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Examples :: Business Letters :: Letter to supplier regarding problems with an order

Letter to supplier regarding problems with an order

Orders get mixed, filled incorrectly, or lost, around the world on a daily basis.

The problem for you as the recipient (or non-recipient, in some cases) is that you're left without your order, and if you've prepaid, you're also theoretically out of pocket.

It's best to have a set procedure for dealing with suppliers who don't perform. Some mistakes are quite innocent, but anyone in business can tell horror stories of suppliers who just never get anything right.

Always check out any legitimate problems the supplier might have, but be careful of those who seem to always have problems.


  • With any sale, or any contract, you do have legal rights.
  • Unreliable suppliers can cause you real problems with your own customers.
  • Always treat any problem with an order as strictly business.
  • Don't put up with repeated problems with orders.
  • DO NOT tolerate bad service, because you're paying for it.
  • Find a new supplier, if you're getting too many mistakes.

The first thing to do is find out what's happening with your order, preferably by phone or email, if you can't phone.

Then you follow up with a formal letter, either hard copy or email, to the supplier. Depending on circumstances, you will need to state your case, and what you want done.

The follow up letter has to be very businesslike. DO NOT get casual about the problems, because the supplier may get the wrong message, and take their time fixing them for you.

The example below is of an order which has been really messed up.

The customer, a hardware retailer, has had enough, and is being very clear about the issues. The example contains all the basic points in the first few lines. The optional text is in relation to the customer's position on the situation described in the letter.



Your reference
Our reference

Dear (title of CEO of supplier)

Re: Order 2457 errors in filling the order and delivery

I refer to our phone conversation of today. I confirm receipt of partial delivery of the above order.

The following materials purchased with our order have not yet been delivered:

20 Dyna Sure shovels, model X1234
50 Dyna Sure claw hammers, model H3244
40 Hi Brite straw brooms model HB334
10 Mako wheelbarrows, model MAAA21
100 Garden Green rakes, model GGR2

The following materials were received in error with our order:

100 Duckdrake Pink insulation batts
2000 Cheers Christmas lights
50 Albrite socket wrenches Model Alb003
20 Thoroughbred tennis rackets, Alpha Graphite Model TAG 27
10 Inflatable dinosaurs Model DINO 7856

The materials not supplied are required to be delivered as soon as possible.

The materials shipped in error are required to be picked up immediately from our premises at your expense.

Yours sincerely


Optional text

Please be advised:

  1. The standard of service regarding this order has been unacceptable.
  2. No further delays or errors in shipment will be tolerated.
  3. Any failure to comply with the requirements of this letter by (date) will result in legal action being taken against your firm without further notice.

If you have any queries regarding the contents of this letter, please contact me on the above phone number.


Please note:

  • This text is intended for advisory and guideline purposes only.
  • Any business letter can become a legal document, so check your content properly before issuing.
  • Any executable or statutorily defined document should be checked for compliance with legal requirements, and you should seek legal advice regarding its contents.