Sometimes, you simply can’t make that meeting, call, or catch-up – so you’ll need to send a cancellation email.
First we show you how we write cancellation emails, and then we finish in the classic Flowrite style with 12 explanations and examples that you can use.
How to write a cancellation email
Cancellation emails are used all the time in our personal and professional lives, so learning how to write a cancellation email is a critical skill. So, let’s get started!
We’ve examined the evidence and learned from emailing writing pros to understand what goes into the best cancellation emails. We explain what to consider when sending cancellation emails, how to strike the right tone of voice and provide a suitable structure.
What are cancellation emails? (And why send them?)
We’ve already said that the ability to write cancellation emails is critical, but why? Cancellation emails are essential pieces of correspondence that keep the world working.
Here are some of the reasons why you might want to send a cancellation email:
- You can’t make a meeting/call/Zoom/Teams
- You need to rearrange a flight
- You’ve ordered a product you don’t need anymore
- You want to close an account
Check your own account, you probably send a cancellation email every day – but are you doing it in a clear way?
Ultimately this is about saving yourself some your time and money. A clear and concise cancel email makes sure you get what you want the first time you ask for it, with less back and forth.
Should you call or email with your cancellation request?
It’s a great question, and there’s no firm answer either way – but we always recommend sending an email.
Why? Because emails create a trail, you can refer to them if needed.
Let’s say, for instance, you want to close an account. If you email, you have evidence that you’ve made the request which is impossible for someone to deny or ignore.
Also, have you tried to contact a call center recently? It’s almost impossible to speak to someone. So why spend hours on a phone when you can use a Flowrite template in seconds? Life is too short to stay on hold.
Sure, if you’re canceling a meeting with someone you know, then a phone call will be the best approach. But you should send a cancellation follow-up even if you speak with someone.
What to keep in mind when sending cancellation emails
Cancellation emails are, in most cases, pieces of formal correspondence that have a single purpose. In fact, if you wanted to, your cancellation emails could be single lines (but that’s not a great way to conduct yourself online or offline). Before we get into the examples, here are some of the things you should keep in mind when sending cancellation emails:
1. Be respectful
Firstly, whenever writing a cancellation email, always use a professional tone and format (more on this soon).
Even in situations where you may be angry or frustrated (when a company fails to cancel a direct debit, for example), being polite is the best way of getting what you want (in this case, your money back!).
If you’re canceling a meeting, you’re going to have an impact on someone else’s time. As a result, it’s important to apologize and respect the recipient’s time. You can also suggest rescheduling the meeting to keep things on track.
2. Don’t beat around the bush
While it’s good to say sorry, it’s better to apologize promptly and move on to solving the situation.
Ensure the cancellation message is clear and simply stated. For example, if you’re canceling a contract, you may need to use a certain form of words. In some cases, you may want to make text bold (as companies will look for convenient ways to avoid messages if it saves them money!),
The lesson is: be clear about your intention to cancel. Then, suggest ways to compensate for the potential loss of time or opportunity if appropriate.
3. Be punctual
Never leave cancellation for the last minute (unless you have to). Whether cutting out a contract or rescheduling a meeting, your cancellation request will have consequences. Last-minute cancellation requests are acceptable in emergencies, but we’d all prefer a few days' notice to enable us to put alternative plans in place.
As soon as you’ve decided to cancel, tell the other person!
4. Be proactive
If you’re canceling a contract, direct debit, or shifting to a new supplier, you don’t need to offer any explanations or alternatives.
Believe us, if you cancel a contract, it’s almost 100% certain you’ll hear from the business before you go.
If you’re canceling a meeting, it’s polite and professional to suggest alternatives. You might want to offer an alternative time or date or shift a physical meeting to a virtual one (Zoom, Team, etc.).
If you’re canceling something more significant, such as a sale or event, the implications will be much bigger – so what happens if you cancel something bigger, like a sale or event?
You’ll need to offer more explanations and suggest strong solutions in these circumstances. We’ve illustrated this in some of our cancellation email samples below, but much of it will depend on you to fill in the gaps.
Cancellation email format
Cancellation emails follow a similar format, which makes them straightforward to write. It starts with a clear subject line, is full of bold body copy that explains precisely what you’re canceling and why, and finishes with a positive conclusion (with a suitable signature).
So let’s break these sections down and get into the details.
1. Cancellation email subject line
Your email subject line must explain precisely what the message is about.
Avoid replying to emails or using a subject line that’s not clear. Here are some example cancellation email subject lines that will grab interest:
- Meeting cancellation – (Insert details of meetings)
- I’m canceling my contract – (Customer name) (Account number)
- Order cancellation – (Order number)
- Booking cancellation – (Booking number)
2. Cancellation email body
In many email templates, articles, and examples, we recommend explaining who you are. In this case, this is less important as you already have a relationship with the person or business, so you can get straight to the point.
If you’re canceling a meeting, suggesting an alternative is polite. Here’s how that can work:
- I cannot make our meeting on (date and time). This is because (insert details if you want to). Let's reschedule. I’ve checked my diary, and here are some suitable dates and times that would work for me.
As you can see, this is polite and to the point. OK, it’s not exactly the most exciting email, but boring is often best for business.
If you’re canceling a contract, you’ll need to add some different details. Here’s an example:
- My name is (name), and my account number is (add number). I am emailing you to cancel my membership/contract. Please accept this email as an official confirmation of this.
