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Addressing envelopes

The envelope of a business letter should create a good impression on the receiver, an impression of carefulness and good taste. Because good impression is extremely important in business, envelopes should be of high-quality paper. Their sizes varies according to the length of the letter as well as to the number of enclosures that are to be sent. The most useful color is white, because the contrast white-black allows a more comfortable reading.

The envelopes should be very tough if lots of papers are to be sent and very thin for the correspondence sent by air, not to weight too much. Envelope addressing should have some characteristics such as accuracy, clearness and good appearance. The inside address is copied correctly from the letter, including any 'attention' or 'confidential' indication. The address is typed in the lower part of the envelope towards the right (half way down and one-third in, from the left of the envelope).

The Secretary

Percy Astins & Co. Ltd

18-22 King's Avenue



Ample space is given to stamps and postmarks, the post town is followed by the country name; the latter is omitted only if the name of the town is well known (e.g. Paris, London, Madrid, New York, etc.)

Parts of a Letter

Any letter has some parts that are to be present no matter how long or short the letter is. They are the following:

Heading - letter heading / letter head


Reference line

inside address (addressee's address)


Subject line

Body of the letter

Complimentary close



Now let's take separately each part and present it with all its characteristics.


It should include the name of the company; field of activity; address; POB; codes. All of them are arranged in a form established by the boss of the company. The British societies have in their names the words 'Limited' or 'Co. Ltd.'. It means that the responsibilities of the society are limited. The American companies have the word 'Incorporated' or  for short 'Inc.'.


The next element that appears on the letter is the date; there are so many different ways of writing it such as: the 3rd of May,  3 May The American variant looks like: May 3rd, 20.. while the British one is 3rd May 20.. .

But for avoiding any interpretation, the date is to be written keeping the following order: Day/Month/Year and this is typed in full.  Example: '23 April 2008 '.


The references are groups of capital letters indicating the first letters of the names of the persons who are in charge with the writing and typing of the letters. Example: Reference. AM/BB (i.e. Adams Mary/Brown Betty -the first person has written the letter while the second has typed it). The reference may contain some numbers which are the codes of a department that is in charge with the solving of a problem, such as -523/LO. When a letter exchange begins, the first letter that is sent contains: I

Our reference. AM/BB

If you get an answer to this letter, then on this one, there is a pair of Ireferences such as:

Our reference. JE/SH Your reference. AM/BB

It means that the receiver has its own reference (Our reference. JE/SH) and the addressee's one is mentioned as your reference. AM/BB. The two couples of references indicate the two equivalents from the companies who are in charge with the solving of the problem. They are generally placed on the left side of the paper or in the middle but always on the same level.

Inside address

The inside address is in fact the addressee's address. It contains the full name of the person (no abbreviations are allowed, the name is written in the same way the person writes it, as you have seen it on the visit card or on another address), institution, street, town, country, if it is the case. The name is accompanied by Mr., Mrs., Miss., Prof., Dr. and function is sometimes placed; in that situation, it occupies the first place and then you avoid Mr. etc. It looks like:

General Manager Robert Smith

Deputy Director George Brown  without any formula and commas.

The American variant looks this:

Mr. Robert Brown, Managing Director


The salutations or greeting formulas are written under the inner addressand depend on who are the persons you are addressing to. It is a matter of custom and a polite way of addressing to a known or unknown person. If you know the recipient's name (you have already mentioned it in theinside address) then you may begin your letter with:

Dear Mr. Courtland  or Dear Mrs. Jackson

It is better than being too formal by using 'Dear Sir' or 'Dear Madam'. If the letter is addressed to a partnership (e.g. 'Holmes and Hatton Co.' or 'Utility Furniture Co.') or if an attention line has been used, the more formal salutation 'Dear Sirs' is used. If your letter is addressed to the head of a department or the head of an organization whose name is not known, then the salutation 'Dear Sir' or 'Dear Madam' or 'Dear Sir/Madam' would be used.

