What Is a Cancellation Letter?

Before we discuss how to write a cancellation letter, we must first grasp the concept of cancellation.

Canceling something would mark the end of a formal or informal agreement between two or more parties. Perhaps you aren’t satisfied with the lack of group programs and activities at your local gym. A membership retention report by the IHRSA shows the likelihood of social interactions affecting gym membership renewals at a significant rate. Gym cancellations are reportedly higher by 56% among members who only exercise with gym equipment as opposed to those who work out in groups. When this happens, you can opt to withdraw your membership by submitting a cancellation letter.

A cancellation letter expresses one’s intention to discontinue a subscription service, deal, or event. It’s meant to inform a recipient about your plans to terminate or cancel something that you have agreed upon in the past. And because we consider these documents as official business correspondence, the contents of the letter must be as specific and concise as possible. That way, you can communicate without room for misunderstandings. The recipient may also respond to your message with a confirmation letter as a way of acknowledging your request. Any refunds or cancellation charges will then follow.

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The Purpose of Cancellation Letters

Look at things from the perspective of a business owner. When someone cancels their membership at your fitness center, you’ll want to why they are canceling and what you can do to boost your retention rate. As a consumer, it also keeps you out of trouble when billing season starts.

Now you must be wondering—when do you send a cancellation letter?

When paying for a product or service, it’s only natural for one to expect nothing but top-quality solutions in return. But companies that fail to provide what they promised are bad news to consumers. Imagine paying hundreds of dollars for a year-long gym membership, only to find poorly working or malfunctioning equipment at the center. So if it’s not worth the money they’re milking you of, then you’re free to leave as long as you abide by the rules of your contract. Carefully reading the terms and conditions of the binding agreement is crucial to ensure that you’re taking precautionary measures to address the issue. The same goes for tenants of a housing unit that wish to discontinue their lease despite being a few months short of their rental agreement. You can let your landlord know about your wishes to terminate the contract by outlining your intentions in a cancellation letter.

Types of Cancellation Letters

Unforeseen circumstances, upsetting product quality, and poor services are just some of the reasons that drive customers to cancel their contracts with a business. Consumers have the right to refuse service if it fails to meet their expectations. But because it’s unethical (and often illegal) to withdraw from a fixed arrangement without giving proper notice, for us to terminate an agreement or discontinue service, letters of cancellation are necessary.

A cancellation letter can come in many forms. Regardless of your reason for writing, it functions to make your intent known to the recipient. Some common instances in which cancellation letters play a part include:

To Cancel an Order: Shoppers can be pretty indecisive with their purchases. They place an order for an item, realize that they don’t need it, and proceed to cancel the order before shipment begins. There are various reasons why people decide not to push through with their purchase orders. As of the first quarter of 2017, high shipping costs were a significant reason for order cancellations, according to 40% of respondents in a Statista survey. It’s also possible that the product or service fails to meet your expectations, forcing you to cancel incoming orders from the said provider.To Cancel a Membership or Subscription: If you no longer need the services offered to you by a company, you can choose to cancel your monthly subscription or membership with the said party by informing them through a letter. If you’re charged by the month, you might want to cancel before the cut-off period to avoid the extra fees. You’ll want to go straight to the point, so the recipient can quickly grasp the subject of the letter. A single sentence explaining your reason for writing should be enough to get your message across. Don’t forget to request for verification of cancellation to put your mind at ease. To Cancel an Event: We all know the advantages of making your event plans ahead of time. However, you can’t always anticipate what could happen in the months leading up to the day of your event. Budget issues, low attendance numbers, and mismanaged production plans can be embarrassing to admit in an event cancellation letter, which is why most organizers choose not to disclose the exact details of the mishap in their writing. Informing guests and participants as quickly as possible is essential to avoid further inconveniences. Creating a separate letter for the venue, caterer, and performers are also necessary for addressing business concerns. To Cancel a Contract or Agreement: Among the many reasons for writing a cancellation letter, trying to terminate a legal agreement is probably the most challenging to do. The body of the letter should cover the sensitive aspects of the arrangement for both parties to settle. Although your reason for canceling the contract is relatively valid, you’ll still want to maintain an excellent professional relationship with the opposite party. Business contracts generally have provisions that cover the terms of its cancellation, which is something you must look into with a corporate lawyer for assistance. The last thing you’d want to do is to commit a breach of contract by accident. To Cancel An Account: Cancelling bank or credit card accounts involve a much-complicated procedure that clients must take note of to make it official. To do so, you must send in a request to the concerned authorities for them to begin the procedure. The agency or firm you are in contact with may even ask you to provide certain documents as a requirement, along with the letter itself. Fund transfers are often necessary to carry on with the cancellation, which could include a fee for you to pay and another document to sign. Also, ensure that the letter clearly specifies your wishes to discontinue transactions with the said account to avoid issues down the road.To Cancel an Appointment or Meeting: There are moments when something urgent comes up, and you’re forced to cancel the rest of your plans for the day. When you’re unable to make it to an appointment you’ve scheduled a few days prior, canceling, it would be your only option. In this case, your cancellation letter can work as an apology letter, expressing your regret for calling off the meeting. Considering the inconvenience you’ve caused to others, make sure your message remains genuine and courteous enough to ease the tension. You’ll only want to reschedule once you’re confident that no other disruptions could cause more delays.

