Respond to a Complaint While Avoiding or Denying Liability, But Making an Adjustment - Letters

Example Letter #1


Thank you for writing about the tree you purchased last June. I'm sorry it died this spring. The year was unusually dry, and newly planted trees require deep watering at least once a month during the winter. We normally guarantee our nursery stock for six months, but in this case we will grant a one-time replacement. Please come by the office, and we will help you select a new tree.

Example Letter #2


We are sorry that the learning software you ordered last month did not meet with your son's approval, but the membership contract you signed clearly states that we will give refunds only for defective software.

We are willing this one time, however, to exchange his software package for something you believe will be more suitable. Enclosed is an order form to help you make a new selection. Simply return the unwanted software with the new order.

Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you.

Example Letter #3


We apologize for our staff's misrepresentation of our software's capabilities. The release of the software you purchased only prints 8" X 4" envelopes--not legal-sized envelopes. However, because we understand that you detrimentally relied on our salesperson's advice, we have enclosed a certificate worth 50% off the price to upgrade to the newest release which will print legal-sized envelopes. We hope this will resolve the matter to your satisfaction. Thank you for purchasing Doe's Word Wonder.

Example Letter #4


We regret the large bill you incurred "surfing the net" with Doe NetView. Even though the software makes clear that we charge by the hour, $500 must have been a surprise for your first month's use. We will make an exception this time and reduce your bill by one third or $165.

We ask that you monitor your use more closely from now on and that you consider various money-saving ideas such as downloading and quick mail to keep your expenses down. Thank you for your understanding and your business.

Letter-Writing Tips

When the company is not at fault, but you grant a claim either partially or fully, inform the customer of his or her error, if any, so it will not happen again. Do this tactfully, without accusation. The letter should show that the company values both fairness and customer goodwill.

Step-by-Step Guide

1 If you are granting the claim, say so at once. Otherwise, start with a positive statement acknowledging the customer's difficulty.

  • We are sorry your new sewing machine is not working properly. I have discussed your description of the problem with our engineers.
  • Enclosed is a credit memorandum for $72, which covers the cost of the CDs you returned, as well as your shipping charges. We are sorry you did not like them.
  • We regret the problems you experienced with your electric razor and are making an exception to our usual policy. We have instructed our accounting office to send you a full refund upon receipt of the razor.
  • I am sorry to hear that the replacement refrigerator door seal we shipped on November 15 did not fit.
  • We received the jacket you returned to us and agree that the trim color has bled into the main fabric.
  • We have credited your account with the $15 service charge that we assessed you last month.
  • I am sorry the pearl necklace we sent you didn't meet with your approval.
  • I am sorry you missed our special offer on lawn chairs. Arriving so soon after the store closed must have been very frustrating for you.
  • I have enclosed a refund check for $19.99. We are sorry the book disappointed you.
  • I am sorry that we did not act upon your request of April 4.
  • asked our accounting office to send you
  • because you have been a faithful customer for many years
  • because we want to keep you as our customer
  • because we value you as our customer
  • because of the disappointment and inconvenience you have endured
  • didn't meet with your approval
  • didn't live up to your expectations
  • enclosed a refund check of
  • frustrating for you
  • have discussed your description of the problem with
  • have credited your account
  • here is our credit memorandum for
  • make an exception to our usual policy
  • must be frustrated with
  • not due to defects in material or workmanship
  • please proceed with the repairs to the damaged
  • pleased to inform you
  • regret the problem you reported concerning our
  • regret the problems you experienced with
  • sorry you did not like
  • sorry you were disappointed with
  • thank you for taking the time to explain
  • very sorry to learn you were dissatisfied with
  • want to do everything possible
  • want your continued loyalty
  • want our customers happy
  • when you told us of your difficulties with
  • when we heard you were having trouble with
  • when you told us of the difficulties with your
  • will do everything we can to
  • will take immediate steps to
  • will be happy to issue a refund in the amount of
  • would like to regain your confidence by
  • your satisfaction with our products is our primary concern

2 Tactfully explain the cause of the problem and what adjustment you are willing to make. If you are making a one-time exception to a normal policy, make this clear.