Complementary close

The last part of a letter is the complementary close which is a matter of custom and polite way of closing a letter. The expression used for the complementary close must match the salutation, as shown here. For 

Dear Sirs Yours faithfully

Dear Madam Yours faithfully (formal)

Dear Sir or Madam  Yours faithfully (formal)

Dear Mr. X Yours sincerely

Dear Jacqueline/ Dear Steven Yours sincerely


After leaving 4/5 blank lines for a signature, the name of the sender should be shown, either with initial capitals or in upper case as preferred. The writer's designation or department should be shown immediately beneath the name, in the following examples, note that the title 'Mr' is never shown when the writer is a man, but 'Mrs' or 'Miss' must always be added in brackets after a woman's name. Examples:

Yours faithfully/ Yours sincerely

Kitty White (Miss)


Routine letters

Enquiries and Replies

Any commercial transaction begins with an enquiry - i.e. a desire to buy goods (so you request for information); a company is in the market for some sort of goods and looks up the firm's addresses in a trade directory-Prospective suppliers have been recommended to it by other customers with whom you are acquainted or have heard of them from our foreign agencies or from commercial offices or from advertisements in newspapers, reviews, catalogues etc. So you are put in the situation to write for information about the goods you need. There are printed Enquiry Forms which are filled in when you require general or specific information. In a routine letter of enquiry you are obliged to observe these rules:

state clearly what you really want, - general information, a catalogue, price list, samples

if there is a limit to the price list at which you are prepared to buy, do not mention this, otherwise the supplier will raise the quotation to the limit you mention

most suppliers state their terms of payment when replying so there is no need for you to ask for them unless you are seeking special rates

keep your enquiry brief and concise

Enquiries mean potential business so they must be acknowledged promptly. There are general enquiries requesting for latest price lists, catalogues, samples, patterns, specimens. Suppliers receive routine requests for catalogues and price lists. Unless the writer requests information not already included, a written reply is often not necessary and a 'With compliments' slip' may be sent instead. In following enquiries, the written replies are not necessary. The requested items may be sent under cover of a 'With compliments' slip'. Example:

Dear Sir (or Madam)

Will you please send me a copy of your catalogue and price list of portable disc players, together with copies of any descriptive leaflets that I could pass to prospective customers.

There are enquiries that suggest that large regular orders are possible, a 'With compliments' slip' is not possible or it is not enough. In this situation, write a letter and take the opportunity to promote your products. a). Enquiry

Dear Sir/Madam

I have a large hardware store in Southampton and am interested in the electric heaters you are now advertising in the 'West Gazette ', Please send me your illustrated catalogue and a price list.

Yours faithfully

The reply of this letter should sounds like this:

Dear Mr. Johnson

We were pleased to receive your letter enquiring about electric heaters and are pleased to enclose a copy of our latest illustrated catalogue. We feel that you may be particularly interested in our model, F heater, our newest model..

(you may give more details concerning the model or you may indicate the catalogue you are enclosing to offer the required information.)

Before starring a business with a company, you are interested to see some samples of goods, so this is an excellent occasion to write your partner:

We have received a number of enquiries for floor coverings suitable for use on the rough floors that seem to be a feature of the new building taking place here.

It would be helpful if you could send us samples showing your range of suitable coverings and, if one is available, a pattern-card of the designs in which they are supplied.

The letter gets an answer, so it says:

Dear Mrs King

Thank you for your enquiry for samples and the pattern-card of our floor coverings. We have sent to you, by mail, a range of samples selected for their hard-wearing qualities, but regret we have no patterns we can send you.

For the purpose you mention, we recommend quality number 5, which is especially suitable for rough and uneven surfaces. We encourage you to test the samples provided. Once you have done this, if you feel it would help to discuss the matter, we will arrange for our technical representative to call you for an appointment. In the meantime, our price list is enclosed which also shows details of our conditions and terms of trading.

We hope these will satisfy your requirements.

Yours sincerely

All the letters that are making enquiries specify prices, delivery details, terms of payment. Replying them, you have answered every query in the enquiry letter. You make an enquiry for office equipment:

We need a model suitable for sending diagrams and printed messages mostly within the UK.

Fax machines are the object of the demand. The reply letter announces you that:

All the models illustrated can be supplied from the stock at competitive prices, shown on the price list inside the catalogue.

The receiver is also invited to go to the show room to see the way the fax machines work. You may begin your letters by telling the supplier how the name has been obtained and about the circumstances that have given raise the enquiry:

Referring to your advertisement in the  of , we would inquire whether you could supply us

We are indebted for your address to who has drawn our special attention to your China

As we are in the market for chemical installations we should welcome your information

Goods are described in details if the buyers are quite clear on the subject of their needs, detailed description minimizes the chance of receiving unsuitable goods. Sometimes buyers require catalogues; details are omitted till they have a clear idea of their needs. The next problem is the quotation of the price, the seller identifies the goods required: prospective buyer's interests are not likely to be prejudiced when the figures are obtained from the catalogue.

