Write a Letter of Declining Gifts

Edited by Timbuktu, Charmed, Eng, JMA and 9 others

When you choose to decline a gift, you need to ensure you are handling it in a kind and sensitive manner, especially when it is of necessity. Examples include a gift from a competitor that violates company policy, a stranger giving you an extravagant gift, or an individual providing you with a gift that is inappropriate. Even though you have declined the gift, it is important that you do acknowledge you received it and when you return it, you are offering them a reason as to why you must decline it. Often, this can be done with a simple note that is honest, yet kind.

How to Write

  1. 1
    Begin the letter by letting the person that the gift was appreciated and that it was very kind that they took the time to think about you and to select a kind gift
    You should also thank them for the intention and come across in a very genuine manner. It is important that your letter is very cordial and kind and does not attack or insult the individual who has sent you a gift.
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  2. 2
    Your next paragraph will focus on why you need to decline the gift that was given to you
    Be sure that you are clear and concise and while it should not be rude, it should be honest. You shouldn't sugar coat the situation, but you should refrain from posting cruel or unkind reasons at this time.
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  3. 3
    If the gift is from a competitor, for example, let them know that it is against company policy to accept the item
    If you are married and the gift is from a gentleman who wants to be a suitor, kindly explain you are faithful to your husband and while the gesture is nice, it would be inappropriate to accept the gift. At all times, it should be clear why you are declining and to let the person know why future gifts would also need to be declined.
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Sample Letter

Dear Mr. Turner,

The antique vase you sent is well suited to the decor and mood of my family's house.

I regret, however, that I must return the artifact.

I have received the antique vase you have sent to me. This is a perfect match for my home and it would blend in well with my home. Unfortunately, I will not be able to accept the gift from you and I must return it. Our company has a strict policy against accepting gifts our competitors. While I understand this is a gift you put a lot of thought into, I will need to decline it at this time. Thank you again for thinking of me.

Very Respectfully,

Signs that Tell You You Should Really Refuse a Gift

Although most of the time, gifts are given as a gesture of thoughtfulness and forming a good relationship, whether in the family, among friends or in business. However, there are also times when gifts are used as a tool for some other purpose. In this case, you definitely would not want to accept a gift, especially if the purpose is rather negative or malicious.

Here are some signs that tell you a gift is worth refusing:

  1. 1
    The gift is extremely valuable
    Unless it is your fiance giving you a diamond ring, if you get this kind of gift from a colleague or a client, for example, it may be considered as a sign of bribery. Bribery is defined as giving something of value in order to push an action or decision in favor of the other party, that would not have been made if something valuable was not given. This is a very unethical practice in business and you should definitely decline these types of offers. The value of a gift may be rather subjective, in a way that different people may have different standards in terms of what's actually expensive and not expensive. However, anything that is obviously going out of the usual can be considered as valuable enough to be refused.
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  • 2
    The gift is asking for something in return
    If the purpose of giving the gift is obvious in a way that something is demanded in return, then you know that the gift was not given under positive intentions or simple thoughtfulness. You would not want to trap yourself by accepting it because that gives the impression to the giver that you are committing to what he wants.
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  • 3
    The gift is given in spite of your company's request that gifts will not be accepted
    Gifts are commonly given during special holidays like Christmas and New Year. However, there are companies that indicate right away to their partners like suppliers and clients that they won't be accepting any gift. If this is still violated, it is totally understandable if you will be refusing, since it is known to them any way that you are following a certain rule in the company.
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  • Questions and Answers

    Sample letter for declining a gift from an employer?

    My current employer is selling his company and is giving selected employees shares in the company. I prefer not to accept it but don't know how to word my letter without offending him

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    Meeting room occupancy by the people un-booked?

    I would need to send out an email to all the employees in the organization with regard to occupying the conference room without booking it online which will impact the others who are holding the reservation

    VisiHow QnA. This section is not written yet. Want to join in? Click EDIT to write this answer.

    Declining a gift from service provider?

    A service provider offered me a service and above that an expensive gift. I cannot accept the gift. How can I politely return the gift? Thanks!

    Here is an example on how to reply (please include, if possible, valid reasons that you ought to decline the present):

    Dear Sirs and Mesdames:

    I would like to thank you for the provided service. Even though your additionally offered gift is the one that ["is valued in every house", "is highly sought by me", "is very useful and thoughtful"], I, to my regret, cannot accept it, as ["I am moving out soon", "the company I work for has a strict policy against gifts", "I have a strong belief that I have to always return favors and understand my complete inability to do so", etc.] Thank you once again for your valuing your customers, which I always appreciate in a serious company like yours.

    Yours faithfully,

    [your name]

    [your company]

    Declining a monetary gift for a presentation I made?

    I do not want to be paid for a presentation I made at their event

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    How do I refuse and return a gift that I do not want to be obligated to fund?

    I have received a gift, a book, that asks for a donation to its fund. How do I politely refuse it? I give too many charities but obviously, can not give to all. This book was given by an acquaintance in the building who has traveled to this locale, taken pictures, studied the area, people and its need and has put together this beautiful book of the country and the people, published it and has given it out to everyone in the building with a return envelope for a contribution. This is the second time. I gave the first time and kept the first book. I do not want to be obligated to his cause and wish to just return this second book with a polite explanation so I don't get a third request. Also, I don't want to look ungrateful or cheap. I have tried: Waiting to write a letter of thank you and refuse. I think it was caused by: The giver is true to his cause- very admirable. Nothing more to say.

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    Letter declining a gift (Mont Blanc writers edition pen) receive from Landlord?

    Need to write a letter declining a gift (Mont blanc writers edition pen) receive from a Landlord as this is against our company policy. I was asked to send it back to the Landlord through courier. Hope you can help me on this. It is different in the sense that this a letter addressing to a Landlord and the letter must be in polite so as to maintain the relationship between the companies.

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    If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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