How to Write a Cancellation Letter

Telling people about your plans to cancel a membership, appointment, or event can be tricky. You know what your plans are, but struggle to relay it without getting misunderstood. It’s a common problem that hinders most people from taking action, even forcing some not to act at all. But with the right tips, you can strike the proper tone in making your intentions known to the concerned parties.

So, whether you need one now or have been thinking about pushing through with your cancellation for some time, the following guidelines in letter writing should come in handy.

1. Use the Right Format

The first step to writing a business letter is knowing how to structure it appropriately. Because we use a cancellation letter to address a severe matter, following a business letter format should be appropriate. As you would with any business correspondence, the letter must consist of a heading, body, and closing. You can start by noting the details that one can find in a business letterhead, such as your address, the date, and your recipient’s address, followed by a personal salutation. Using a direct and formal tone is necessary to spell out your thoughts in as few words as possible. You’ll also want to incorporate a simple language so as not to leave room for confusion.

Additionally, don’t miss the chance to review the letter for spelling, grammar, or information errors before sending the final copy to your recipient. Correcting these mistakes before your readers get to find them is crucial in maintaining the right tone and structure for your cancellation letter.

2. Be Honest

It’s never a requirement to state your reason for making a cancellation request. Some people cancel due to personal reasons that they would rather keep to themselves. You might feel pressured to come up with a lie that constitutes a valid reason, but the truth is, all that will really matter to your recipient is your initiative to provide notice. But if you do feel the need to make your reason known, be sure to stick to the facts.

Discuss your case briefly and include actions that you expect the recipient to take in response to your request. For example, if you want the cancellation of your mobile plan to take effect by the 15th of January, no charges should reflect in your credit account after the said date. Being specific will always come as an advantage when dodging sales pitches and persuasive language that businesses do to keep you from canceling. It must be short yet clear enough for the recipient to understand your decision and close the dealing without question.

3. Include the Necessary Information

It would help if you could supply information that the company may use to identify your account. Apart from your personal details, it could be a reference number to an online order, a check for full payment of a remaining balance, or even an official receipt indicating a downpayment. If you need a refund for something, you already paid for, provide the date and amount you expect to receive it. Enclosing this information in your letter helps streamline the cancellation procedure for all parties to benefit from. Any other details you wish to add to the body of the letter must be pertinent to your primary purpose. Otherwise, if you have complaints or suggestions that you want to raise, you might want to compose a separate letter to express your thoughts.

4. Apologize for the Inconvenience

Cancellations can leave financial damage to the other party. It seldom happens, but when it does, you can only imagine how disruptive last-minute cancellations can be to their operations. Thus, you need to be considerate enough to acknowledge the inconvenience you have caused with your decision. It’s never a good feeling to cancel important plans at short notice, so the least you can do is apologize for the trouble, and provide some sort of consolation for it. Closing the letter with a polite and friendly tone is one way to cool any steam caused by the situation at hand. It’s also best to remain cooperative throughout the cancellation process to make the job easier for everyone involved.

5. Attach Supporting Documents

If necessary, you can provide any form of evidence to prove your right to cancel. Look for a specific condition or period that addresses the possibility of termination. It can be a particular clause from your business agreement or a fine print indicated at the bottom part of an invoice. Doing so will help you protect your legal rights in the event of a dispute. So if a seller refuses to provide a refund for the purchased item, you can file a complaint against the said party and use the documentation to support your claims. That is why you must never hesitate to ask for your copy of the receipt or contract used whenever you transact with a business.

6. Send It ASAP

A bonus tip you might find useful is to write and deliver your cancellation letter as early as possible. If you’re having guests over for a major event, doing so is a must. You don’t want people to have their tickets and accommodations already booked by the time they receive your letter. Not only is it a waste of their time and money, but it will also affect their perceptions of you. Giving immediate notice will also provide them with the chance to re-adjust their schedules and pursue other plans they might have canceled for yours. But if you don’t think you can get your letter out on time, you can resort to emails, text messages, and phone calls as an alternative.

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Sometimes things don’t work out the way you expect them to. When you’re dissatisfied with a service or no longer need it, notifying everyone about your plans to cancel is necessary to maintain positive relationships down the line. Fortunately, cancellation letters follow the etiquette of formal letter writing to help you communicate your decision to the desired parties. It allows you to deliver your request clearly and concisely to a recipient, while also leaving a paper trail for confirmation. Should you find yourself in need of a good letter, the cancellation letter templates and samples provided above could give you a head start in the writing process.