Your quotation should be c. if. London, early shipment is necessary and we should welcome an immediate quotation fob London.

Seller is requested to state the terms of payment, preference to insurance, transport, there is a natural question. Do the quoted prices include delivery or not? A reference to the General conditions of delivery should be attached to the enquiry.

What would be your earlier delivery date?

Please say whether you could guarantee the shipment by

Size of orders may often be stressed by the customer to obtain a more favorable quotation or reductions to be made for large orders.

We shall be in the position to give you substantial orders if your quotations are reasonable.

Letters are concluded with the hope that buyer will be able to place further orders as a result of the satisfaction with the goods supplied.

We look forward 10 placing our orders with you and trust that you will make every effort to satisfy our particular requirements.

Replies to enquiries

They are the most important letters of sale type. Such replies need to be polite, direct and prompt. The required information is given simply, clearly. This applies to food, staff, raw material correspondence concerning consumer goods. It is not necessary to be detailed, all the details are contained in the catalogues, enclosures. All such types of letters begin with expressions of thanks for the enquiry and end with the assurance of interest in the addressee's requirements or expression of pleasure at entering into business relations with you.


Dear Mr. X,

This is to inform you that we do a big business in toys. Having been referred to you by our agent, Mr. X, we ask you to give us your lowest prices and best terms of your latest products. If possible, send us samples exactly representing the quality of your latest manufacture. We presume that you have the toys in stock, but if not, kindly inform us how long you would require completing a considerable order.

Reply to the enquiry

Dear Mr. Z,

You wish to modernize your texture with the most up-to-date upholstery system. That is clear because you asked for our catalogue, which was sent to you earlier in the month. The next step lies, of course, with you. You must have a demonstration of the upholstery system in your own theatre or see it in our show-rooms.

You could test for yourself the wonderful fabrics we are manufacturing by sending us a trial order.

You may be sure that whichever of our services you decide to use, you will receive our immediate and personal attention.

Quotations, estimates and tenders

A quotation is a promise to supply goods on the stated terms. The prospective buyer is under no obligation to buy the goods for which a quotation is requested and the supplier will not risk the reputation he has by quoting for goods they cannot or do not intend to supply. The quotation will include the following elements:

an expression of thanks for the enquiry

details of prices, discounts and terms of payment

clear indication of what the prices cover (packing, carriage, etc.)

Orders and their fulfillment Printed order forms

Most companies have official printed forms which have the following advantages:

such forms are pre numbered and the reference to them is very easy

printing headings ensure that no information will be omitted

printed on the back of some forms are general conditions under which orders are placed. Reference to these conditions must be made on the front, otherwise the supplier will not be legally bound to them.

Letter order

Smaller companies may not use printed forms but instead place orders in the form of a letter. Sending an order by letter, accuracy and clarity must be ensured by including:

an accurate and full description of goods required

catalogue numbers



delivery requirements (place, date, mode of transport, whether the order will be carriage paid or carriage forward etc.)

terms of payment agreed in preliminary negotiations

Legal position of the parties

The English, law says that the buyer's order is only an offer to buy. The arrangement is not legally binding until the supplier has accepted the offer. After that, both parties are legally bound to honor their agreement.

buyer's obligations

When a binding agreement comes into force, the buyer is required by law:

to accept the goods supplied, provided they comply with the terms of the order

to pay for the goods as soon as possible (failure to give prompt notice of faults to the supplier will be taken as acceptance of the goods)

supplier's obligations. The supplier is required by law:

to deliver the goods exactly as ordered at the agreed time

to guarantee the goods to be free from faults of which the buyer could not be aware at the time of purchase. If the delivered goods are faulty, the buyer can demand either a reduction of price, a replacement of goods, or cancellation of the order. Damages may be claimed.

Routine orders

They may be short and formal but must include essential details describing the goods as well as delivery and terms of payment. Where two or more items are included in an order they should be listed separately for ease of reference. Confirmation of telephone order:

Dear Mr. X.

Please accept confirmation of the order we placed with you by phone this morning for the following: 3 'Excelda Studio' electronic typewriters each with 12 pitch daisy wheel

Price: 490 each, less 40% trade discount, carriage forward

These machines are urgently required and we understand that you are arranging for

immediate delivery from stock.

