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Topic: "wrong book received" issue

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Subject: "wrong book received" issue
Date Posted: 3/4/2009 11:41 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2005
Posts: 227
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Long long story:

I posted a book a few weeks ago. It had the same title as a very popular book on the same subject matter. The book I posted was a children's book. The book information was all correct and the info page for the book totally said it was a children's book, published by a children's book publisher, written by a non-famous author etc etc. The cover art for the popular book has apparently been added to this much less popular children's version info page. Someone ordered this non-popular children's version of the very popular book they wanted. I had bought this book on purpose for my children. They all read it and loved it. They were not old enough to read the popular book. I did not know the pewrson who ordered this book did not want the children's book. I did not know that person wanted the popular book. The book I posted clearly is not the popular version. Like I said, the info on the book page is all correct and all about it being a children's book. So, when they received the book, they marked it "wrong book" and said they wanted the popular book.I replied, politely, that I had mailed the correct book and that they had not ordered the popular book even thought the title was the same. I even apologized that they had made a mistake and were disappointed. So, for about 5 or 6 pm's we went back and forth that the book was wrong and not what was ordered and that the book was correct and just not the book they meant to order. I asked them, more than once, to read the book info from their transaction archive and see that they really did not order the popular version of the book. I apologized more than once that they were disappointed, but really, what can I do? It was not my fault. Today, they had the temerity to ask me to give them my address and send them money for postage because they do not want this book. They refused to click the issue as resoved until I return a credit to them. I told them, again, that the mistake was not mine. I suggested, politely, that they post the book or donate in some fashion if they do not want it. So, they said I would not be getting a credit for the book since it was wrong. At this point, I am a bit ticked, so I said they were being juvenile in not resolving the issue and that I did receive a credit and that I was not returning it. They argued again that I sent the wrong book. but I sent the exact book I posted. It is the exact book I owned. It is the exact book my kid's read. It is the exact book described on the book info page. I did then ask them if they could  not read since the details were plainly stated even on the transaction resolution page where we were PMing back and forth. Now they are angry as well. They have said they will find a way to get back their credit and that I should enjoy it while I could and they will not allow the issue to be resolved any other way. I responded one last time that there was no way to get a credit back when you order the wrong book. Only when a wrong book is actually sent. I did also say I would enjoy my credit.

So, extremely long story. But I am really miffed and feel super aggravated. I have mailed 900 books in my time on this site and this person is refusing to cooperate. I want to vent without further PMing because I do not think I can be civil any longer. I am so mad. I think my anger may be disproportionate, but have never had this happen before. I have never had to deal with any one, except a small child, who absolutely refused to see they had made a mistake. I have never been so thoroughly accused of wrong-doing when I was innocent. Except when I was a child and then my sister did the accusing. Totally different. I am an adult and I just feel really personal about this.

Am I wrong? I think I am big enough and mature enought to admit it if I am. But I really do not believe I am. I posted and mailed a book in good faith and this person seems to be determined to make me pay for an error they made.

i would actually appreciate any advice here.


Date Posted: 3/4/2009 11:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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Bottom line is that the site requires the (1)Title, (2)Author, (3)ISBN#, and (4)Binding Type to match what PBS says in the listing. Did your book match? If so, then you do not have to return their credit and the site can see that the RWP was not correct. If any of those 4 points did not match, you posted the book incorrectly and need to return the credit.

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 1:19 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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Face it.  It sounds like they want the popular book without waiting for the wish list.  Nothing will make them happy.  You need to vent and shake it off.  If it matched the listing, then you are set.  Go watch the sunset or something to remove the stupid people taste.

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 2:22 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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Scream, kick and yell!  You are in the right and they are in the wrong.   There is nothing to be done at this point cept, once your anger is over, to just let it go.  TPTB are not going to worry if you have one transaction that they haven't marked resolved.    Enjoy your credit!!

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 3:54 AM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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Geesh. Now here's an example of stupidity in action. They'll probably go and complain to PBS about it and get a response essentially saying (but in a far more polite way) 'what are you, stupid or something? Read the listing info next time.' Seriously though, I'm sorry this happened to you. But, you're right, they're wrong, and anyone who ever reviews the transaction will know it, so I wouldn't worry about it. They probably saw the pretty cover photo (by the way, did you go in and mark it as an incorrect cover image?) and went all googly-eyed.

Mind if I ask what the book title is? Now I'm curious. I can't think of any hugely popular books that share titles with a children's book.

