Note how this letter is both apologetic but firm. Though Baden accept responsibility for the problems Forham face in delivering their consignment to their Greek customers, Herr Zeitman rejects the threat of legal action by drawing Mr Blackburn's attention to a clause in their contract stating that the company will not be responsible for 'unforeseen circumstances that arise'. However, Herr Zeitman is flexible enough to realize he must not antagonize his customer, so he allows Mr Blackburn the opportunity to cancel the order if he can make other arrangements.
Therefore, the two main points this letter makes are - first, do not commit yourself to contracts unless you are absolutely certain they can be fulfilled. Second, always try and be as flexible as possible with customers or associates even if you are in a strong position; it will improve your business reputation.
Accounting errors and adjustments
As we have seen, many letters of complaint arise out of accounting errors, which can be put right by adjustments. Debit notes and credit notes are used for this purpose.
Debit notes are a second charge for a consignment and become necessary if a customer has been undercharged through a mistake in the calculations on the original invoice. An explanation is included on the debit note:
Undercharge on invoice C293. 10 Units @£2.62each = £26.20, NOT'£16.20 Invoice No. P.32, one line omitted viz. 100 C90 cassettes at £1.40 each = £140
VAT should have been calculated at 171/2%, NOT 15% Difference = £1.86 Debit notes are the result of carelessness and show that you should be careful when making up invoices as once a buyer has settled an account, it is annoying to be told that there is an additional payment. A letter of apology should always accompany a debit note. We would like to apologize for the mistake on invoice No. C293, which was due to an oversight. Please could you send us the balance of £10.00? Thank you.
I am sorry to trouble you, particularly since you were so prompt in settling the account, but I would be grateful if you would let us have the additional amount of £140 as itemized on the enclosed debit note.
I regret that we miscalculated the VAT and must now ask you to forward the difference of £51.86.
Credit notes are sent because of accidental overcharges:
10 copies of 'International Commerce' @ £3.50 = £35.00 NOT £40.00.
Invoice L283. Discount should have been 12%, not8%. Credit = £5.60.
A credit note may also be issued when a deposit is being refunded (e.g. on the cartons or cases which the goods were packed in) or when goods are returned because they were not suitable or had been damaged.
Received 3 returned cases charged on Invoice No. 1436 @ £2.00 each = £&00.
Refund for 4 copies of 'International Commerce' @ £3.50 each (returned damaged) = £14.00.
As with a debit note, a covering letter of explanation and apology should be sent with a credit note in the case of mistakes.
/ have pleasure in enclosing a credit note for £5.00. This is due to a miscalculation on our invoice dated 12 August. Please accept our apologies for the mistake.
Please find enclosed our credit note No. C23 for £5.60 which is a refund for the overcharge on invoice No. L283. As you pointed out in your letter, the trade discount should have been 12%, not 10%, of the gross price. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Invoice No. L 8992. UNDERCHARGE.
The extension should have read:
6 Chairs @ £12.00 each = £72,00 NOT
6 Chairs (g> £10.00 each = £60.00
We apologize for the error and ask if you would please pay the difference viz. £12.00,
19— 5 May Invoice No. L 8992. UNDERCHARGE.
The extension should have read: 6 Chairs @ £12.00 each = £72,00 NOT 6 Chairs (g> £10.00 each = £60.00
We apologize for the error and ask if you would please pay the difference viz. £12.00, £12.00