How to Write a Letter to Ask for a Refund for Services Not Rendered

Well-written letters are more likely to get the attention they deserve.

Well-written letters are more likely to get the attention they deserve.

For whatever reason, there are times you might end up paying for a service that is never delivered. Maybe you pre-paid for a snow removal service that wasn't necessary due to a mild winter, or a lawn treatment that didn't deliver the results you were promised. If you've paid for services not rendered, you should send a letter to the management of the company. You will be taken more seriously if you express your concerns in a professional manner.

Preparing to Write the Letter

Review the terms of your contract and determine whether you have any rights. For example, snow removal contracts usually stipulate that you must make payment regardless of the number of times they actually need to come to clear your driveway. Although you might not be entitled to a refund due to a warm winter with little snow, the company might be willing to offer you future discounts in recognition of your complaint.

Research your legal rights as a consumer, even if they are not stipulated in your contract. Consult a lawyer or research legal websites regarding contract law in your region.

Determine who should receive the letter. Make phone calls to the company and get the name and title of the manager. Ask for the correct spelling of the name.

Writing the Letter

Begin your letter by stating what service was contracted for and not delivered. Quote the terms of the contract, whether it was written or verbal, and give names of the employees you dealt with. Provide all relevant dates and times.

Be concise and specific. Include only the pertinent details, and describe them in full. Don't ramble. Be polite and professional. Avoid swear words or threatening language.

Keep the letter professional looking. Follow a business letter template for the correct structure. Don't capitalize every letter of words and phrases for additional emphasis.

State a reasonable timeline for the company to respond to you. Inform them that you will resort to legal action if your complaint is ignored.

Proofread your letter carefully to avoid spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and typos. Have a friend or family member proofread it for you. A fresh set of eyes often will detect errors you might have missed.

Include a photocopy of your cancelled check or credit card receipt to demonstrate that payment was paid. If you had a written contract, include a copy of the contract with the relevant section highlighted. This also shows you are organized and are reliable and are more likely to follow through on your threat of taking them to court.

Items you will need

  • Letter-sized white paper
  • Business envelope
  • Typewriter or computer and printer
  • Copy of your contract
  • Copy of your cancelled check or credit card receipt
  • Highlighter pen


  • Business letters must be typed. Handwritten letters are for personal use only.

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About the Author

Freddie Silver started writing newsletters for the Toronto District School Board in 1997. Her areas of expertise include staff management and professional development. She holds a master's degree in psychology from the University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, focusing on emotions and professional relationships.

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