A letter of complaint

How to Write a Complaint Letter

by WriteExpress Staff Writers

  1. Keep in mind that most errors are unintentional
    and realize that most businesses and organizations want to address and clear up complaints quickly in order to have satisfied customers or members.
  2. Address your letter to a specific person
    Letters addressed to “Dear Sir” or “To Whom it May Concern” are not as effective and will likely not reach the right person. Call ahead and ask for the name of the manager and his or her administrative assistant. Writing to the assistant may ensure your letter reaches the manager.
  3. Begin your letter on a positive tone
    Consider how you’d react if an angry customer approaches you and shouts obscenities versus someone who smiles who begins the conversion with compliments.
  4. Be brief
    Keep your complaint letter to one page, and write short paragraphs rather than long ones.
  5. Be honest and straightforward
    Include sufficient detail to back up your claim and to show that you have thoroughly researched the subject. However, omit irrelevant details.
  6. Maintain a firm but respectful tone, and avoid aggressive, accusing language
    Keep your complaint letter concise and professional.
  7. Send only photocopies of receipts and other documents, and retain all originals
    Keep a copy of the complaint letter for your records.
  1. Get other signatures
    In many cases, you can increase the effectiveness of your letter by getting several others to sign it with you. This is particularly the case when trying to influence or change legislation, denouncing material from the media, and so forth.
  2. Do not threaten!
    If a company has repeatedly given you bad service and refuses to correct the situation and you feel that your only recourse is to pursue legal action, voice your feelings in a tactful but firm way. However, don’t threaten legal action unless you are willing to follow through with it.
  3. Avoid making generalizations
    about the company or organization if your complaint letter focuses on a single individual.
  4. Use tact, and be direct, but respectful
    If you need to make a complaint to or about people that you will still have contact with on a regular basis, your complaint needs to accomplish its purpose without destroying the relationship.
  5. Include your contact information
    Include your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address, if desired, so that the person(s) can reach you to discuss any questions or concerns.
  6. If a first letter does not bring action, assume a stronger but still respectful tone in the next one.
    If two or three letters do not resolve the problem, send one to the president or CEO of the company or entity. In each case, be firm but polite.

How we can help you write an effective complaint letter

You want to accomplish what you want with a respectful, yet firm, complaint letter that demands attention. WriteExpress offers a variety of complaint letters so you can make your voice heard.

Our letters provide an answer to a problem that many writers, especially English-as-a-second-language writers have: how to write effective complaint letters. With 179 example business and personal complaint letters, each final edited and ready to submit, these letters will help you truly master the tips of complaint letter writing, and improve your English writing proficiency.

With edited letters and must-know tips and steps, you will learn strategies and principles of writing an appealing complaint in a number of different and interesting ways. Learn what are the most effective beginnings, how to improve your tone, clarity and style, and how to tailor your letters for different situations. By working actively with the examples and comments in our software, you are sure to write a successful complaint letter.

Related Complaint-Letter Articles

57 Example Complaint Letters, Plus Guides and Samples

Wait a day or two and then edit, print and send your complaint letter by postal mail so it stands out—Companies rarely receive written complaints.

Choose a topic to view example complaint letters:

Appeal to higher authorities when complaint letters don’t work

Complain about a faulty delivery or a shipping error

Complain about receiving damaged goods

Complain about poor facilities or equipment

Complain about harassment

Complain to a neighbor or a landlord

Complain about an unfair insurance payment or settlement

Complain about community problems

Complain about a billing error

Complain about overdue work or poor workmanship

Complain about poor service or a faulty product

Complain about a radio or television broadcast

Complain about an employee who has given poor or offensive service

Complain to a club or organization

Respond to a complaint

Write a complaint letter to a superior

Write a complaint letter to a subordinate

More Complaint Letters

Complain about laws, policies, or inefficiencies

Complain about a delay in an order

Correct an official’s mistake on your taxes

Delegate follow-up on a complaint from a customer

Demand satisfaction on a mail order transaction gone bad (suspected mail fraud)

Disagree about benefits (social security, retirement, insurance, etc.)

Disagree with a bill, rent payment, or other financial issue

Disagree with a subordinate, a superior, or a person in authority

Dismiss an employee for poor performance or unacceptable behavior

Document employee reprimands

File a warranty claim

Make an insurance claim

Reprimand an employee for poor attendance or tardiness

Reprimand an employee for a breach of policy

Reprimand an employee for poor performance

Request correction of an error in a check

Request a retraction or correction from the media

Request correction of an error in a credit report

Request correction of a billing error

Request a refund or reimbursement

Respond to a complaint and treat it as valuable feedback

Respond to a complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment

Respond to a complaint while admitting fault and making an adjustment

Respond to a false accusation from a government agency

Respond to a complaint while avoiding agreement or denying liability, and refusing to make an adjustment

Respond to a complaint while avoiding or denying liability, but making an adjustment

Respond to a complaint, but needing more information

Warn a distributor under your supervision

Write a disagreement letter

Write a letter reprimanding tenants