Discussion Forums - Questions about PaperBackSwap Questions about PaperBackSwap

Topic: Received with a Problem, but. . .

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: Received with a Problem, but. . .
Date Posted: 8/26/2007 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2007
Posts: 161
Back To Top

I just got a book that was purchased from a used book store. It has a stamp on the edge of the pages (name of the bookstore) and another stamp on the first page with the name and address of the used book store. Then there are two additional stamps with the name and address of a different used book store. Then there is a handwritten price that has been scribbled out and another handwritten price underneath. The edges of the pages are fairly dirty. The part that really gets me, though, is that there is mold on the outside edges of the book's pages and also extending onto some of the pages.

Now, mold is clearly against posting guidelines. So I clicked on the button that said there was a problem with this book. I was then presented with four choices, none of which were the reason there was a problem:

1. Damaged by Sender: No, I doubt that the sender added the mold and dirtiness, etc. to the book

2. Damaged by USPS: No, ditto.

3. Requestor's Conditions Not Met: No, I don't have any conditions, so this is not the reason there is a problem with the book.

4. Wrong Book: No, it was the right book, it just did not meet posting guidelines.

SO: I stopped right there because none of the four choices fit the problem with the book. Shouldn't there be a choice that is that the book does not meet PBS's posting guidelines, and a place to say which guidelines were not met?

If I click any of the four choices, it would not be true and would not make any sense to the sender.

What should I do??

Date Posted: 8/26/2007 6:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2006
Posts: 387
Back To Top

It should be #1, Damaged by Sender.

Even if the sender didn't personally do those things to the book, he/she is still responsible for posting and sending a book that does not meet PBS standards. Therefore, #1 is correct.

Last Edited on: 8/26/07 6:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/26/2007 6:02 PM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 3,135
Back To Top

From the Help Center:


Books that arrive with one of the "official" problems listed above (Wrong book/inappropriate item ie ARC, Damaged, Damaged by USPS, Requestor Conditions Violation) need to be marked "Received, but with a problem" from the En Route to Me tab in My Account. 

  • On the next screen:
    • At the top of the page:You can send a Personal Message to the sender to discuss the problem.
      • Please be gentle!  No one wants to send a problem book.
      • Your Personal Message should mention the title of the book, and it can also ask for the sender to refund the credit, if you feel this is warranted.
      • Please remember that it is possible that you did not receive the problem book from that sender. 
        • If an earlier sender sent a book but never marked it mailed, you could be getting 2 copies of this book, and the "problem" copy would not necessarily be the active transaction on your En Route to Me tab.
        • Please see the Help item I received 2 copies of the same book! for more information about this situation.
      • At the bottom of the page: type in a description of the problem.  This information will be seen only by us.  It is very helpful to be as specific as possible.
    • Click Continue.
  • Doing this grants credit to the sender; it also records a Problem swap on his or her account record.
    • We will not adjudicate individual problem swaps
    • We will intervene if a sender's account shows a pattern of problem sending

 If a member (sender or requestor) is rude or abusive during a PM exchange about a book, we can be notifiedWe will review the PM exchange and take action commensurate to the offense.

Books that arrive with one of the "unofficial" problems listed above

  • Follow the same procedure as above, but do not use the button.
  • Use the "comments" box at the bottom of the Book Received page to provide more information about the swap
    • only we will see the survey information you provide.
  • This will not record the transaction as a problem, but we will review the comments if the sender's account is flagged for a pattern of problem sending.
  • If a member (sender or requestor) is rude or abusive during a PM exchange about a book, we can be notifiedWe will review the PM exchange and take action commensurate to the offense.
Date Posted: 8/26/2007 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2007
Posts: 161
Back To Top

OK, I clicked the first option, and when they gave me the space to write a message to the sender I wrote this:

Hi, I appreciated the book, but it did not meet PBS guidelines as it has mold on the edges of the pages and also mold on the faces of some pages. I am reluctant to touch the mold to read it as I do not want it to spread to other books, etc., and there is no way I can re-post this book. I am sure this was just an oversight on your part, but if you could be so kind as to refund my credit I would appreciate it, because then I could have the chance to order the book again. Thanks.

