Adjustment letter

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Adjustment letter
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Adjustment letter is a type of business letter that should satisfy person who was wrongfully charged. The person means here customer in the broad sense so it might be client, employee, co-worker or supplier who is unsatisfied with the service of the company. The adjustment letter is written usually as a response to claim against the company but it might happen to be result of internal discovery and admitting the fault of the company[1]. An adjustment letter should grant a claim, give an apology, solve the problem and rebuild trust and relationship[2][3]. It might be necessary to investigate within the organisation below areas[4]:

  • past correspondence,
  • warranty,
  • guarantee,
  • merchandise and service policies,
  • laboratory tests.

How to write the adjustment letter

The nature of the adjustment letter is quite delicate therefore it is also important to keep letter in a good tone. It should be professional and be kept in the official business letter formatting. Through the adjustment letter, the customer should feel that the company is fully accepting responsibility. Therefore, below messages should be avoided[5]:

  • over-using in sentences "you" which may cause feeling of blaming on the client,
  • using too many complicated clauses, better to point them separately,
  • slang or colloquial speeches,
  • too many adjectives which will make letter longer but the content will be not more valuable.

To summarize, letter should consist of three paragraphs and follow below recommendations[6][7]:

Paragraph one:

  • introducing shortly - using first person ("I" or "we" if writing about the whole company), referring to date of claim letter, writing purpose of the letter and appreciating the information from customer,
  • apologizing, describing reason with all respect and accepting responsibility - avoiding to start letter with obvious (for example We have found an error instead of We were processing the files and we have found an error), also, avoiding putting the blame (not using words faulty, 'defective, request, misunderstanding as well),
  • describing the problem briefly and clearly - avoiding passing form to prove taking the responsibility - for example not "error happened" but "Our system mistakenly recalculated wrong quantity",
  • not repeating describing the problem later on.

Paragraph two:

  • describing instructions to give clear view what have to be done by the customer and by the company - offering some other product or service (for example discount, coupon) if that is policy in the company, and also, asking kindly if customer is requested to deliver any papers (for example Your money will be refund as soon as possible after receiving receipt instead of We have to receive receipt, otherwise we will not return you money), if request from customer is denied there is worth to use non-argumentative manner of writing or give friendly advice,
  • offering an explanation, for example the policy of company,
  • describing deadlines of repair (especially if there is legal penalty case)

Paragraph three:

  • pointing out steps which company will take to prevent similar situation in the future,
  • ending letter with assuring the goodwill of the company,

Examples of phrases

Some often used phrases in adjustment letters[8]:

  • We are sorry that...
  • After inspecting...
  • According to the letter you sent us...
  • We appreciate your purchase...
  • If you would like us to...
  • Again, we are sorry for...


  1. 'Adjustment Letter (2019)
  2. Sankrusme S. (2017), p. 239
  3. Johnson-Sheehan R. (2005)
  4. Kolin C. P. (2009, p.9
  5. 'Adjustment Letter (2019)
  6. 'Adjustment Letter (2019)
  7. Sankrusme S. (2017), p. 239
  8. Johnson-Sheehan R. (2005)


  • Below K. (2018), Final MA Portfolio, Master of Arts in English Plan II Graduate Projects. 26
  • Adjustment Letter (2019), University of Arkansas, USA
  • Johnson-Sheehan R. (2005), Technical communication today, Longman, USA
  • Kolin C. P. (2009), Successful Writing at Work, Cengage Learning, USA
  • Sankrusme S. (2017), International Business Correspondence, Anchor Academic Publishing

Author: Katarzyna Żurek, Bartłomiej Zegarliński