How to write a regret letter

Updated March 23, 2017

A regret letter, also called a refusal letter, is used to express unpleasant news in a tactful way. Regret letters are frequently used to inform job applicants that they did not receive a job for which they applied. They are also used by businesses to inform companies or individuals that their bids or proposals were not accepted. When writing a letter of regret, be polite and courteous. Avoid giving a long reason why this decision was made.

Address the letter. Regret letters are generally personal and therefore are addressed directly to the person. Begin the letter by writing "Dear" followed by the person's name. Include the date at the top of the letter as well.

Open with a statement that shows your sincerity and clarity. Do not apologise, but explain gently the purpose of the letter. If the letter is for a job applicant who did not get the job, write that you are sorry to inform him or her that after careful review, the company chose a different person to fill the position. Include the date the interview took place or the date the proposal was received.

Briefly explain the reason for the refusal. If the regret letter is for a company that placed a bid with yours, write that the reason for refusing the contract was that another company offered comparable work for a lower price.

Wish the person luck. Thank the person for taking the time to apply for this position or for taking time to create a bid or proposal. Offer kind words that let the person know that you wish him or her well in future endeavours.

Close the letter with the words "Respectfully" or "Sincerely." Sign the letter and include a title. It should be signed by the person in the company who dealt with the recipient of the letter.

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Jennifer VanBaren started her professional online writing career in 2010. She taught college-level accounting, math and business classes for five years. Her writing highlights include publishing articles about music, business, gardening and home organization. She holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting and finance from St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, Ind.