Help Center - There is a problem with a book I received!

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The vast majority of swaps take place without a problem at PBS.  But of course nothing is perfect! If there is a problem with a book you received, you need to follow the instructions below.

Please note that we can't adjudicate disputes about book condition  - we can't know in what condition a book was when it was mailed, and we can't examine books or rule on "he said/she said" situations.  That is why marking a problem book "received with a problem" is very important: if a sender's account shows a pattern of problems, the sender's membership will be jeopardized.  One problem swap will not do this - a pattern of problem sending will; thus it is critical for problems to be recorded in order for poor senders not to be able to "fly under the radar" and keep sending problem books.

The good news is that most problem swaps are settled easily by the members.  If everyone is polite and gives the other member the benefit of the doubt, things do not have to be unpleasant, even in the setting of a problem swap.

To mark a shipment received with a problem:

  • Login and go to your My Account main page
  • Click the En Route to Me tab under the Message from the Librarian
  • Scroll down if necessary to see the incoming shipment in question
  • Choose "Received with a Problem" (or "Problem with 1 or More" for a multiple-book shipment)

Then

  • Select the type of problem from the dropdown menu:
    • Damaged by Sender
    • Damaged by USPS
      • this means a book that was damaged by USPS during its journey
    • Requestor Conditions not Met (this option will be available only if there were RCs attached to the request when it was submitted)
      • this means that the book did not meet the conditions you specified on the submitted request
    • Wrong Book - Different Title/Author
      • this means that the book is totally wrong (wrong title/author) - usually caused by the sender putting the wrong book into the wrapper, or mixing up two book shipments.  See I received a book I didn't request! for more information about this problem.
    • Wrong Book - Wrong Binding/Version
      • this means that title/author DO match but the book does not match the listing's ISBN and/or binding type and/or it was listed as Large Print and the book is not Large Print. Note that cover image and publication date do NOT have to match the listing.
      • Inappropriate items - ARCs, pamphlets or leaflets without ISBNs, unbound pages, etc - also fall into this category.
      • Note: You can also use this option if the book is the wrong title AND the sender has told you that s/he won't be able to get the correct book sent to you.
    • Late Postmark
    • Book Missing from Shipment (this option will show only on multiple-book shipments)
      • this means that the book was not included in the package with the other books (either the sender forgot to include it or the package tore open and one or more books fell out)
    • Empty Wrapper
      • this means that no book was received at all - just some packaging material, with or without a note from USPS about the damaged shipment
    • Insufficient Postage
  • For each problem type, different options will become available to you
    • Damaged by Sender
      • You will be required to describe the book condition problem in a text box - the text you type in will be included in an email, and sent as a Personal Message, to the sender.
      • You can offer images of the book - to do this, you can upload them to a free photo-hosting site (such as flickr) and send the other member a link, or if the two of you are comfortable sharing email addresses, you can send the digital images as email attachments.
      • You will have the option to request a credit refund - this is checked by default for this problem type.  If this option is checked, the email the sender gets will include the request for a credit refund. If you uncheck this option, the email sent to the sender will NOT mention or request a credit refund.
      • If this was a Wish List book (and there are no other copies available), you will go back in your previous place in line for the book.  If there are other copies available, the book will go onto your Reminder List.
    • Damaged by USPS
      • You will have the option to describe the book condition problem in a text box - the text you type in will be included in an email, and sent as a Personal Message, to the sender.
      • You will have the option to request a credit refund - this is UNchecked by default for this problem type.  If you check this option (if you believe the Wrapping contributed to the book's damage by USPS), the email the sender gets will include the request for a credit refund. If you leave this unchecked,  the email sent to the sender will NOT mention or request a credit refund. You can read more about this situation in I received a book that was damaged by USPS.
      • If this was a Wish List book (and there are no other copies available), you will go back in your previous place in line for the book.  If there are other copies available, the book will go onto your Reminder List.
    • Requestor Conditions Not Met (this option will show only if there were RCs attached to the request when it was submitted)
      • You will be required to describe the requestor condition violation in a text box - the text you type in will be included in an email, and sent as a Personal Message, to the sender.
      • You will have the option to request a credit refund - this is checked by default for this problem type.  If this option is checked, the email the sender gets will include the request for a credit refund. If you uncheck this option, the email sent to the sender will NOT mention or request a credit refund.
      • If this was a Wish List book (and there are no other copies available), you will go back in your previous place in line for the book.  If there are other copies available, the book will go onto your Reminder List.
    • Wrong Book - Different Title
      • Again, this means that the book is totally wrong (wrong title/author) - usually caused by the sender putting the wrong book into the wrapper, or mixing up two book shipments
      • You will have a text box - the text you type in will be included in an email, and sent as a Personal Message, to the sender.
      • Choosing this problem type option will NOT mark the book received - you will see the instruction "Note: This book will NOT be marked as received. Please wait until you receive the book that you ordered, then mark it received."
        • The book IS NOT marked received for this problem type because if a sender mixes up two requests or puts the wrong book into a wrapper, usually the sender had the book in question and it can be retrieved and sent to you.