Yours sincerely

Sometimes the orders may be presented in the form of tables. Here is a kind of tabulated order:

Dear Mr.B.

Please accept our order for the following books on our usual discount terms.

No. of copies






$ 9x40=360

Modern Business


$ 5x50=250

We look forward to prompt delivery.

Yours sincerely.

Covering letter with order form

When a covering letter is sent with an order form, all essential details will be shown on the form and any additional explanations are given in the covering letter.

We thank you for your quotation of 5 July and enclose our order number 237 for 4 of the items.

All these items are urgently required by our customer, so we hope you will send them immediately.

(Head of the letter) 1 July 2000

Order no 237

Nylon Fabrics Ltd

18 Brazenose Street

Manchester M608As

Please supply the following items



Catalogue no.


Bed sheets/ blue

An order should be acknowledged immediately if it cannot be fulfilled straight away. If goods cannot be supplied at all, you should write explaining why you offer suitable substitutes if they are available. There is formal acknowledgement of routine orders.

Dear Mr.V.

Thank you for your order no 217 for bed coverings. As all items were in stock, they have been dispatched to you today by passenger train, carriage forward.

We hope you will find these goods satisfactory, and that we may have the pleasure of further orders from you. 

Yours sincerely

First orders from new customers should be acknowledged by a letter:

Dear Mr. Z.

We were very pleased to receive your order of 18 June for cotton prints and welcome you as one of our customers.

We confirm supply of the prints at the prices stated in your letter and are arranging /or dispatch by our own delivery vehicles early next week. We feel confident that you will be completely satisfied with these goods and that you will find them of exceptional value for money. As you may not be aware of the wide range of goods we have available, we are enclosing a copy of our catalogue. We hope that our handling of your first order with us will lead to further business between us and mark the beginning of a happy working relationship.

When goods cannot be delivered immediately, a letter should apologize for the delay and give an explanation. Also state when delivery may be expected, if possible, and express the hope that the customer is not inconvenienced unduly.

Reason for delay: breakdown in production

Dear Mr. X.

We thank you for your order of 15 May for electric shavers, but regret that we cannot supply them immediately owing-to afire in our factory.

We are making every effort to resume production and fully expect to be able to deliver the shavers by the end of this month.

We apologize for the delay and trust it will not cause you serious inconvenience.

Yours sincerely

Other reasons for the delay may be stocks not available, transport strikes etc. There may be times when a supplier will not accept a buyer's order:

he is not satisfied with the buyer's terms and conditions

the buyer's credit is suspect

the goods are not available

Greatest care should be taken when writing to reject an order so that good will and future business are not affected.

Supplier refuses price reduction

There are situations when a supplier cannot grant a request for a lower price, then the reasons should be given.

Dear Mr.V.

We have carefully considered our counter proposal of 15 August to our offer of woolen underwear, but very much regret that we cannot accept it. The prices quoted in our letter of 13 August leave us with only the smallest of margins and are in fact lower than those of our competitors for goods of similar quality. The wool used in the manufacturing of our THERMAUNE range undergoes a special patented process which prevents shrinkage and increases durability. The fact is that we are large suppliers of woolen underwear in this country and this is itself a good evidence of the good value of our products.

We hope you will give further information regarding this mailer, but if you then still feel you cannot accept our offer we hope it will not prevent you from approaching us on some future occasion. We shall always be happy to consider carefully any proposal likely to lead to business between us.

We can find some situations when delivery terms cannot be met, then the supplier should show a desire to help customers in difficulty. In this letter the suggestion that the customer should try another supplier who is named, is bound to be appreciated and will help to build goodwill.

Dear Mr. Johnson


We were pleased to receive your order of 2 November for 6 TV sets. Since you state the firm condition of delivery before Christmas, we deeply regret that we cannot supply you on this occasion. The manufacturers of these goods are finding it impossible to meet current demand for this popular television set. We placed an order for 24 sets one month ago, but were informed that all orders were being met in strict rotation. Our own order will not be met before the end of January. I understand from our telephone conversation this morning that your customers are willing to consider other makes. In the circumstances I hope you will be able to meet your requirements from some other source. May 1 suggest that you try Television Services Ltd of Leicester. They usually carry large stocks and may be able to help you.

If a previous counter remains unpaid, the utmost tact is necessary when rejecting another order. Nothing is more likely to offend a customer than the suggestion that they may not be trustworthy. The suggestions of mistrust are avoided tactfully and internal difficulties as the reason for refusing further credit are given:

Dear Mr.C.

