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Couple Balks After Mom’s Friend Demands They Pay $5k For Interior Decorating They Didn’t Ask For

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Gifts are always appreciated.

Even if some gifts can be more exciting than others, one can’t help but be touched by the simple gesture of generosity.

But have you ever been given a gift someone expected you to pay for?

Strange as it sounds, that’s just what happened to Redditor throwawayhousegift and their husband.

Unsure of how to handle this unusual, possibly unique situation, the original poster (OP) took to the subReddit “Am I The A**hole” (AITA), asking fellow Redditors:

“AITA for not wanting to pay for a ‘gift’?”

The OP first explained how and why this so-called “gift” was presented to them.

“My husband and I purchased a home earlier in the year.”

“It’s less than five years old so it really didn’t need any work.”

“However, we decided to paint walls, remove the carpet, and add a bar in the basement.”

“About a month after we moved in my husbands moms friend reached out to him to say she would love to stop by and give him a housewarming present.”

“This woman was his neighbor in his childhood home and is still relatively close with his mother.”

“It’s also worth mentioning she is an interior designer.”

“She showed up to our house and presented the gift as her services.”

“We both thanked her but said we weren’t interested in hiring a designer at the moment.”

“We still had drinks and conversed for a while and she left.”

While the OP thought that was the end of discussion on the matter, their mother-in-law’s interior decorator friend didn’t seem to get the memo.

“Three weeks go by and she sends a box with samples for paint, cabinetry, carpeting, upholstery (she mentioned she hated our couch??), and mock ups for each room.”

“My husband reached out to her and asked to return the items and again reiterated that we would not be interested in any design services.”

“We returned the items.”

“We just received an invoice for her work.”

“She’s charging us for 20 hours of work (2.5 hours labeled as an on-site visit + travel time) and the cost for renting each of her samples.”

“She discounted it 50% for friends and family but it is still almost $5k for work we didn’t ask for.”

“Am I the a**hole for not wanting to pay?”

“Mother-in-law (MIL) says we should to keep the peace with her neighbor and friend.”

Fellow Redditors weighed in on where they felt the OP fell in this particular situation.

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

There was no doubt in the mind of fellow Redditors the OP was definitely not the a**hole by refusing to pay for this friend’s gift.

Redditors were amused by the determination, or even audacity, of the OP’s mother-in-law’s friend.


“I’m kind of impressed at the size of her balls if I’m being honest.”

“NTA and you didn’t sign a contract or request any sort of service.”

“You have no obligation to pay.”

“What a scam she is running.”

“Again, I’m a little impressed.”- Lola_M1224.

“OP, I actually laughed when I read your post! “

“That woman has unbelievable nerve.”

“Your MIL is more than welcome to pay but why would she?”

“Who would even want a friend like that? “

“Wow. Just wow. “

“NTA.”- Littleballoffur22


“The audacity of her to ‘discount’ something that no one even asked for.”

“Not only she’s the AH, so is the MIL.”

“Your husband needs to close that line of dialogue asap else her friend is going to push her next for getting paid.”- ninja_talli

Many others questioned if this was the first time this woman tried to charge people for services that were neither asked for nor provided.

“NTA at no point did you give the woman permission to work for you.”

“You were clear. “

“If your MIL wants to keep the peace she can pay the bill herself.”

“Edit to add: you can always return the threat by filing a report with whatever business bureau you have for fraudulent charges.”

“You best believe she’s done this before.”- chubby-wench

Some even encouraged the OP and their husband to take legal action.


“I’d speak to a lawyer and think about a cease and desist.”

“I wonder if MIL would be getting a cut of the money because this is crazy.”- StarbuckandTex

Of course, many pointed out how it was highly questionable this woman could legally demand to be paid for what she presented as a gift.


“That’s not how free/gift samples work.”

“She invited herself over and imposed upon you and your husband in a bid to get your business.”

“You did not seek her out, you did not sign anything saying that you would pay $X for her to consult, etc…”

“She took on the risk of a loss of time and resources when she did all of this without permission and without securing a means of payment.”

“She’s not a very good business person and conducting herself as a bully to boot.”

“She needs to accept she made an error in judgment and be grateful her perceived losses don’t include a bad review.”- Sweet__kitty.


“1)You have to request a service to be charged for it…..”

“2)You also said NO!!!”


“People like this just piss me off to no end.” – theoreticalsandmore

There was also considerable speculation the OP’s mother-in-law was complicit in this, with many claiming she was the real a**hole in this particular situation.


“I’m guessing MIL is behind this, and either gave the friend the impression you were looking to remodel, or told her outright that she could just go ahead and start working on this.”

“I think I’d send a strongly worded to letter or email to both the friend and MIL saying you never had plans to remodel, and never asked or gave permission for her to start working on designs.”

“Therefor you will be paying nothing, and if MIL told the friend you were, then she should go after MIL for payment.”- Alibeee64

It’s hard not to raise an eyebrow at anyone who attempts to be paid for a service that was flatly refused.

It’s also hard not to question the basic decency of someone who charges people for something presented as a gift.

Here’s hoping this comes to a clean resolution for the OP and their husband.

Written by John Curtis

A novelist, picture book writer and native New Yorker, John is a graduate of Syracuse University and the children's media graduate program at Centennial College. When not staring at his computer monitor, you'll most likely find John sipping tea watching British comedies, or in the kitchen, taking a stab at the technical challenge on the most recent episode of 'The Great British Baking Show'.