Example Letter #1
I am very sorry and embarrassed that I knocked down your fence post as I was backing out of your driveway last night. I know you had worked hard to get that fence built, only to have someone like me damage it. I offer no excuse. I simply wasn't paying attention.
Of course I will pay for the repair as soon as possible. Jane said that your home owner's insurance policy may cover the damage, so she told me to wait until she had called the company. I'll be glad to follow through on the repairs. It's the least I can do. Thanks for putting up with me. I'll be in touch.
Example Letter #2
I am terribly sorry that I damaged the book you lent me. I know you take pride in your book collection, so having this happen is undoubtedly disturbing. I will try to replace it if it is still in print. Otherwise, I will compensate you for it. Our friendship is too important to not make this right.
Example Letter #3
I am sorry for the damage we did to your fruit tree. My children were playing in the tree when the limb broke. I realize you must be very disturbed at the loss of the fruit and the damage to the tree, because you take such good care of your trees and yard. Of course my children are banned from your yard, and our family has agreed to work together to compensate you for your loss. Please let me know what a fair sum would be to pay for the tree surgeon and to cover the cost of the lost fruit. We want to be good neighbors and good friends.
Example Letter #4
Please accept my sincere apology for the damage I did to your car yesterday. Of course my insurance will completely cover the cost of repairs, but I know this will still cause you great inconvenience. I deeply regret my carelessness and the trouble this has caused you. You can be sure that I will be more careful in the future.
Example Letter #5
You were so gracious last night when I spilled coffee on your dress, but it really was my own fault and I'm sorry for my carelessness. I can imagine how frustrating it must have been for you to have such a beautiful outfit ruined. Please, will you allow me to pay for having it cleaned?
If the fabric is damaged to the point where professional cleaning won't help, I will be only too pleased to replace the dress. Just have the bills sent to me or send me the receipts. It really is the least I can do.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
Begin with a straightforward apology that refers to the offense.
Acknowledge your reader's frustration.
Offer appropriate compensation or restitution for the damage. End on a hopeful note.