We are pleased to receive your order of 15 April for a further supply of radio sets. Due to the current difficult conditions we have had to try and ensure that your main customers keep their accounts within reasonable limits. Only in this way can we met our own commitments.

At present the balance of your account stands at over 800 and we hope that you will be able to reduce it before we grant credit for further supply. In the circumstances, we should be grateful if you could send us your cheque for say half the amount owed. We could then arrange to supply the goods now requested and charge them to your account.

We hope to hear from you soon

When a supplier receives an order which cannot be met for some reasons, any of the following options are available:

send a substitute. Careful judgment will be required since there is the risk that the customer may be annoyed to receive something different from what was ordered. It is advisable to send a substitute if a customer is well known or if there is a clear need for urgency. Such substitutes should be sent 'on approval' with the supplier accepting such responsibility for carriage charges both ways.

make a counter offer

decline the order

Supplier makes a counter offer

For making a counter offer, the supplier must exercise a great deal of skill to bring out a sale. The buyer is offered something that has not been asked for. It is important that the suggested substitute provides an article which is at least as good as the one ordered.

Dear Mr. X.

Thank you for your letter of 12 May ordering 800 meters of 100 cm wide watered silk. We regret to say that we can no longer supply this silk. Fashions constantly change and in recent years the demand for watered silk has fallen to such an extend that we have ceased to produce them. In their place we can offer our new GOSSAMER brand of rayon. This is a finely woven, hard wearing, non-creasable material with a most attractive luster. The large number of repeated orders we regularly receive from leading distributors and dress manufacturers is clear evidence of the wide spread popularity of this brand. At the low price of only 2.20 per meter, this rayon is much cheaper than silk and its appearance is just as attractive.

We also manufacture other clothes in which you may be interested, and are sending a complete range of patterns by parcel post. All these cloths are selling well in many countries and can be supplied from stock If as we hope, you decide to place an order, we could meet it within one week We hope to hear from you soon.

Yours sincerely

Supplier sends a substitute article: 

Dear Mr. Z.

We were pleased to receive your letter of 17 April together with your order for a number of items included in our quotation reference RS341. All the items ordered are in stock except for the 25 cushion covers in strawberry pink Stocks of these have been sold out since we quoted for them, and the manufacturing units inform us that it will be another 4  weeks before they can send replacements.

As you state that delivery of all items is a matter of urgency we have substituted covers in a deep orange identical in design and quality with those ordered. They are attractive and rich looking and very popular with our customers.

We hope you will find them satisfactory but if not please return them at our expenses. We shall be glad either to exchange them or to arrange credit. All items will be delivered by our own vehicles tomorrow. We, hope you will be pleased with them.

Yours sincerely

Packing and dispatch

When goods are dispatched, the buyer should be notified either by an advice note or by a letter stating what has been sent, when it was sent and the means of transport used. The customer knows that the goods are on the way and can make the necessary arrangements to receive them.

Request for forwarding instructions:

Dear Mr. W.

We are pleased to confirm that the 12 Olivetti KX R 193 electronic typewriters which you ordered on 15 October are now ready for dispatch. When placing your order you stressed the importance of prompt delivery and 1 am glad to say that by making a special effort we have been able to improve by a few days on the delivery date agreed upon.

We now await your shipping instructions, and immediately we receive them we will send you our advice of dispatch.

Yours sincerely

Advice of goods ready for dispatch as well as notification of goods dispatched can be easily formulated; it is the legal duty of the buyer to collect any purchases from the supplier. Unless the terms of the sale include delivery, the railway or the other carrier is considered the agent of the buyer. The buyer is responsible for any loss, damage, delay which may affect the goods after the carrier has taken over.


We regret to inform you that of the four cases of mohair rugs which were dispatched on 28 January, one was delivered damaged. The waterproof lining was badly torn and will be necessary to send seven of the rugs for cleaning before we can offer them for sale.

Will you therefore please arrange to send replacements immediately and we charge them to our account. We realize that the responsibility for damage is ours, and have already taken up the matter of compensation with the railway authorities.

Yours sincerely

When the goods do not arrive when they are promised to arrive, avoid the tendency to blame the supplier as it may not be their fault. Your letter should be restricted to a statement of the facts and a request for information.

Dear Mr J..


