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Topic: Book Damaged by USPS

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justreadingabook avatar
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Subject: Book Damaged by USPS
Date Posted: 5/27/2023 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2007
Posts: 27
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Hi, just a quick question. A book I sent was damgaged by USPS and I don't know if they should file a claim with the post office or am I just supposed to refund the credit? I am not sure what is the procedure in this situation. Thanks, Joan 

lionrose avatar
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Date Posted: 5/27/2023 9:16 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 3,467
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Following is the procedure from the help docs. As the sender you are not required to refund the credit (unless you simply want to) because it's not something you did wrong, unless the packaging was not adequate, which I'm assuming is not the case since you've been swapping with PBS for a very long time (it is something a sender may want to consider depending on how they normally package books: if it was tightly wrapped or was it floating loose inside a paper mailer that got caught and subsequently mauled by the sorting machines).  It's just what they call bad luck as something that happens once in a while and the requestor takes the hit. Personally, I don't think a claim is worth the time and effort for just a few dollars unless they want to pursue it. Maybe it happens a lot from their PO and it should be brought to the attention of their local postmaster. The inverse of the situation when the sender truly should get their credit back is when the book has damage before it was sent or the wrong book or book type etc. is sent. I hope this helps.


I received a book that was damaged by USPS

Damage by USPS can happen even to well-packaged books. It is not common, though. 

  • USPS is supposed to keep packages safe and dry, and they do a really good job - but nothing is perfect!

  • Since no one can tell if a package will pass through a rainy/snowy area and get wet, we do recommend (but we don't require) an inner plastic layer when Wrapping a shipment.

  • If you live in a very rainy/snowy area or your mailbox is not very weatherproof, you can use Requestor Conditions to stipulate an inner layer of plastic for books mailed to you. Read more in How to Use Requestor Conditions.

Damage by USPS to a well-wrapped package is considered bad luck. The risk of this is split between the requestor and sender in the following way:

  • if the book does NOT get to the requestor (= the requestor gets an empty wrapper or the book or wrapping is returned to the sender) the sender absorbs that blow and loses the credit
  • if the book DOES get to the requestor (even if damaged), the requestor pays the credit for the book.

However, if the wrapping was truly inadequate for normal USPS wear and tear (such as the wrapping did not cover the entire book), and thus may have contributed to the USPS damage, then the requestor can ask the sender to refund credit, since the damage in that case would have been avoidable, and not simple bad luck.