There are different instances where making an official complaint is the appropriate course of action, for example, at the workplace to report a problem to management or when dealing with retailers or sellers. A complaint letter is a document that you write to make a complaint about an issue or problem such as a faulty product, poor service, grievance, wrong-doing, offense, etc. Complaint letter samples can be formal or informal. They can also come in any form and style, written with various purposes and intentions, from friendly requests to legal claims.
This guide will take you through the different types of complaint letters, how you might use each, and give you an idea of what to include by using examples.
What is a Complaint Letter?
A complaint letter is a formal document used by the complainant to address the grievance, dissatisfaction, or any other type of resentment arising out of a product or service. Alternatively, you can look at it as a document that helps you air out your dissatisfaction or unfair service delivery. The complaint letter helps put your complaints on record. In some cases, companies will tend to ignore your complaints. However, upon writing a complaint letter, they will see some seriousness and take action promptly. Remember that the document can be used to advocate for your legal rights in a court of law, if necessary. If you are unfamiliar with how to write the complaint letter, read on and realize some useful tips necessary for drafting a letter that works.
When to Write a Complaint Letter
There are various circumstances under which a complaint letter may be written. These includes:
- When an individual is unfairly treated in a workplace
- When a person is sexually harassed or bullied in a workplace
- When a person buys a substandard or malfunctioning product
- When a person receives poor customer service
How to Write a Complaint Letter
Before you write and submit a complaint letter, consider whether your issue deserves attention and what precise action you are asking for. If you are asking for something minor—for example, if the company has failed to deliver your order on time or if they made an error in processing it—then a simple request might be sufficient. However, regardless of the case at hand, an informative complaint letter sample will have the following sections:
A salutation is the part of the letter that identifies the recipient. It also serves as a means to begin a correspondence by saying, “Dear Mr. or Ms. [official name]”, For example, suppose you are writing a complaint letter about poor customer service. In that case, your letter should be addressed to the head of the customer service department, or at least someone in charge of customer relations.
Dear Mr. Wilson or Dear Ms. Simons,
Explain your complaint
You begin your letter by explaining the nature of the problem you are experiencing, such as a faulty product or bad service. The specific details such as dates, location, time, receipt numbers, product description, claim, and serial numbers about the problem should be provided in a factual, straightforward manner. The first statement can mention the complaint, and an explanation can be provided. A complaint letter needs to be clear and concise so that the recipient can easily understand what has happened.
An example of a complaint that can be raised through a complaint letter is as follows:
Your product is faulty and has caused me a lot of hassle. I want to complain about this problem. On [date], I purchased a mobile phone [product name] which I have been using for some time now. Towards evening on [date], I used my phone as per my usual routine. However, by 6.30 pm, the battery started getting low, and I needed to charge my phone.
When I took out the battery from the charger, it exploded in my hand and burnt my hand badly. Due to this reason, I had to go for emergency treatment at [name] hospital. This was a very stressful incident for me. Due to the severity of my injury, I need to take some time off work, and I will not be able to go for my interview in the coming week. As a customer, I have always bought your products as they were safe and reliable, but it wasn’t very pleasant this time.
State the outcome
Describe what outcome you expect. It is also essential to state why you are expecting an outcome. For example, if products have been damaged, you can demand a replacement or refund, depending on what you feel gives the most justice to your complaint. If services were not provided correctly, then you can call for a service recovery plan to be implemented. Another critical point is to ask for action directly because if you leave it open-ended, the company might fail to understand what the result should be, and this may lead to further problems later. Also, do not threaten to take legal action on your first complaint letter.
I hope that you or your representative will be able to meet my demand for a replacement; however, I am prepared to accept a refund.
Give a time limit
When you complain to a company in writing, you also need to specify how much time you want the company to take to resolve your problem. Then, you can call for a specific action or demand within a specified time limit.
If, after two weeks from receiving this letter, I do not receive a satisfactory response from your side, I will be forced to contact the Federal Consumer Protection Agency for redress.
Inform about further actions
It is essential to let the recipient know how you will take it further. Clearly state the next step in your complaint process if anyone in authority fail to respond. The more information you provide here such as the company’s legal department, employees, website address, or telephone number, the better it will be for them as they can make an informed decision on whether they would like to engage in a dialogue or not. If dialogue does not occur, you can raise the issue to the next level; for example, if you have purchased a faulty product and get no response from the manufacturer, you know that there is a retail outlet where the product was sold.
