Notify a Shipper That an Order Is Incomplete, Incorrect or Damaged; Also, Return Unwanted or Incorrect Merchandise • Letter Templates and Guides

How to write this letter:

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


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.

Example 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.

Example 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.

Example 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.

Example 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!


Explain what is wrong with the order.

Example Sentences for Step 2

Example Phrases for Step 2


Clarify what action you want the shipper to take. Give sufficient detail to identify your order.

Example Sentences for Step 3

Example Phrases for Step 3