You wrote to us on 3 January informing us that the mohair rugs supplied to the above order were being dispatched. We expected these goods a week ago, and on the faith of your notification of dispatch, promised immediately to be delivered to a number of our customers. As the goods have not reached us, we naturally feel our customers have been let down.

Delivery of the rugs is now a matter of urgency. Will you please find out from British Rail what has happened to the consignment and let us know when we may expect delivery. We are also, of course, making our own enquiries at this end.

Yours sincerely

Upon receiving the foregoing letter, the supplier should at once take up the matter with carriers, either by phone or by letter. If a letter is sent, it must contain no suggestion of the annoyance that is naturally felt but also it should be confirmed to the facts and ask for an immediate enquiry into the circumstances.

We regret to report that a consignment of mohair rugs, addressed to Whart & Co., 25-30 Gordon Avenue, Werrington, has not yet reached them. These cases were collected by our carrier on 28 January for I February. We hold your carrier's receipt number 2436.

As our customer is now urgently in need of these goods, we must ask you to make enquiries and let us know the cause of the delay and when delivery will be made.

Please treat this matter as one of extreme urgency.

Yours sincerely

Payment for the goods supplied or services rendered is the final stage in a business transaction. In the case of the retail trade, transactions are for cash while for the wholesale and foreign trade, the credit is in practice.

Invoices and adjustments

When goods are supplied on credit, the supplier sends an invoice to the buyer in order:

to inform him about the amount due

to enable the buyer check the goods delivered

to enable entry in the buyer's purchases day book

When received, an invoice should be checked carefully, not only against the goods supplied but also for the accuracy of both prices and calculation. Invoices may be sent together with the goods, but usually they are posted separately. The buyer who is not a regular customer is supposed to pay at once while the regular ones may get credit, invoices being charged to their accounts. In the latter case, the payment will be made later on the basis of a statement of an account sent by the supplier monthly or at any other interval of time. Here is an invoice:

JOHN G. GARTSIDE & CO. LTD. Albion Works, Thomas Street Manchester M60IQA Phone 061-943-1234




Unit price



Polyester shirts

$ 3



Cotton blouses




Cotton shirts




$ 276

VAT 10%


One case back


Big total

$ 305.6

Pro forma invoices

'For form's sake' or pro forma invoice is an ordinary invoice but has this label 'Pro forma'. It is used for:

- customs purposes covering goods sent 'on approval' or ' on consignment'

- serving as a formal quotation

serving as a request for payment in advance for goods ordered by an unknown customer or a doubtful payer

- where the value of goods exported is required for

These invoices are not entered in the books of accounts and are not charged to the accounts of the persons whom they  are sent to.

Covering letter with invoice

Such a letter is not compulsory but if the invoice is sent separately it may be sent by post; it should be short and polite. To a non regular customer, it should look like this:

Dear Mr.V.


We are pleased to enclose our invoice number B 253 for the polyester shirts ordered on 13 August. These goods are available from stock and will be sent to you immediately we receive the amount due, namely $ 310.60.

To a regular customer, the letter may look like this:

Our invoice number is enclosed covering the polyester shirts ordered on 10 August. These shirts have been packed ready for dispatch and are being sent to you, carriage paid, by rail. They should reach you within few days.

Debit and credit notes 

If the supplier has undercharged the buyer, a debit note may be sent for the amount of the undercharge. A debit note is a supplementary invoice. If the supplier has overcharged the buyer, then a credit note is sent. Credit notes are issued to buyers when they return either goods (as they are not suitable) or packing materials on which there is a rebate. Credit notes are printed in red to be distinguished from the others. A debit note is sent by the supplier to a buyer who has been undercharged in the original invoice, or to acknowledge and allow credit for goods returned by the buyer.

Statement of accounts

It is a demand for payment. It is a summary of the transactions between buyer and supplier during the period it covers, usually one month. It starts with the balance owing to the beginning of the period, thereafter, amounts of invoices and debit notes issued are listed and amounts of any credit notes issued and payments made by the buyer are deducted. The closing balance shows the amount owing the date of the statement. Statements are sent without a covering letter. If a covering letter is sent, it needs only be short and formal, here is a statement:

George Brown & Co.

24 High Streethite Street

Manchester M6940a

Telephone 072-980-2132







Account rendered

Invoice no

Cheque no.

Debit note

Credit note

A covering letter should look like this:

We enclose our statement of account for all the transactions during August. If payment is made within 14 days you may reduce the customary cash discount of 2 '/i %.

