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Topic: Wondering about receiver's honesty

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Subject: Wondering about receiver's honesty
Date Posted: 7/2/2011 3:02 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2011
Posts: 7
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Hello all,

I'm fairly new to this but I just had an experience that has me questioning this system....

I mailed out a "like-new"cookbook that had never been used.  I just received a message from the receiver asking for credit because the book arrived in horrible condition.  Now this tells me that A) the book travelled through the evil worm hole that most of us know exists at the USPS or B) the person is just flat lying.  How have other members dealt with situations like this?  I emailed the member apologizing for the arrival condition, but aside from driving the darn thing to her house (or wrapping all of my books in kevlar), I really don't know what else I could have done.  Thoughts

Erin (runrgeeks)

Date Posted: 7/2/2011 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,220
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If I mailed a book that I knew was in good condition and I knew I wrapped the book to protect it from the USPS (didn't send a hardcover off in one layer of printer paper) I would tell them that and ask for a picture of the damage. If the damage they show me is something I could have missed (page 168 has spaghetti sauce on it and I read the book in the car by reading light) I'd return the credit. If the book looks like the USPS beat the snot out of it and the damage is something that was clearly not there when I mailed it and something I didn't contribute to, then I would tell them that. Politely saying that I am sorry that the book arrived that way, but the damage was not there when I sent it and the USPS clearly mishandled the book. The site splits damage by the USPS between the sender and the receiver by the sender losing the credit if the book doesn't get there and the receiver loses the credit if it makes it there, but damaged.

Date Posted: 7/2/2011 3:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2011
Posts: 7
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thanks for the advice Melanie.  To say I was flabbergasted is an understatement.  It hurt my feelings a bit cause my books are like family! lol Know what I mean?  The lady at my old used paperback store said she loved seeing me cause she knew my books would be pristine :)

I'm waiting to see how the member responds and I guess I'll take it from there.

Date Posted: 7/2/2011 4:41 PM ET
Member Since: 4/24/2008
Posts: 310
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I think the receiver is trying to get a free book.

Subject: cookbook
Date Posted: 7/2/2011 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,445
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Date Posted: 7/2/2011 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2006
Posts: 846
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I agree --- since you know the book was in like-new condition when you sent it, stand your ground. 

Luckily, this kind of thing rarely happens.  Most members I've met through the site are really nice people who love books.

Date Posted: 7/2/2011 6:18 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,719
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 Is it possible she got a copy other than yours from a sender who mailed before you did but forgot to mark the book mailed, so that the transaction rolled over to you? Not likely if it was a WL book, but if it was a FIFO order it happens once in a while. If you think that might be the case, you might PM her to check her transaction archive to see if there is a cancelled request for the book listed from another sender.

Date Posted: 7/2/2011 7:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2011
Posts: 2,413
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Welcome to PBS!  Ten books out in your first week is great.  When you start receiving books is when the real  fun starts. Is this the first of your books mailed that has been received?  Is it a cookbook like the ones left on your bookshelf?  How do you wrap your books?  I'm sure it will all work out, let us know.

Date Posted: 7/2/2011 8:06 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,670
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If I knew it was clean and I knew I had packaged the book well enough, no way would I return the credit.

I would definitely ask for pictures and would return the credit if it was damage I could easily have missed.

mistie -
Date Posted: 7/3/2011 2:22 PM ET
Member Since: 9/27/2007
Posts: 2,024
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If I knew it was clean and I knew I had packaged the book well enough, no way would I return the credit.

I agree- I would simply PM the receiver, politely tell her I knew my copy was in like -new/postable condition when I mailed it. tell her either she had received a copy from another member (suggest she check her transaction archive for a cancelled transaction), or the book had received damage by the USPS, despite have been securely wrapped.

I would definitely ask for pictures and would return the credit if it was damage I could easily have missed.

If I knew my book was in postable condition, I would not invite any further discussion be asking her to send pictures

Good luck, make sure you post updates, please.

Date Posted: 7/3/2011 5:36 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 52
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Ask for proof of damage, a photo would do. 


