually reads all owners manuals when I purchase something new or signing a document with my name. I realize I am probably the only one in the world to do so.



Last Edited on: 4/12/12 2:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/12/2012 2:32 PM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2008
Posts: 310
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I won't even bother posting library discards.  Most of the time when my library discards a book it is in ratty conditon.  I don't mind for my own reading pleasure but for here I like my books I post to be in very good condition.

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 2:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,722
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I post ex-library books all the time. Some are stamped "Discard" and some aren't.

I don't worry about it.

I'm also not planning on changing anything, regardless of Erin's unfortunate experience.  (I hope you end up staying with PBS!)

I will say that before I started at PBS, I was not really aware that it was common for libraries to discard books by releasing them into the general public through sales. (If I had thought about it, which I never did, I would probably have assummed that they just shipped them off to a paper recycling plant or something like that). So, I would be one of those avid readers who might have been confused and not aware of what exactly a "ex-library" book is. And that they are common. I might have thought that the book was part of a library collection somewhere. And stolen. So, that does not seem weird to me at all ... that someone could not be aware that ex-library books are released to the public.

I was also under the misconception that if I donated brand new popular hardcovers to the library, that they would probably be happy to have them and might be adding them to the collection. Yup ... that's not true either.



Last Edited on: 4/12/12 2:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 4/12/2012 2:57 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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The librarian told me that she had been called by this person and figured out that it hadn't been removed from the system.. 

Sounds like the library may have given the other member reason to be concerned by telling them it hadn't been removed from their system.



Last Edited on: 4/12/12 3:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/12/2012 3:08 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,980
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What's with the uber paranoid members calling out of town libraries?  When receiving a library discard, it would not be my first thought that the book is 'stolen' then take it upon myself to hunt up the library and ask.

I get asked this question a lot as a Tour Guide.  Ususally the concern I deal with is that it is a new release book, usually within a year or two.  Many member expect ex-library copies usually for older books when the library is paring their collection down.  However, at my FOL sales, they often have a few books that they ordered and then decided they didn't need/want for circulation, hence the 2 year or less pub date. 

Based on the number of wishers mentioned by the OP, that might have been the cause for concern in this case.   

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 3:53 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,127
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Yeah, I would probably hesitate to offer a library book now too, although I honestly can't remember the last time I did. 

If someone purchases a book at a library discard cart, they shouldn't then have to call the library to see if it's still in the system. 

I would never think to call a library about a book I received to see if it was stolen.  I can't imagine that there are that many stolen books being traded compared to the millions that are legitimately discarded by the library.  Imagine if everyone down the line who receives a discarded book called the library to check on it--would the libraries have time to deal with that?

I understand how the email problem would have made this worse though, it was bad luck that this happened at the same time. 

Diane

Subject: ex library Audiobook CD's
Date Posted: 4/12/2012 4:14 PM ET
Member Since: 11/30/2007
Posts: 127
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My bookshelf is exclusively Audiobook CD's.  About 95 % are ex-library but I still trade them.  I have sent out over 300 Audios and never had a problem with ex-library discs. If the PBS member tells me that they are too scratched or worn I will refund their credits immediately. Some Friends of Library sales have $50 and $60 audiobooks for sale for $1.00 !  How could you pass up that deal ?  In some cases the discs look like they were never played !

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 4:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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It should be routine to check if a library book is still part of a library's active collection before posting it for swapping here.  To do this just (1) check for WITHDRAWN stamps or the equivalent or (2) if no stamps are visible, contact the library, provide the library's catalog number (they'll tell you where to find it on the book) and they can confirm its status.

 

Sorry, but I don't think this should be routine at all.  My library does NOT stamp the books in any way to show they are withdrawn, so to all appearances, they would be currently used library books--except that the barcode no longer scans.  Our library also discards BRAND NEW, never checked-out copies of books that they either purchased and decided they didn't need or the demand fell before they got them on the shelf.  However, the only place the library sells discards is at their annual library sale, so maybe that's why they don't feel the need to stamp them if the discards go immediately in the sale box.

If I were to send someone an ex-library book, which is allowed by PBS, why would it need to be routine for either party to check to see if it's withdrawn?  Like Denise said above, it's not cost effective for me to send out a current library book for a credit when I'll eventually have to pay for the library book at some point--just doesn't make financial sense.  I think I would be upset, too, if this had happened to me.

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 4:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,980
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Shelia, I read that particular phrase as it should be routine if you are the first person posting the book into the system, not necessarily if you get the book in a trade.  But that could just be me.  *shrug*

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 4:48 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 613
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I wouldn't be just upset, I'd be LIVID.  Not necessarily with PBS, because they had to act based on the information they were given, but with the little Gladys Kravitz that took time out of her life to call a distant library and then ran to PBS AFTER she had been told by the librarian that there wasn't a problem. And yes, I agree that the other member should have been reprimanded -- new or not. 

What about this scenario?  My friend thought she had lost a couple of library books and paid FULL PRICE to the library for the lost books.  She found them two months later.  She now OWNS the books, without benefit of a "withdrawn" stamp on them.  She would be well within her right to trade them on PBS and, no, she shouldn't have to jump through any hoops in order to do so. 

Erin, I, too, hope you won't leave PBS because if the good folks keep leaving, eventually only the difficult traders will be around.  I've seen it happen before and it's very sad. 

Date Posted: 4/12/2012 4:53 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Shelia, I read that particular phrase as it should be routine if you are the first person posting the book into the system, not necessarily if you get the book in a trade.  But that could just be me.  *shrug*

There is a PBS help doc addressing "I received a library book!. Is this allowed?" and it encourages the receiver to call the library to ask if there are no withdrawn marks. 

 

Yes, decirculated library books may be swapped at PBS.

  • Ex-library books often have stamps inside or on the binding: this is fine.  

If you receive an ex-library book that is not clearly marked "withdrawn" (not all libraries do this), you should contact the library to ask them if this book is still part of their collection.

  • If the book is still part of the library's active collection, you should contact us.

If you do not wish to receive ex-library books, you should put this into your Requestor Conditions in your Account Settings.



Last Edited on: 4/12/12 4:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/12/2012 5:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2011
Posts: 551
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Add me as another who thinks the member who reported the book as stolen AFTER she knew from the librarian it WASN"T stolen should be reprimanded. This is just out and out malicious.

I'm going to think twice before sending out any former library books.

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