Sometimes the supplier reports the unpaid statement:

We are enclosing our September statement, totaling 820.57. The opening balance brought forward is the amount left uncovered by the cheque received from you against our August statement, which totaled 560.27. The cheque received from you, was drawn for 500, 27 only, leaving the unpaid balance of 60 now brought forward. We should appreciate early settlement of the total amount now due.

The supplier replies:

Having carefully considered your letter of 8 August, we have decided to allow you to defer payment of your account to the end of August. We grant this request as an exceptional measure only because of the promptness with which you have settled your accounts in the past.

We sincerely hope that in future dealings you will be able to keep to pure terms of payment. As you do not seem to have been clear about them, we take this opportunity to remind you that they are as follows: 2 '/;% discount for payment within 10 days. Net cash for payment within one month.

Methods of payment

In settling the accounts, there are many methods of payment:

1. cash (coins and notes)

2. payment through the POST OFFICE

a.) POSTAL ORDERS and MONEY ORDERS (the latter for foreign payments only). British postal orders and money and money orders are issued and paid in many countries abroad. Payment is made in the currency of the country of payment at the current rate of exchange. Postal orders are used for small sums of money. Money orders are used for amounts up to 50 for the payment abroad. This is used by senders who have no bank account or giro. Upon payment of the charge for a telegram, money orders may be telegraphed. A person sending a money order should ask the payee for a receipt since there is no evidence of payment.

b.) GIRO TRANSFER. Giro is the term used to the postal cheque system run by post in most Western European countries and Japan. Apart from cash transaction giro transfer or postal cheque is a means of payment. Anyone can receive or make a deposit of money whether or not they should hold a giro account.

c.) COD system. It means cash on delivery. i.e. the buyer pays for the goods at the time they are handed over by the carrier (this includes the postal system).


Concerning delivery quality

It may happen that one of the parties (the buyer or the seller) does not respect certain clauses of the contract so the dissatisfied party sends the other one a letter of complaint containing a demand for something which the sender of the letter has a right to claim for (damage or for a reduction in the price).

The buyers complain because of late delivery, non-delivery or short shipments of goods or delivery of wrong or damaged goods, or goods not up to the sample or description, or inadvertencies in the documents. Non observance of the buyer's instructions for the transportation, packing, storage and insurance is another source of complainment. The seller may complain because of unreasonable amounts claimed from them by the buyers and also when the latter fail to open a L/C in time or place a vessel under loading. A letter of complaint should contain:

a writer's regret of being obliged to make a complaint

a clear and concise account of what is wrong with the goods supplied

the data necessary to identify the commodity in question (number of contract, date of shipment etc.)

a reference to former satisfactory dealings between the two parties or to the firm's high reputation in the world market

a request for a careful investigation of the matter and reasonable remedy of the mistake or a suggestion how the complaint should be adjusted satisfactorily

a warning or a threat to cancel the order or the contract if there are constant and prolonged delays or frequent errors in carrying out the order. Warnings or cancellation the order and getting supplies from elsewhere should not be used too liberally as they will only create bad feelings and in any cases would be quite unnecessary.

When writing complaints, avoid any expressions indicating anger, sarcasm, irritation, suspicion. Keep in mind the indispensable you attitude and see the matter from the customer's side in addition to your own.

Clarity, conciseness, courtesy and reasonableness are the compulsory elements. Make clear what is wrong and how you want it adjusted. Make sure of your facts and get them down accurately. Be precise about the dates, quantities, trade names or numbers of models, sizes, shapes, methods of  shipment, types of containers

Be specific in setting forth the nature of loss or inconvenience you have suffered. If all these are made clear, then you make easy the task of your partner to verify the claims and make the just adjustments.   Be courteous! Be concise in order to make me presentation as clear as possible! It is important to be reasonable in demands for an adjustment. Unfair demands may arouse suspicion of your claims, prolong investigations and delay adjustments. Most firms want to be fair if only to maintain a good reputation and they will react favorably to a reasonable approach. In closing, indicate that you expect a reasonable attitude on the part of the firm. Use such closing formulae as: We are sure you will give this matter your prompt attention./ We are sure you won't disappoint us in meeting this reasonable request.

Dear Mr.X.

