How to write an effective complaint letter : sample

effective complaint letter

Got a complaint? Why not? Lives are full of them. Did your cell phone carrier not provide the services you expected? Is it that the rebate you expected for purchasing that new computer wasn’t the amount you were promised? Face it, at some time you’re going to have a complaint that needs to be put in writing. Rather than dread the inevitable, keep in mind that writing a complaint letter can be easy if you just follow five simple rules.

Rule One – Keep in mind that no matter how upset you are, don’t let your hostility spill over into your writing. To be taken seriously it is essential to keep a calm and professional tone in your letter. This means no blaming, no name-calling, and definitely no foul language.

Rule Two – Use a three-point approach. This approach breaks down your letter into three paragraphs with each one having a specific purpose.

Paragraph one – needs to clearly explain the transaction or situation you had expected. Use as much detail as possible in this paragraph. Be certain to list dates, dollar amounts (both by unit and total), names, and any other pertinent information. This will give the reader an idea of your perspective on the situation.

Paragraph two – explains the problem. Remember, don’t blame it. Everyone makes mistakes so keep this assumption in your mind as you write. Mention any copies of documentation which substantiates your claim. For example, if you have a copy of the advertisement showing a $150 rebate and the check that you received for only $50.

Paragraph three – is the resolution. Many people have a bad habit of stopping after the second paragraph. They can easily state what they wanted and even more easily point out the flaws, but the third paragraph is critical. This is where you tell the reader exactly what you want them to do. Don’t ever assume that a complaint alone is enough. Many times it isn’t. If you want a check sent, say so! If you need a replacement for poor quality merchandise, tell them!

Rule Three – Give contact information. If there are questions regarding your letter, who should be contacted, and how? List a valid phone number or email address. This should be at the end of the third paragraph.

Rule Four – Use a professional business letter format. This will help bring the reader’s respect and add credibility to your writing.

Rule Five – As you close your letter thank the reader for their assistance. People respond better when they feel they are being asked and appreciated, rather than ordered.

The following example letter shows the gist of how the rules work together.


Your Name

Your Address

Your city, State ZIP

November 11, 2020

Customer Services Manager

XYZ Corporation

Anywhere, NY 10101

Dear Customer Services Manager:

On October 1, 2020, I purchased a computer printer, model A17 from Big Name Stores, in the amount of $250 to be charged to my VISA card. I have enclosed copies of my receipt and credit statements.

Upon receiving my statement I see that this charge was entered into my account twice. I have highlighted both charges on the statement copy.

I would like for this duplicate charge to be immediately removed from my account. Also, I need for any interest that was accrued to my account as a result of this error to be corrected as well. If you require any additional information please contact me at (222) 222-1111.

Thank you for your prompt assistance with this matter.


Your signature

Your name typed


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