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 5:40 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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When movies come out aimed at the family market, they will reissue the orginal book with a new cover and also make a younger version.  They did this for Charlotte's Web and The Polar Express.  I expect that it will happen with Inkheart.  Probably did it for The Bridge to Trebitha (how ever that is spelled). The cover photos would be based on the movie.  But the book would be abridged.

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 6:36 AM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 294
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I'm so sorry this happened to you, sevedra. As someone who's reached the amazing milestone of 900 books mailed out, you deserve enormous respect, and if that silly woman can't see that, she is just WACK.
I can't speak to the technical issues about unresolved transactions and such, but I do know a littlle something about anger. And my empathy in that area was recently reinforced, in a big way, by a "super aggravating" experience of my own. Several days ago I discovered that another PBS member had found one of my published book reviews, and she had copied part of it, which she posted as a book review in PBS, word for word, as if it were her own. No credit to the author, no mention of where she got it, no quotation marks---just "So-and-so wrote on mm/dd/yyyy ..." over the product of my hard work.

I saw red. It was the first time it had ever happened to me, that someone had copied my work and claimed as their own. It was plagiarism, pure and simple. And yet it was outside the usual issues that come up on PBS. I realized it didn't make any sense to report it to the PBS Team, to involve other people in what could be resolved between the plagiarist and me. So I wrote to her and asked her to take down the review. She did so promptly.

I should've just left it at that, but there was this letter from her in my mailbox, with her story of how and why she came to copy my work and quote it without credit. She was as calm as a cucumber, because, in her view, she had done no wrong. I couldn't just delete her letter and forget about it: it was just too exasperating that she had neither shame about, nor comprehension of, the plagiarism. And this is where anger came into the picture: this woman's attitude was amoral to the point of driving me up the wall. The excuses she made for what she did were so bizarre, the concept of ownership or copyright with regard to written material was so totally beyond her ability to comprehend, she drove me absolutely bananas. She was plenty smart enough. She was just completely without a concept of right and wrong in this area. Finally I had to admit I wasn't going to get her to budge. ('Sound familiar?) So I filed the letters away and started the process of letting go. 'Sounds easy, eh? Ha! It was either that or all the blood vessels in my brain were going to pop. <laugh>

So anyway, there's a couple of things I'd like to say about your anger, sevedra. The first one is specific to where you say you are right now:

            I think my anger may be disproportionate, but have never had this
            happen before. I have never had to deal with any one, except a small
            child, who absolutely refused to see they had made a mistake. I have
            never been so thoroughly accused of wrong-doing when I was innocent.
            Except when I was a child and then my sister did the accusing.

This isn't psychotherapy, but that doesn't mean we're not, as big readers (yeh!), intelligent enough to use some basic principles of psychology when it seems like they might be useful.

So I hope you won't mind if I just throw these ideas out:

     • what you say is happening, sevedra, is that instead of Irritant Level 3 causing Anger Level 3 (proportionate), it's Irritant Level 3 causing Anger Level 5 (disproportionate). 
     • psychology says that when an emotion is disproportionate to an occasion, one possibility is that some other, *similar* occasion in the person's past may be adding to her emotion.
     • if we *do* find such an occasion or issue or whatever you want to call it, then look at what happens to the equation:

Irritant Level 3 (current)  +  Irritant Level 2 (past, unresolved) ---> Anger Level 5                                                                                                       (proportionate)

     •  this result is key: if there's any chance of such an Irritant from a similar and unresolved issue, then guess what? Your anger is proportionate. You can quit beating on yourself for not being "mature" and "adult" enough.
     • what's *is* the unresolved issue in the past? You've put a pretty clear hint right there in the paragraph I quoted: your sister used to accuse you of wrong-doing. But there's also something about a small child who absolutely refuses to see they'd made a mistake. That could be a different child from your sister. Who knows? That is, *you* know. Or not. As you say, sevedra, "I just feel really personal about this." That's because something about this situation is tapping into that *other* situation, from some other time--it could be decades ago, it could be a year ago--that is "personal," meaning, something in your personal life that this exasperating wrong-book woman should get the hell away from! And we (including me) should stay away from it, too. It's your personal stuff.

The point being: Your anger is proportionate. I may not have convinced you of that, but I have heard enough to believe it myself.