Re: Delay in Delivery

In your acknowledgement of our order given to you on 19 September, you stated that the consignment would be dispatched within a week and we are therefore very surprised that the merchandise has not arrived yet. These goods were offered for the pre holdery sales period now in full swing. Everyday delay means loss and inconvenience for us.

If this shipment is on route, please phone us and we shall see what we can do to this end to expedite delivery to our premises. If the order has not been shipped yet, we shall expect you to ship it rush. If the orders have been held up because you are unable to ship certain items immediately, please phone us and we shall instruct you as to what items we can wait for and what items we may have to cancel. In any event we shall expect a call from you on Monday. If you do not get in touch with us before Tuesday, please cancel the entire order. Awaiting your call,

We remain yours sincerely

Dear Mrs.B

Re: Inferior Quality

It is with great regret that we have to inform you that your last delivery is not up to your usual standard. The material seems to be too loosely woven and is inclined to put out of shape. By separate mail we have sent you a cutting from this material, also one from cloth of an early consignment, so that you can compare the two and see the difference in texture.

We have always been able to rely on the high quality of the materials you sent us and we are all disappointed in this case because we supplied the cloth to new customers. As we shall have to take it back, we must ask you to let us know, without delay what discount you are prepared to allow us to get over this difficulty.

Yours sincerely

Dear Mr. P.

Ref. wrong goods received

We received the documents and took delivery of the goods on arrival of the SS 'M' at P.

We are much obliged to you for the prompt execution of this order. Everything appears to be correct and in good condition except in case no. 1O

Unfortunately when we opened this case we found it contained completely different articles, and we can only presume that a mistake was made and the contents of this case were for another order. As we need the articles we ordered to complete deliveries to our own customers, we must ask you to arrange for the dispatch of replacements at once. We attach a list of the contents of case nr. 10 and you shall be glad if you will check this with our order and the copy of your invoice.

In the meantime we are holding the a/m case at your disposal. Please let us know what you wish to do with it

Yours sincerely


A contract is an agreement between two partners that will act according to the law, The companies use these agreements for the guarantee they offer regarding all the important elements of the business. Though the oral agreements are applied according to the Romanian laws,

the small companies are to use the written ones, The written form of an agreement makes clear everything and each partner has in mind his obligations and responsibilities. These fundamental agreements may require different modifications according to the topics debated.

Romanian firms prefer short contracts no matter how complex the transactions are. Though we must underline a fact: not always the shortest agreement is the best. If the partners do not use a certain clause and the Romanian law has no special reference to it, the courts may refer to the general principles of the commercial law. The written contract may be used for the interpretation of the way this law is applied, in certain transactions.

General clauses

Standard clauses required for any type of agreement

Any type of agreement requires the following standard clauses such as:

- Final form of the agreement

The present agreement is the only one between X and Y. Any other previous declaration or agreement, either oral or written, has no compulsory force but the clauses included in the present agreement. This agreement may be modified only if the modification is done in a written form and is signed by X and Y.

- Giving up the rights

The fact that X or Y does not insist on an exact fulfillment and according to the present agreement must to practice any options he (or she) has, does not mean that the respective partner gives up to the rights he (or she) has according to any of the clauses of the present agreement

Partial invalidation

If the courts declare or establish that a part (or clause) of the present agreement is repealed or may be put into practice the parts (or clauses) that were not put into debate keep their compulsory character between X and Y (each agreement should make reference to the registration number  of the firm in the Register of Commerce).

Clauses necessary for complex agreements.

There are certain clauses that are included in the commercial agreements. They are presented in this chapter.

Typical clauses: Force majeure

It is the force majeure clause (that includes the casual or fortuitous case), the conditions that may be called upon, notification procedure for producing it, the consequences of this event for putting into practice the respective agreement. The legislation of some countries knows the 'unforeseeable' event. It means that an unforeseeable event may appear in the moment when the agreement is signed. It does not stop the agreement, but turns it into a very expensive one. Exceptions are the cases when the agreements have foreseen such clauses. Such unforeseeable events are considered war, natural calamities, strikes, legal restrictions, and any other event that is not under the control of the partner. The partner that makes reference to this event is obliged to let the other partner know about it as well as all the measures used for limiting it. If in due time, the respective event does not cease to exist, each partner has the right to announce the other one that the respective agreement ceases to exist without having the right to claim damages. It is advisable to add:

the provisions of the present article are not applicable in the case when an event, one of the types described, without stopping the achieving of  the agreement, made very expensive the fulfilling of one of the partners.

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