Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

How To Remedy Gifts Damaged In Delivery

DEAR ABBY: What should someone do when gifts received via mail or UPS have been damaged in transit? We have received some ceramic objects for Christmas in the last two years. Both were packed and sent by the givers.

My wife would rather remain silent about the damage to avoid the appearance that a replacement is expected. I contend that the damage should be mentioned and that no replacement is necessary when writing the thank-you note, or even that certain gifts should be avoided in the future. Otherwise, the sender has no way of knowing that a better packaging job is necessary. Also, there may be some (insurance) recourse with the carrier. -- "BUSTED" IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR "BUSTED": I agree with you to a point. The giver should be thanked, and the fact that the gift arrived damaged should be mentioned. It's smart to insure packages before sending, so if the contents are damaged, there will be compensation. But even if they weren't insured, the sender should be informed that the gift arrived broken, so the next time precautions can be taken before the item is shipped.

However, I do not agree with stating that in the future such gifts should be avoided because it would imply the gift was unwelcome or inappropriate.

Read more in: Etiquette & Ethics | Holidays & Celebrations