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Topic: Why do people get credits for sending the wrong book?

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Subject: Why do people get credits for sending the wrong book?
Date Posted: 9/7/2007 1:39 PM ET
Member Since: 1/26/2007
Posts: 9
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I'm fairly upset about a "book" I just got. For one thing, it's not what I ordered. It is ONE of the four scripts that comes in a theater kit. The kit container was not sent, nor were the other three scripts NOR the poster announcing the play presentation.

So I report all this, and then PBSwap tells me that they have given a credit to the person. I'm out a credit, and I DO NOT have what I was wanted.

So why is the system set up to give credit where it is NOT due. It should be different, IMO.

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2007
Posts: 225
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I agree.  Can you PM the person for your credit back or send you what you ordered??? 

I thought that when you click "wrong book sent" they don't get the credit but you don't get yours back either.  Its in limbo until the matter is resolved between the parties????

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 3,136
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Credit is always given once marked received. Depending on how you notate the problem however, will/will not have the sender's account flagged.


Help Center: Problem


There is a problem with a book I received!

The vast majority of swaps take place without a problem at PBS.  But of course nothing is perfect! 

  • "Unofficial" problems (books that are postmarked late, that arrive postage-due) are marked received normally, and the problem(s) can be described in the optional "survey" portion on the lower part of the Book Received page. 

Books that arrive after having been declared lost, or that arrive after having been canceled, are not considered "problem swaps".

We cannot mediate individual problem swaps at PBS.  We can't adjudicate from a distance; moreover, the club is large enough that even intervening in the small percentage of disputed transactions would not be possible time-wise.  This is why marking a problem swap received "with a problem" is so important: if a sender's account shows a pattern of problems, we will intervene and the sender may be expelled from the club. 

Box-O-Books problems are managed through the Boxer Feedback/Rating System (read more about this here).

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.

The "official" problem options are:

  • Wrong Book
    • This includes inappropriate items such as ARCs or leaflets/pamphlets/booklets without ISBNs
    • This includes the wrong versions of books (ie, the ISBN, title, author or booktype of the book you received doesn't match the PBS listing of the book you requested)
    • How to tell if the book you received is a "wrong book"
  • Damaged by Sender
    • This means the book appears to have been unacceptable for swapping at PBS before it was put in the mail
    • This includes books packaged using tape applied to the book if the book is damaged and rendered unrepostable by opening the package.
    • Read more about sender-damaged books here
  • Damaged by USPS
    • This means that the book's poor condition appears to be the result of its journey in the mail.
    • This includes books that appear to have been poorly packaged for mailing by the sender.
    • Read more about USPS-damaged books here
  • Requestor Conditions Violation
    • This means the book does not meet the specifications in your Requestor Conditions
    • Read more about Requestor Conditions violations here.

Click here for instructions on what to do if your book arrives with an "official" problem as described above.

"Unofficial" problems are:

Click here for instructions on what to do if your book arrives with an "unofficial" problem as described above.

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 3:07 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2006
Posts: 670
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Yes, folks who get the wrong book are stuck with two hard choices.  Either you follow the rules, mark it received with problem and have to beg for your credit back (which the sender can say "no" to).  Or you don't mark it received because, technically, you *didn't* receive the book you requested.  You'll have to wait weeks for it to go "lost", but you get your credit back.  The former loses your credit but helps PBS overall because you are helping track senders who mail out problem books.  The latter helps you because you eventually get your credit back but are not helping to track problematic senders.

Luckily I've never had to make this choice, because I have heard good arguements on both sides as to which way to go and am really torn myself.

Maybe others have better suggestions?


Date Posted: 9/7/2007 3:23 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 54,837
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The latter helps you because you eventually get your credit back but are not helping to track problematic senders.

Actually, the latter can harm you.  The book is not lost; it's a problem.  If you let problem books go lost just to get your credit back, then YOU will be the one whose account raises a red flag...too many "lost" books can do that, too.

In the rules Charlie posted above, from the Help Center, it tells you HOW to mark the book received....now IF to maked the book received.

