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15 Other Ways to Say “Sorry for the Inconvenience”

15 Other Ways to Say “Sorry for the Inconvenience”

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Most professional communication takes place over email nowadays.

This means that all kinds of information, both good and bad, both trivial and important, is regularly communicated back and forth in formal written language. 

We rarely see anyone’s facial expressions or hear their voices when they tell us something anymore.

This can be particularly tricky when what is being shared is not good news, because it can be difficult to gage the sincerity of a person’s apology.

One phrase that has become almost synonymous with cancellation, delays or any kind of disappointing news communicated via email is “sorry for the inconvenience.” 

It is a funny thing that a phrase begins to sound trite and insincere purely because of how often it is used, and this seems to be what has happened with the infamous sentence “sorry for the inconvenience.” 

 

What is meant by “Sorry for the inconvenience”? 

Simply put, saying “sorry for the inconvenience” in an email is a way to acknowledge that something you are saying is going to cause your message’s recipient some sort of trouble. It is commonly used to convey everything from regret for a minor discomfort to a genuine apology for a serious offense.

 

“Sorry for the inconvenience” — a good thing to say?

“Sorry for the inconvenience” is considered by many people to be a non-apology.

A non-apology is a statement that only expresses regret for the effect an action has on another person, rather than genuine remorse for the action itself. 

“Sorry for the inconvenience” now has rather a bad rep as an insincere “stock phrase”.

It often makes sense to use another expression of regret instead, especially if you are truly sorry about something.

While sometimes, when the issue is as minor as rescheduling an informal meeting, all you need to say is a quick “sorry”, there are times when the offense committed requires more careful attention and a more sincere apology

Below are 15 alternatives to using the phrase “sorry for the inconvenience” in an email. 

Ten are written in the formal register, and five are written in the informal register. 

Some are best suited to situations where no extensive apology is required, while others are ways to express genuine remorse for a serious indiscretion.

Before we dive into these alternative phrases to use, however, let us have a quick look at “Sorry for the inconvenience” in action. While often not the best expression to use, it can still be used to get the message across and can be utilized in situations and scenarios that don’t demand all too much attention.

 

Sorry for the inconvenience — Email Examples

To learn how to incorporate the phrase “Sorry for the inconvenience” into your everyday correspondence, look no further. 

These full-length email examples show how you can seamlessly integrate the phrase “Sorry for the inconvenience” into a piece of professional correspondence. 

The key takeaway from these sample emails is that “Sorry for the inconvenience” often comes at the end of your message, because it is a good way to end an email professionally

This is especially true when you are responding to an unhappy customer email, in which case you should always be as formal as possible. 

Example: How to use “Sorry for the inconvenience” in an email to a client 

 

Dear Ms. Berkley,  

Thank you for getting in touch with us at Blenheim Yachts and International Charters. 

 

Unfortunately, the Royal Mary is not available on the weekend you have inquired about. 

 

I can offer you the alternative of chartering The Westfield, which is an equally splendid vessel. To visit her virtually and see her fabulous interior and deck, please check out the remote 360-degree tour on our website. 

 

If you have your heart set on the Royal Mary, she is available the following weekend, May 2nd–4th

 

Please let me know how you would like to proceed. 

 

Sorry for the inconvenience!

 

Warm regards, 

 

Hannah de Valera 

 

Example: How to use “Sorry for the inconvenience” in a professional email 

 

Dear Mr. Rourke,  

Thank you for your correspondence from April 10th. Unfortunately, I was out of the office on a family vacation and did not see your email until today. Sorry for the inconvenience! 

 

To answer your question: Yes, it will be possible to arrange for a wedding planning consultation with you and your fiancé this week. Would Monday or Tuesday afternoon work for you? 

 

I look forward to hearing from you. 

 

Kind regards, 

 

Sarah Sheehan 

 

Example: How to use “Sorry for the inconvenience” in an email when you aren’t sorry 

 

Dear Mr. Leonard, Thank you for your email. I was disappointed to hear that your experience of the service at the Well Ford didn’t live up to your expectations. 

