How to write a Cancellation Letter

Cancellation Letter is a letter which communicates cancelling of certain arrangements which can be a Contract or a Party. A Letter for cancellation is mostly used as a business correspondence. Formal cancelation letter however have certain requirements, which have been provided in the formats. Such letters of cancellation are also termed as ‘Notice of Cancellation Letter’ because they serve the purpose of a Notice.Cancellation letter is a type of announcement letter as it is a declaration in itself but an important one.

Official cancellation letters deal with:

  • Contracts
  • Orders
  • Agreements
  • Meetings
  • Services

Informal cancellation letters deal with:

  • Membership
  • Subscription
  • Credit card
  • Account
  • Policy
  • Wedding
  • Booking

Cancellation Letter Writing Tips

  • Content Material – As with all letters you should organise all the required material to be used in writing the letter. If it is cancellation of a policy, order, service, membership etc., then read them and keep it along with you when you sit down to write. You may need photocopies of the documents you are enclosing, make sure you have them. Use the originals to state any necessary information pertaining to the cancellation. Do not include the reasons for your cancellation, unless it’s required. Keep a dictionary with you or make sure you have access to one on your computer. After all the prerequisites are in one place, you can begin writing the letter.
  • Drafting – Drafting is a blueprint of a letter, it is an unpolished version. It is also a practice tool; the more you draft the better writer you become. Use the content material to draft the letter. If you are not good at drafting on the computer, go for a pen and paper; the former one will save paper. Write down whatever comes in mind related to the subject matter, ignore grammar rules, punctuation, spelling, sentence structure or word limit. These will be rectified later on. Use the dictionary to find the most appropriate words in the form of synonyms etc.
  • The Short and the Long of it – Keeping in mind the subject matter, cancellation letters can be short or long. In official matters you may need to provide details which may make it a lengthy one but it shouldn’t be so lengthy that it makes you forget its primary motive. You can skip certain points and keep the most relevant ones. It is always better to have short paragraphs with Bullets or Numbering to highlight and make it easy to read. Certain cancellation letters are simple and straightforward like order cancellation, wedding cancellation etc. These do not require as much text as official one’s. Here be brief and come straight to the point in the opening itself. Use a simple language so that there is no room for misunderstanding. A Date is a must in a cancellation letter; it can be used for further reference and correspondence.
  • Be Humble and Polite – Humbleness is an important ingredient of cancellation letter. You are cancelling something which was unanticipated, you may be causing botheration or worry to the recipient. Few words of apology, regret and sorrow indicate your humbleness. The reader may sympathise with you and may not get affected as much as he would have. Be gentle in your tone by using polite language. It also has an emotional effect on the reader as it is he, who is being respected and mattered. Even if you are cancelling a membership or an account, you have to be polite as you may never know when you may require their services in future. It pays to be courteous especially if you are expecting a certain refund etc. Thus, as a rule, show your gratitude in the end of the letter.
  • Always insist on Confirmation – Never forget to state that you wish to receive written confirmation or acknowledgment of the cancellation-in-effect. This most essential in the cases of orders, reservations and other scenarios where a consumer-client interaction is involved. A return receipt also ensures that the letter has been delivered and its date of delivery which if and when required can be presented.
  • Positive Approach – Another common factor essential for writing a cancellation letter is the positive tone of the letter. It appears quite odd to put positiveness in a letter which has all the ingredients of negativity. Contrary to what appears, positive words will have a positive effect if articulated properly. Use your vocabulary and phrases to bring forth the positiveness. You can use words like ‘I do understand the inconvenience’, ‘I completely understand’, ‘The world is changing around us’, ‘This is a rare occurrence’ etc. These words are not only positive but also sympathise with recipient if he/she has been bothered with the letter.
  • Using Letterhead – Letterhead is a must if the cancellation letter is confined to official setup. Letterhead puts an authority and makes it valuable towards the attention of the recipient. If you have pre printed letterhead then use that. You don’t need to have letterhead if you are writing to cancel a picnic, get-together, wedding etc.
  • Closing the Letter – Start the letter with Gratitude and end it with the same. It is a professional courtesy. At the end of your last paragraph is written, a complimentary close of the likes of ‘Sincerely’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Truly’ is essential. Close the letter by restating your apology and gratitude.
  • Proofreading – Check for – awkward phrases, grammatical errors, incomplete sentences and spelling mistakes. Fix them with appropriate punctuation. This is the final step; the draft will be reviewed and revised before it acquires a proper form. Read it aloud to yourself to figure out mistakes which are missed out in writing.
  • Attach essential Documents – Some cancellations require certain documents to be attached, these can be the photocopies of documents like agreements, hard copies of email received, earlier correspondence, receipts, warranty etc. Keep original copies of all your letters, faxes, e-mails, membership cards, subscription paperwork and other related documents. Send originals like Cheque etc. only if it is necessary but do keep a photocopy of it.
  • Send Hard and Soft Copy – Though hard copy is good choice but sending it via email ensures swift delivery. Ordinary mail may take more time than email but at least you have hard and solid proof that you did send the letter. In any case, if one fails, the other will be delivered.
  • Send it in Time – Cancellation letters are meant to be sent as soon as the information regarding the cancellation is received. The recipient may have plans or may have adjusted his/her schedule to accommodate the cancelled event. So it becomes all the more important that the letter is delivered in-time, if not before time. As a matter of fact send your cancellation letter by certified mail with return receipt requested.


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