We examined the effects of ex ante polite or apologetic messages on an individual's responses to a low (unfair) outcome offered in an ultimatum (take-it-or-leave-it) situation. Results show that these 2 messages (a) increased, rather than decreased, participants' perceptions of unfairness; and (b) decreased, rather than increased, their acceptance of the outcome. Moreover, participants engaged in more punishing behaviors when the outcome was accompanied by either of the messages than when no account was provided. Further analysis revealed that perceived manipulative intent mediated participants' reactions to the polite message and to the apology. These results indicate that if a message seems insincere and manipulative, it can exacerbate an individual's negative reactions to an unfair outcome accompanying the message.