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 4:19 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,791
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I see the OP's point though.  If you didn't get the book you ordered, you didn't actually get the book, did you?  It's either a yes or no thing.  It is something to think about....

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 5:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2006
Posts: 172
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I had a similar experience. I ordered a cookbook that I thought was by a specific author, but when I got it, it wasn't by that author. Not the sender's fault as pbs had the wrong information listed, but it wasn't a book I wanted. They got their credit, I entered an update for pbs to change (which has happened) and I re-listed it and sent it out a couple days ago. So I get my credit back, just out the postage.

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 5:30 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2007
Posts: 8,139
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PBS runs on an honor system. If people don't report problem transactions, then the bad apples will be able to stick around. If you don't mark something that you received as received, then you become the bad apple. Mark it "Received With a Problem", detail the problem, and politely request your credit back. Sometimes we get the short end of the stick, but in the grand scheme of things, we're going to get far more quality, postable books than duds. The rules apply to all of us, and if we'll just follow them, the site will run much more smoothly, not only for each of us individually, but for everyone else as well.

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 6:52 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 11,052
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Elizabeth, the way you describe the item in question, it sounds like it was actually unpostable here anyway. According to the help center, books that were originally sold with accompanying materials that do NOT qualify for media rate (such as the poster you mentioned) are NOT to be posted on this site.

As per the help files:

Not allowed:

  • Anything that is not a book
  • Books that require supplementary non-media materials (non-media materials cannot be sent by MediaMail)

I believe that R&R have been known to step in and refund credits when a member has received items that should never have been posted in the first place. If I were you, I would contact them about this.

However - as far as the boxed set is concerned - it is the posting member's right to split up the volumes and charge a credit each for them, BUT they do have to post each book separately as a non-ISBN item rather than posting the ISBN on the boxed set.

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 7:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2007
Posts: 401
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Uh.. what about books that come with CDs? I posted my drumming books, which all got requested, and 2 of them come with CDs and I sent them media mail with the CD in the sleeve on the back cover just as it came. IMO they should be worth 2 credits like audio books. :P But oh well... So you're not supposed to post books that come with a CD? *sigh* 

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2007
Posts: 1,534
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CDs are allowed to be sent via Media Mail.  Books with accompanying media are okay.

Last Edited on: 9/7/07 7:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/7/2007 8:24 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 54,837
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I see the OP's point though.  If you didn't get the book you ordered, you didn't actually get the book, did you? 

I do see her frustration, absolutely but side-stepping the rules isn't the answer.  The Help Center has instructions for when you get a wrong book, and they don't include not admitting it came.  I mean, where do you draw the line?  Do we stop admitting damaged books came since we didn't get a postable book?  If I order a book, I presume that it will meet the site guidelines.  If it doesn't then I didn't really get what I orderd, did I? 

It has been admitted before...the system is not perfect.  But when you sign up, you agree to follow the site rules....not circumvent them when they don't work for you. 

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 8:27 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,791
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Well, I guess what I'm saying is, it's one thing to answer the question, yes I got the book but it wasn't in good condition, but it's another to answer, yes I got the book when you actually haven't got it.  Obviously the sender sent you something, so more than likely they have made a mistake, but technically you haven't recieved what you ordered, in any condition.  I don't advocate pretending you didn't get it though....it's just sort of a different dilemma.

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 54,837
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So you're not supposed to post books that come with a CD? *sigh* 

Stephanie, you can post books with CD or cassettes.  What it means is if the book is SUPPOSED to have the CD, then it has to be there (you can't post just the book) and that books that came with non-media items....all I can think of right now is some of the kids Klutz books that come with balls, yoyos, pipecleaners, etc......those extras cannot be sent Media Mail, so you can't post those books here.  Does that help? 

Date Posted: 9/7/2007 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2005
Posts: 361
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Last Edited on: 1/21/09 8:09 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/8/2007 11:48 AM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2007
Posts: 401
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Yeah, the CDs are supposed to come with the 2 books I've already posted & mailed out. It's music instruction - so it comes with the accompanying audio to work with. I don't have kids, so I don't know about any kids' books or anything. lol Thanks though.

