Whether terminating a gym membership, credit card, business contract, traveling accommodations, etc., writing a cancellation letter is the simplest, most hassle-free manner of handling this (at times) awkward situation. By following these simple steps, a clean and uncomplicated cancellation is within reach.

Step #1

Establish the Proper Tone

When writing a cancellation letter, as with any business correspondence, be firm yet as polite as possible. There should be no room for misunderstanding on the receiving end, but no hint of hostility, either. Maintain a formal and direct tone. Address the receiver by name, if possible (or simply use the company’s name), preceded by the word “Dear…” Using a few direct words and concise language will allow the importance of the message to ring that much clearer, and the subsequent cancellation will be that much less of a hassle. Include the company’s name and address at the top of the letter.

Step #2

State the Reason for Contact

Try to condense the reason of the letter into a single, clear sentence. For example: “I am sending you this notice to formally request the cancellation of my membership with ______ gym.” Make this statement in the first line of the letter, and include any details that are relevant to the situation—a subscription or member number for any magazine subscription cancellation, for example. Include a reason for cancellation only if it seems necessary, but keep a calm, professional tone intact when doing so.

Step #3

Settle Money Matters

State very clearly to the company in question that they will no longer have access to any bank accounts after their receipt of the letter (if they had access prior to the cancellation, of course). If there is a remaining balance on your part, include a check for that amount with the letter. Conversely, if a balance is owed to you from the company, state clearly that the refund will be expected in full. Never settle for less than what is owed; a cancellation should never result in any denied refunds.

Step #4

Part Amicably, but Intelligently

When finishing a cancellation letter, always say thank you. It is never a bad idea to say thank you, no matter the nature of correspondence. The difference that simple kindness makes when receiving a formal cancellation—regardless of the disappointment on the receiving end—is huge. Always physically sign your name after writing “Thank you,” and include your printed name and address below your signature. Check the letter thoroughly for grammatical errors, and send it via certified mail if at all possible. That way, the receipt of the cancellation is guaranteed.

Writing a cancellation letter can seem like a bit of a daunting task, comparable to any looming task that involves passing along less than great news. However, focusing on a formal and concise tone will practically force the letter to write itself. With a clear letter that reaches its point quickly yet professionally, there will be no qualms about the results.