 

The matter will be reviewed internally. 

 

That said, it is imperative that we express that we have the utmost faith that our staff always do their best to create a hospitable and relaxing environment. Our employees’ excellent standards are the reason the Well Ford has achieved its stellar reputation for customer service. 

 

Please accept the voucher for two complimentary beverages attached to this email. Consider this a gesture that we are sorry for the inconvenience. 

 

Sincerely, 

 

Ethan Ford

 

10 formal alternatives to “sorry for the inconvenience”

 

1. Please accept my sincere apologies.

When a serious mistake has been made in a professional environment, it is extremely important that it is apologized for, and that the apology acknowledges the gravity of the error that was made. 

Saying “Sorry for the inconvenience” when apologizing for a major indiscretion is inappropriate.

The phrase “Sorry for the inconvenience” sounds flippant and disingenuous in this context. 

By contrast, a phrase like “Please accept my sincere apologies” clearly acknowledges the seriousness of the mistake that was made. 

 

Dear Mr. Marks, 

Please accept my sincerest apologies for our failure to deliver your order by the agreed upon date. We will reimburse you for your order immediately and send you a $100 gift voucher. 

 

Yours sincerely, 

Erik Fonda

 

2. I understand your frustration and can assure you that this will not happen again.

If someone has written to you to complain about a mistake that has been made, it is a good idea to acknowledge the difficulty they have experienced as a result.

Doing so shows that you would like to resolve the issue in good faith and that you have taken the time to see the issue from their point of view

A concise way to convey this sentiment is to say, “I understand your frustration and can assure you that this will not happen again.”

Dear Jane, 

 

Thank you for bringing what happened to my attention. I am taking steps to rectify the situation and have cc’d in our complaints department. 

 

The credit that was deducted from your online account should be restored to it within half an hour. 

 

I understand your frustration and can assure you that this will not happen again.

 

Kind regards, 

Sandra

 

3. I can see how important this is and I will address the issue immediately. 

One of the reasons many people dislike the phrase “sorry for the inconvenience” is that it is passive.

It acknowledges that a person has had or will have an unpleasant experience without offering to do anything about it. 

A good way to reassure your email’s recipient that you have understood the urgency of their complaint or issue, is to respond with a promise to take action. 

The phrase “I can see how important this is and I will address the issue immediately,” has the advantage that it both acknowledges the gravity of the unfortunate situation and promises to take steps to address it. This is why it makes for a great synonym of “Sorry for the inconvenience.”

Dear Ms. O’Malley, 

 

I appreciate you telling me about your negative experience when speaking one of our customer service representatives about your recent order. I have just looked up your order number and see that your package was due to ship last week but has not yet left our warehouse.

 

I can see how important this is and I will address the issue immediately. Your package will be shipped today.

 

Kind regards, 

Clare Shannon

Sorry for the inconvenience & Alternatives

4. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help resolve the problem.

Another formal alternative to “sorry for the inconvenience” that offers to give assistance to the person you are communicating with, is “please let me know if there is anything I can do to help resolve the problem.” 

This is a good phrase to use when there is not an obvious path forwards for you to improve the situation for your message’s recipient, but you want to show a willingness to help them if you can.

This phrase should generally be used when the problem is not strictly the writer’s fault, but they might nevertheless be able to do something to make the situation easier for everyone involved.

Dear Dr. Bronson, 

 

Thank you for your email and for bringing the scheduling conflict to my attention. I will hold off on deciding the new time for our meeting on Monday until I hear back from you about your availability. 

 

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help resolve the problem.

 

Best wishes, 

Sandra Day

 

5. I realize this is disappointing.

Sometimes the most important thing to communicate is a sincere understanding that a person has been let down.

This may often be the case even when the writer has not done anything wrong, and as such, no apology email is necessary. 

However, particularly in cases where no mistake has been made by either party, “sorry for the inconvenience” can come across somewhat callous or disingenuous. 

