Complain About a Faulty Delivery or a Shipping Error • Example Letters, Guides and Samples


Remember that most businesses want satisfied customers, so they will be willing to work out an equitable solution. Your letter should communicate clearly, but respectfully, that you are dissatisfied with the service you have received. If the company has repeatedly given you bad service and refuses to correct the situation and you feel your only recourse is to pursue legal action, voice your feelings in a tactful but firm way.

How to write this complaint letter:

  1. Explain all the relevant facts concerning the faulty delivery.
  2. Tell the reader what you expect him or her to do, or what you plan to do.
  3. Express your confidence that the problem can be resolved. If not, explain what action may be necessary.

Example Letter #1


Last Saturday I visited your showroom in Springfield and ordered an oak desk and two matching three-drawer filing cabinets for my study. When I arrived home this evening, I found the furniture had been delivered in my absence, but the filing cabinets were the four-drawer style. Unfortunately, I can use only the three-drawer style because I lack room for anything higher.

I will appreciate having these cabinets picked up and exchanged for the ones I ordered as soon as possible. Please call to arrange a time when I will be home. I trust this matter can be resolved very quickly, so I can get my files organized soon.

Example Letter #2


On March 17 I ordered a box of letterhead stationery for our central office in Springfield. We received your shipment within one week, but the letterhead carried another firm's address.

I am returning the stationery under separate cover, with the needed correction noted. I will appreciate your sending me the correct stationery as soon as possible. Also, I trust you will credit my account with $4.86, the cost of returning the stationery.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Example Letter #3


I received my order of Doe Tulips yesterday. Unfortunately, they looked as though they had been dropped many times and run over at least once. Further, we ordered six dozen. We received only four dozen. Since these tulips would need a miracle to grow, I would appreciate it if you could send me six dozen more of the same tulips. Unless you require me to return them, I will throw the first order in the garbage. I appreciate your guarantee of satisfaction.

Write Your Letter Step-by-Step

1 Explain all the relevant facts concerning the faulty delivery.

Sample Sentences for Step 1
  • On March 12 we received a shipment of six cases of your cherry pie filling (invoice # 3213 21). We ordered eight cases.
  • Two weeks ago I ordered a refrigerator from your warehouse and was told by Mr. John Doe that I would receive the refrigerator within three days. Four days later I called Mr. Doe to see if my appliance had been shipped yet. He apologized and said that somebody had "botched up" the paperwork. He told me that he would have it shipped to me the next day. I still have not received my refrigerator.
  • We ordered six model T-123 printers from your company, but when we opened the boxes, we found you had sent six model TV-180 printers instead.
  • After your company moved my family, we missed several boxes of books, including one containing a Dickens first edition valued at $900. The movers made a note to this effect on the manifest, but we have heard nothing since then.
  • Two months ago I ordered a subscription to your magazine. The order form said that I should allow four to six weeks to receive the first issue. Well, I have now waited almost nine weeks and still have not received an issue.
  • Once again we did not receive an important shipment on time. This time the studs and particle board we ordered from you (invoice # 12345) arrived two days after the promised delivery date, causing us to lose three more work days on our house construction.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
  • agreed to deliver it by
  • am dissatisfied with
  • an apparent shipping error
  • appears to have been a mix-up
  • constantly receiving the wrong
  • did not receive the
  • didn't match the description in
  • has happened once again
  • kindly correct your records
  • kindly send us the correct
  • much to our dismay
  • much to our chagrin
  • must notify you that
  • regarding the recent shipment
  • regarding our recent order
  • several items were missing
  • shipment did not reflect
  • the order form showed
  • understand that mistakes happen, but
  • understood that we would receive
  • upon opening the boxes we found
  • was different from the
  • was under the impression that
  • was entirely different from
  • were dismayed to discover
  • were greatly inconvenienced by the late delivery
  • when we opened the boxes
  • will withhold payment until
  • wish to call your attention to

2 Tell the reader what you expect him or her to do, or what you plan to do.

Sample Sentences for Step 2
  • We would appreciate your company sending us the remainder of the hardware we ordered.
  • Kindly locate and return our missing items or compensate us for our losses.
  • I want you to credit me for the issues I have not received.
  • We request that you reimburse us for the penalties that our general contractor has leveled against us due to your late delivery.
  • Because your warehouse has not yet shipped my refrigerator, please cancel my order, credit and close my account, and take me off your mailing list.
  • Because your company consistently ships our orders late and sometimes delivers only partial shipments, we have decided to terminate our account with you. We have included a check to cover the remaining balance.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
  • as soon as possible
  • cancel the original order
  • compensate us for
  • credit my account with
  • expect a full investigation of
  • expect to receive
  • expect to see improvement in
  • expect a refund of
  • for the issues I have not received
  • for the time and money lost
  • had your delivery arrived on time
  • have decided to terminate our
  • is totally unacceptable
  • kindly correct your error
  • kindly reimburse us for
  • let us know what you plan to do about
  • locate and send our missing items
  • request reimbursement for
  • send us an itemized invoice
  • send us what we ordered
  • take me off your mailing list
  • will not accept a partial shipment
  • would be satisfied if you

3 Express your confidence that the problem can be resolved. If not, explain what action may be necessary.

Sample Sentences for Step 3
  • I trust that your firm will make every effort to clear up this situation.
  • I will appreciate your immediate attention to this matter. If you continue to ignore my request, I will file a case with small claims court to recover my losses.
  • Thank you for addressing my concerns. I look forward to doing business with you again.
  • Please contact me immediately and let me know how you plan to resolve this problem. If I do not hear from you within two weeks, I will pursue legal action.
  • I hope we can resolve this situation quickly and satisfactorily. Otherwise I shall have to find a new supplier.
  • I will greatly appreciate your attention to this matter.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
  • am sure you will be able to
  • clear up this situation
  • don't hesitate to call
  • for addressing my concerns
  • for giving this your personal attention
  • has been satisfactory in the past
  • have confidence that
  • if we do not hear from you within
  • know you have a good track record
  • look forward to
  • make every effort to
  • regret that I will have to
  • situation can be resolved
  • thank you for
  • this regrettable situation
  • trust that you will
  • trust that this situation will
  • understand that errors do occur from time to time
  • will be obliged to pursue legal action
  • will be greatly appreciated
  • your normally excellent customer service