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The purpose of a complaint letter is to address a problem. The letter writer can be any customer disappointed with a product or a service. Written complaint letters are mostly used to state grievances and ask for a resolution. Through the letter, you can pressurize the service provider or the product manufacturer to resolve the issues at the earliest. Complain letters are also used to keep records of the complaints for future reference.
Through effective communication in a professional letter of complaint, you can influence the service provider to resolve your issues quickly. This is why you need to be careful while writing a complaint letter to a company.
There is a specific structure you should follow while writing a formal letter of complaint. The correct structure is –
Subject: Mention the reason for the complaint
Body of the Letter: Short introduction, Principal reason to write the letter, Conclusion
Let’s find out how to write a letter of complaint to a company in detail –
Start the letter by providing as much information as you can. It includes your name, address, the product or service you are facing trouble with, detail of the product, etc.
For example, you can start the letter by saying,
“My name is John Doe, and I live in ABC Apartments. I am writing to let you know about the washing machine I purchased from you. The product code number is XYZ###, and I have been facing serious trouble with this machine after a week of purchase.”
Next, you need to identify the specific issues that you are facing from the product or the washing machine in this case. You can say,
“The washing machine I purchased from you started to leak water within a week of purchase. Whenever I am trying to wash my clothes, the water chamber is leaking from somewhere.”
While writing a complaint letter, it is always advised to attach relevant evidence along with your complaint. This increases the complaint’s credibility and helps the company understand the issue better. You can add relevant details in this fashion,
“I have already mailed you stating the issue by attaching a few pictures and a short video of the washing machine.”
If you don’t get a fast resolution, you have to send a follow-up mail or letter. You should mention the date you first lodged the complaint and, if possible name of the executives who spoke with you. The best way to do that is,
“I called your company on 4.6.2023, and someone named David told me to mail my issue to the official email address. It has already been three days since my first email, but I have yet to get a revert. Hence I am writing a second letter to remind you of my washing machine issue.”
After clearly stating the issue, you should end the letter with the outcome you desire. You need to be direct and stern while writing this part.
“I hereby request you to look into this matter as quickly as possible. If I don’t get a resolution within a week, I will be taking this issue to the higher authority. I will even consider shifting my preference to another brand.”
You should always maintain a polite and professional tone while writing any complaint letter. You may argue that the whole idea of the complaint letter is to let the other party know about your issues. Yet, you should not use a complaint letter to vent your frustration and grievance.
You are conversing with another professional, and you should remember that while lodging a complaint. So, your tone should always be polite and formal. However, you must also show your sternness while being polite.
No matter how angry and sad you are, don’t forget that you are dealing with a professional. So, don’t make the letter sound too casual. You should always follow a formal letter format. So, use all the elements of a formal letter while writing your complaints.
It is natural to feel emotional while writing a complaint letter. But you should be conscious enough not to let your emotions get the better of you. You need to use clear language and explain the issue concisely. Using foul language will not help you get a resolution in any way.
Before you know how to start a complaint letter, you should know why you are writing one. The purpose of the complaint letter is not only to complain but to get some kind of compensation. So, the tone should never be negative. Hence, at worse, you should maintain a neutral tone in a complaint letter. Avoid using any disrespectful and offensive words in the letter/mail. You should always maintain a respectful yet firm approach while being mindful of any accusing language.
You should have a clear idea about the components of a complaint letter before you know how to write a complaint email or letter. These are the components you should include –
Here is an example of a formal complaint letter that will help you understand all the components we mentioned above easily –
123 Main Road,
DX Town – 123456. [contact information]
July 7, 2023 [date]
Mr. M. Jacobs,
Customer Relations Manager,
City Ville, TS 987654 [recipients’ information]
Dear Mr Jacobs, [salutation]
Re: Complaint about a Broken Chair [purpose of the letter]
On June 24, 2023, I bought a chair, [introduction] model number CO264, Serial Number ZY7895-123, from the Furniture Showroom near 5th Lane, Cityville, TS 987654. I paid $50 for the chair with my credit card. Furniture Showroom promised to deliver the chair to my home within three business days. [brief background of the issue]
[body paragraph] Although I received the chair within the promised date, I am not happy with the product I received. I used it for only three days, and one of the legs of the chair turned out to be defective. One of the legs cracked after minimal usage on June 27, 2023. So, the chair has become very unsteady and continuously rocks whenever I sit on it. This is not at all comfortable and safe. So, I have not used the chair since that day to avoid any physical damage. [explaining the problem]
So, I want to return the chair and called your store multiple times. The store manager, a certain Mr. Smith, has spoken with me rather rudely and is not cooperating to help me return it. [previous attempts to resolve the matter] I want a quick resolution to this problem. For the financial and emotional damage I faced, I would appreciate it if the company could arrange to change this chair at the earliest. [request for action] If the company policy doesn’t allow changes, [suggestions for resolution] I want to return the chair immediately and want a full refund of the $50 I paid. [state the desired outcome]
Enclosed are all copies of my payment records, including the delivery invoice, receipt, and photos of the broken chair. [evidence and proof]
I look forward to your prompt reply and a quick resolution to this problem. I will only wait for a resolution from your side till July 15, 2023. After that, I will seek help from my state consumer protection officer. [impact and consequence] Kindly treat this letter as my final reminder for a hassle-free resolution. [conclusion and expressing expectations] You can contact me for any questions at the above address or at my cell number – 98765 12345. [closing phrase]
Jane Doe, [signature]
This is a sample letter against a company. However, you can use this formal complaint letter sample against a person as well.