***I guess it is entirely the sender's option to refund the credit (by the way, how is this done?).

***Also, how do I make sure I do not order from this person again?

Date Posted: 8/26/2007 7:55 PM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 3,135
Back To Top

M.R.G. - in order to refund your credit they add you to their Buddy List and then can "buddy" you a credit.


The only way to not order from someone is to add them to YOUR buddy list and tag them as a do not trade. But, since PBS uses a FIFO system you will not know who has accepted your order until after they have done so. Then, you can click on the PM button and see who it is or choose the option "Order More From Member" which will take you to their bookshelf and show you their name.


Honestly, if they refund your credit I would not "blackball" them. It may have been an oversight and they could  ordinarily be a good swapper.


ETA: Are you sure it is mold and not foxing? Foxing is a discoloring whch is common, especially in older books.

Example of foxing:  http://www.bookologist.com/cab/abu/y203/m03/bk0001/s03

Last Edited on: 8/26/07 7:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/26/2007 9:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2007
Posts: 161
Back To Top

The information about foxing is interesting. It does say that foxing may be fungal and/or mineral in origin though. Anyway, in the case of this book, the marks are grey and black dots that spread from the edge to the side of the page. Some of them are just on the edges also. I don't think it could be foxing because it is not the right color for foxing. Since the book is stamped with four used bookstore stamps (two stores, two stamps each) and has a marked out handwritten price and another handwritten used price inside the front, and is dirty, my guess is that it is mold. I suppose it COULD be ink (???) but it seems to be mold to me. This is the first book I have received that seems, uh, "icky." I would not buy it if I saw it in a used bookstore.

L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 8/27/2007 12:21 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
Back To Top

Either way, it doesn't sound like it's in "good" condition.  Your request for a credit was nicely worded - I hope they comply.


Date Posted: 8/27/2007 10:41 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
Back To Top

Personally, I wish they'd change "Damaged by Sender" to "Does not meet PBS Posting Guidelines". That would be much more clear.

Last Edited on: 8/27/07 11:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/27/2007 7:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/29/2007
Posts: 161
Back To Top

I did not get any reply, so I guess I just lost a credit. Somehow this does not seem fair. Oh, well.

Date Posted: 8/27/2007 7:45 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2005
Posts: 462
Back To Top

Jane, what a good idea!  It takes the "taking it personally" away, and automatically gives the benefit of the doubt.  Could ease some tension........I say submit it to R&R!

MRG, give it a little while longer..it's not quite been 24 hours and they might not have checked on the computer since you notifed them.  I'm sorry this happened to you so early on.  Yes, you will have to weigh whether the occasional loss is worth the profit.  Many get very few losses, but many great profits so they kind of figure it all balances out.  If you search the forums for a phrase like "refund credit" or similar, you will see many who have posted about experiences such as yours and you can use the information as you wish.

Take care,


Date Posted: 8/27/2007 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,381
Back To Top

Give it a few days, then PM them again, & in that same polite voice you used, and tell them you'd like to hear back from them.  After a week, if you still have not received a reply, let R&R know (the blue "contact us" button at the bottom of the page.)  They won't step in and referee a disagreement, since they can't see the book involved, but it is not okay for a member to ignore your PM's.  From the help docs:

  •  Member-to-member communication is very important at PBS.
    • We do not expect our members to agree in every case, or even to reach a satisfactory resolution to a problem transaction, but it is never acceptable to ignore a PM from a member with whom you have conducted a swap, as long as the PM is appropriate and asks for a response.
    • If one member ignores PMs, we may step in; although we cannot assess the truth of a situation, if one member is refusing to communicate with the other, that member may be judged as "in the wrong" for this reason.
    • Also, the system does track resolutions to problem transactions, so too many unresolved "problem" transaction can mar a sender's account far more than the same number of resolved "problem" transaction will.