Complain About a Delay In an Order | Letter-Writing Guide


When the time goes beyond the standard "six to eight weeks for delivery," you may need to send this letter. Be aware that a friendly reminder usually works better than criticism in these cases.


1. State your concern clearly, giving your reader the benefit of the doubt.

  • Could you look into the status of my order?
  • Delivery of my order seems to be taking a long time, and my bank says the check I sent has been cashed. Would you mind checking your records to see if it has been properly sent?
  • I am still looking for that "rush" order I sent six weeks ago.
  • Have you shipped my order?
  • Would you mind putting a tracer on my order? I assume you sent it out immediately, so it must be lost in the mail.
  • am still looking for
  • am still awaiting
  • am getting concerned about
  • are very concerned about
  • as you can imagine
  • check has been cashed
  • could my order have been
  • has there been a delay in
  • has my order been
  • have been looking forward to
  • have not heard from you
  • have been looking forward to
  • look into the status of
  • more than two months have passed since
  • must have been some delay
  • please check your records
  • received my canceled check
  • request that you
  • seems to be taking a long time
  • were expecting to receive

2. Provide sufficient information so your reader can find your order. Give the date and tell exactly what you ordered. If necessary, this letter can function as a reorder document.

  • I ordered the office supplies itemized below on July 24, 2018:
  • I requested tickets for all of the Doe University home football games.
  • I asked you to send the following items listed in your current catalog:
  • I ordered the self-instruction tapes you advertised in the September 3, 2018 issue of Springfield Businesswoman.
  • I ordered a custom steel cabinet exactly like your model 54, but I wanted it 17 inches wider, for a total width of 63 inches.
  • I requested mezzanine seats for the evening performance on November 12, 2019.
  • The part I needed is described in your catalog as "Stock #1234, electrical plug lockout device," listing for $19.56 each.
  • I asked you to print my business cards on the same color, weight, and texture of card stock, and in the same color of ink as the attached original.
  • account number is
  • asked you to send
  • customer number is
  • details I gave over the phone were
  • enclosed is a copy of
  • faxed the order to you on
  • had requested a
  • have enclosed a duplicate of
  • items in question are
  • order number is
  • our order consisted of
  • placed the order on
  • placed on purchase order number
  • purchase order number is
  • telephone number is
  • the following list of items were
  • following items

3. Repeat shipping instructions, but not payment arrangements.

  • I asked you to ship the machinery directly to the job site at the corner of Main and Johnson Streets in Doe, Kansas 12345. I waited there all day on the specified date (July 23, 2018) with a rented forklift on hand to off-load the machinery, but your truck never arrived.
  • As I said, I prefer delivery by Doe Postal Service or other reliable carrier.
  • I asked you to have your driver deliver to the back door of our shop during regular business hours. I include the address below:
    1600 Main Street
    Springfield, Kansas 12345
  • I agreed to pick up the package at the freight dock of your usual motor carrier in this city.
  • I said that I would expect delivery by Doe Express service or the equivalent.
  • arranged back-door delivery because
  • as I stated before
  • asked that if you couldn't make the deadline
  • asked you to make every effort to ship by
  • asked for an estimated delivery date
  • by parcel post
  • by the most economical means
  • during business hours
  • explained my deadline
  • informed you that
  • needed to receive these items by
  • needed to receive the merchandise by
  • requested that you insure the goods
  • requested that you ship the order to
  • said that I would prefer delivery by
  • to be sent to the attention of
  • understood that you would
  • would pay express delivery charges
  • would pick up the package at
  • would be able to take delivery between

4. Request that the reader either send the merchandise or offer an explanation for the delay. If you have sent money, request that it be returned if your order cannot fill the order.

  • The point is that I need that machinery, and if you cannot supply it when and where I need it, I need to find another supplier who can.
  • Please either send the merchandise I ordered and paid for, or return my money.
  • I have enjoyed doing business with you for the last 15 years, but it seems like something has changed at Auto Supply, and I am no longer dealing with the same efficient crew. Do I need to find a new supplier?
  • Please let me know the status of my order so I will know when to expect it.
  • If you will send me the shipping information I can start a trace on it from this end.
  • as soon as possible
  • cannot understand this
  • determining the status
  • first time this problem has
  • have enjoyed doing business with you
  • have always been impressed with
  • if you cannot deliver it
  • if you have not already shipped
  • if you have already shipped
  • if you are unable to supply it
  • kindly cancel the order
  • kindly refund my money
  • please let me know
  • please put a trace on the
  • please send the merchandise
  • the bottom line is
  • trust that you will
  • where and when I need it
  • without any further delay
  • would appreciate your
  • would regret having to

Related Resources