Example Adjustment Letter--Damaged Goods (Annotations)

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Adjustment letter. An adjustment letter is one that answers a complaint letter. It is also called a compensation letter. In this letter, the representative for a shipping company is responding to a request for compensation for damaged crystal stemware.

Heading. The heading portion of a business letter includes the writer's address and date. For traditional business letters, you don't normally include your name in the heading. For a business letter coming from a company like this, you'd expect to see letterhead stationery.

Inside address. The inside address provides the full name, title, and address of the recipient of the letter.

Subject line. The subject line is a common element in certain types of business letters. Like the Re: line in a business memorandum, it announces the subject of the letter.

Salutation. In this portion of the letter, use the same name as you used in the inside address. Be sure and punctuate the salutation with a colon, not a comma (which is for informal, friendly, nonbusiness letters).

Introduction. The introduction to any business letter should be brief—four or five lines at the most. In this adjustment letter, the writer refers to the previous correspondence and expresses regret for the problem.

Arrangements. Notice that this writer takes the positive approach by assuming that the problem in his company's shipment—not in the customer's subsequent actions. Notice that he also defends his company by observing that damages are an unavoidable part of the business.

More arrangements. In this paragraph, the writer completes the arrangements for the inspection of the damaged goods. He could have written the letter in an antagonistic tone: "We cannot grant your request for compensation until the damaged good are inspected by one of our representatives." An approach like this would be adversarial, implying that the recipient of the damaged goods was somehow at fault.

Closing. The writer of this adjustment letter closes by reassuring the recipient that the whole matter will be resolved and she will receive her reimbursement soon—as soon as the damaged goods are inspected, that is.

That completes the comments for this example.

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