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Overdue and Billed Material

In the event library materials are not returned in a timely manner, they will be billed to the borrower's account and library privileges will be suspended. This guide covers all the possible ways to handle the situation and clear the account.

Frequently Asked Questions

I received an email from OCLC about overdue material, what does this mean?

UNM University Libraries (UNMUL) notices are sent from the UNMUL sends out four types of notices when you have items on your library account.

  1. Courtesy notices – Reminder that book is due soon, and directions on how to renew items. 
  2. Overdue notices – Notification that the book is overdue, and needs to be returned or renewed immediately.
  3. Billing notice – The book has not returned in a timely manner and the library is considering it lost.
  4. Hold notices – These are sent if you have a UNM Library book waiting for you to pick up.

How does UNMUL send overdue notices?

If you are a UNM affiliated user, the emails will go to your UNM NetID email address.  Non-UNM affiliated users will be asked to provide an email address.  It is the responsibility of the borrower to check this regularly and be aware of when their library books are due.

I returned a book to the library but I am still getting overdue notices. What do I do?

If you find an error on your account, please contact a member of the Access Services Billing Team or ask for a Claims Returned form at the Service desk of any branch library. Items should be claimed returned as soon as possible.  See the Claims Returned tab for additional FAQ's.

I did not receive a notice.  Why do I still have to pay for my lost books and any accumulated fines?

Reminder notices for overdue and recalled library materials are sent via e-mail as a courtesy.  Failure to receive a notice does not exempt a borrower from the responsibility to return books on time, and is not grounds for the cancelation of fines.  University Libraries sends notices to UNM affiliated user’s UNM e-mail address.  We encourage borrowers who do not regularly monitor their UNM e-mail account to arrange to forward mail from this account to their preferred account.  Community Borrowers may choose to receive notices at any e-mail account.

When are notices sent?

Email notices are sent out at approximately 7am Mountain Time.

My book was stolen, what do I do?

If you have filed a police report for the theft, bring that to a member of the billing team.  We can then waive the cost of the book or the need to provide a replacement copy.  If you are unable to get a police report, speak directly to a member of the team and we can determine what action to take.

Why am I being billed?

If an item is not returned or renewed in a timely fashion it will be treated as a lost book.  Borrower’s accounts will be billed and borrowing privileges will be suspended.

Why am I being billed $100 for a book that is $4.99 at a bookstore?

UNMUL uses an average Standard Replacement Cost, which means that sometimes the cost of the item is actually lower than the charge.  In this case it is in the best interest of both the library and the borrower for the original to be found or a replacement copy to be brought into the library.  There is a nominal fine ($10) for processing replacement copies. See “Replacement Copies” tab and the “Library Fines” tab for additional FAQ’s.

I paid my bursar's account this morning, why is it still on my library record?

The bursar's accounts and library accounts are not instantly linked.  Updates are manually made weekly, if you need changes made immediately please contact a member of the Access Services Billing Team to verify your payment and adjust your library account.

I turned in my billed book, how long does it take to get my records cleared?

Generally, the Access Services Billing Team tries to check in and clear billed items as soon as possible.  During the beginnings and ends of the semester there is an increased amount of billed books to process and this will take a little longer. The Billing Team strives to have items processed within 24-48 business hours. If it has been longer than 48 business hours, and books are still on your account, please contact a member of the team.

Does it matter what branch I turn in a billed book?

If you have a billed book it does take an extra day to route the book to the proper library before all the records can be cleared.  Turning in a book to a different branch may add 24-48 hours to the total amount of processing time.

Will I get a refund if I find the book after I paid for it?

Yes, just return the book to the branch library which it was checked out.  If you let the Service Desk know it is a lost billed book they will route it to a member of the Access Services Billing Team. 

Why is there a new bill for a book I already paid for?

In the process of changing status of books that have been lost and paid, new bills are being generated. They should be immediately canceled. If there is any questions about a lingering bill, contact a member of the Access Services Billing Team.

I turned in a book, and it is still on my account.  What do I do?

As soon as you realize a book that you returned is still on your account, let the library know.  You can contact Ask-A-Librarian or any one of the Service Desks. A search card will be filled out and the Claims Returned process will begin.  The missing item will be renewed, and notes will be made on your account.  When the item is found, it will be checked in and cleared off your account.  If it is not found, the Billing Team member for that branch will change the status to claims returned

What information do you need to process a claims returned?