You wanted advice. First, I suggest that you modify your thoughts: every time you find yourself saying something critical to yourself, you cease and desist. We've already talked about why your anger is not disproportionate. Some other critical things you may be saying to yourself: you're immature, you're hanging onto this too long, you're not thinking straight, you're ridiculous, you're acting like a child, etc. etc. You fill in the blanks. What I'm saying is, drop ALL of those negative messages, and substitute positive messages, for as long as it takes: You are mature. It's normal for an adult to be angry sometimes. You are taking as long as it takes. Your thinking is just fine. Your anger is in proportion to the situation.

Then move on to positive messages not related to your anger, like, "You've read 40 out of 80 of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novels. That's impressive!" It may seem lame, but it's good for you. Don't worry--no one else is gonna hear you talking about how great you are. <grin>

Because saying all those negative things to yourself is like further inflaming a wound, thus delaying the healing process. Watch those thoughts, and when you see them, drop them, stop thinking them, and think positive things instead. The wound will feel soothed. Just watch.

Second piece of advice: stick with the medical metaphor. (It's not even a metaphor: it's your brain, and your brain is just as physical as a bone.) An anger-making incident like this is just like tissue trauma. You have to heal from it, and healing takes time. No amount of saying, "I've gotta let it go" will allow you to let it go, until you've healed enough that you're ready to let it go. It may have already happened by the time you read this posting. It make take several weeks or more. Whatever it takes, that's how long it takes. You wouldn't give yourself grief it if you had a cut on your arm that was slowly healing, so don't give yourself grief if the wound from this horrible woman takes a while to heal.

I do suspect, though, that you've already suffered the worst of it.

By the way, I've got kind of a happy ending, from my own story of anger and woe. After I calmed down, I wrote to the PBS Team about their Help Doc on book reviews. They agreed with me that the wording should be more clear and emphatic, about book reviews being original unless specified otherwise, and the source being given when appropriate. Much to my delight, they made the changes right away! You can see for yourself: go to this Help Doc, then click on "How do I provide/edit my review of a book?"

                            -- that's more than enough from me!

Last Edited on: 3/5/09 6:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/5/2009 7:49 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I think this is one of those rare instances when PBS needs to get involved. Normally they don't and can't get involved in every dispute but clearly this person is not getting the picture.  And I don't think you should offer them a credit just to shut them up.  If your title/author/ISBN and binding matched then you did nothing wrong.  Contact PBS and they can contact this member with an official warning. 

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 8:11 AM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2009
Posts: 1,411
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You are right, the requestor is wrong. They ordered the wrong book and, though it sucks, they have to live with that. They can repost it and get their credit back that way. And I agree with Mary, perhaps PBS should get involved with this one.

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 8:27 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I forgot to mention that I got dinged once for wong book sent and I sent the right book. I posted a hardcover and the listing said hardcover.  The lady had wanted an audio but apparently had clicked on the wrong listing.  Not my fault. We went back and forth a few times and I finally got her to correct the RWP.  I was lucky though and she was convinced it was PBS fault. That they had sent the order to the wrong person.  So she didn't harrass me.

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,730
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It's clearly her mistake, not yours.  There isn't any way she can get her credit back.  She'd be better off to let it go and repost the book.

I'd simply tell her that the matter is resolved and you will not discuss it further with her.  Even if she doesn't mark the transaction as resolved, one ding is not going to hurt you.  There comes a point where you've just gotta let it go.

Kate -
Date Posted: 3/5/2009 9:58 AM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2008
Posts: 534
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Last Edited on: 3/27/09 3:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/5/2009 10:09 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2007
Posts: 29
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            I think my anger may be disproportionate, but have never had this
            happen before. I have never had to deal with any one, except a small
            child, who absolutely refused to see they had made a mistake. I have
            never been so thoroughly accused of wrong-doing when I was innocent.

You have never had to deal with my daughter's ex-husband!  (LOL)

Date Posted: 3/5/2009 10:33 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 5,751
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You are competely right and she is wrong. Keep the PM's in case she reports anything to TPTB. You should just forget about this one person and think back on the HUNDREDS of happy members you have swapped with.

Date Posted: 3/9/2009 8:54 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 294
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I was reading the Help Docs today, and I happened to notice this line about problem transactions:

           If a pattern of "official" or "unofficial" problems
           (especially official problems that are not resolved
           according to requestor follow-up) emerges on a
           sender's account, we will take action.

