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Topic: What % never arrive?

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Subject: What % never arrive?
Date Posted: 1/25/2010 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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Occassionally a book doesn't make it to me.    I'd like an idea of how often this happens to other people so I know when to watch for a problem on my end (disappearing mail maybe) instead what I assume is usually the problem (USPS eating poor packaging).    I assume its the packaging problem since things that I buy mail order don't seem to have a problem making it to me.   But having had several books not arrive lately, I'm just wondering how often this happens to other folks.

Also, what happens if the sender has already used their credit?   

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 10:56 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 7,977
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I haven't had one go lost to me for quite a while. When I first started I had a rash of incoming during the first couple of years not arrive. Seemed to happen in spurts, with fall and spring being the worst for me. But with the amount of members who won't read this thread and the number who don't visit the forums at all, I'm not sure you can get an accurate number. Only the site owners would really know.

Also, what happens if the sender has already used their credit?  

The sender won't get their credit until the book arrives if they don't use PBS DC. So they can't use it before the book goes lost because they'll never get it.

If they've used PBS DC, then they've paid for the 'insurance' to be covered if the book doesn't arrive. They don't have to give the credit back if the book goes lost. So the site replaces the requester's credit, and the sender is already covered. So they can spend the credit as soon as they get it and don't have to worry about it.

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
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I've had a couple go lost coming to me and one go lost that I mailed.  However, I'm doubting the ones that went lost coming to me were ever mailed. Odd circumstances surrounding both of them.

I also have my doubts that the one that I mailed went lost either. I sent it first class and just before it was about to go lost I PM'd the person letting her know I mailed it first class and she basically told me to "mind my own business." Say what? That's when I switched to PBS DC (and eventually to PBS postage).

So I don't think things "truly" go lost very often.

Last Edited on: 1/25/10 12:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/25/2010 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/18/2008
Posts: 166
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I had a whole box of books (WL books) go missing on their way to me. Besides that one time, I don't think I've had anything go missing.

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2009
Posts: 1,083
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I've been here for about 3 months and have bought over 50 books.  I have never had a package go lost.  I thought that it was going to happen recently, but it looks like the person on the other end didn't really send it when they said they did.  They printed the postage on the 7th and the package was scanned into their local post office on the 20th.  The package is currently stuck in Federal Way Washington (the black hole of packages on the West Coast). 

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,223
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I assume its the packaging problem since things that I buy mail order don't seem to have a problem making it to me.

I just saw this in your post ... it's unfair to blame it solely on the packaging. Media mail is rough on books. I doubt much of what you get from online is mailed media mail unless it's media from eBay? And we've had things go lost from eBay before. 

I'm sure that some cases, it's poor packaging, but more often than not if something really goes lost it's the post office.

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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Okay, I should have said either packaging problems and/or the post office.     I don't mean to assign blame, just I do receive enough stuff packaged in a manner that could easily break open (often already started doing so), that it seems a safe assumption that some of the stuff lost to me was packaged in a manner that didn't survive.    When stuff doesn't arrive, I don't know what happened and I know that I don't know.

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I've received probably 1,000 books between games, orders, deals and Box of Books-I've only had 3 coming to me go lost.  1 shows a delivery scan but it was never delivered to me.  The other never said more than "shipping info received" and I'm assuming it was never really mailed.  1 showed up abotu a week after it went lost-senders husband had forgotten to mail them.  

I've sent probably 1,000 now at this point between games, requests etc.., and haven't had a single one go lost.  So to me DC is a waste of money.  With what I've saved by not using DC I could buy a lot of books or credits. I help support PBS in other ways.


Date Posted: 1/25/2010 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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I had my first book go lost on it's way to me today.  It still may get here of course...so I'm waiting to re-order in case it does show up.

PBS certainly does teach patience!  I put this book on my wishlist back in November, wish was granted in December.  Sender took all five days before she accepted the offer, then took another five days (six actually) before she marked the book mailed.  Now the book is no longer wishlisted, so I'll wait a couple of weeks before re-ordering.  It's not that big a deal for me actually--my TBR pile is out of control as it is!

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 1:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/11/2007
Posts: 24
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After being active here for four months now, I've had one book go lost. It had delivery confirmation also, and never made it out of its home state.

Rick B. (bup) - ,
Date Posted: 1/25/2010 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2007
Posts: 2,625
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I'm 0 for 75 lost incoming, 0 for 77 lost outgoing.

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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I have one that is going to be declared lost if it doesn't arrive it a couple of days.    I just checked the tracking info -- didn't know I could do that -- and it does just say "shipping info received" and no info about it actually being shipped.   Maybe they forgot to mail it.

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
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I've been here 4 1/2 years, and have requested 1,400 + books. 18 have gone lost and never arrived. (A few others went lost and turned up late because the book was mailed later than stated, or occasionally just went 'walkabout.')

In that same timeframe, I've sent 1,450+ books and had 7 of those go lost. It does happen sometimes. I've even sent a couple with DC that were scanned along the way and then nothing...no delivery scan...went to some black hole somewhere.

Edited to add: I do believe a large percentage of those that were sent to me and never arrived were never actually sent. Of those 18, 13 of the members have accounts that are "closed or suspended." I'm guessing PBS maybe intervened if they had too many books they sent go lost in a short time--some of them I recall checking when the book went lost and their accounts were already closed.


Last Edited on: 1/25/10 2:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/25/2010 3:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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I've only sent and received 57 and 58 books, respectively. I haven't had any go lost. I've received one damaged to the point of being unpostable, but it was damaged en route. I've been lucky so far.

