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'Giving' a birthday present but on loan terms

(67 Posts)
AppleCiderVinegar Sat 06-Apr-19 13:59:08

My DS and DB share a hobby. DB has a piece of expensive equipment he no longer uses which he's said he'd like to 'give' 13 yo DS 'as a birthday present.'

But DB also says he might want it back at some point so DS must look after this 'gift' in order to be able to return it in pristine condition in the future.

I asked DB to clarify whether this is in fact DS's birthday present or actually a loan. DS is very responsible and will value and take care of this thing but if he uses it for its intended purpose it will potentially travel with him and could get damaged or stolen. Also, I don't think birthday presents work like that.

Attempting to discuss this with DB has resulted in him becoming angry, offended, and calling me ungrateful.

Who is BU?

TowelNumber42 Sat 06-Apr-19 14:01:02

Depends how you asked.

I wouldn't regard that as a present though. I'd also not want the worry and responsibility.

reallybadidea Sat 06-Apr-19 14:01:35

YANBU. That is not a gift! It doesn't even sound like a loan, but a massive burden. I'd say thanks but no thanks.

Rezie Sat 06-Apr-19 14:02:33

It's not a gift. It's barely even a loan.

FudgeBrownie2019 Sat 06-Apr-19 14:02:44

Your brother is hugely unreasonable. A gift belongs to the recipient not to the giver no matter how much they might like it or want it back in the future.

SimplyPut Sat 06-Apr-19 14:02:58

It's a lot of responsibility for any child. Sounds more like you are being used as storage... it's hardly going to stay pristine if used.

Knittedfairies Sat 06-Apr-19 14:03:01

Nope. A gift comes with ribbons, not strings.

itsabugchicken Sat 06-Apr-19 14:04:05

Your brother is being massively UR.

Who will replace said item if it gets damaged/broken?

dinkydolphin Sat 06-Apr-19 14:04:48

It's a loan but, the gift is the use of the item which considering you have said it's an expensive one is very generous.

Your son just uses away it with the care of a loaned item fully prepared to return it if necessary.

This shouldn't be a confusing thing! You are being gifted the loan of an expensive item.

Chocolateisfab Sat 06-Apr-19 14:05:31

Your db is loaning out a used item in the expectation of gaining a new one when he demands it back...

Jamiefraserskilt Sat 06-Apr-19 14:05:45

A gift is a gift. A loan is a loan. He needs to be clear what it is. If, when your son is done with it, he does not want it sold or gifted on then make it clear you cannot guarantee it is returned in the same condition. It may get stolen, damaged or otherwise. If he is happy to take the risk then fine.

dinkydolphin Sat 06-Apr-19 14:06:49

I would be cross too if you were being awkward about it. I'm sure you would be a lot more put out if your brother didn't offer the use of the item at all and you had to buy it outright yourself.

Be a little more grateful. It's not all about your kid!!

DontCallMeCharlotte Sat 06-Apr-19 14:07:00

A gift comes with ribbons, not strings

Very clever!

Stompythedinosaur Sat 06-Apr-19 14:07:22

I wouldn't be keen on this arrangement as there is no way to guarantee 100% that the item will stay pristine.

I would be being very clear about the fact that I couldn't take responsibility for it.

HeathRobinson Sat 06-Apr-19 14:10:24

Ha ha, 'ungrateful' that you don't want to provide free storage, care and insurance for db's expensive kit! 😂

dinkydolphin Sat 06-Apr-19 14:14:30

@health then if OP doesnt want to care for the item then she shouldn't accept it!! Very simple really.

MadameAnchou Sat 06-Apr-19 14:17:14

Your brother's an arse. Who the fuck loans a teen something 'as a gift' and expects them to keep it ad infinitum in pristine condition. I'd use the ribbons not strings comment and not accept it. He's the type to sue you for not keeping it in mint condition.

Can't stand people who do this. It's like people who 'give' you baby clothes and then want them back in mint condition or offer to give you them and say, 'That'll be 50 quid and you're getting such a bargain'.

