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Refund Demand Letter

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Refund Demand Letter

Updated August 25, 2023

A refund demand letter is a written request for the return of payment for a good or service. It is addressed to the merchant and should include basic details about the transaction, the reason why the refund is sought, and expectations for repayment.

Small Claims Court – If a refund is not issued, it’s recommended to pursue the matter by filing a lawsuit in a local Small Claims Court.

Table of Contents

What to Include?

  • Purchase Details
    • Date
    • Description of product or service
    • Amount ($)
  • Reason for Request
  • Due Date for Refund
  • Further Legal Action (if a refund is not made)

How to Demand a Refund (5 steps)

  1. Read the Refund Policy
  2. Find Your Receipt
  3. Detail the Reasons for a Refund
  4. Request Payment or Credit
  5. Get Paid or Take Further Action

1. Read the Refund Policy

laptop showing refund policy for sample company

The “fine print” matters. Review the merchant’s published refund policy to get a sense of the landscape.

Not all merchants have refund policies. A seller may not just claim after the fact that a policy existed; even if one did, it will not matter if the terms were not clearly conveyed at the time of the transaction.

If the merchant does not have a formal return policy, then state law will most likely dictate consumer rights. But remember that even strict “no refund” policies are not necessarily enforceable if the goods or services provided were defective, dangerous, or otherwise not-as-advertised.

2. Find your Receipt

closeup of person reviewing sample receipt

Documentation is critical. Do not despair though if the original receipt has been lost – if the purchase was made by credit or debit card, then a backup record should be accessible through your bank’s online account summary page.

3. Detail Reasons for a Refund

blue nike shoes inside shoebox

Explain why you are seeking a refund, but make sure that your reason falls within the refund policy. Was the item or service not as described? Was there a defect in the product? The more objective and verifiable the issue, the better.

4. Request Payment or Credit

person looking at sample refund demand letter

Be specific in the demand letter. Indicate the total amount that is demanded, the deadline for issuing this refund, and how the refund should be provided. Make sure that the merchant receives the letter, and follow up as necessary.

Timing is everything with refund requests – so the sooner after the original transaction the refund request is made, the better.

5. Get Paid or Take Further Action

mac screen showing official state page for filing consumer complaint

Unfortunately, some merchants still refuse to yield. If a refund has not been issued by the specified deadline, then it may be time to take things to the next level.

There are several ways to escalate the quest for a refund:

  • File a consumer complaint with the office of the state attorney general
  • Contact the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or the local chamber of commerce
  • Leave a negative review of the merchant online
  • Seeking damages in small claims court

Sample Refund Demand Letter

March 21, 2017
Dear Mark Hoffer,

This letter serves as a formal request for a refund of $99.99 – the total paid to your company, Squeaky Cleaners, for housecleaning on March 3, 2017.

Your company advertises a “100% Satisfaction Guarantee” for customers, printed on the promotional postcard that was sent to my home. Unfortunately, I was dissatisfied with the quality of service. Your staff did not thoroughly clean my first-floor bathroom, and I found shoe marks on the kitchen and dining room floors after your team departed.

Please refund this balance to the credit card that was used to make the initial payment by April 1, 2017.

If I do not receive a full refund by this date, I will have no choice but to file a consumer complaint with the office of the state attorney general.


John Delacruz

Related Demand Letters

Personal Property Demand Letter – To request a return of personal property.





Security Deposit Demand Letter – To demand the release of a security deposit.