Guidelines for Waiving Recall Fines

The following list of situations under which recall fines may be waived is intended to assist billing and supervisory staff in applying fair and consistent guidelines when working with users who seek to have their recall fines waived.  It is important that all interactions with users concerning recall fines feature patient, clear discussion of the situation and the guidelines being applied.  This will help our users understand their obligations regarding recalls.  When we use our judgement to waive a fine after having this discussion with the user, it is vital that the user understands his/her responsibilities for returning future recalls on time or paying fines when returning recalled material late.  We must use the PUB-NOTE field in WorkFlows whenever we make a judgement to waive a fine.  This will insure that the user will not abuse the recall process in the future.  (No PUB-NOTE should be entered in those infrequent cases, mentioned below, when a fine has been cleared because the user clearly was not at fault.)

The philosophy behind granting a one-time only waive of a recall fine is that thoughtful discussion has occurred with the user and no previous waives have been granted and noted in the PUB-NOTE record.  And, most importantly, the user must leave the circulation desk with the understanding that future recall fines will not be waived. 

. It is clear that the mailing address for the user is inaccurate.

--If an email address has been apparently entered incorrectly (a typo), after talking with the user and showing him/her the screen to confirm the address, waive the fine and place a PUB-NOTE (e.g., Recall fine waived, email address corrected, bvl klmr 11/18/13). For guest users, library staff need to make the correction in the user’s address field in WorkFlows. Students, faculty, and staff need to make the correction themselves in Search Rutgers/Changes &Corrections.

--If the problem is that the user has not made an address change with the university, a one-time waive may be made after explaining to the user their responsibility to make the address change through Search Rutgers/Changes & Corrections. Place a PUB-NOTE explaining the waive (e.g., Recall fine waived, user informed of address change responsibilities, bvl klmr 11/18/13)

. Borrower Maintenance Team has annotated in the PUB-NOTE that mail has been returned and forwarded (when possible).

Discuss with user, instructing user to update address with university (Search Rutgers/Changes & Corrections), and, if the problem has not occurred before, a one-time only waive may be made. Place a PUB-NOTE (e.g., Recall fine waived, user informed of address change responsibilities, bvl klmr 11/18/13).

. User reports that a medical or family emergency has caused a recalled item to bereturned late.

Discretion needs to used in these situations. If deemed appropriate, the recall may be waived. Enter a PUB-NOTE (e.g., Recall fine waived, medical emergency, bvl klmr 11/18/13). Do not ask users to bring in doctor’s notes or hospital statements.

. User, in good faith, returns the wrong volume in a series or nearly identical title.

After speaking with the user and pointing out the multiple identifiers provided on the recall notice (author, title, call number, and barcode) a one-time only waive may be made. Place a PUB-NOTE (e.g., Recall fine waived, wrong volume mistakenly returned, bvl klmr 11/18/13).

. User reports a book lost before it is due on recall.

Make sure user understands that he/she will not get a refund should he/she find the item and return it later (rationale: item would have been subject to recall fines) and note this on the receipt. Place PUB-NOTE (e.g., Recall fine waived for lost item, bvl klmr 11/18/13.

. Integrated Information Systems confirms that a problem has occurred in sending notices.

It is clear that notices were not produced properly by IIS on a particular date. Cancel the fine and do not place a PUB-NOTE.

. Weather Emergency

Severe weather conditions, e.g., snow storms, tropical storms, make traveling hazardous and sometimes result in the libraries closing. Fines may be waived with a PUB-NOTE indicating the reason.

User is Responsible for Recall Fines under these Situations

. I was on vacation. (The user is expected to either return his/her material before going away or make appropriate arrangements so that a colleague/friend/family member can respond to recalls and return any recalled material while the user is away).

I was out-of-town, out-of-state, out-of-the-country, at a conference, etc. (User is expected to make appropriate arrangements so that recalled items may be returned on time).

. I never received the first notice or I never received any notices. (If user has already been granted one waive because of bounced email annotated by the Borrower Maintenance Team, do not grant any more. The first waive is only done after extensive discussion with the user about their email address change responsibilities).

. I lent the book to a friend. (User needs to get the book back and pay the fine).

. They told me I could have the book for the semester or 28 days. (The recall notice articulates that the book needs to be brought back by a specified, two-week due date so that it may be used by another borrower. The fines that will accrue if the material is not returned on time are made clear. Additionally, the user may always contact the library prior to being fined for any clarification of the obligation to return recalled material by its new recall due date).

. I live in Pennsylvania (fill in the state) and I only come on campus when I need to. (User may mail any recalled material to any Rutgers Library, using the necessary postal rate or form of delivery which will insure that the material will arrive by the recall due date.)

. User reports that recalled item has been lost prior to its recall due date; staff informs user that he/she will need to replace the item and recall fine will be waived.

If user then returns the recalled item, prior to paying for it, user is responsible for any recall fines.

. Why would anyone want this book?

. The recall fine is more than the cost of the book!

. It’s not fair. I took it out first and I’m not done with it.

. I knew that I had already returned it.

. Fifty dollars for this book! You’ve got to be kidding me!

. I never even read it.

. I figured it was a mistake.

. I need this book for my paper.

. I took it out for my professor.

. I’ll be back on campus again on Monday (fill in the day). Will it be okay if I return< it then?

bvl 6/01; updated bvl 11/13, 4/16.

Last updated: bvl 6/01 - Billing Functional Group, NBAS; April 7, 2016
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