Fuck that.

chockaholic72 Sat 06-Apr-19 14:27:21

That's not how gifts work. Imagine hypothetically it's a really nice carbon fibre road bike. Great to ride, fast, looks amazing.
1) it can get nicked - needs insuring separately if outside the home
2) it can get scratched - would he have to repair it?
3) it can get broken - wheel rims break etc - and what about servicing, who is going to pay for that?
4) he could have a crash and completely wreck it.
Not much of a gift if you have to be that careful with it and then give it back.

GreatDuckCookery Sat 06-Apr-19 14:27:50

That’s a rubbish present. Personally I would decline the offer.

megrichardson Sat 06-Apr-19 14:33:03

What is it with some people? As others have said, is it a gift or a loan? And all this crap about 'might want it back' - some birthday gift that is! And your brother has decided he's offended?? Tell your brother to stick it.

Peterpiperpickedwrong Sat 06-Apr-19 14:33:08

That’s a rubbish present. Personally I would decline the offer.

^this. Tell him to keep it and buy a proper present that isn’t going to be snatched back off DS at a later date.

Absolutepowercorrupts Sat 06-Apr-19 14:38:43

OP's son isn't being gifted a loan of an expensive item Dinky Dolphin
He is being offered a loan of the item, it's not a gift at all.
Great expression a gift comes with ribbons not strings

Notcontent Sat 06-Apr-19 14:39:01

Well, it’s not a gift, is it? So it’s cheeky for your DB to describe it as such.

Whether a loan is a kind gesture or an unreasonable burden depends on the item. Something like a piano would be great - very unlikely to be damaged. Something like an expensive camera is too much of a burden - likely to get stolen, lost or damaged.

sirfredfredgeorge Sat 06-Apr-19 14:41:55

The gift is the free use of an expensive item. Maybe it's a guitar, free use of a good guitar is a great gift, maybe it's a mountain bike, free use of an expensive bike is a great gift.

It really depends on exactly what the gift is, and the situation, but essentially there's nothing wrong with giving a gift that is the use of something rather than the ownership of it.

RedHatsDoNotSuitMe Sat 06-Apr-19 14:42:31

Another one who loves the line used by Knittedfairies

KC225 Sat 06-Apr-19 14:43:44

Bloody cheek. Him not you. I think hat s quite a mean thing to do to a kid. Loan him the equipment, and stick a foldable spendable in a card. Its not difficult.

Knittedfaires Love your 'a gift comes with ribbons, not strings' and I shall be using that in the future.

Margot33 Sat 06-Apr-19 14:47:19

Thats not a gift but a loan. It's sounds like a big responsibility for a child to look after, due to its high monetary value. I think you're quite right to clarify the 'gift'.

arethereanyleftatall Sat 06-Apr-19 14:47:47

Well, it isn't a birthday gift, but then your brother is under no obligation to buy your son a birthday gift anyway. That's up to him.

SleepWarrior Sat 06-Apr-19 14:49:27

Unless your brother is generally a selfish arse then he probably just hasn't thought this through. If you remove the fact that it's a birthday, then loaning his expensive item IS a generous and nice thing to do.

It doesn't really work as a gift, but unless you want to fall out with your DB I'd be very careful how you word it as it could come across as pretty ungrateful.

I'd say something like "Wow, that's a lovely and generous offer to loan DS your X. However, the chances of something happening to it whilst he travels don't seem worth the risk. I'd be concerned that the worry of it going missing/getting broken, plus the cost of replacing it for you, would also remove all the enjoyment. Thanks so much for thinking of DS though, I really appreciate it."

If he is generally a selfish arse then offending him doesn't really matter!

cstaff Sat 06-Apr-19 14:51:56

Who is the child here. It sounds like your brother is a big child. Tell him to grow the fuck up and definitely use the ribbons not strings phrase. That sums it up perfectly.

lottiegarbanzo Sat 06-Apr-19 14:53:12

That isn't even a helpful loan. The helpful sort accept that wear and tear will occur. It's a burden of responsibility.

I'd much rather buy, borrow or occasionally hire a cheaper version of the thing, than carry the risk of having to buy DB a new one.

Boysey45 Sat 06-Apr-19 14:54:45

Your brother is a tosser, either you give a child a gift or you don't, not some stupid loan.
Tell him to stick it where the sun don't shine and buy your son what he needs.

Hellywelly10 Sat 06-Apr-19 15:01:01

Whats the item op?