I expect you to handle this matter fairly and adequately once you receive this letter. However, if your company refuses to respond to my needs, please inform me of the appropriate action I should take next through [email] or [phone number].
Attach relevant documents
If you have information or documents relevant to your complaint, attach them as an extra file so that the company can make a quick decision. Ensure the attached documents are copies and not the originals to avoid losing the documents. For example, this can be a copy of the product specification and its receipt number or a copy of an invoice from the company where you bought the product.
I have enclosed my copy of the receipt of my mobile phone [product name], which was purchased at your shop on [date]. I have also attached a mobile phone picture [Include Picture Copy]. (The existence of these documents only serves to reinforce my complaint)
Finish the letter successfully
The final point of the letter should be a closing statement that tells the recipient what actions you expect. For example, if you have contacted another department or person in charge, you can let the recipient know. This will make it easier for them to respond and understand how they should deal with the complaint. You can conclude the letter as an appreciation for their time and consideration or state that you look forward to hearing from them. To conclude the complaint letter, you should sign it and add “Yours faithfully” or “Yours sincerely”.
Types of Complaint Letter
Different types of complaint letters can be used to make a complaint. The type of complaint letter will depend on the nature and gravity of the problem. The main types of complaint letters are:
A formal complaint letter is one that you send to a company’s legal department when you are initiating a formal claim against the company for some reason. For example, you may be explicitly threatening legal action, or you may just be asking to meet with the company’s legal counsel to discuss your complaint. An attorney writes a formal complaint letter. Still, it’s geared more toward presenting all the facts and details of your claim to a company or organization.
The sample below can guide how to craft a solid formal complaint letter.
20th April 2022
Bake & Dine Ltd
51 St. Paul Street
Riverdale, OT 3297
4321 S. Arabia Avenue
Santa Monica, OT 90210
This letter is to officially notify you of my complaints regarding the website you developed for our business (contract number WD73525/20 – 21). In your advertisement for a new website, you state that you guarantee a minimum of 60% success rates in conversion rates. However, I have been using the site for over one year and have not seen improvement in my conversions since the beginning of the year. The site records a 30% success rate on average. Additionally, the site frequently crashes, resulting in poor reviews from our customers and costing the company an estimated $20 000 in the past year.
This letter is to be taken as our official attempt to resolve the issue amicably. If this matter cannot be resolved to our satisfaction, we will pursue legal action against your company. We have attempted to reach out to your manager Delbert Grimes with no success.
Please investigate this problem and let me know what needs to be done so that I can start seeing better results from my website. My email address is [email protected]. I hope to hear from you as soon as possible regarding this matter.
Bake & Dine Ltd
Product or service
A product or service complaint letter is one that you might use if you are an aggrieved customer using and dealing with a business or company that provides products or services. This complaint letter is helpful if you complain about the provided product’s quality, performance, defect, damage, or reliability.
Review the sample below:
1234 Melbourne Rd
Richmond, NC 2062
Mr. Charlie Richard,
Below are the details about my complaint regarding the faulty laptop delivered to me on 4th May 2022. I paid $100 for your product, but it didn’t work as advertised. Several buttons are unresponsive, and the laptop switches itself off every several minutes. I am requesting you issue a refund. Or if you will want to replace my defective product with a new one, I can pay for that too from the amount of money I have been charged for this defective delivery or replacement.
Please see attached documents (invoice and receipt) for verification and information about the product and its performance.
Your prompt attention to this complaint will be highly appreciated. First, I want to confirm your receipt of the above complaint letter.
An employee complaint letter is written to report an issue at the workplace. These types of complaints involve the conduct or performance of the employee. They include constructive dismissal, discrimination, harassment, failure to follow employer policies, unethical or illegal behavior, failure to provide quality or appropriate service, or wrong-doing.
The sample provided below illustrates how to craft an effective employee complaint letter.
Dear Ms. Claire Barnes,
My name is Andrew Fitch, an accountant at ABC Company. I regret to notify you that I am writing this letter to make a formal complaint about one of my co-workers, Mr. John Doe.
