How to Write a Cancellation Letter

Cancelling a purchase or service contract, a subscription or a membership in writing is not only wise, but also might be required. For example, you must send a written cancellation letter for a contract covered under the Federal Trade Commission’s cooling-off rule. Whether it’s mandatory or optional, a well-written business letter clarifies your intent and protects your legal rights.

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Write a cancellation letter using a business letter format.
credit: Karin Dreyer/Blend Images/Getty Images

Use a Business Letter Format

Organize the letter as you would with any business correspondence. Include your address, the date, a reference line and the recipient's address above the salutation. Avoid using a generic salutation such as “To Whom It May Concern.” If you don’t have a name, either call the company or reference the department with a salutation such as "Dear Customer Relationship Manager.” Note in the letter that you’re including supporting documentation by adding an enclosure line just below the closing in which you list the name of each document you are sending with the letter. Use a spell checker and proofread the letter carefully to ensure it is accurate and error-free.

Stick to the Facts

Be polite but firm when making a cancellation request. Although you can provide a reason, the FTC says this is never a requirement for cancellation. If you do give a reason, don't criticize or insult the company. Instead, adopt an objective and professional tone and stick to the facts. Include actions you expect the company to take after receiving the letter, such as discontinuing automatic monthly bank or credit payments. For example, make a request such as “This letter is to notify you that I am cancelling my contract effective January 20, 2015. I expect that you will make no further charges to my credit card.”

Supply Required Information

Include any information such as an account or file number that the company might need to identify you or your account. Enclose a check for full payment if you have an outstanding balance. If the cancellation will instead result in a refund, state that you expect a refund within a certain time and specify the amount. Otherwise, include a statement such as “I expect a full refund within 30 days.” Make certain that you also request a written cancellation confirmation by return mail.

Include Supporting Documentation

Protect your legal rights with supporting documentation that verifies the purchase and your right to cancel. For example, include a copy of the contract in which you highlight your right to cancel and a receipt or a copy of a cashed check. As a final protection, the FTC recommends sending a cancellation letter via certified mail with a return receipt.