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Replying Negatively



Guidelines and Alternate Phrases

Share some of the blame for the problem, if possible.

  • Our salespeople are told to emphasize the importance of following the instructions. Apparently, Mr. Smith did not follow through with that directive.
  • Although we try in every way possible to make sure the warranty terms are clearly understood, evidently we failed in this case.
  • I should have reminded you as soon as I knew there might be a problem.
  • Perhaps I should have phoned you personally to tell you of the situation rather than conveying the details to your assistant.

Tell briefly and positively how the mistake occurred.

  • We are led to believe that the weather damage occurred after delivery to your site since no other explanations have been forwarded. Can you provide any documentation that the problem was ours? If so, please write again. We show that Mr. Brown signed for the merchandise on June 10. Could the damage have occurred after this time?

State tactfully what you can and cannot do about the misunderstanding. Be simple and clear.

  • We cannot replace the equipment, but we will be happy to repair it at a discount cost of $45. Please let us know what you want to do.
  • Since we cannot replace the item, please let us know what other actions you’d like us to take. Should we repair it and send you the bill, return the merchandise to you as it is, or simply discard it here?
  • Since the terms of the agreement were not met, we cannot offer the discount.
  • Although there is the temptation to make an exception in your case, that simply would not be fair to other customers.

Assume that the reader, once he/she understands the situation, will accept your position and continue the business relationship.

  • We trust that you will understand the reasons for our decision and that we can continue to serve you in the future.
  • I’m sorry we can’t help you with this particular request, but under the circumstances, I think you’ll agree with our position.
  • I’m sure you understand our plight in this matter. Thank you again for discussing the matter with us.
  • I think you will understand our position. If, however, there are other circumstances of which we’re unaware, please write again, and we will do whatever is appropriate then.
  • Thank you for giving us an opportunity to explain our situation and position to you.
  • We value your goodwill and want to continue doing business with you.
  • We value your business and want to continue to serve you in the future.
  • We look forward to your giving us another opportunity to serve you.

Example 1: Samples of replying negatively to adjustment letter

Company Name or Letterhead
Address
City, State Zip

Date

Addressee
Address
City, State Zip

Dear Mark:

We fully appreciate your patience and desire to work with us in resolving your color print problems with the J267 printer. We regret the misunderstanding that leaves you without the $200 diskette that would enable your printer to function with the graphics program you purchased from Harborough Company.

Although we do have a contractual agreement to market Harborough’s graphics program, we have no legally acceptable way to provide you with the $200 diskette you need to make the printer work. We have made further calls and completed our research into the problem and have concluded, just as you did, that the special diskette is all you need to perform your printing tasks.

We realize this is an additional expenditure you had not planned on. However, we are sure you understand that we have no authority to offer you this diskette from Harborough.

Please let us know what other arrangements you are able to make with the graphics company. We are eager for you to produce the fine quality printing jobs that our printer can provide.

Sincerely,

Example 2: Reply Negatively

Company Name or Letterhead
Address
City, State Zip

Date

Addressee
Address
City, State Zip

Dear Mr. Jones:

We have received your request for an extension of your support on the System 8888. We know how infuriating Murphy’s Law can be, and you must be experiencing that frustration just now—three weeks after the support ends, you have questions about a new application.

Our free support service provided with purchase must fall within a three-month period beginning with the date of installation of your CPU. Our records indicate an installation date at your site of May 5, 19—; therefore, we regret that your free support service expired August 5, 19—, just before you ran into difficulties. If I’m wrong on these dates, please let me know immediately.

There is, of course, no problem in extending our support service to you for any length of time you desire. I’ve taken the liberty of enclosing an extension agreement in case you decide to do that.

Thank you for letting us serve you, and we have been happy to answer your computer questions during the past months.

We hope you’re enjoying the equipment and benefiting from the increased productivity of your word processing staff.

Cordially,

Example 3: Reply Negatively

Company Name or Letterhead
Address
City, State Zip

Date

Addressee
Address
City, State Zip

Dear Ms. Thatcher:

We received your letter asking us to investigate the overgrowth of pecan trees on your property and have looked into the matter.

Our inspector tells me that the trees to which you refer are not actually on our 10’ X 10’ regulator-station site but are instead actually located on your private property.

When such trees are cut down, there is always the possibility of damage to other above-ground structures. Therefore, as you can understand, we would not want to be responsible for possible damages to your property and have a policy that we cannot provide this tree-cutting service for private-property owners.

As I’m sure you’ll agree, throughout the many years of our lease of the regulator-station site, we have always given special attention to its appearance and have kept it in very satisfactory condition. We regret that the overgrown trees have now affected the views your kitchen window.

Attached is a list of companies in your area that can provide you with this tree-cutting service. I hope this is helpful.

Sincerely,

Example 4: Reply Negatively

Company Name or Letterhead
Address
City, State Zip

Date

Addressee
Address
City, State Zip

Dear Mr. Mann:

Thank you for your recent purchase of Super Executive 10-key adding machines. You recently returned four machines due to a malfunction in the paper feeder. We will stand by our guarantee to replace the malfunctioning parts, but our policy does not allow credit for the cost of return shipping.

Enclosed is a copy of the guarantee. Please note the third paragraph which states that returns should be handled through the local Super Executive sales manager who arranges for a pick-up.

We regret the confusion and hope that we can continue to supply you with quality office equipment. If you have any further questions or problems, please contact your local Super Executive sales manager, Jack James, at (555) 434-3434.

Sincerely,

Example 5: Reply Negatively

Company Name or Letterhead
Address
City, State Zip

Date

Addressee
Address
City, State Zip

Dear Ms. Calhoun:

We are sorry to hear that you are dissatisfied with the four 135 Zoom Color Copiers you recently purchased. This model was designed for only the three primary colors. Despite its inability to capture the nuances of shades as more modern copiers can, you will find the X135 Zoom Color Copier to be a dependable office companion with a long life.

We regret that we are unable to comply with your request to credit your account for the full price of the copiers. These items were sold at a special clearance rate, and we do not give credits or refunds on clearance items. However, we will be happy to honor the service and maintenance agreement. Your satisfaction is important to us.

Sincerely,

     

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