DEAR ABBY: I'm wondering how to approach a situation following a visit with some relatives. We enjoyed a wonderful visit and they were very nice to put us up in their guest room. A few days into our stay, I woke up with strange and very itchy bites on my legs and shoulders. When I mentioned it to our host, she quickly supplied me with some itch cream and changed the subject.
After we returned home, we met a few of our relatives and they mentioned that this particular household was experiencing a bed bug problem. I was shocked and a little hurt that they didn't mention the infestation or warn us ahead of time.
We're in the process of making sure we didn't bring any of these critters home, but if we must hire an exterminator or replace furniture, we will be in a bind financially. What would be the proper way to address this, and should our host feel some responsibility for what costs we may have to incur? -- ITCHY AND IRRITATED IN ILLINOIS
DEAR ITCHY: That these relatives would knowingly allow you to stay in a room they knew was infested with "critters" is appalling. Could they have been too embarrassed to speak up?
If you must replace rugs, mattresses, bedding, etc., ask them to reimburse you. If they refuse, you could take them to small claims court and get a judgment IF you could prove you picked the bugs up there. But first you should let your relatives know that other family members told you about their "sin of omission." In the future, if you plan to visit this couple again, stay elsewhere. Once bitten, twice shy.