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Topic: Yellow liquid stains on book

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Subject: Yellow liquid stains on book
Date Posted: 6/16/2011 6:51 PM ET
Member Since: 4/10/2008
Posts: 169
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Yesterday I received a book and immediately noticed some liquid stains through the bottom 1/4 of the book. It's a yellow stain. I marked the book RWAP, and this is the note I sent to the sender:

"Hi there.

I just received the book today and upon inspection, I found the lower 1/4 edge of the book to have water damage (a yellow stain). It's a light yellow stain and I can see how it could be easily missed before being mailed out. Besides that, the book is in excellent condition. I had planned on reading this book and then re-posting it on PBS (it appears to be in high demand), but the water damaged (yellow stains) condition prohibits me from doing that. Unfortunately, I am requesting a refund of the credit I spent on this book. I am also willing to mail the book back to you if you wish.



This is the note I received from the sender:


Hi Jessie, I'm sorry that you feel that your book didn't meet your requirement. I've swapped hundreds of books on PBS and have never not once had a problem with a book that I have sent. I thoroughly examine each and every book to make sure that they meet PBS standards before I mail them out. Perhaps the book was set down in something wet after receiving it...??? Just a thought, since I know the condition of the book was most excellent when I mailed it out. I am confident in the fact that the book was in excellent condition when I mailed it and I don't feel that issuing a book credit would be fair at this point. If you would like to mail the book back to me, then I would go ahead and issue you a book credit once I receive the book. I hope you can put yourself in my position and thanks for understanding.

No, I did not place the book in something wet. And yes, there definitely IS a large (dried) stain that existed before I removed the book from my mailbox. I don't know when or how it occured, but I did not cause it. The outer package (a bubble envelope) does not appear to have any water damage itself. Should I take a picture of it for her? Should I swallow the cost of mailing the book back to her and not request an extra credit for the mailing costs? What would be the appropriate protocol?


Date Posted: 6/16/2011 7:11 PM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,394
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At this point, I would simply cut my losses and mark it unresolved and not communicate further.  This person is adamant that they did nothing wrong and while yes they say you can send it back, I'm sure at that point, they'd still say that it wasn't like that when they sent it.  If it is highly wishlisted, you might still be able to recoupe your credit by posting it in the bazaar once you've finished reading it.

Date Posted: 6/16/2011 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2009
Posts: 962
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I would NOT mail it back to her without receiving a credit FIRST.  Honestly, I would not mail it back to her PERIOD unless she was returning my initial credit AND compensation for shipping charges.  You could take a picture of it, but how do you plan to send it?  I don't think you can send one in a PM (although I'm not a 100% certain).  If she is insistent about not giving you a credit for it, then I wouldn't waste your time any further.  Just mark it as unresolved in your transaction archive.  Hopefully since you say it's in high demand, then maybe you can get your credit back by posting it in the Bazaar as unpostable.  As long as you explain it's condition, you will be fine.

Sorry this one didn't work out for you.  Good luck!


Date Posted: 6/16/2011 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2009
Posts: 1,516
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I'd just let it go too.  Yes, it sucks that you can't repost it, but it happens to everyone.  It sounds like the sender is just going to keep arguing with you about it so there really isn't anything you can do.  Don't frustrate yourself any further over it and hopefully your next swap will be better!

Date Posted: 6/16/2011 7:49 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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HEHE, sorry I just found the reply very assuming.  Stating that because they sent so many books out there is no way they might have missed the stain, and that you yourself must have done it. hrmmm wouldn't that make the book DAMP? Books usually take a few days to fully dry out.

I think the only thing they left out was- they got it that way or USPS did it.

Cut your losses because I cannot see them believing anything you say. 

Mark it unresolved.

Date Posted: 6/16/2011 8:22 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,130
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If it were me, I would take a few pictures so that she could see the damage. A picture is worth a thousand words ... she does not say so, but what she probably believes is that the book is not damaged. She probably did check it over, and you do say that the damage could have been missed in your message.

And then I would politely answer her, that, no, it did not get set in anything after you received it.

And then let her know that you will mark it unresolved.

I am just curious, though, are you sure it is water damaged? Is it a uniform stain, or is it random? Is the paper wrinkled or have a different texture where the stain is?

I'm just asking because paper can become discolored from things besides water ... like heat and the sun, for starters, which would mean the book is not unpostable. If the book sat on a shelf and part of it was in the sun, or sat on a shelf and part of it was closer to a heater than the other part .... that can cause yellowing of the paper to part of the book. The part further away from a heater or in the shadow would remain closer to original color.

Date Posted: 6/16/2011 10:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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I would also just cut my losses and move on. You have asked for your credit...she won't give it until you send the book--which you should get an *extra* credit for, for the postage. Mark it unresolved and move on.

That said, Sara has a point. I have a few books that the tops of yellowed horribly in the sunlight...it's a light yellowish staining that looks like it could be a 'stain' except I know myself it's from sun exposure, and the discoloration goes down about a quarter inch into the pages of the book. If there isn't any waviness to the pages, it's possible that's what happened with your book also?

I do see the sender's point though too...I check my books pretty carefully and would not refund a credit unless I was sure there was a possibility I'd done something wrong.


Date Posted: 6/17/2011 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/10/2008
Posts: 169
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Oh this is definitely water (or liquid) damage. It has the characteristic warping and has different texture. The stain looks like the book was set down in a little puddle and it "seeped" through the bottom edge of the book. It's not a uniform stain as if it were sun damaged.

Date Posted: 6/17/2011 1:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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You can try taking a picture and give the sender a deadline of a couple days to consider the situation.  If she does not reconsider, just mark it unresolved (seems firm in her viewpoint).  Do not return the book without receiving postage compensation first.

I've seen books damaged this way, it appears someone spilled water on their bookshelf and it seeped into the lower edge of the books.  Maybe condensation in a climate different from mine?  Regardless, it causes visible liquid damage on the lower  1/2 to 1 inch of the bottom edge of the books.

Date Posted: 6/17/2011 8:02 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2007
Posts: 1,101
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I have come to the realization that the mailman is ruining books. He opens the package, spills some water on the book, uses a blow dryer to dry the pages, wraps the book in plastic and then repackages it. It has to happen that way, since everytime I complain about getting a water damaged book the sender swears it was in great condition originally.      Consider it a lost credit and move on.

Date Posted: 6/17/2011 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I can see your point Michelle (lol).  Our mail person is very sweet . . . but maybe she's receiving special secret training?

Last Edited on: 6/18/11 2:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 1