When you finish your message, you may want to add some extra details, such as your contact information, and if you’re canceling at the last minute, maybe offer another apology.
3. How to end a cancellation email
At the end of your cancellation email, you should ask for confirmation the email has been received and set out the next steps. If you’re rescheduling a meeting, this format is appropriate:
- Please confirm that you have received my email. Also, let me know a suitable date and time to rearrange.
If you’re canceling a subscription or a product order, you’ll need to say something different to clarify your next steps.
- Please can you confirm that you’ve received my email and that you can let me know when my subscription has been canceled?
In both cases, this should be enough. Don’t forget to include your contact details in your sign-off and a polite goodbye (thanks, goodbye, kind regards, etc.)
12 cancellation email examples
We’ve broken down the basics of an excellent cancellation email; now it’s time to show you how it’s done. Here are 12 email cancellation examples you can copy, paste, or copy and adapt.
Be sure to follow our advice and tips above, and edit these to fit your specific circumstances.
1. Meeting cancellation email sample
Let’s start with a simple template to cancel a meeting. There are several genuine reasons you may need to cancel and reschedule appointments, so don’t feel bad about it.
Instead, be punctual and send your message as soon as possible. Don’t waste other people’s time.
You can use this sample to cancel and reschedule a meeting due to sickness, but you can adapt it for all circumstances. You don’t need to explain in detail why you’re canceling a meeting (unless you want to).
2. Event cancellation email sample
Here’s a cancel an event email example that can be sent to a group of recipients or addressed to individuals. It’s really up to you and depends on how much time you have to write the message and how personal you want it to be.
This sample event cancellation email covers the basics and advises people about the next steps. Sending an email to cancel an event is always challenging, but this example should help.
3. Job interview cancellation email sample
Sometimes plans change, and circumstances require you to send an email to cancel a job interview. Here’s how to cancel a job interview email template you need to alter to fit.
You can use this email example to cancel an interview due to another job offer; you’ll just need to ensure that the recipient understands there’s no point in attempting to reschedule or rearrange!
4. Order cancellation email sample
We’ve all ordered stuff we didn’t need, and you can use this email for order cancellation. You’ll want to ensure you send your cancel-an-order email as soon as you’ve decided.
If the retailer has packaged and shipped the item, there may be no going back (but you can always ask).
5. Subscription cancellation email sample
It can be notoriously tricky to cancel subscriptions, so you may also need to call. But this cancel a subscription email should provide an excellent basis for any message.
Be sure to include your account details in the email subscription cancellations.
6. Appointment cancellation email sample
We’ve all had to cancel appointments before; here’s our email to cancel an appointment via email. This cancellation email is straightforward and offers alternative meeting times and dates.
7. Last-minute cancellation email sample
Last-minute cancellations are tricky, so follow this up with a call to avoid embarrassment or upset. You can use this email template if you have to cancel at the last minute.
Always apologize in this email for the last-minute cancellation, and offer some alternative dates and times.
8. Account cancellation email sample
This cancellation of an account email is similar to the subscription cancellation above. Include all details in your email for account cancellation, including your full name, account number, and address.
Also, be clear that you consider the account closed from the date you sent the email.
9. Booking cancellation email sample
If you’re messaging a restaurant, hairdresser, doctor, or dentist, here’s how to cancel a booking by email. Your email booking cancellation should be sent as soon as possible and include an apology.
If you want to rearrange, always include this in your message! Here’s our booking cancellation email sample.
10. Membership cancellation email sample
Do you cancel a membership via email? Yes, you can and should, and here’s how.
This email for membership cancellation includes all details you need. It’s simple, clear, and easy to write. This membership cancellation email sample could help you save money on unwanted or unneeded memberships, so get sending!
11. Flight cancellation email sample
Low-cost airlines won’t accept your request to cancel a flight via email. However, if you’ve used a big-name carrier or travel agent, this email to arrange a flight cancellation is for you.
When you cancel a flight, include all details (dates, times, name, passport number, and flight number for a start).
Refunds can be tricky, as can rearranging a flight, so you’ll inevitably need to call someone, so add some dates and times to your message upfront.
12. Cancellation request email sample
Sometimes, you’ll need to ask permission to cancel – we call this an email cancellation request.
In many cases, this is because a cancellation will have an impact on a business. For example, you can ask to cancel a restaurant booking on the day, but some will reserve the right to refuse and may charge you – to be as polite as possible!
Here’s a suitably professional cancellation request email.
Cancellation email template
Searching for a proven cancellation email template? This polite, professional, and logical email cancellation template will ensure your message isn’t ignored.
Of course, we can’t guarantee it will work, but this cancellation email template can be worked on until it’s ready to send.
Cancellation emails with Flowrite
Flowrite is an email writer that uses artificial intelligence to write your emails for you, like this:
Our smart general template can adapt to any email situation and make sure your emails come out with perfect grammar, format and clear tone, to drive your point across.
Use it to cancel meetings or flights, you will love it! Start your free trial here:
Crafting cancellation emails is a skill that we should all develop. Why? Because it’s something we’ll have to do in our personal and professional lives, doing it properly will ensure you get the best results (every one saves time).
If you send clear messages promptly, your cancellation emails won’t crash relations. Our final piece of advice is to keep it simple, be straight, and send cancellation emails as soon as possible!
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