  • Please understand that the sewing machine motor was permanently lubricated at the factory, and that "adding some oil to keep it running smoothly" can actually cause more problems than it solves. I am enclosing a voucher for a free cleaning and service at your nearest dealer and also a copy of our sewing machine care instructions.
  • Normally we do not accept returns of opened CDs unless they are flawed, but you have been a faithful customer for many years, and we are happy to accommodate you this once.
  • The electric razor you purchased, model No. R123, requires 110 volts, and could not tolerate the higher voltage you used. The model you saw advertised, R456, has dual voltage capability. If you would care to upgrade, simply enclose a check for $20 when you return this replacement card and your razor, and your new R456 appliance will be on its way.
  • I am enclosing a copy of your original order form. Please check the refrigerator model number, which you will find inside the freezer compartment door, and correct the number on the order form. Return this with the door seal, and we will ship you a replacement.
  • Although the jacket fabric is a poly-cotton mix, and clearly washable, the trim is not washable, hence the "dry-clean only" instruction on the care label. We recently cleared out our stock of this style, but I am enclosing a $15 coupon for your next order.
  • Our policy is to give a full refund for returns made within 30 days. We received the necklace 38 days after shipping it to you, but are willing to make an exception in this case. We have credited your account with the full purchase price plus shipping, but if you would prefer to receive a check, please let us know.
  • I am sorry that the staff's failing to reopen the store upset you. Although they remain inside for a short time after closing, they only clean up and prepare for the next day's business. I am enclosing a rain check, valid for one month, so you can obtain the chairs at last week's sale price.
  • Our billing staff failed to see the note you enclosed with your payment. To prevent any future inconvenience, please send future correspondence directly to Mr. John Doe.
  • apologize that such unfortunate incidents do occur
  • apologize for any lack of cooperation and courtesy on our part
  • are happy to accommodate you this once
  • as our local service representative pointed out
  • as you saw advertised
  • as the instruction manual accompanying your new set states
  • because we think there might have been some misunderstanding
  • can repair your watch at factory cost
  • considering the circumstances
  • credited your account
  • enclosing a voucher for
  • enclosing a certificate entitling you to
  • enclosing a coupon for
  • extend the warranty for a year from the repair date
  • have examined the items you returned
  • investigated the issue
  • issue you a refund
  • like to regain your confidence
  • machine's warranty does not cover
  • make whatever adjustment you think is appropriate
  • no prior damage or loss of service
  • normally we do not
  • paying the return shipping charges
  • perhaps they are not what you had in mind
  • please read the instruction manual carefully
  • providing a one-time service
  • repair department has discovered that
  • return the product to the retailer from whom it was purchased
  • sometimes a clerk will forget
  • stand behind our respective services and employees
  • to ensure that you have a positive experience with our products
  • to prevent further inconvenience
  • usual procedure for claims of this sort
  • while we can find no evidence of the flaws you mentioned
  • will ship you a replacement
  • willing to make an exception

3 End with a positive statement promoting your business or showing that you expect to do business with the customer in the future.

  • Please let me know if I can assist you further.
  • Thank you for giving us an opportunity to serve you.
  • I am sure the machine will give you many years of useful service.
  • We appreciate your interest in our products and hope that these actions will be satisfactory.
  • May I take this opportunity to thank you for using our services.
  • Thank you for giving us the opportunity to show how much we value you as a customer.
  • Above all, we would like you to be satisfied with your purchase and with our service.
  • Thank you for using our company. If you have questions, please call me, John Doe, at 555-5555.
  • above all we want our customers happy
  • apologize for the inconvenience this situation caused you
  • apologize for the frustration
  • can ship your next order the day we receive it
  • do excellent work as a rule
  • enjoying the quality merchandise and excellent savings at
  • hope the damage is repaired to your satisfaction
  • hope that these actions will be satisfactory to you
  • hope you won't let this unfortunate incident
  • let me know if I can be of further assistance
  • let me know if there is anything else we need to address
  • let me know, please, how I can be of further help
  • may we take this opportunity also to say
  • please write me or call our toll-free, 24-hour number
  • reestablish Doe's as your first stop for
  • should arrive at your home within two weeks
  • show you how much we value your goodwill
  • sincerely appreciate your patronage
  • thank you for using our products and services
  • thank you for using Doe's
  • will repair your watch and return it promptly

Letter-Writing Resources