A much better way to convey genuine understanding that person will be unhappy with the outcome of a situation, is just to say, “I realize this is disappointing” or, alternatively, “I realize this may come as a disappointment.” 

Hi Julie, 

I am reaching out to you because I heard from my sister that you are looking for a violin teacher and wanted to speak to me about starting lessons. Unfortunately, I will not be able to take you on as a student for the coming semester. 

I realize this is disappointing. If you wish, I will pass your details onto my colleague Patricia Kirchner, as I believe she still has some availability to take in new students this fall. 

 

Best wishes, 

Claire 

 

6. Thank you for your patience.

While many people dislike the fact that the phrase “sorry for the inconvenience” is not actually an expression of remorse for the action that caused the inconvenience, some things do not require an apology. 

In these cases, it is helpful to say something that does not sound trite, but that also does not involve an unnecessary apology. 

One way to do this is to thank someone for their patience, understanding or time. 

Dear Mr. Rahmani, 

 

Thank you for your patience on the phone while I looked up your account number. I have confirmed with the IT department that your account has now been re-activated and new password is RAHMANI123. 

 

Please change your password today and delete this email. 

 

Kind regards, 

Stefan Kidder

 

7. I apologize unreservedly

There are however also times when a sincere apology is warranted.

In these cases, simply saying “sorry for the inconvenience” is not enough and can come across as flippant or uncaring. 

If you have made a genuine error of judgment that has caused someone serious inconvenience or offense, you can say “I apologize unreservedly.” 

Dear Jim, 

 

Thank you for informing me about your negative experience and our nail salon the other day. The employee’s conduct was unacceptable, and the matter will be followed up internally. In the meantime, please accept the attached e-gift-voucher with a value of $100 as a token of our sincere regret.

 

I apologize unreservedly for the offense caused. 

 

Yours sincerely, 

Jemima Aisley

 

8. Apologies for the inconvenience 

The phrase “Apologies for the inconvenience” is a slightly more formal alternative to “Sorry for the inconvenience.” 

The difference between these two phrases is the use of the word “apologies” instead of the word “sorry.”

The word “sorry” is not unprofessional, but the word “apologies” has been used in business correspondence for centuries. It has a legacy that dates back to the era of formal letters written in fountain pen. 

One thing anyone who wants to master professional emailing should know is that the older a phrase is, the more formal it is. 

While the world of work has been transformed by emails, which give everything a more casual flavor, there is still a place for old-school formality in the modern office. 

The less well you know a client or colleague, and particularly if you have made a mistake, the more care you should take to address them with appropriate formality. 

 

Example: How to use “Apologies for the inconvenience” in an email 

 

Dear Dr. Varadkar, 

 

Having reviewed your order (#2498361), I can confirm that an error was made regarding the quantity of T-shirts sent and delivered. 

 

I will rectify this immediately and the remaining fifteen shirts will be picked up from our warehouse by the courier this afternoon. Please see the updated invoice attached, now with a ten percent discount off the quoted price to reflect the delay.  

 

Apologies for the inconvenience. 

 

Kind regards, 

 

Ella Bray

 

9. Sorry for the inconvenience caused 

The expression “Sorry for the inconvenience caused” is a slightly more polite way to say, “Sorry for the inconvenience.”

This line acknowledges that an inconvenience has been “caused” by an action or decision that you or another representative of your company took. 

When you want to take full accountability for an error that was made in the course of a business negotiation or transaction, you can express that you are “sorry for the inconvenience caused.” 

Here’s a quick rule of thumb when it comes to apologizing in a professional email: If you’re genuinely sorry, say, “Sorry for the inconvenience caused.”

If you’re not that sorry, and quite frankly think that the person in question is overreacting, say, “Sorry for the inconvenience.”

 

Example: How to use “Sorry for the inconvenience caused” in an email 

 

Dear Miss Havisham,  

Thank you for getting touch to notify me about the difficult experience you had with the driver who delivered you the Graham Sofa Set. 