      • If you don't get this book by the system action date, the book will be declared "lost in the mail" - if you get it after that, you need to mark it received from your Transaction Archive, as described in I received a book that was 'lost in the mail'.
      • If the sender cannot send you the correct book, he or she can contact us to cancel this transaction, so that you can try to get the book from another member without having to wait for the system to declare it "Lost in the mail." 
      • See I received a book I didn't request! for more information about the resolution of this problem.
    • Wrong Book - Wrong Binding/Version
      • Again, this means that title/author DO match but the book does not match the listing's ISBN and/or binding type and/or it was listed as Large Print and the book is not Large Print.
      • You will have a text box - the text you type in will be included in an email, and sent as a Personal Message, to the sender.
      • The book IS marked received for this problem type because if a sender Posted the book she or he had incorrectly, it is likely that she or he does not have a second copy and can't send you the version that matches the listing.  
      • If this was a Wish List book (and there are no other copies available), you will go back in your previous place in line for the book.  If there are other copies available, the book will go onto your Reminder List.
      • You can also choose this option if you have received the wrong title and the sender says s/he can't get you the correct book. It may not be technically correct (the book was not the wrong version or binding, but the totally wrong book) , but choosing this option will
        • put yourself back on the Wish List in your previous place, if this was a Wish List book, and
        • document the transaction as a "wrong book"
        • finish out the transaction instead of waiting for the book to be declared "lost in the mail"
        • It will also give the sender credit (you may ask the sender for refund) for the swap.
    • Late Postmark
      • You will have a text box - the text you type in will be included in an email, and sent as a Personal Message, to the sender.
      • You will be able to choose the postmark date.
      • The sender will get an email reminding him or her to mail promptly - so if the late mailing was agreed upon, or the sender got the book back in the mail and had to re-mail (and alerted you to this), you should not choose this option.
    • Book Missing from Shipment (this option will show only on multiple-book shipments)
      • You will have a text box - the text you type in will be included in an email, and sent as a Personal Message, to the sender.
      • Choosing this problem type option will NOT mark the book received.  It will send an email to the sender alerting him or her that the book was missing from the shipment.
      • If you don't get this book by the system action date, the book will be declared "lost in the mail" - if you get it after that, you need to mark it received from your Transaction Archive, as described in I received a book that was 'lost in the mail'.
      • If you don't want to wait for the system to declare the book "lost" you can ask the sender to contact us to cancel.  You can contact the sender using the PM button on the request on your My Account page. The sender can contact us using the "send us feedback" button on the Contact Us page.
    • Empty Wrapper
      • Again, this means that no book was received at all - just some packaging material, with or without a note from USPS about the damaged shipment
      • For a bulk shipment, you will see a box pop up with the following message:  "Choosing 'Empty Wrapper' will set all books in this shipment to 'Empty Wrapper'. If you change your mind later, you will have to click in the 'good condition' column and the page will reload. Are you sure you want to set this shipment to 'Empty Wrapper'?" 
        • Choosing Cancel on that box will reset the transaction to "received in good condition"
        • Choose OK if you got no books that you requested in this shipment. This will not mark the books received.  They will stay on your En Route to Me tab.  If you don't get the books by the system action date, they will be declared "lost in the mail" - if you get them after that, you need to mark them received from your Transaction Archive, as described in I received a book that was 'lost in the mail'.
      • If you chose OK and want to undo that afterward, you just need to choose "received in good condition" to reload the options for that shipment.
      • If you don't want to wait for the system to declare the books "lost" you can ask the sender to contact us to cancel.  You can contact the sender using the PM button on the request on your My Account page. The sender can contact us using the "send us feedback" button on the Contact Us page.
    • Insufficient Postage
      • Again, this means that USPS required you to pay postage to claim the book
      • You will have two choices:
        • "I accepted the package and have the book(s)"  this will mark the book(s) received and give you a text box - the text you type in will be included in a message to the sender.  You will also have a place to indicate the postage amount.
and
        • "I refused the package and do NOT have the book(s)"  -  this will NOT mark the books received. They will stay on your En Route to Me tab, and will eventually be declared "lost in the mail" by the system. For a bulk (multiple-book) request, choosing the "refused" option will bring up a box with the following message: "Choosing 'Insufficient Postage--Refused Package' will affect all books in this shipment. If you change your mind later, you will have to click in the 'Good Condition' column and the page will reload. Are you sure you want to set this shipment to 'Insufficient Postage--Refused Package'?"
        • Choosing Cancel on that box will reset the transaction to "received in good condition"
        • Choose OK if you did refuse the shipment.  This will NOT mark the books received.  They will stay on your En Route to Me tab, and will be declared "lost in the mail" in time.
      • Remember that if the postage-due is being assessed because the package was forwarded, this is not the sender's fault and the shipment should NOT be marked received with a problem.
        • Media Mail is not routinely forwarded - special arrangements need to be made with your former PO if you move with books en route to you.
      • See I received a book postage-due! for more information about this problem.
  • Be sure that you have chosen the correct options (this can't be undone once you click Continue), then click to apply those options to the shipment. 

