BUSINESS LETTER WRITING BASICS
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How To Reply To Complaint Letters or Also Called Adjustment Letters
   

If we received a complaint letter, there would be two possiblities:
1. Accepting the complaint
If we are sure that we are at fault. If it is related to goods / products, we are sure that the defects are due to poor quality control or other manufacturing process.
2. Rejecting the complaint
We could reject the complaint or claim, if the cause of the problem were beyond our responsibility. For example, the defects were caused by careless handling during unloading process.
In handling complaints, both parties should have goodwill to settle the problem objectively.

The following stages have been arranged systematically to help you write letters replying to complaints or better known as adustment letters. Some examples of phrases or expressions are included for your referrence.

 
ACCEPTING A COMPLAINT
  REJECTING A COMPLAINT
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  Opening
(Acknowledging receipt of a complaint letter)
  Opening
(Acknowledging receipt of a complaint letter)
 
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  Apologising for the error / fault   Regreat at dissatisfaction
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  Accepting the complaint   Rejecting the complaint
 
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  Explaining the cause of error / problem or investigating the problem   Giving reasons for rejecting the complaint
 
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  Proposal to settle the problem   Proposal to settle the problem
 
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An offer to send replacement, discount or repair the goods for free.
  Offering goodwill to share the loss
 
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    If other parties like shipping company, transportation company, fumigation company, insurance company are involved or at fault, inform the complainer to contact that party.      
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Ending or closing the letter
  Ending or closing the letter
           

    Somel Expressions or Phrases That Are Frequently Used To Reply Complaint Letters

    Acknowledging receipt of a complaint letter

    • Thank you for your letter of … regarding / concerning / in connection with…
    • With reference to your letter of … about / relating to …
    • We refer to your letter of ...

    Apology for the error or fault

    • Please accept our many apologies for the trouble caused to you by this error.
    • We must apologise for …
    • We sincerely apologise for …
    • Please accept our apologies for …
    • We would like to apologise for the error made by our company in (verb+ing)

    Accepting the Complaint

    • We agree that the usual high standards of our products / services were not met in this instance.

    A short explanation of the fault

    • Introductory phrase
      • As a result of our investigation, we found that...
    • Causes
      • The error was caused by … / was due to … / was owing to ...
      • Apparently, the problem was the result of … / resulted from …
      • The cause of / reason for the mistake was …
    • Effects
      • As a result …
      • This led to …
      • Consequently …
    • Solutions
      • We have modified / changed our ...
      • We have implemented a new system to...
      • To prevent re-occurrences we have set up a ....
    • Assurances
      • We assure you that this will not happen anymore.

    Investigation to be made

    • We are currently investigating the cause of ...

    • We will investigate the cause of...

    Proposal to settle the difficulty

    • Will you please tell us what settlement would be most acceptable to you?
    • As a gesture of our regret, we are willing to …/ we would like to … / are prepared to...
    • To show our goodwill, we will …

    An offer to send a replacement, give a discount, repair the items etc.

    • To compensate you to a certain extent for the trouble we have caused you, we will grant you a special discount of 3% for your next order within the amount of $20,000
    • We have dispatched the new items by express courier. They should arrive in a few days.
    • We have shipped the replacement goods and we trust this will be up to your wishes.
    • To show our goodwill, we would like to offer you an interesting discount on your next order with us.

    Regret at dissatisfaction

    • While we can understand your frustration, ...
    • We understand how disappointing it can be when your expectations are not met.

    Rejecting responsibility for the problem leading to the complaint

    • We assume no responsibility in your claim.
    • However, we are no less sorry for the inconvenience you have been put to and shall be glad to do anything in our power to help you out of the situation.
    • I regret to inform you that …
    • I am afraid that …
    • Unfortunately, I must point out that …

    Reasons for the rejection

    • As the goods were packed with the greatest care, we can only presume that the case has been roughly handled
    • This is because the guarantee period has expired.
    • This is due to the fact that the bad weather had forced shipping company to delay the departure of the feeder vessel .

    If another party / person / company / organisation is to be responsible or involved, inform the complainer to contact that party

    • We therefore suggest that you contact...
    • Therefore we ask you to lodge your claim with ..... ( company )

    Closing the letter aiming at maintaining / gaining the goodwill of the customer

    • We hope that this will settle the mater to your full satisfaction and that our friendly connection will continue as before.
    • We look forward to receiving your futurer orders, and assure you that they will be filled correctly.
    • We apologise for the inconvenience this business has caused you and assure you of our best attention to your future orders.
 
  Disclaimer:
Be aware when you use the phrases or sentences mentioned in this business letter writing guide, as they have legal, financial, or other implications. If you are not sure about the use of any phrases or sentences, consult with an appropriate professional first.