 

Our company endeavors to make our customers’ experiences our number-one priority, so hearing that a member of staff has not lived up to this standard is concerning. 

 

The matter will now become the subject of an internal review and appropriate action will be taken based on the findings. Thank you for your written account of the event. 

 

Sorry for the inconvenience caused and I hope that the sofa set is everything you hoped it would be. 

 

Kind regards, 

 

Shelley Brown 

 

 

10. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused

Saying, “I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused,” is a good way to apologize professionally in the aftermath of a problem. 

The phrases “Apologies for the inconvenience” and “Sorry for the inconvenience” can refer to something that has already happened, that is happening, or that will happen. 

By contrast, referring to an inconvenience that something “may have caused” is specifically talking about the past. 

This makes it the ideal phrase to use if you weren’t aware of a problem and it has suddenly been brought to your attention. 

“I apologize for any convenience this may have caused” is a good way cover your tracks retrospectively and make sure that a decision you made previously at work hasn’t left anyone frustrated. 

Are you worried that something you did in the past has irritated a customer or colleague? Here’s how to deal with it. 

Start by getting in touch with the “injured party” to explain the reason behind your choices. Then, end your email by apologizing for any convenience your decisions may have caused. 

Once you’ve done your due diligence, put this issue out of your mind. After all, isn’t it well known that “It’s better to say sorry that ask for permission”? 

 

Example: How to use “I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused” in an email 

 

Dear Mr. Norton,  

I seem to have missed your previous email altogether and neglected to respond as a result. 

 

This was an oversight that should not have happened and won’t be repeated in the future. I apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. 

 

To answer your question, it is certainly possible to arrange a meeting to discuss your portfolio. Please inform me of a time that would be convenient for you, and I will ensure my schedule is cleared for that time. 

 

I look forward to discussing your exciting financial prospects. 

 

Kind regards, 

 

Mr. Verhoeven 

 

5 informal alternatives to “sorry for the inconvenience”

 

1. My mistake! 

If you are writing to someone with whom you are on informal terms with, you can acknowledge your error quickly by simply writing “my mistake!”

Hi Juan, 

 

You are correct, the meeting is on Monday not on Tuesday. My mistake!

 

Cheers, 

Naya

 

2. My bad! I will make sure this does not happen again. 

Being on informal terms with someone does not mean that you can neglect to apologize to them when you do something wrong! 

In fact, if you work with someone regularly, it can be even more important that they know they can trust you. 

If you make a misstep, you should acknowledge your error and clearly communicate that you understand what you have done wrong and won’t repeat your mistake.

Hi Bea, 

 

You are correct, I seem to have forgotten to buy coffee beans for the office coffee machine this morning.

 

My bad! I will make sure this does not happen again. 

 

Cheers, 

Ally

 

3. Mea Culpa!

This Latin expression, which translates as “through my fault” is a catholic prayer of confession. When used in English, it essentially means “It was my fault”. 

You can use this expression when writing to someone with whom you are on informal terms to quickly acknowledge an error. 

Hi Shirley, 

Mea Culpa! I am such a silly goose, I forgot to attach the sample photos from the wedding photographer in my previous email to the clients. Please find them attached now. 

 

Could you please print them out and bring them to your meeting with the clients this morning? 

 

You’re a lifesaver!

 

Cheers, 

Marc

 

4. Sorry for the trouble 

“Sorry for the trouble,” is a wonderful, informal alternative to “I apologize for any inconvenience caused.” 

There are so many ways to say sorry and you should not feel that the only way to apologize in business English is saying, “Sorry for the inconvenience.” 

If you are on good terms with the person you are writing to, avoid all the formal language and say, “Sorry for the trouble.” 

 

Example: How to use “Sorry for the trouble” in an email  

 

Dear James, 

Thank you for reviewing that matter for me in the archive. You found exactly what I needed.

 

Sorry for the trouble!

 

Best wishes, 

 

Eliza 

 

5. Sorry for the hassle 

Saying, “Sorry for the hassle” is an informal way to apologize when you are making someone go out of their way to assist you. 