I think that the more active a person is on the site the more negative aspects (like lost books) they will encounter. It's like on Ebay wher the people with thousands in feedback are the ones with more negatives than others. The more you do the more likely you are to experience bumps in the road. Not that this means you can't experience bumps earlier on, just that higher volumes of business suffer from more losses because they're at risk more often than someone like me who only averages less than 20 books in and out each year.

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I've sent over 600 books, and had only one that tried to go lost (black hole Warrendale).  Was returned to me under odd circumstances and finally made its way to the original requester. 

I've received over 400 books, and my archive shows 5 of those lost.  I know at least one never got into the mail, the sender marked it mailed when she handed it to a family member.  Their car was stolen before getting to the post office, and when recovered the package was gone.  Of the other four 'lost' books, I've no idea how many were actually mailed (none used DC)...so worst case scenario for me is 1% lost in the mail.

Interesting tho, that the percentage of incoming lost books is so much higher than outgoing...when factoring in the books never mailed, I suspect the outgoing 'lost in the mail' is probably closer to the real number...almost zero for me in over 600 transactions.

ETA - 'Shipping Info Recieved' merely means that a DC has been purchased and a tracking number assigned.  That notation is no indication of whether or not the package was ever mailed.  If going blue box, it's possible a book can arrived at it's destination without being scanned except for the actual 'Delivery' scan...although it is much more common to be scanned somewhere enroute.  When I take packages to the post office to buy postage, they are scanned during the transaction and 'Acceptance' appears on the scan records.  Without an 'acceptance' or 'enroute' scan it can be difficult to discern if the item is actually in USPS hands.

Last Edited on: 1/25/10 4:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 1/25/2010 4:34 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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If you have a large number, do talk to your local postmaster.  That can nudge them to oversee the media mail more closely.

Also check that your address follows the USPS guidelines.  Using the right abbreviations can speed your mail  up now that so much of the mail is handled by sorting machines.

I've had a book that arrived after 4 months.   And several that have gone lost.

There was a point when the PO was changing the sorting hubs around and books seem to disappear right and left.  That seems to have the glitches worked out.  But there are certain hubs that books seem to fall into a black hole.  I always cringe when I see Bell, CA on a DC detail. 

ETA  Out of 627 books (sent and ordered) I've had 2 lost in the mail, 3 declared lost that later arrived, and 3 damaged by USPS.

Last Edited on: 1/26/10 6:22 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/25/2010 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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At this point I wouldn't say I've had it happen that many times.   I have successfully received 86 books.   Of twice lost, one was for sure lost at their end because the sender had another package go lost at exactly the same time.   But I have 2 that are being really slow right now, am wondering what went wrong.  One I'm guessing was never shipped and am not really expecting it to arrive.    The other, probably just got stuck someplace and will eventually get here.   

Thanks for everyone's replies.

Date Posted: 1/25/2010 9:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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I've been a PBS member for over 1 year and half and during the first year never lost a book...but in the last 3 months, 4 of my books have been lost. I was thinking somebody was stealing them but some of them have gotten lost in different places (one I mailed to San Diego, made it all the way to CA and then dissappeared...one was never scanned...another one was scanned in PA and then was never heard from again, etc.)

I'm blaming it on the Holidays (the Post office has a lot of stuff going on during that time) because my packaging worked very well for the 1st year. :)

Date Posted: 1/26/2010 2:27 AM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I have two that I'm 99.9% certain were never mailed.  Other than that, nada.  With app. 200 books ordered.  None of my outgoing books have been lost (so far!).

Date Posted: 1/26/2010 5:12 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,838
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according to my transaction archive, i've received over 450 books - and only had 4 go lost in the mail.  and i'm pretty sure at least a two of those weren't ever mailed.  one even had PBS DC on it, but it never got scanned anywhere.

i did have a couple of others get marked lost in the mail and then turn up a few days later which had been sent from Alaska.  the Media Mail just took that long between mailing and arrival, but at least i'd been warned of that.

i've been lucky and never had an outgoing package get lost in the mail.

Date Posted: 1/26/2010 2:59 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2008
Posts: 129
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194 sent to me and 108 shipped out by me.


Maybe 1 - 2 of those I sent were listed as lost (one recently PBS corrected to received when I proved it had been delivered and the PBS member had changed their mailing address from California to Louisiana AFTER the book had been shipped).  I filed with PO and they confirmed delivery to the CA address.  (PBS postage and DC)


of the 194 inbound, maybe a dozen marked lost.  Of those, one was mailed after it had been marked lost by PBS.  A couple that I suspicion were never mailed as well.

Date Posted: 1/26/2010 6:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2008
Posts: 370
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I have had a total of 5 books go lost that I have mailed out of 187.  4 were mailed on the same day, from the same post office, so I suspect that some postal worker was yelled at by the boss - and my books were the first things he came across after that. 

Every book I have ordered has made it to me.

Date Posted: 1/28/2010 12:52 AM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2006
Posts: 516
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I guess I am lucky.  I have been a member for over three years and have mailed and received over 400 books and have never had one go lost.  Knock on wood.

Date Posted: 1/28/2010 5:04 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2009
Posts: 115
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That is amazing.  400 and none lost.   None of the ones I have sent have been lost so far.   But 4 that I was supposed to receive have been lost.   90 have successfully arrived, though a few were close to falling out of the bag when they got here.

I'm curious as to how many hard covers you request and send.   I have a theory that these have a harder time making it through the mail system especially packed in bag mailers.   The one I just had go lost in the mail is a hardback and I think the other 3 were too.   

Date Posted: 1/28/2010 8:05 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,603
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Edith, I send and receive a lot of hardcovers and don't notice any difference in these going lost vs. paperbacks. In fact, when I went back to look at the books that were lost, in both directions and only one of them was a hardcover. I would say probably a good 1/3 of the nearly 3000 transactions I've had were hardcovers.