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Topic: whose responsible?

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Subject: whose responsible?
Date Posted: 7/8/2010 8:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/13/2009
Posts: 503
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ok...my second topic of the day!

I recieved a larger paperback in the mail yesterday...."The Hour I First Believed".  Due to the way it was wrapped the book has sustained quite a bit of damage on its travels here.  The cover is ripped (due to fact I assume the packaging ripped)...the top of the pages are crushed and there appears to be "water damage" like crinkling. Not sure if that is something that was there before it was shipped or not.....the book is totally dry and we haven't had rain in our area for over three weeks.

so my question is...............this book (again a thicker paperback)....was only wrapped in the TWO PLAIN SHEETS OF PAPER as suggested by PBS when you print the label. Then taped on using  one piece of masking tape at each end and one piece along the length seam.  Clearly this was not enough shipping material or tape to get this book anywhere safely.................................but do I mark it as RWAP due to the sender or the post office??

why does PBS even make that suggestion about  using just the two sheets of paper as the shipping wrapper?? Yes, it works fine for smaller/regular size paperbacks (if they don't get wet) .

Date Posted: 7/8/2010 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 3/4/2007
Posts: 4,581
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It sounds like the package was damaged by the post office and since it was crushed on top of being ripped, I'm not entirely sure that the wrapping would be the culprit.  I think I'd mark it as damaged by the PO, for the official record.  However, masking tape is completely inappropriate for mailing purposes and I'm surprised that the post office let it go through.  You might want to PM the sender and let them know that masking tape is a no-no.

As for the two sheets of paper wrapper, it does work well for regular paperbacks, but using a lot of tape is key.  I prefer using other material for wrapping in, myself, but I haven't had too many issues with receiving books in the 2 sheet wrappers.

Date Posted: 7/8/2010 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2007
Posts: 2,015
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Last Edited on: 2/3/15 5:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/8/2010 9:21 AM ET
Member Since: 6/13/2009
Posts: 503
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Personally I think the damage was cause by the wrapping not be suffificent.........no padding or whatnot.  Two pieces of white printer paper don't offer much protection.   And true, I also have recieved smaller/regular size paperbacks with this same wrapping style that arrived here without issues but I do always have a moment of worry when I see them in my mailbox like that.

I wish there was a button to RWAP as both the sender and the post office together!!!  LOL

Thanks for the advise..going to mark it now

Date Posted: 7/8/2010 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2009
Posts: 248
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It sounds to me like they wrapped the book within the guidelines of PBS. If you think books need more packaging you need to include it in your RC. In mine I ask for the books to be wrapped in anything plastic. That said, I think the post office damaged this book and it should be marked as such.

Date Posted: 7/8/2010 9:45 AM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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I dont agree that they followed the PBS guidelines for wrapping a this book. Here is the HC Doc about Wrapping Larger/Multiple Book Shipments

The 2-page PBS wrapper works well for single paperbacks, or even two small books packaged together, but if you have a larger or heavy book, or a multiple-book shipment to send, the 2-page PBS Wrapper alone will not provide sturdy enough packaging on its own to protect your book(s) en route.  You will need to use alternate packaging methods.  You can use the 1-page PBS Label (the choice on the far right on the Wrapper Settings page) as an address label.

Suggestions for alternate packaging materials:

  • Heavy brown paper (from a cut-down grocery sack)
  • Manila envelope
    • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
  • Bubble or padded mailer
  • Tyvek or similar large envelope
    • tape it down tightly around the book(s) to prevent "flaps" that can get caught in postal machinery
    • taping tightly around the book(s) also prevents the contents from sliding around inside
  • Box
    • prevent your books from sliding around inside with crumpled paper (NOT newspaper--the ink can mark the books!) or (clean) plastic shopping bags, balled up.
    • we recommend putting tape around the entire box in both directions - this will help keep the box together as it travels to its destination.  Strapping tape (the one with fibers in it) is great, but packing tape applied tightly around the box will also help with this.
  • Poor choices for alternate packaging materials:
    • Giftwrapping paper (too thin)
    • Newspaper (can smudge ink onto the books)
    • Priority mail envelope (this is illegal to use for MediaMail, even if you are reusing it, and even if you turn it inside out!)
      • if you do this, and the package is inspected, it will arrive postage-due at the requestor's, or be returned postage-due to you (the additional postage required will be the difference between postage paid and Priority Mail rate)


The aim is to have a sturdy package that will not permit the books to slide around inside, and which will not have loose flaps to get caught in postal machinery. It can take some experimentation to find the best method for you.

Last Edited on: 7/8/10 9:48 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/8/2010 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,225
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If you are going to address the water damage as being there prior to shipping, then you could mark it as damaged by sender otherwise I think you need to mark it damaged by USPS, poor wrapping doesn't change the RWAP classification.

The Help Center says that you may ask for a credit back if you think poor wrapping attributed to the damage. That doesn't mean you are going to get it. Since the Help Doc says the wrapper can be used for "a single paperback or 2 small books packaged together" the sender may very well believe they followed the wrapping guidelines (the HC even shows a trade sized book being wrapping in only the two sheets of paper) and had the USPS handled the book better, the damage wouldn't have happened. Padding a book is not required so even alternate wrappings may not have saved the book. 

If I were to receive the other side of this situation in Live Help, I would tell her that she needs to wrap books better in the future because the USPS is hard on books, but that she wouldn't be required to return the credit since it was the USPS's fault it was damaged.

Date Posted: 7/8/2010 10:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 3,044
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Wow, this sounds EXACTLY like a book I got a couple months ago. It was a hardcover, wrapped in the two sheets of paper (which means it was more like one sheet since the two had to be taped together to create one), and it was taped with scotch tape! I did RWAP by PO, but sent a PM letting them know it was probably due to the wrapping. They just said, "Thanks for letting me know." I hope it wasn't the same person just ignoring what I told them. I didn't ask for a credit back even though the book came a bit damaged, but I hoped just telling them about the damage would get them to wrap hardcovers a bit different.

Last Edited on: 7/8/10 10:34 AM ET - Total times edited: 1