Hellywelly10 Sat 06-Apr-19 15:01:56

Anyway whatever it is db is being a knob head.

AWishForWingsThatWork Sat 06-Apr-19 15:02:39

Your brother's an arse, and your calling him out on this was the right thing to do. Refuse the loan' and tell him he can give your son a birthday gift or not, but if he chooses to give one, it must be an actual gift.

TonTonMacoute Sat 06-Apr-19 15:12:51

It sounds like a poisoned chalice, it's just a big argument waiting to happen.

redwoodmazza Sat 06-Apr-19 15:15:35

That is NOT a gift!

Knittedfairies Sat 06-Apr-19 15:18:32

Knittedfaires Love your 'a gift comes with ribbons, not strings' and I shall be using that in the future

I'd love to take the credit for this but I can't; I read it somewhere years ago and it stuck.

MenuPlant Sat 06-Apr-19 15:19:41

Sounds like your brother will be asking for it back in 3 years or something and will be terribly disappointed that it's not in mint condition and you have to buy him a new one.

If your son is to keep it in mint condition then clearly he can't actually use it, as there will be wear and tear. Even a tiny scratch and bingo your brother gets a new one.

I think no is the answer it's not a gift and the loan would be cool if it wasn't for the unreasonable mint condition (or presumably replace) expectations.

VanGoghsDog Sat 06-Apr-19 15:30:11

My sister's MIL used to do this all the time - 'give' her some jewellery, or furniture, then five years later ask for it back.

In the end sister just stopped accepting things from her.

But, yes, your DB is BU!

Inliverpool1 Sat 06-Apr-19 15:34:30

Also will this item need updating or be updated at some point in which case DB will probably want to trade it in and up, which is where the slightest dint could become an issue or have a monetary value you’re expected to reimburse. I’d say no thank you

DuckbilledSplatterPuff Sat 06-Apr-19 15:35:12

It's not a present. £20 in a card is a birthday present.

Effectively, it's storage and caretaking and free insurance of expensive equipment. Like a fee free hire agreement.

I agree with @MenuPlant.

Can your son save up for similar equipment second hand on ebay? Your DB is silly to sulk. I expect he was trying to be generous and thought you'd all be delighted, but he clearly values his equipment very very highly and can't see that a gift with strings attached isn't really a gift. Maybe he could let your DS borrow the thing under his supervision, without you or teen being "responsible" for it. That would probably be more appreciated by your son anyway.

Its good that your DS has an interesting hobby and I hope he has a lovely birthday.

rosablue Sat 06-Apr-19 15:36:44

Is it something that takes up quite a bit of space by any chance?

I reckon that your db is thinking that it is a cunning way to store the item without taking up space in his house or having to pay for storage - but to then be able to demand it back at his convenience and with the chance of demanding a new, up to date version if there is even a teeny scratch or issue with it even due to normal use (because sometimes it is easy to say you need to replace this because it has been stolen/broken/crashed - it's obvious that there is a problem. It's the little everyday wear and tear - little scuffs and scratches, tiny dents, worn handles and so on that mean it's much more difficult to agree to a new one - you say it's obvious that if you give something like that to your ds that he is going to use it so it will obviously reflect lots of use as your ds is into his hobby so uses it a lot, which your db knows - your db counters that he hasn't looked after it enough, it should still look pristine, he wasn't expecting him to use it all the time, just occasionally on special occasions and you're left at loggerheads.

Definitely sounds like one to avoid...

viques Sat 06-Apr-19 15:37:52

I know it is fairly common to lend someone an upgraded musical instrument so that they can progress, but that is a loan, not a gift. If that is the case the terms need to be made clear and the transaction called what it is.

If your brother no longer uses the thing, whatever it is , he needs to either relinquish it and gift it properly, sell it and let someone elapse have use of it that way, or put it up in his attic like the miserly tightfisted arsewipe he is coming across as.

Acis Sat 06-Apr-19 15:45:51

The gift is the free use of an expensive item. Maybe it's a guitar, free use of a good guitar is a great gift, maybe it's a mountain bike, free use of an expensive bike is a great gift.

Not when it is conditional on returning it when asked in pristine condition. That means it can't be used freely, and imposes an obligation to buy a new one to replace it if it gets lost or damaged in any way. That isn't a gift.