I just got a book covered in glue. Not the first time either. Too bad there are some dishonest swappers, wether they are senders or recivers :(

Last Edited on: 7/3/11 5:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/3/2011 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2011
Posts: 7
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I actually just turned down a request with extremely strict requested conditions.  My books are in very good shape but I'd really rather not be put in this same position again.  I'm actually curious whether it's the same member...too bad I can't see the order without accepting the request.  Not to sound mean...but it's a free book.  I can understand not wanting it to smell like smoke - I'm OK with that.  I get the feeling that we have ALOT of book sellers on here :(

Date Posted: 7/3/2011 6:43 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2009
Posts: 962
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Erin, it's NOT a free book.  Somewhere along the way, the requestor either pays postage to send out a book to receive a credit OR they purchase a credit.  It's not too much to ask that sender's follow the swapability guidelines and any RCs that they decide to accept.  

Date Posted: 7/3/2011 6:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2011
Posts: 7
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I understand that it's not *technically* free, but having just had someone with stringent RC's throw them back in my face, I will be refraining from shipping from folks who expect me to send them brand new books.

Date Posted: 7/3/2011 6:51 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2011
Posts: 7
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Oh...and roughly $4.00 in shipping for a nearly new book which is $19.99 STILL on bookstore shelves, seems like enough of a deal to back off some of the requirements...just sayin'

Date Posted: 7/3/2011 6:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2009
Posts: 962
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Sure, if you're lucky enough to get one of those.  A majority of the books swapped aren't like that.  I realize your new and may not understand all the ins and outs.  I'm sure you haven't received a book with a problem yet.  When you do, you will understand why the site has minimum posting guidelines and why others have chosen to put RCs on their accounts.  I don't agree with a lot of the RCs that some people have, but it is their right.  They've paid money somewhere along the line for the credit that they have.  And as members, we should respect that.  It's your choice whether to accept an RC, but the postability guidelines should always be followed.

Edited to add:  I'm not stating that the book you sent out did not meet guidelines.  If you knew it met the sites guidelines (and the requestor did not have RCs), then I wouldn't give them back their credit.  If the had RCs that weren't met...then that's a different story.  I don't recall whether you stated they had an RC.

Last Edited on: 7/3/11 7:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/3/2011 7:05 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2011
Posts: 7
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I didn't mean to come off snotty Kellie and I hope I did not.  I will gladly abide by certain RC's - I hate the smell of cigarette smoke on my books just like alot of other people.  I'm just a little perturbed by this lady's reaction. lol  I don't know....just got the wheels in the old brain turning.  Made me start wondering what's to keep folks from "playing the system," ya know.  But I'm looking at your bookshelf right now and anything I order better be darn near pristine! ;)

Date Posted: 7/3/2011 7:09 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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Did she give you pictures?

Date Posted: 7/3/2011 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2009
Posts: 962
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Ah heck girl, I'm not offended.  I've just been around and trying to pass on my wisdom LOL.  I'm sorry if I missed it, but did the requestor have a RC attached to it that they said you didn't meet?  From what I remember reading, it looks like the post office might have damaged it.  In which case...you shouldn't fret yourself about it.  Bad transactions such as this are few and far between.  I've been here about 2 years, and I've not received a book with a problem (yet).  I've had one transaction where the member marked a book I sent with a problem.  I knew it was perfect when I sent it.  The member did NOT have an RC.  And, I stood my ground and did not return the credit.  As long as the book you sent out met the minimum requirements set by the site (and any RCs if they had any) and you are certain about it...then don't return the credit.  One transaction against you doesn't mean much.  It's a problem if it becomes a habit.

As for my books, they meet the minimum criteria of the site.  Most of my HBs are even brand new and very few are missing the dust jackets.  So depending on which one you look at, then more than likely they would be pristine LOL.

Good luck.



Last Edited on: 7/3/11 7:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/3/2011 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,125
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It is always so interesting to me to read the forum postings about RWAPs. Whenever a sender posts about a RWAP transaction, they are pretty sure the receiver is trying to cheat them. Whenever a receiver posts about a RWAP transaction, they are pretty sure the sender is trying to cheat them. Several memorable times, we have had complaints in the forums about a transaction from both the sender and receiver on it, both posting about how they were cheated.

Here is what you should assume about transactions:

1. The other member is acting in good faith and actually received a damaged book. Bad cheating apples are few and far between. The most likely thing is that the other member really believes that you sent a damaged book. Is there an outside chance that the book is fine and the receiver is making up the complaint? I guess. BUT, that is not the thing that you should assume is happening.

You should treat the other member as you would want to be treated if you were the one who received a damaged book in the mail. 1. Politely. 2. Assume that they are telling the truth as they see it from their vantage point (holding a damaged book in their hand).