Date Posted: 9/8/2007 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 877
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You know, I have the same feelings of being "miffed" when I get a bad book.  And I've gotten a few.  But you know, we don't pay anything to be members here.  Look at the number of daily transactions.  Today so far, 1577 books mailed.  That's just TODAY.

So even if 1% of transactions are "bad" (my estimate, I could be wrong) that could be hundreds, if not thousands, of books per month.  I just can't see anyone mediating those transactions.  So I understand why it's a quandary.

The system could be changed so that when you say "received with problem" the credit is automatically returned.  But to me, that seems to have even higher abuse potential.  "Oh, look, there's a tiny dot on page 37.  It looks like writing to me.  Writing is not allowed.  So I'll mark this received with problem and I'll get my credit back!  Whoopee!"

So, to me, I think it's the best possible design, even though it's not perfect, and it can be frustrating.  If I get a bad book, I read it if it's readable, and then pass it along another way.  Give it to Goodwill.  Drop it at the book swap at the train station.  Give it to a friend or family member.  I've decided I'm just not going to allow it to get me upset. 

As far as not marking it received at all?  That's plain-out fraud, and you should lose your membership for it.  It's a total misrepresentation.  You got a package.  The help center is extremely thorough and easy to understand on this issue.  Follow the rules, please.  We all agreed to them when we signed up.  That doesn't mean we have to like them, and it certainly doesn't mean we shouldn't suggest changes when we think it's appropriate!

So, no, the system's not perfect.  But I really think it's the best it can be - for a free site.  PBS rocks! 


Date Posted: 9/8/2007 1:39 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,791
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I do agree that I like the system better the way it is than anything I've ever seen proposed.  I would much rather have one of my books marked RWP and have the chance to refund the credit myself than have people try to scam me for free books by knowing that if they mark it RWP, they instantly get the credit back.  Either way it's an honor system thing, but I think there would be more problems the other way.

Date Posted: 9/8/2007 7:37 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2006
Posts: 670
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Well sending out the wrong book *and* keeping the credit once you've been advised of that fact is "plain-out fraud" to me.  And those senders agreed to "follow the rules" when they signed up - you know, the rule about sending the right book? -  so they should lose their membership if they refuse to refund the credit.

And saying I received a book I did not receive is *untrue*, so why should I be forced to lie? 

Thank goodness this hasn't happened to me yet, it's giving me a headache just thinking about it.






Date Posted: 9/8/2007 8:00 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 54,837
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Katrina, it is not a lie, it is a "problem".   Not following the club rules (which you state yourself in an earlier post ARE to mark the book received) and "letting the book go lost" would risk your own membership.  Hardly worth it, even if you don't get your credit back.  I have been involved in a few problem 'Credit"  transactions (not many, but a few) and I have never had the other side not be willing to work something out with me.  Sometimes I take them up on it, sometimes I do not, but they have always offered. 

I think it also bears remembering that, by and large, people send out wrong books *on accident*, either because they mixed up orders or, perhaps, were new and didn't understand something.  

Since the talk is of letting books go "lost", I'm going to paste this info. from the Lost Books info at the Help Center:

***Lost books must be marked received when/if they arrive, to keep your account in good standing.***

Not marking a "lost" book received is not an option, so how could letting books go lost on purpose *be* an option?


Date Posted: 9/8/2007 9:50 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2007
Posts: 83
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I went the HELP CENTER route and chose received with a problem when a wrong book was received by me.  My problem now is that I can't get the sender to reply to me.  We are going on day 5.  I know she's not on vacation or away as she's just posted several books the last few days.  It's annoying that I'm out the credit, my place in line and I wonder who got my book and who's book did I receive? 

~kelly jo

Date Posted: 9/8/2007 11:06 PM ET
Member Since: 11/10/2006
Posts: 3,136
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Kelly Jo...did you get the book you were expecting but in a different version or a totally different title? If it was a totally different title how could you mark it received?