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Dec 8, 2022

Writing

How to write a polite cancellation email with 12 samples and a template

Here’s how to handle the situation when you simply can’t make that meeting, call, or catch-up with 12 cancellation email examples.

Blog writer

Lawrie Jones

Writer

Blog writer

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Table of contents

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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). 

Hi (Recipient's name),

We were scheduled to meet on (date and time). Unfortunately, I will not be able to make the meeting and need to cancel.

I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. Please confirm that you have received this email as soon as possible.

It would be great if we could rearrange the meeting. I’ve included some dates and times that work for me below. (Be sure to add the dates!)

Once again, I apologize for canceling our meeting and look forward to catching up shortly.

Kind regards
(Your name)

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.

Hi (Recipient's name),

We have made the difficult decision to cancel the (event name) on (dates and times). 

We have had to cancel the event because (you don’t have to add a reason why, but it’s a good idea to do so). 

We are working on rearranging the event and hope to have an update shortly.

While we recognize that this news is disappointing, we hope you can understand and respect our decision. We apologize to those who have made special arrangements to attend.

If you have any comments or questions about our decision to cancel the event, you can direct them to (email address or contact number). 

Yours, 
(Your name)

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!

Hi (Recipient's name),

I recently agreed to an interview for the (job name) on (dates and times). Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend the interview. This is because (include details why). 

Can we rearrange the interview? If so, please contact me with some suitable dates and times. (Obviously, delete this if you’ve accepted another job!)

Apologies for any inconvenience that this news may cause you. I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

Kind regards,
(Your name)

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).

Hi (Recipient's name),

I recently ordered (product name) from you, and I would like to cancel if possible. My order number is (order number), and my details are (including information).

Please confirm that you have received this email and that my order has been canceled. If you can advise me when I can get a refund, I would appreciate it.  

If there are any problems with my order cancellation, you can contact me on (insert details). 

Thanks,
(Your name)

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.

Hi (Recipient's name),

I would like to cancel my subscription to (service). My details (including personal information, account number, etc.)

Please confirm that you have received this email and that my subscription has been canceled.

Many thanks, 
(Your name)

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. 

Hi (Recipient's name),

Unfortunately, I will need to cancel my appointment, which was arranged (including dates and times).

I hope that this doesn’t inconvenience you. Could we rearrange the appointment for a more suitable time?

Please send me some times and dates that work for you. 

Once again, apologies for having to cancel. I look forward to meeting with you soon.

Many thanks,
(Your name)

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. 

Hi (Recipient's name),

I’m sorry for the late notice, but I will need to cancel our meeting scheduled for (insert date and times).

I appreciate that this email is late, but it’s unavoidable because (include reasons why). 

Can you confirm that you have received this email? I’ll follow up with a call. 

I’ve provided some suitable dates and times to rearrange our meeting below. Would any of these work for you?
  • Dates and times
I look forward to hearing from you.

Apologies,
(Your name)

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. 

Hi (Recipient's name),

I would like to cancel my account (include details). My customer information is (include information). 

I consider that my account has been closed from this date going forward.

Please confirm that you have received this email and that my account has been closed.

Thanks in advance,
(Your name)

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. 

Hi (Recipient's name),

I would like to cancel my booking (including the reference number). Unfortunately, I will no longer be able to make this date/time.

Please let me know when you receive this email and if my booking has been canceled. I apologize if this news causes disruption or inconvenience.

Could we reschedule my booking for the following date? If so, please email me here or give me a call on (details) to make arrangements. 

Many thanks,
(Your name)

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! 

Hi (Recipient's name),

I’m contacting you to contact my membership to (whatever service, club, etc.) from (insert date).

My membership number is (number). My personal details are below in my signature. 

Please advise me when you receive this message and confirm that my membership has been canceled.

Kindest regards,
(Your name)

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.

Hi (Recipient's name),

I was booked on a flight (details) scheduled to fly on (date or dates, if it’s a return flight). Unfortunately, due to a change in circumstances, I need to cancel my booking.

Please can you confirm that you have received this email and let me know whether we can cancel the booking? I would like (a refund or to rearrange the flight).

You can contact me anytime to discuss my booking and alternatives (insert details). 

I’ll await your contact. 

Best regards,
(Your name)

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. 

Hi (Recipient's name),

I’m contacting you to ask whether it’s possible to cancel my (booking, appointment, etc.)

I appreciate that you have rules around cancellation, and I wanted to contact you to understand whether it was possible to cancel my (booking/meeting).

Can you let me know when you receive this email and whether it’s possible to cancel (or rearrange)?

You can reach me (contact details).

Thanks,
(Your name)

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. 

Hi (Recipient's name),

My name is (your name), and I am contacting you to cancel (a meeting, subscription, membership, etc.)

Please confirm that you have received this email and that it is possible to cancel.

Apologies if this causes you any inconvenience or disruption. 

I have provided some suitable dates and times for us to rearrange below. Would any of these work for you?
  • Dates and times
>You can contact me to discuss this on (insert details)

Thanks,
(Your name)

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 30 day free trial here:

Final words

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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