Apologize For a Shipping Delay or Error • Letter Templates and Guides

How to write this letter:

1Begin with a straightforward apology that refers to the problem.
2Briefly explain, without excuse, what happened.
3Explain what you have done (or will do) to fix the situation.
4Express your concern and end on a positive note.


Write this letter as soon as possible after the incident. Do not apologize unless you plan to take full responsibility, and in no way blame your reader or anyone else. A sincere, well-worded apology can be effective in winning back a concerned customer's confidence and patronage.

Example Letter #1


Our sincere apologies for the mix-up on your fruit tree order. It was clear that you ordered dwarf trees, and we mistakenly sent regular stock. We are sending you dwarf replacement trees immediately. You need not return the trees you have received. Thank you for your understanding. We appreciate serving your garden needs.

Example Letter #2


We are sorry you did not receive your package as promptly as you expected. We experienced an unusually large number of orders, which disrupted our normal delivery schedule. To serve you better and faster, we are busy expanding our staff. Again, we apologize for any inconvenience we might have caused and look forward to filling your future orders in timely manner.

Example Letter #3


Thank you for your phone call informing us that you had not received your shipment of glasses. I apologize for the delay. Because of the strike, we were unable to get the necessary shipping cartons from our supplier. We did ship the glasses by express mail on Saturday, so you should receive them soon after this letter. We regret the inconvenience this may have caused. In the future we will keep an extra supply of shipping materials on hand. We look forward to doing business with you for years to come.

Example Letter #4


Please accept our sincere apology for the error we made in your last order. We are sending you the correct size dress, along with a coupon for $5 off your next order from our catalog. We hope this has not caused you too much inconvenience. We appreciate your business and will make every effort in the future to send you the correct merchandise.

Example Letter #5


I am sorry the blazer we sent you was the wrong size. Such errors are rare, but unfortunately do occur from time to time. We have shipped you another blazer, which you should receive in a day or two. Please use the packing materials and the enclosed prepaid shipping label to send the original blazer back to us.

I hope you will also use the attached coupon, which will give you a 20% discount on your next purchase from our catalog.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step


Begin with a straightforward apology that refers to the problem.

Example Sentences for Step 1

Example Phrases for Step 1


Briefly explain, without excuse, what happened.

Example Sentences for Step 2

We managed to track down your shipment. Unfortunately, it was routed to a steamer headed for a Pacific Island. We apparently entered the wrong shipping code into the computer. The trucking strike has caused delays throughout our industry. We hope the temporary personnel we hired can help us get caught up with shipments. As you have undoubtedly read in the newspapers, the trucking strike has caused delays throughout our industry. We are making other shipping arrangements and hope to get your filters to you with only a slight delay. While tracking the source of the error, we discovered that we sent your shipment to Springville instead of Springfield. Our packing room manager was injured setting up a fireworks display last week. He assures us that he will be back at work on Monday. We still have not figured out why the original package did not get to you. While we are investigating this problem, we will send you a duplicate by certified mail. We are still not sure what happened to our shipment. Our truck driver has not responded to calls on the CB and we are concerned because of the civil unrest in that part of the country. As soon as we find out anything we will let you know. We made contact with Jane, the driver, and she reported having transmission problems that will make her two days late. She assured us she will be in by Friday with your furniture. We regret this unfortunate delay. As you can imagine the months of May through August are busy times in the roofing business. Occasionally we fall behind because of high demand.

Example Phrases for Step 2


Explain what you have done (or will do) to fix the situation.

Example Sentences for Step 3

Example Phrases for Step 3