Cancellation Letter: Types, Samples and how to write

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Did you ever feel like you don’t want something after you have purchased and placed an order for it? There’s even a term for it, called ‘Cognitive Dissonance’. Every customer goes through at least some form of post-purchase dissatisfaction for every product they buy. Sometimes this dissatisfaction can amount to the extent where the customer might want to cancel the entire purchase order overall.

Of course, that’s not the only reason a customer might wish to terminate a deal struck previously. For instance, you might want to cancel your membership at the gym because you never visit there anyway. You wish to cancel your hotel reservation or a wedding party because of an emergency. You would like to cancel a contract because your client did not honor it.

In each of these cases, you can always cancel over a simple phone call. But writing a cancellation letter reinforces solid evidence, should your decision to cancel be ever questioned later on. So that brings us to the question:

What is a Cancellation Letter?

A cancellation letter is a written document issued by one party in an arrangement to communicate the decision to cancel the entire or part of the arrangement. The document is preserved as formal evidence against any denial of the cancellation.

Types of Cancellation Letter

Depending on what is being cancelled, the letter itself may or may not be a formal one. There are several classifications of cancellation letters. A few of them are:

  • Letter to cancel a reservation or a booking
  • Letter to cancel an order (sample)
  • Letter to cancel membership or subscription
  • Letter to cancel a major event (weddings, ceremonies etc.)
  • Letter to cancel a contract

In this article, we shall demonstrate how to write a basic cancellation letter.

Steps in writing a Cancellation Letter:

A sample cancellation letter usually follows the steps mentioned below:

  • The top half of the letter would contain the date, name of the company representative (if known), company name and address.
  • Write the subject line as “Letter to cancel order no./membership no./contract no. etc.”
  • At the opening paragraph of the body, the main purpose of the letter, which is the cancellation of something, should be spelled out explicitly without any beating around the bush. The intention in this paragraph should be to get the message through first.
  • As you state the main purpose in the opening paragraph, do not forget to provide the necessary identification details of what you would like to cancel, such as order number, reservation number etc.
  • The second paragraph should be intended to voice out the reason for cancellation and hence, there is more flexibility in using as much wording as required, but it should not be misused. Try to convey the reason clearly, concisely and accurately. If the reason is dissatisfaction, state it politely but firmly.
  • In the final paragraph, provide a 30-day notice before the cancellation becomes effective and request a confirmation letter of the cancellation. If you think you have caused the other party any inconvenience with your sudden change of heart, write a short apology.
  • If it is a letter to cancel membership or subscription, do not forget to revoke the authorization of the service providers in withdrawing payments from your bank account. You may also mention what legal action you would take in case the other party does not comply.
  • Finally, end the letter with your signature at the bottom.

A few tips to remember:

  • Since the letter would contain very important information, it is better to have it typed rather than handwritten, in order to avoid any problems caused due to spelling mistakes and unintelligible handwriting. But use a pen for your signature at the bottom use a pen.
  • In order to evade any early or late termination fees, go through the terms of the contract or membership, or issue legal advice from an expert. Write the letter only when you have made up your mind.
  • Since it’s a professional document, keep the letter short and to the point. It’s better to restrict it on one page.
  • If you incur any penalty fee or owe the other party any money, enclose a check or money order with the letter.
  • As mentioned before, the level of formality depends on the nature of the event. But try to maintain a polite, yet firm tone throughout the document.
  • Keep a copy of the document and send the letter by certified mail for better evidence keeping.


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