    Again, be sure that you have chosen the correct options before clicking "Continue," as this can't be undone.  Clicking "Continue" marks the book(s) received and sends an email to the sender.

Note: you can mark only one shipment received at a time.  When you click "Continue" on a shipment, the choices you have made for that shipment will be applied - any other choices you have made on any other incoming shipments will be reset.

 

If you feel the available "problem options" don't match your situation exactly:

  • Choose the closest (most applicable)
  • We understand there can be some grey areas that are not covered by the problem categories. 
  • There is a category of "problem" book that is really no one's fault - for example, the pages are all attached when you begin reading but they come loose as you read. That means the book was postable when it was mailed to you but it becomes unpostable when you are done.  We consider this the "last read" and every book will get there eventually (some sooner than later).  Most members will not get a book on its "last read" but it can happen once or twice during a membership.  In this case, the book is not marked received with a problem, and it is retired (= not posted again) after reading.

Once you have marked the book(s) received, give the sender 5 days to respond.

If the sender disputes the description of book damage:

  • You can offer images of the book - to do this, you can upload them to a free photo-hosting site (such as flickr) and send the other member a link, or if the two of you are comfortable sharing email addresses, you can send the digital images as email attachments.

If you don't hear from the sender within 4 days:

  • For problem books that were marked received and are now in your Transaction Archive: go to your Transaction Archive  and click the "Was Problem Resolved?" buttonThen choose "The Sender has not responded."  This will send an email to the sender, making it clear that she or he needs to respond or forfeit credit for this swap.

If you don't hear from the sender within 2 days after you have done the above to send that "follow-up" email to the sender, contact us.  Failure to respond (in an active account) is considered admission of fault in a problem swap.

If the sender responds and resolves the problem:

  • You should mark the problem 'resolved' from the Transaction Archive, as described in Follow-up on Problem swaps.
  • Note that: 'Resolved' does not require a credit refund - you can mark 'resolved' if you consider that the sender has done what was needed (even if that was doing nothing).

If you made an error and the swap was not actually a problem:

If the sender responds and disputes your description of the book:

  • We understand that two people can look at the same book and describe it differently with regard to its condition. If you believe the book was unpostable when it was mailed and the sender disputes this, you can offer to share digital images of the book with him or her.
  • You can do this by uploading the images to a free photo-hosting site (such as photobucket or flickr) and send the other member a link to the photos on that site. You can also send the images by email, if you are both comfortable sharing email addresses with each other.
  • If the problem is NOT resolved by the sender (and negotiations between you are finished),

    • choose "Problem was not resolved"  in your Transaction Archive, as described in Follow-up on Problem swaps
    • It is best to wait a week before marking a problem swap "unresolved"- this can't be undone.

Read more about submitting follow-up about a problem swap in Follow-up on Problem swaps. It is best to wait a week before submitting "unresolved" follow-up.

  • If the other member in a problem swap becomes rude or abusive in Personal Messages, contact us. Courtesy is important in the club.  We will Review the PM exchange and take commensurate action.

Box-O-Books problems are managed through the Boxer Feedback/Rating System (read more about this here).  If you don't receive your Box-O-Books within 3 weeks after it was accepted on both sides, and the Boxer is not replying to PMs asking about the swap (if he or she does not reply to your PM asking for a response within a week after you send it), please contact us and we will investigate the situation.


Related Links:

I received a book that was 'lost in the mail'
A requestor says there is a problem with a book I sent!
Can I see my past transactions?
Receiving a Box-O-Books and Leaving Boxer Feedback
How to Use the Boxer Rating/Feedback System
I received 2 copies of the same book!
The cover image on a book I received does not match the listing!