A postal worker left a Cardiff family's Christmas gifts from the US in their recycling bin - only for it to be emptied before they arrived home.
Jim and Lisa Warman returned from a shopping trip to find the note saying the parcel was left in their green bin but they were too late to find them.
Royal Mail has apologised, saying "correct procedure wasn't followed".
Cardiff council has also checked its recycling facilities but could not find the presents.
"We complained to Royal Mail and they agreed it should never have been left like that," said Mrs Warman from Pentrebane.
"Who thinks that leaving presents in a bin is a good idea?
"We've been exchanging gifts with our relatives in America for over 20 years and this is the first time we haven't got them.
"It is very upsetting for everyone involved," said Mrs Warman.
Daughter Louise, 19, said the parcel containing clothes, jewellery and DVDs was sent by family friends in Texas.
"I was gutted," she said. "It ruined Christmas because we've unwrapped those presents every year since I was a little girl."
A Royal Mail spokesman said: "We take the security of our customers' mail very seriously and have in place procedures to ensure large or signed for items are received by the intended recipient securely.
"On this occasion it appears that the correct procedure wasn't followed for which we apologised sincerely to Mr and Mrs Warman.
"We have launched an internal investigation into the incident and will be in touch with the customer once this is complete."