Notify a Shipper That an Order Is Incomplete, Incorrect or Damaged; Also, Return Unwanted or Incorrect Merchandise

Letter #1


I am writing to confirm our telephone conversation of Friday, June 12. We received a shipment of thirty red table cloths (invoice No. 12345), but found that ten of the cloths have black streaks along the outer edges. I am returning the entire shipment addressed to your attention. Please credit my account for $321, the cost of my order plus shipping and handling. It will not be necessary to reship the order.

Letter #2


I received my furniture order on April 10, but half (5) of the Grecian urns were broken due to insufficient packing materials. Earlier orders were packed more carefully and arrived intact. I am enclosing a photo of the damaged urns. I trust you will credit my account accordingly.

Please send me three more urns of the same design, well protected. As this delay is most inconvenient, I hope this order will take priority. Thank you.

Letter #3


I have just received my shipment of Doe Auto seat covers, and the covers do not fit as promised. I was sent bucket seat covers despite my insistence, when ordering, that my car has a factory bench seat. It is evident that you do not manufacture bench seat covers to fit my car, so I am simply returning the order for a refund. Please also refund my return shipping costs. Thank you.

Letter #4


Our shipment arrived on time as usual. However, a few discrepancies have cropped up between the shipping manifest and the contents of the container. We ordered 14 Box kites, and were sent 14 Delta kites; we ordered ten of the Mylar weather balloons, and received none; our invoice reflects two dozen cards of AA cell alkaline batteries, and we received only two cards.

The rest of the shipment is as ordered. Please send the box kites, the balloons, and the remaining 22 cards of batteries in a makeup shipment, via overnight air freight. We will return the missent items via regular ground freight. Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter. Things will be back to normal in no time!

How to Write this Order Letter: Expert Tips and Guidelines

Orders may become confused or damaged, due either to misunderstanding or carelessness. The shipment should arrive with written instructions for returns. If it does not, call the company to obtain instructions or an MRA (merchandise return authorization) number. This follow-up letter confirms the arrangement and provides a paper trail.


  1. Acknowledge receipt of the order.
  2. Explain what is wrong with the order.
  3. Clarify what action you want the shipper to take. Give sufficient detail to identify your order.
  4. Close by requesting that your reader address the problem immediately.

Write Your order in Minutes: Easy Step-by-Step Guide with Sample Sentences and Phrases

1 Acknowledge receipt of the order.

Sample Sentences for Step 1

  • Thanks for filling my order so promptly.
  • I appreciated the rapid delivery of my order. It arrived this morning.
  • My order has arrived at last, but not in satisfactory condition.
  • I have just received the shipment that I ordered on July 15.
  • I found your package sitting on my desk this morning--less than 24 hours after I placed my order.
  • When I checked my order today, shortly after it arrived, I found nearly everything as I expected it.
  • Thanks for filling my order so promptly and, for the most part, accurately.
  • I have finally received the goods I ordered on March 10, but am afraid that the consignment is incomplete.

Key Phrases for Step 1

  • appreciate your
  • appreciated the early delivery
  • arrived at last
  • arrived so quickly
  • arrived, as always, very promptly
  • has finally arrived
  • have finally received
  • have just received the
  • in unsatisfactory condition
  • my order number
  • order arrived on
  • order is incomplete
  • received my order
  • shipping my order so promptly
  • thank you for
  • the order I placed on
  • the goods I ordered
  • the punctual arrival of
  • very prompt delivery
  • was pleasantly surprised by
  • was initially very pleased to
  • well before my deadline
  • your quick turnaround
  • your prompt delivery impressed
2 Explain what is wrong with the order.