You should respond politely. Ask about the damage. Did the receiver describe it adequately? So that you can tell if the damage happened en route? Or perhaps it is as other members have described it ... it is also possible that the requestor had two orders for whatever reason (not common, but not unknown, either). Ask for pictures of the damage (that way, you will know for sure if 1. you agree that the book is unpostable, and 2. whether or not you could have missed the damage before you sent the book.).

If the damage truly happened en route, then explain that. And decline to refund the credit. If you come to the conclusion that perhaps you missed the damage or didn't package the book adequately, then refund the credit.

Date Posted: 7/4/2011 2:30 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,350
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To repeat what Bren said " Is it possible she got a copy other than yours from a sender who mailed before you did but forgot to mark the book mailed, so that the transaction rolled over to you?"

You can ask her to check to see if the return address on the package is yours.  If it isn't your name and address, your book may still be on its way to her.  If it is your name and address, ask about the condition of the packaging. 

Was the packaging adequate? (If it was wrapped in a single piece of paper, or if the sender used scotch tape instead of packaging tape, for example, then the sender is responsible for any damage due to inadequate packaging.)

Does it have tire tracks on it? :-)  (Melanie described the site policy about books damaged en route by the Post Office.  The other member may not know that the sender doesn't have to return a credit for a book damaged en route.)

And I strongly agree with Sara above about assuming the other member is acting in good faith.  It fosters honest communication and helps solve problems and mysteries.  I also leave a space in my mind for the possibility that when I was flipping through the book, I missed something that would make it unpostable.  For example, even a new book could have become water damaged on my coffee table.

Lots of good ideas up above.  And here's a good help doc:

A requestor says there is a problem with a book I sent!



Date Posted: 7/9/2011 9:46 AM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2005
Posts: 2,320
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I've been here since 2005 and have only received about 5 RWAP books out of almost 1,000 books (which is ridiculous and makes me happy:lol:).   Once you receive a book that is USPS damaged, trust me, you really wouldn't mistake it for anything but that.   The physical damage starts at the outside packaging and continues on the wreck the book.  I've had mailers ripped, folded accordian like after being caught in a machine, foot prints, tire tracks and trade sized books twisted like a twizzler.    Rain damage to the outer packaging is obvious, fingers crossed the sender wraps book in plastic.  Unpostables from the get go, well, they can arrive wrapped so neat and pretty...   

I would never hold the sender accountable for damage by USPS--that's why that is a completely separate rating option on PBS.   I would agree with those who advise not to invite further contact--I would not refund if I know the book was sent in good condition per PBS guidelines.   Asking for photos wouldn't really prove anything unless you had taken photos prior to shipping as proof the book was postable...who does that? :)   Not that I think this needs saying, but politely stand by your decision.

Date Posted: 7/9/2011 1:18 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Welcome to PBS Erin! 

I agree with Melanie's advice.   Especially the part about hardcovers mailed in a single layer of printer paper, b/c I received one of those this week.  The corners were rounded a bit and poking through the wrapper (and plastic underwrap) but otherwise undamaged.  But seasoned members know this is not always the case, when the Sampsonite Gorilla is working his shift in the Media Mail sorting room ... almost anything is possible.

Sara also has a good point regarding the different perspectives of sender and receiver.  So although your feelings have been injured *hugs*, best to remain polite as long a possible. 

In addition, remember when you reply to her pm (which hopefully is the one attached to the book transasction) to use the same pm thread.  Keep it all together JIC TPTB need to review the situation.  On the (very) slim chance the receiver makes a habit of this behavior, it would help PBS admin if there are several discussion thread such as yours attached to these RWAPs on her account.

Subject: I had a similar problem, and I KNOW the book was in pristine condition when
Date Posted: 7/12/2011 11:40 AM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2009
Posts: 74
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I got a  popular book from PBS, it was in excellent condition, I read about 1/3 of it and decided it was not something I wanted to finish, so I re-posted it.

Mailed it off to requester, who told me it had a "big" cigarette burn in the cover!

We are a non-smoking household.

The cover was fine when I sent the book. I would have noticed a cigarette burn when I got it from the first sender.

  Short of asking for a picture, I knew it was "he said, she said" situation, and any picture of a burn would not be evidence that book ARRIVED that way, so had no choice but to let it slide.

Now I check for that  requestor's name before I accept any  requests.

This is the only time I have ever had a problem like that, out of 120 books mailed since 2009.



Date Posted: 7/12/2011 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Technically M, teven if the burn existed the book was probably postable.  Unless the burn on the cover was "the amount missing is less than 1 square inch" mentioned in the Swappability Guidelines.