BabyBadger2 Sat 06-Apr-19 15:54:43

This shouldn't be a confusing thing! You are being gifted the loan of an expensive item.

This.

Would you still have an issue with it if it wasn't sold as a birthday present?

My dad gift/loaned me his very nice SLR camera when I was 16. He never asked for it back but I was grateful for the opportunity to use it. Maybe sensible to ask about insurance etc and what happens of it gets lost or broken though.

CheerioHunter Sat 06-Apr-19 15:57:28

Nope. A gift comes with ribbons, not strings.

Oooo, that's good.

BringMeTea Sat 06-Apr-19 15:58:46

Sounds like a way of getting out of buying a gift while feeling magnanimous. Just don't accept this 'present' OP. Graciously of course.

Sparklesocks Sat 06-Apr-19 16:01:14

Yes I would be off with it too, it’s a lot of pressure for your DS to look after it and he probably wouldn’t be able to relax with it in the same way he would if it was outright his. What if something happens and it gets broken/damaged, are DS/you expected to buy a new one? And when will he decide if he wants it back?
I think it should be one or the other - either an outright gift, or a loan for a specified amount of time.

Tawdrylocalbrouhaha Sat 06-Apr-19 16:07:23

I'm sure your DB means well, but I would decline or (if already received) get it back to him ASAP. I would guess he doesn't have kids? Just explain that you don't want your DS to have the pressure of worrying about the item getting damaged.

The fact that your DB gets umpty when you try to discuss it bodes ill for the future if you let DS keep it.

Myimaginarycathasfleas Sat 06-Apr-19 16:17:29

OK, your DB's reaction to discussing the terms of the loan tells you what you need to know. He clearly feels he's offering something of great value so he's unlikely to take it on the chin if the item gets damaged or lost whilst in your DS's care. Thank him for the generous offer but the responsibility of returning such a treasured item in a pristine condition would be a worry.

WhereYouLeftIt Sat 06-Apr-19 16:19:49

"But DB also says he might want it back at some point"
So it's not a gift - not in any shape or form. It doesn't even look like much of a loan - more of a 'I want you to store this item for me and I will inspect it closely at a later date to ensure you stored it to my satisfaction'.

Nope. Sod that for a game of soldiers. Your brother sounds like he's trying to get out of buying his nephew a birthday present. Mean.

I would decline this gift-that's-no-gift-at-all.

kaldefotter Sat 06-Apr-19 16:22:16

I think you should decline this supposedly generous offer. It sounds like in a couple of years your DB will be demanding you replace his item with a brand new one because of some perceived damage (what reasonable people would call wear and tear).

SecretNutellaFix Sat 06-Apr-19 16:23:47

Your DB is being an arse.

He wants to use you as free storage for potentially a large item, and could possibly demand it back with no notification in its original condition.

If he' giving an item as a gift, it must be the item, not just the use of. If it's a loan then he needs to be clear about that and you need to be clear back that keeping it in it' current condition is unlikely to be guaranteed if your DS is to use it at all while on loan to him.

I think it's a drone, if it is and your DB wants it to remain in it's current condition then he needs to give a different gift and retain it himself.

jarhead123 Sat 06-Apr-19 16:38:45

YANBU, your brother is. Probably easier to decline

sollyfromsurrey Sat 06-Apr-19 16:40:16

dinkydolphin you seem to have failed to think of all the possible consequences of this 'gift' of a loan. What if the item gets damaged? Will the Ds be responsible for replacing it with a brand new one for Db? That would end up being a really really bad present. What about wear and tear? What if Db decides the wear and tear is not reasonable and demands a replacement? The loan of something is not a great gift for anyone let alone a young person who with all the will in the world, may damage or lose the item. What if someone else damages the item in a way that was completely not the fault of Ds? WOuld Db demand a replacement? Again, bad present. Either buy the kid a present or don't but creating a future problem is a really bad idea.

sollyfromsurrey Sat 06-Apr-19 16:40:55

dinkydolphin you seem to have failed to think of all the possible consequences of this 'gift' of a loan. What if the item gets damaged? Will the Ds be responsible for replacing it with a brand new one for Db? That would end up being a really really bad present. What about wear and tear? What if Db decides the wear and tear is not reasonable and demands a replacement? The loan of something is not a great gift for anyone let alone a young person who with all the will in the world, may damage or lose the item. What if someone else damages the item in a way that was completely not the fault of Ds? WOuld Db demand a replacement? Again, bad present. Either buy the kid a present or don't but creating a future problem is a really bad idea.