We need the item information and your name and NetID or Barcode.  It is also useful to know approximately what date the item was returned, and to which branch or drop box.

How long does a book marked claims returned stay on my account?

After the initial search period, a book will then change status to billed or claims returned. A claims returned will remain on your account until the item is located.  You will not be charged for a claims returned book. There is a limit to the number of Claims Returned Items before an account is blocked.  If this has occurred, please contact a member of the Access Services Billing Team to discuss the details of your account.

What is the difference between a Claims Returned and Claims Never Had?

Claims Returned is the status for books that the borrower has notified the library that they returned but something has gone wrong in the check in process.  Claims Never Had is the status for a book that is incorrectly on a borrower’s account.  It occurs when something has gone wrong in the checkout process.  Both status has a limit of items that be on a borrower’s account before the account is blocked.

How many claimed returned or claimed never had can I have on my account?

The lifetime number of claims returned or claims never had books to 5 for UNM affiliate users and 2 for community borrowers.  Ideally, these books are found when a search is conducted, so they will be removed from borrower’s account. 

Will I still be billed for a claims returned book?

In general, changing a book to claims returned stops the billing cycle.  Once a borrower reaches their lifetime limit of claims returned items, some items may need to be replaced or paid for to clear the account. 

Do I have to pay for the book or can I bring in a replacement?

The University Libraries prefers to receive replacement copies if the original item cannot be found and returned.  Replacement books must be the exact same item (same ISBN) and in good condition.  A $10 processing fee will be added to a borrower’s account.  This allows for the item to return to circulation to be available to other users.

How do I get a replacement copy to the library?

Replacement copies can be brought into to the Service Desk where the book was checked out.   They can also be mailed directly to the Access Services Billing Team Members.  Choose the appropriate member for the branch for which the book belongs.  The address is:

Access Services Billing Team 

University Libraries

MSC05 3020

1 University of New Mexico

Albuquerque, NM 87131

How do I find the right ISBN for the book I checked out?

Use the Renew my Book link to sign in and access your library account.  Click on the book that needs to be replaced.  When the complete record opens, click on the arrow next to Description in the item detail.  That information will include the ISBN. 

For step-by-step directions with images, see the "Locating Replacement Copies" page.

You can also contact Ask-A-Librarian for assistance.

Does it have to be a brand new copy?

No, the copy does not have to be brand new.  In fact some books are only available in the used book market.   Please choose a book that is in “Good” condition or better.  If the seller has listed defects, the library prefers a book that is not written in.  It does not matter if the dust jacket is present.  For more information on book conditions see, the Wikipedia List of used book conditions. Most booksellers still use these standards.

Will you accept a different book on the same subject or a different edition?

While the library is willing to accept general book donations, we are unable to accept donations in lieu of clearing a library bill.  Replacement copies must be the same ISBN number to the billed item.

Does the UNMUL charge Overdue Fines?

Yes, it charges a $10 overdue fine for items that are returned, replaced, or paid six months (180 days) after the due date.  This does not include any service charges that may be placed by the bursar’s office for an unpaid account.

What is a Replacement Processing Fine?

This is a $10 fine added to the borrower’s account to cover part of the processing involved to prepare a book to be part of the library collection. 

What is a Recall Processing Fine?

Users may request books that are currently checked-out.  This service is provided through Library Express, a part of Interlibrary Loan services.  In this case, the Library may choose to fulfill the request in one of three ways: (a) purchase a second copy, (b) request item through Interlibrary Loan, (c) recall the item from the current borrower.

If a book is recalled from a current borrower, they will be notified through the same system that sends out library notices.  The new recall due date supersedes the original due date. Borrowers will be notified when the recalled item has been returned and is available for pickup.  If this item is not returned in a timely manner, it will be treated as lost.  In addition, a $25.00 non-refundable Recall Processing Fine will be added to billed recalled items.  If the item is not returned, but the charges are paid in full, library privileges will be reinstated.  Any item returned or replaced after six months (180 days) will have an additional $10.00 library fine.

Are fines refundable?

No, fines placed on a library account are non-refundable. Even if a lost billed book is replaced or returned, the fine will remain on the account.  The only time a fine will be removed is if it was incorrectly placed.