Notify a Customer That a Shipment Has Been Delayed or That Merchandise Ordered Is Not Available — Letter-Writing Tutorial


Customers should always be told as soon as possible if you cannot ship an order on time. Unless you cannot ship at all, it is important to give the customer the option of waiting or receiving a refund.


1. Apologize for your inability to deliver the order.


  • We received your order of March 15, but unfortunately we no longer carry the item you requested. We checked with the manufacturer, who informed us that he no longer makes it.
  • We appreciate your business and your recent order, but regret to say that we cannot supply the part you want.
  • Thank you for your recent order. Unfortunately, our main warehouse was destroyed by fire last week, and we anticipate a three-week delay before we can ship your order.
  • There has been an overwhelming demand for our new porcelain doll, which is on back order.
  • I am sorry to report that we no longer manufacture canisters in the two-quart size.
  • We are very sorry that we will be unable to fill your order for oak bookshelves for another ten days. We have had problems at the lumber mill that have caused delays all the way down the line.


  • a valued customer
  • always appreciate receiving
  • anticipate a delay
  • anticipate being able to ship
  • apologize for the inconvenience
  • appreciate your business
  • are informed by the manufacturer
  • are very sorry that
  • are unable to supply
  • as soon as possible
  • because of overwhelming demand
  • can no longer provide
  • cannot obtain the part
  • demand has been very heavy
  • do not stock the
  • factory has closed down
  • greatly appreciate
  • is on back order
  • item is not listed in our
  • no longer carry
  • no longer make
  • no longer manufactures
  • no longer keep
  • received your order for
  • regret to report
  • sold out before
  • thank you for
  • unable to fill your order for
  • unavoidable delay
  • will send your order
  • wish we could send it right away, but
  • your recent order

2. Discuss the customer's options.


  • I would suggest that you contact an antique automobile parts supplier, like Doe Auto Parts in Springfield. A second-hand parts dealer might also be able to help.
  • You may wish to consider the two-liter size, number 5555 in the catalog. It is just a fraction larger than the old two-quart model.
  • We are returning your money order.
  • If you are willing to wait for the shipment, do nothing. If, however, you would prefer to cancel your order, please call our toll-free number 1-800-555-5555, and we will be happy to return your check.
  • Doe Corporation makes a very similar product that may suit your needs. Their phone number is 555-5555.
  • We will send the doll as soon as we receive it, along with a small gift as a token of our appreciation for your patience.
  • Your refund is enclosed.
  • I suggest you call the Doe store in Springfield. I am confident that John can help you.
  • While we no longer carry the pumps you ordered, we do carry a full line of water treatment products and equipment. I have enclosed a copy of our most recent catalog.
  • We will, of course, send it express at no extra charge.


  • am confident that
  • appreciate your patience
  • are returning your
  • as soon as it arrives
  • as soon as we receive
  • as soon as we are able
  • as a token of
  • call our toll free number
  • consider trying our
  • express your order to
  • if the wait will be inconvenient
  • if you would prefer
  • if you are willing to
  • just let us know
  • makes something similar
  • may I suggest that
  • may meet your needs
  • may wish to consider
  • may work out for you
  • might be able to help
  • might be equally pleased with
  • refund is enclosed
  • send it express
  • should take about
  • suggest that you
  • to cancel your order
  • to choose something else
  • will send your order
  • will ship your
  • will be happy to

3. Close with an expression of appreciation or good wishes.


  • I am sorry we don't have what you need, but wish you luck in finding it.
  • Thank you for your patience. We appreciate your patronage.
  • Thanks for your order. We hope you will think of us again when you need precision equipment.
  • We hope our suggestion works out for you.
  • I am confident you will find it was worth the wait.


  • a valued customer
  • am confident that
  • appreciate your patience
  • appreciate your understanding
  • are sure you will be pleased with
  • as soon as they arrive
  • be able to find what you need
  • best wishes for
  • hope you will
  • sorry we are unable to
  • thank you for your patronage
  • thank you so much for
  • thank you for your order
  • thank you for your continued business
  • think of us again
  • this unusual situation
  • this unavoidable delay
  • well worth the wait
  • will rush your order to
  • will let you know
  • wish you luck in

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