Written by Scribendi
Writing a letter of complaint can be difficult, especially if you've never done it before. The most important thing to remember when writing your formal complaint letter is to be direct and tasteful. If you simply rant and rave incoherently, your complaint isn't likely to be taken seriously.
If you've been unfortunate enough to experience poor service and want to know how to write a complaint letter, you're in the right place.
How to Start a Complaint Letter
Making the purpose of your letter clear from the get-go is paramount to delivering an effective complaint letter. Consider introducing your letter of complaint with 'I would like to file a complaint', or something of that nature. This will ensure that the reader processes the rest of the letter in the way you intend them to. Also, don't forget to write your contact details on top.
Complaint Letter Format
A complaint letter format will typically begin with the sender's details, followed by stating who it's addressed to, the date, and then the letter itself. The opening paragraph should state your reason for writing, and the meat of the text will go into detail about the matter. At the end of the letter, make it clear what you hope to achieve, and politely sign off.
Features of a Complaint Letter
For every complaint letter you write, you'll need to keep the following key features in mind. In order to convey your message effectively, it's best not to skip over any of these.
- Clear and concise writing
- Polite but firm
- Details of the incident
- What you hope to achieve
An Example Complaint Letter
Take a look at this example complaint letter for ideas on how you should approach writing a letter of complaint. Pay attention to the complaint letter format, the voice, and the use of language.
Recipient Name and Title
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing today to complain of the poor service I received from your company on June 12, 2020. I was visited by a representative of That Awful Company, Mr. Madman, at my home that day.
Mr. Madman was one hour late for his appointment and offered nothing by way of apology when he arrived at noon. Your representative did not remove his muddy shoes upon entering my house and consequently left a trail of dirt in the hallway. Mr. Madman then proceeded to present a range of products to me that I had specifically told his assistant by telephone that I was not interested in. I repeatedly tried to ask your representative about the products that were of interest to me, but he refused to deal with my questions. We ended our meeting after 25 minutes without either of us having accomplished anything.
I am most annoyed that I wasted a morning (and half a day's vacation) waiting for Mr. Madman to show up. My impression of That Awful Company has been tarnished, and I am now concerned about how my existing business is being managed by your firm. Furthermore, Mr. Madman's inability to remove his muddy shoes has meant that I have had to engage the services, and incur the expense, of a professional carpet cleaner.
I trust this is not the way That Awful Company wishes to conduct business with valued customers—I have been with you since the company was founded and have never encountered such treatment before. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss matters further and to learn how you propose to prevent a similar situation from recurring. I look forward to hearing from you.
Here's our example, all ready to be sent.
Ending a Letter of Complaint
Notice how the final paragraph of the complaint letter summarizes how the writer feels and indicates what they hope to achieve. In this case, the writer is hoping to 'discuss matters further and to learn how you propose to prevent a similar situation from recurring'.
They've made their desire clear; this not only makes it easier for the reader, but it's more likely you'll achieve the result you want.
With the right resources, it's easy to learn how to write all kinds of letters.
If you'd rather have a professional handle the wording and formatting of your complaint letter, send it to Scribendi for editing.
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About the Author
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