I received an email from someone I haven't known. It's a letter related to my job, in other words - a business one.
How would you write him an answer highlighting that you don't know this person and your possible actions depend on who he is.
In a hurry I sent something like: "I'm sorry, but I don't know you, so...", but I think it sounds rude.

  • 1
    It is never rude. He should have identified himself in the first place, especially when it comes to a business letter. Not only was he rude, but also unprofessional.
    – user140086
    Oct 11, 2015 at 3:30
  • @Rathony I share your point of view, but I think although someone sounds a bit rude, still we shouldn't respond in kind, that's why I asked this question Oct 11, 2015 at 11:58
  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because it belongs on InterpersonalSkills.SE. May 14, 2020 at 13:39
  • 1
    In many lines of business, it is quite normal to receive business letters from various people one 'doesn't know', in the sense that one has never met them in person, and doesn't know anything about them beyond what is in the letter itself. In order to do business with someone, one doesn't normally need to know the person. That is not the default. If one has to have some specific information about the person in order to proceed with some specific business transaction, one should ask for that specific information.
    – jsw29
    May 14, 2020 at 15:46
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    I’m voting to close this question because it belongs on InterpersonalSkills.SE
    – Greybeard
    Nov 22, 2020 at 23:35

3 Answers 3


You could say:

My apologies, but I don't believe we've met. Before we proceed further, could you please verify that I'm the person you meant to contact?

  • This is a good answer to the question in the title ("How to politely say 'I don't know you'?"), but I think it would be pretty awkward in the e-mail context described in the body.
    – ruakh
    Oct 10, 2015 at 21:03
  • @ruakh A fair point. I've expanded my answer to address that.
    – Gnawme
    Oct 10, 2015 at 21:27

"Considering that we are not acquainted..."

"Given the sensitive/confidential nature of this subject..."

"I am afraid this is a company/internal matter."

If you want to keep the same basic form, it's politer to say "I don't believe I know you..." However this leaves a slight bit of doubt, so that he could conceivably come back and say "oh yes, we met, remember?" If you really want to be clear that you don't know the person, use something like the first three above.


Oh my. I wonder if there has been a mistake. I'm John Doe, and you are?

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