Adjustment letter

From CEOpedia | Management online

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...

Advantages of Adjustment letter

An adjustment letter is an important tool for businesses to effectively address customer grievances and enhance customer satisfaction. It is a form of an apology letter and offers an opportunity to explain the situation and provide a solution. The advantages of sending an adjustment letter include:

  • Enhancing customer loyalty: An adjustment letter demonstrates that the company acknowledges the customer’s dissatisfaction and is willing to take steps to rectify the situation. This sends a positive message to the customer that the company values their satisfaction and stands behind their product or service.
  • Creating goodwill: Sending an adjustment letter not only helps to resolve the problem but also helps to create goodwill between the company and the customer. It can help to build trust and instill faith in the customer that their complaints will be taken seriously.
  • Establishing transparency: An adjustment letter can also help to establish transparency between the company and the customer. It allows the customer to understand the situation from the perspective of the company and helps to foster open and honest communication.
  • Strengthening customer relations: An adjustment letter helps to strengthen customer relations by providing a platform for resolving customer grievances. It encourages customers to feel valued and respected and helps to maintain a positive relationship between the company and the customer.

Limitations of Adjustment letter

Introduction: Adjustment letter has its own limitations as it cannot solve all the issues related to customer dissatisfaction.

The limitations of an adjustment letter are:

  • It cannot address all customer grievances. Adjustment letters can only address the specific issue that is outlined in the letter and cannot address any other grievances that the customer may have.
  • It cannot guarantee customer satisfaction. Even if the company is able to resolve the issue, there is no guarantee that the customer will be satisfied with the outcome, as customers have different expectations.
  • It cannot be used to resolve long-term customer complaints. An adjustment letter is only effective for resolving an issue in a timely manner, and it does not address any deeper issues that may be causing customer dissatisfaction.
  • It cannot establish a long-term customer relationship. An adjustment letter can be used to resolve an issue in the short term, but it does not create a lasting relationship between the company and the customer.
  • It cannot be used to resolve legal disputes. An adjustment letter cannot be used to resolve any legal disputes that may arise between the company and the customer.

Other approaches related to Adjustment letter

Introduction: Apart from Adjustment Letter, there are other approaches which can be used to satisfy a person who was wrongfully charged:

  • Negotiations: Negotiations are a process which involves two or more parties discussing and trying to reach an agreement. They can be used to resolve disputes and to try to come to a mutual understanding.
  • Apologies: An apology is an expression of sorrow, regret or remorse. It can be used to show remorse for an offence or mistake and can also help to build trust between parties.
  • Compensation: Compensation is a payment or benefit that is provided to a person or organization in recognition of a loss or injury. This can be used to try to make up for the harm that has been caused and to show goodwill.
  • Mediation: Mediation is a process of dispute resolution in which an independent third party facilitates discussion and negotiation between parties. The mediator does not take sides and helps the parties to reach an agreement.
  • Review Process: A review process is an organized approach to examining an issue or situation and making decisions or recommendations based on the findings. This can be used to look into the issue and make sure that appropriate action is taken.

Summary: The approaches that can be used to satisfy a person who was wrongfully charged include negotiations, apologies, compensation, mediation and review process. These approaches can help to resolve disputes, show remorse, make up for the harm caused and ensure that appropriate action is taken.


  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)

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  • 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