Go through the complaint letter multiple times to check if the grammar is accurate. While complaining, you certainly don’t want the readers to detect any silly grammatical errors that can undermine your message. This is also why you should look for coherence and clarity in the mail. If you include unnecessary details in the letter, it becomes long, and the reader may lose focus on the main issue.
It may not be your assignment, but you still should not skip editing and revising the letter. We write the letters in a hurry, driven by emotions. So, there is always a chance of making errors that can change the meaning of the letter. So, invest a few minutes to properly read the letter carefully and edit it if required.
You must mention everything down to the minute details while writing a complaint letter. For example, in the example stated above, if you forget to mention the serial number of the chair, then the concerned person won’t be able to figure out which product you are talking about. So, pay close attention to ensure you are not missing out on any important details.
Just like the accurate data, you must also integrate accurate punctuation throughout the letter. It may not seem like a major thing in a complaint letter, but adding appropriate punctuation makes it seem more formal.
Always make multiple copies of the letter you are sending. The letter may get lost in transit. So, an extra copy can help you in such contingencies. You may also need to represent an additional copy to the consumer forum or higher authorities if you don’t get the resolution in your desired timeframe. Complaint letters are not only used to vent out your grievance but also for maintaining records. So, always make at least 2-3 copies before sending one.
You can either send the complaint letter through postal mail or email. It depends on the product or the service you are dealing with. For example, if you have bought a new set of computers for your office and they malfunction, it will be better to send a complaint email to the tech support. However, if you want to send complaint letters to any specific person, it is better to send them through the post office. That way, it shows formality in the communication process and that the matter is serious.
Keep copies of the letter in a file. Maintaining records of the copies can help you follow up and get faster resolutions. Moreover, having a tangible record always gives you a higher ground if the matter moves to a legal dispute. These letters act as evidence, and you can present them to get refunds, discounts, etc.
This is an optional step, but we will always advise you to request a confirmation of receipt from the receiver. Their acknowledgement after receiving the letter gives you an idea of how many more days it may take for a resolution. This also helps you to avoid situations where you have sent a letter, but the other party denies receiving one. A confirmation receipt ensures that your complaint has been accepted, and you can plan your next step accordingly.
Allow the concerned party enough time to respond after sending the letter. Don’t expect to get a reply within a few hours of sending a letter/email. Generally, you should allow a 3-day TAT before escalating it to the next stage.
If you don’t get any response within that TAT, you can consider using alternative options. You can forward the letter or the email to higher management or any governing body that oversees the operation.
If you still don’t get a resolution, you can shift to other alternative methods like –
However, these modes are to be used only for extreme cases and as last-resort options.
We have discussed everything you need to know before writing a complaint letter. You will get a detailed idea about the purpose and importance of a complaint letter. The complaint letter example we designed will show in detail how to include all the essential elements in the complaint letter. We have also discussed the various considerations you must make before sending the letter and other tips to get the quickest resolution. Thank you for taking out the time to read the blog, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.
You can begin a complaint letter effectively by following this step-by-step guide –
The key elements that you should include in the complaint letter body –
Here are some tips you can use to vent your concerns and frustrations in a complaint letter without being disrespectful –
Yes, you should always provide supporting documents as evidence with your complaint letter if applicable. For example, you can demonstrate evidence for a faulty product. However, stating an evidence for a faulty service can be hard to show.
You can end the complaint letter by stating that you look forward to their reply. By doing so, you indirectly remind the recipient that you are expecting a response regarding your concerns. That helps the recipients to be more responsible and accountable.