Sample Sentences for Step 2

  • However, as we discussed on the phone, I am returning several items that don't belong to me. I think they were put into my package by accident. My MRA number is P-8765.
  • Unfortunately, the boots are not the size I requested. I can't get my size 10 foot into a size 6 boot!
  • The pewter pieces arrived intact, but two of the glass pieces were broken.
  • While the package arrived on time, the order was not filled as accurately as I expected.
  • I am disappointed, however, that the outer case of the printer is damaged. A piece has been broken off the left side.
  • Several items were checked off on my order form, but they were not in the box. I don't know what happened, but they did not arrive.
  • Several of the items were quite different from what I ordered.
  • The doll house arrived in good condition, but two of the furniture sets I ordered were missing.
  • The shipping carton was quite badly damaged too, so the problem may have occurred during shipping.

Key Phrases for Step 2

  • am returning several items
  • appears to have been an error
  • are the wrong size
  • arrived in poor condition
  • different from what I had specified
  • don't seem to belong to
  • errors in the order
  • included in error
  • is unfortunately not the first time
  • items were missing
  • most of the order is fine, but
  • must have been
  • order was incomplete
  • order must have been confused with
  • problem with packing
  • several items were damaged
  • several items were missing
  • the shipping container does not appear to be damaged
  • the shipping container is also quite severely damaged
  • was not accurately filled
  • was not what I ordered
  • was disappointed to discover
  • were quite different from
3 Clarify what action you want the shipper to take. Give sufficient detail to identify your order.

Sample Sentences for Step 3

  • I will return the incorrect items as soon as I receive the prepaid shipping carton you agreed to send, but please send the models I ordered immediately.
  • Please exchange the enclosed items for model numbers 243 and 667, as specified in my original order. I am sending them by mail, as we agreed, and will expect you to credit my account with the shipping charges.
  • I am returning the merchandise that was in excess of what I ordered. Please credit my account for the return, as we agreed on the phone. My MRA Number is DP-123.
  • Following your instructions, I am returning the broken pieces for replacement.
  • Please send the missing items.
  • I know it's a minor thing, but I will appreciate your repairing or replacing the damaged side piece.
  • Please exchange the enclosed part (#4321) for the correct one (model #1234) and send the switch which I ordered and paid for but did not receive (model #5678).

Key Phrases for Step 3

  • am returning the
  • as we discussed on the phone
  • as we agreed
  • as we arranged by phone
  • as soon as possible
  • at your expense
  • await your instructions about
  • cancel the order
  • credit my account with
  • either repair or replace the
  • following your instructions
  • have enclosed a copy of your packing list
  • in the original shipping carton
  • kindly ship the replacements
  • MRA (merchandise return authorization) number is
  • please replace the
  • prepaid shipping carton
  • replace the damaged items
  • return my money
  • send the missing items
  • send me shipping instructions for
  • send the correct items
  • the merchandise which I did not order
  • using the shipping label you supplied
  • will arrive too late for
4 Close by requesting that your reader address the problem immediately.

Sample Sentences for Step 4

  • I would appreciate your looking into this matter.
  • I have enjoyed doing business with you in the past, and hope that you will be able to rectify this situation.
  • I have always appreciated your fast and efficient service, and know that this error is a departure from your usual standards.
  • I trust that there was no ambiguity in my order. If there was, I can only apologize.
  • Thank you for addressing this problem.
  • I trust your corrective action will clear up the problem for both of us.
  • I trust that the problem will not recur.
  • This is the first time there has been a problem with one of my orders. Thanks for your usual efficiency.

Key Phrases for Step 4

  • a return to your usual
  • acting as expeditiously as possible
  • addressing the problem
  • ambiguity in my order
  • departure from your usual standards
  • get this sorted out
  • have enjoyed doing business with you
  • hope that you will be able to
  • hope to receive
  • hope that there was no
  • look forward to
  • looking into this matter
  • problem will not recur
  • receiving the correct merchandise
  • receiving the products I ordered
  • rectify the situation
  • the balance of my order soon
  • trust that this will
  • with some urgency
  • would appreciate your
  • your usual efficiency
  • your usual impeccable service