Wenn Sie sich entschuldigen müssen

When you have to say you’re sorry …

Bei schriftlichen Entschuldigungen ist es wichtig, den richtigen Ton zu treffen. Mit diesen Tipps von Secretary Today klingen Sie immer glaubwürdig undprofessionell.

There are various reasons that might call for a letter saying you’re sorry for something:

  • a customer claims he was treated badly
  • you are late with a delivery
  • you have to cancel an appointment
  • your company is in financial difficulties and cannot pay its bills
  • you sent a reminder out to someone by mistake
  • you forgot to pay an invoice
  • someone has asked you for a favour and you have to say no
  • you have to announce a price increase

When you have to apologise for something in writing it is important to get the tone right. If you have made a mistake, admit it freely and without excuses. A letter written in an apologetic tone is likely to create goodwill. Promise to put the matter right. It will be difficult for the client or business associate to continue to bear a grudge against you. Sometimes, you will have to sound sincere even when you have had to swallow your pride and are actually writing the apology through gritted teeth.


Here are some useful phrases for saying, and sounding, sorry – even though you sometimes resent having to use them:

  • I am writing to apologise for the bad service you felt you received.
  • Owing to problems in our factory, we are sorry that we will not be able to process your order as agreed. We are doing our best to solve the problems and hope we will be able to deliver the goods by … at the latest.
  • I am very sorry that I have to cancel our appointment on Wednesday June 22.
  • We apologise for the delay in settling your invoice no. 123 of 12 June 2006. Payment has been delayed because we have run into financial difficulties. We are doing everything we can to arrange payment in the shortest possible time.
  • I am very sorry you were sent a reminder for an invoice already paid.
  • I wish to apologise for the delay in settling your invoice no. 123.
  • I am sorry but I am unable to help you at the moment.
  • I am sorry to inform you that we have been forced to raise our prices.


Here are three examples of letters of apology


Dear Sir/Madam

I regret to inform you that an error was made on our invoice number B 832 of 18 August.

The correct charge for part number ST5 5W 12V is € 56.70 and not € 46.70 as stated. We are therefore enclosing a debit note for the amount undercharged, namely € 250.

This mistake was due to an input error and we are sorry it was not noticed before the invoice was sent.


Yours faithfully



We are sorry to learn from your letter of 16 September that you need to return one of the MP3 players supplied to you and charged on our invoice number 5624.

Unfortunately, we have no trace of the returned player. It would help if you could describe the packaging, how you addressed it and what method of delivery you used. As soon as we receive this information we will make a  thorough investigation. I am sure you will understand that we can neither provide a free replacement nor grant the credit you request.

Meanwhile, we would be pleased to send you a new MP3 player, but would have to charge it to your account if our further enquiries should prove unsuccessful.


Yours sincerely



Dear Mr Cartright

Thank you for your letter of 24 January. We were very sorry to hear that there was no hot water in your bathroom during your recent visit to our hotel. The problems were due to construction work at an adjacent hotel.

As requested, we have arranged a refund of € 50 on your credit card, Visa account number 3502 1405 4444 3321, expiration date May 2010.

We apologise again for the obvious inconvenience this caused and hope to welcome you as our guest next time you are in Torquay.


Yours sincerely

Basil Fawlty
Hotel Manager


Weitere Tipps zum Thema 'Entschuldigungen schreiben' finden Sie in Secretary Today