As much as you might want to avoid causing anyone in your professional orbit any trouble, the truth is that busywork is unavoidable. 

Being a good professional means being thorough. That sometimes means getting things checked and double-checked, which can be irritating for the person doing the checking. 

However, as long as you acknowledge the slightly bothersome nature of the work they’re doing, they won’t mind.   

 

Example: How to use “Sorry for the hassle” in an email 

 

Dear Clara,  

Thank you for going over those reports for me again. Your notes were great. 

 

Would you mind reviewing my comments one last time? 

 

Sorry for the hassle!

 

Best, 

 

Georgie

 

How to say, “Sorry for the inconvenience caused” without saying sorry 

Anyone who works in a professional, customer-facing role has almost certainly wondered how to say, “Sorry for the inconvenience caused,” without saying sorry. 

In 2023 and beyond, we’re all more than familiar with customer complaints. And to be honest, many of them are highly unreasonable. 

Unfortunately, as a professional, you have to keep your formal and courteous manner up at all times, no matter how unreasonable a client or colleague is being.

Here are some good ways to tick the “Sorry for the inconvenience” box without actually saying you are sorry. 

 

I hope this doesn’t cause any inconvenience

It may be that you are wondering what to write in your out-of-office message and don’t want to apologize for taking time off. 

You’ve probably seen people say, “Sorry for the inconvenience” at the end of an OOO to let their customers know that they are aware they’re being unreachable may cause frustration. 

However, you may feel that you’re entitled to time off and that you shouldn’t have to say sorry for it. 

If so, you could say, “I hope this doesn’t cause an inconvenience.”

 

Example: How to use “I hope this doesn’t cause any inconvenience” in an email 

Dear all,  

I am “out-of-office” on annual leave until Wednesday, March 3rd. Please send urgent questions to Maura O’Halloran ([email protected]). 

 

I hope this doesn’t cause any inconvenience!

 

Kind regards,

 

Janice Ian 

 

I regret that it didn’t live up to your expectations

This sentiment expresses regret that a product or service your company provides didn’t live up to expectations.

Crucially, however, saying “I regret that it didn’t live up to your expectations” does not include an apology or acceptance of responsibility. 

 

Example: How to use “I regret that it didn’t live up to your expectations” in an email 

Dear Ms. Cronin, 

 

I have noted your email of complaint about the weekend package at the Stetford Resort. I regret that it didn’t live up to your expectations. 

 

A partial refund has been issued as a gesture of goodwill. 

 

Regards, 

 

Anne Bromley 

 

It is unfortunate that you feel that way

Saying “It is unfortunate that you feel that way” is another way to avoid saying sorry when someone is dissatisfied. 

 

Example: How to say, “It is unfortunate that you feel that way” in an email 

Dear Mr. Kaminski, 

 

I have noted that you gave our business a one-star review. It is unfortunate that you feel that way. 

 

Could you please elaborate on why you rated us so low? 

 

Regards, 

 

Laura Braverman 

 

I understand your dissatisfaction

Saying, “I understand your dissatisfaction” acknowledges a person’s frustration without apologizing for causing it. 

 

Example: How to use “I understand your dissatisfaction” in an email 

Dear Ms. Guliani, 

 

I understand your dissatisfaction at having not received the flowers on the day you wanted them. However, it appears that you failed to confirm your order using the link that was sent to you. 

 

As a result, we cannot issue a refund. 

 

Kind regards, 

 

Becky Graham

 

I regret that this misunderstanding has happened

Using the phrase, “I regret that this misunderstanding has happened,” expresses that you wish there wasn’t a problem without taking responsibility for it arising. 

 

Example: How to use “I regret that this misunderstanding has happened” in an email 

Dear Mr. Feldman, 

 

I was disheartened to read your account of the dispute, given that it does not represent my recollection of the incident. 

 

I regret that this misunderstanding has happened, but The Hamid & Matthews Co. will now be seeking legal advice on how to resolve the matter.  

 

Regards, 

 

Nour Hamid