ilikemethewayiam Sat 06-Apr-19 16:49:26

I would say that your DB must stress to your DS that it is a loan and that he is totally responsible for its safekeeping. Say you will not take responsibility for its safe return. Its either a gift or a loan but you will not be involved.

greenlynx Sat 06-Apr-19 16:50:38

Your DB is BU. And his reaction is very telling. He sounds as a type who would demand equipment back and won’t consider wear and tear. I won’t put 13 years old in this situation.

LuvSmallDogs Sat 06-Apr-19 17:51:52

I vote that “a gift comes with ribbons, not with strings” becomes a MNism!

Yeah, I wouldn’t be comfortable with the responsibility of a long term loan of something like that. It sounds like a catalyst for family drama.

AppleCiderVinegar Sat 06-Apr-19 18:34:34

Thanks all for your replies. It seems like most people see this the way I do, though not all, interestingly!

I'm not ungrateful that my DB offered to loan the item, that would've been a kind thing to do.

My issue is that he started off talking about it as DS's birthday present, and got DS very excited about it. I thought it was an extravagant present and very generous, but tbh he doesn't need it anymore and I'd pass things on to family members in a similar situation.

Then the alarm bells started to go off - for me - when he started saying lots of things about how careful DS needed to be in looking after it, in case DB needs it back.

Of course DB is not under any obligation to give DS an expensive present! But I'd never give someone a present with strings attached, and the whole thing makes me nervous!

AppleCiderVinegar Sat 06-Apr-19 18:38:39

And yes, I agree that gifts coming with ribbons not strings puts it perfectly!

Aeroflotgirl Sat 06-Apr-19 18:44:05

Nope not a gift, I would refuse that even as a loan, it is very stupid of your brother to entrust a 13 year old with this expensive item, and I would not want responsibility for it.

alittlesnow Sat 06-Apr-19 19:16:55

@AppleCiderVinegar

Sounds like your brother wants to lend this stuff out, and then ask for it back, so he can complain, and say it's broken/faulty now, and insist you buy said item(s) new for him.

The way he is blathering on about you being 'ungrateful' is very telling, and suggests (to me) that he is after someone to buy new for him.

I am guessing golf clubs. fishing tackle maybe???

Whatever, tell him to stuff off. I have had this before. A 'friend' of DH's insisted on lending us his camcorder (back in the late 1990's) and we didn't want to as it was £450 worth of kit at the time (about £800 in today's money,) even though it was 2 years old or thereabouts...

But he insisted! So DH reluctantly took it from him, and we used it on our holiday (to Paris,) took some footage, and gave to back to him.

Surprise surprise... The day after DH gave it back, his 'friend' rang him and said it was broke, even though it was FINE when we gave it back. (Over 20 years ago now, so I can't remember HOW it was broke; bust lense or something.) He said we 'probably didn't mean to break it' and that he was happy to accept half towards anew camcorder... (About £225 - or £400 in today's money!)

Long story short, it caused a big argument as DH refused to cough up. He said we never asked to borrow it and we never broke it.

We all fell out after that, but it turned out he was not much of a friend anyway! (Not doing THAT to us!) Even to this day, we both swear that he lent it us, just so he could break it, then blame someone else for it being broken, and get someone to cough up towards a new one!

outpinked Sat 06-Apr-19 19:21:05

You cannot ask for a gift to be returned, once you offer a gift that then belongs to the recipient. This would not count as a gift, it’s a loan at best.

Friedspamfritters Sat 06-Apr-19 19:25:16

I'm with you and most PP I'd tell Dbro that you're not going to be responsible for such an expensive item if he might want it back in a specific condition as you can't guarantee what will happen to it while travelling.

ScrewyMcScrewup Sat 06-Apr-19 19:28:36

I'd tell your brother you can't accept because you can't guarantee it wouldn't be damaged in an accident, and there will be wear and tear in any case. He needs to realise this isn't a "great gift" (wtf at the previous poster who said that!) but a burden on you and your son.

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