Respond to a Complaint While Avoiding or Denying Liability, But Making an Adjustment • Letter Examples and Guide

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Example Letter #1

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Example Sentences

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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.

Example Sentences

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.

Example Phrases

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

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Example Phrases