We've listened to sevedra's story. We've heard her frustration and anger---and we sympathize very much with those feelings---toward a requestor who didn't intend to order the book that they ordered, a requestor who actually wanted a different book, but now will not admit they made a mistake. Again and again we've said, "sevedra, you, the sender of that book, are in the right. The requestor is in the wrong."

So when I read that line today, I immediately thought, Wait a minute---there's something wrong with this picture. A "pattern of... problems... not resolved according to requestor follow-up)" and that pattern is said to "emerge[s] on a sender's account"---that's a scenario where the sender is wrong, the requestor right.

What about the other way around? What about the problem where the sender has a problem with the requestor? Shouldn't PBS also keep an eye out for problems not resolved according to *sender* follow-up? forming a pattern of problems that emerge on a *requestor's* account?

The relationship between sender and requestor is obviously not completely symmetrical. Their roles in the transaction are too different. But still, the Help Docs indicate a bias in favor of the requestor---as if the requestor is always at the mercy of the sender, and never the other way around.

Does it seem that way to you? Or am I missing something?


Date Posted: 3/9/2009 10:52 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Wow, Fiona !!  I'm impressed with your insights.  I wish I could write a review that someone could think was good enough that they wish they'd written it (I don't wish plaigerism on me or anyone else).  I'm not succinct enough or organized enough to get the gist of a book's content across and still make it interesting without spoiling the book. 

And as for your arguments about the balance of follow-ups and their weight in relation to  problems and solving them.  I hadn't thought of it before - but you are right, I think.


Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 3/10/2009 12:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,155
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The bias is in favor of the requestor because the sender gets the credit as soon as the requestor marks the book received. If the sender truly did something wrong and refuses to right it, the requestor has no recourse.

If the requestor incorrectly marked something as a problem, then that is not such a big deal. The sender has the credit. Yes, she also has a problem transaction on her record, but based on past notes from the PBS Team, I feel pretty confident in saying that one problem from an "odd" requestor is extremely unlikely to hurt the sender.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2005
Posts: 227
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I took Fiona's post to heart! I let it all go. The requestor hasn't emailed me anymore, so i am not thinking about it anymore. I do see that there may be a bias toward the requestor though. Maybe PBS can see if a specific requestor has a lot of unresolved problems? Anyway, Fiona was right. I am most likely carrying around "unfairness" issues from years ago. So, being accused in an unfair manner as an adult really wigged me out. I did have reason to be upset, but didn't need to let this one thing become so huge to me. THANK YOU FIONA

Someone above asked what the book was. To you guys it probably doesn't count as popular, but the book he WANTED was a graphic novel compilation called The X-Tinction Agenda by Chris Claremont. It is one of the top three or so X-Men compilation storylines. The kid's version has line drawings by someone different and the story is condensed into a novel form with a good bit of "content" loss from the adult version.

So, the ending is a mix. There is no resolution to the issue, so I have a "wrong book" on my record. BUT, I am over it. *shrug* The worst part was my emotional reaction to the situation anyway. With that gone, I can live with one "bad mark" on my record.


Thank you so much everyone. I appreciate the words and thoughts and advice.

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
Posts: 2,024
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I'd just archive the PM you received and sent. You never know if you might need them some day. I do that with every conversation I had regarding book transactions. This way you won't forget the member's name and youy most certainly won't send or request anything from their shelf. :-)

Geri (geejay) -
Date Posted: 3/10/2009 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2008
Posts: 9,094
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I had a similar experience.  The person ordered a book from me by the Book Description.  Not the title, not the ISBN, the Book Description.  I sent her my book and she marked it RWAP.  She insisted I sent her the wrong book and would not budge on that.  When I kept asking what title she ordred she ignored that and just kept saying I sent her the wrong book.  The PBS team didn't want to get involved.  In fact made it sound like it was indeed my fault that I HAD sent her the wrong book. 

When I looked at the book description I realized it was for another book but as far as everyone was concerned it was my fault.  It still bugs me!


Date Posted: 3/10/2009 10:42 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I can see how that would bug you - it would me.  When I'm right I hate it when everyone says I'm wrong!  Who doesn't?  But I agree with archiving the posts about this or any questionable or bad transaction going or coming - it may come in handy - and you can remind yourself of who not to deal with in the future.


Date Posted: 3/11/2009 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 4/21/2005
Posts: 227
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The system archives the posts for you if it is a problem book as long as you make your responses in the right place. I made all my responses in the transaction archive for the book.  I never sent a PM from my PM page. If you go to your transaction archive and click on the right side of the book listing on the button that says details, it shows everything :)