John and I are colleagues in the accounting department. I want to complain about his consistent delay in submitting complied inventory reports from all company departments, which has continuously derailed the preparation of accounting reports, a duty I’ve been tasked with. Whenever I have asked John to provide me with his signed inventory reports, he has always been busy working on his personal computer. I’ve been forced to bring the issue up to you directly because it is no longer possible for me to continue working with John if an accounting report cannot be produced for the last two months on a timely basis. This has led to unnecessary expenditure and delays in our business operations.
I’ve attempted to discuss the matter with him, but he seems adamant and continues to dismiss my concerns. Nevertheless, I am very concerned about this behavior and wish to report this incident to you to take appropriate measures immediately.
Name: Andrew Fitch
Complaint Letter Template
[Date of Writing]
SUBJECT: Complaint Letter for Poor services
Dear Mr./ Mrs./ Miss. [Last Name]
I am writing this letter to show my dissatisfaction with the home theatre I bought at your shops located on Greenspace Avenue on 20th July 2020. Upon reaching home, I noticed that the home theatre had a lot of defects. First, there was a missing adapter cable. Alongside with that, there left speaker wasn’t functioning properly as the right counterpart.
The home theatre doesn’t produce the acceptable quality and therefore, faulty. This system doesn’t match the one I was shown on display. One of the display was fully functional, and that convinced me to buy the system. I, therefore, saw it good to write this letter to reinforce our previous conversation from the phone.
I would like to have a replacement of the entire home theatre. Besides, I am giving you a period of 14 days to get the issue solved. Upon the expiry of the timeline, I will take further action by lodging formal complaints with the consumer affairs in my respective state.
Feel free to contact me through my phone number +1 626 43434343 or my email [email protected]. I am ready and willing to discuss the issue further. Attached are the photocopies of the receipt for proof of purchase.
Sample Complaint Letters
Tips for Writing an Effective Complaint Letter
Make the letter specific, clear and concise
When writing your letter, always ensure that you are precise, clear, and understandable. Avoid unnecessary or bulky information that would cause further misunderstanding or misinterpretations. That being said, ensure you describe the problem, include the serial number, and the location in which you bought the product or services.
Your complaint letter will not be taken seriously if you are unsure of your rights as a consumer. You have the legal rights to be treated with courtesy and respect. Therefore, you must state and demonstrate that you have the authority to complain on behalf of the consumer group you wish to represent. This can be done through your tone, choice of words, referencing company policies and consumer rights, and laying out all of your arguments in an organized manner.
Attach relevant evidence
In order to make your complaint strong and tangible, be sure to attach any available copies of evidence. These may include the receipts, warranties or work orders, among others. In case you talked over the email or online platforms, you can print them and have them attached.
Use a polite language
In as much as you are angered or dissatisfied with the occurrence, the last thing you should do is to use a threatening or abusive language. Instead, use a polite, considerate and complimentary language to prevent the issue from escalating further. Note that if you use a threatening language, you risk being handed over to a law enforcement agency.
This is one area most companies will look into when addressing your complaint letter. Are you factual enough? Are the evidence presented solid or manufactured? In order to get your issue solved, make sure your claims are nothing but the truth.
Explain the problem
The other thing you need to focus on is the problem. Make sure the reader realize that indeed there is a problem on the product or service you were rendered. You need not beat around the bush. Rather, be straightforward to the point. Explain yourself properly and in a way that grabs the reader’s attention.
Format the letter well
You will need to use the appropriate format for your situation and the receiver of your letter. Ensure that you include all necessary information and the appropriate sections in your complaint letter to state your argument clearly. Also, the letter should be typed.
Make sure that you’ve proofread your letter before sending it. If there are any errors, you will want to fix them before hitting the send button. When writing formal complaint letters, it is crucial to think about spelling and grammar errors, and formatting issues.
The whole purpose of formal complaint letters is to resolve a conflict. Complaint letters are an excellent way to get help from a company that has done you wrong. Whether you are asking for help or simply stating your opinion of something, it is imperative to be polite while informing the recipient of your requirements. Using simple language and concise phrases will help you make your argument clear and ensure that the recipient translates this information correctly and acts on it. If the letter is well-formatted, accurate, and based on facts, it will be helpful to both parties. With complaint letter samples provided as guides, you should be able to craft a compelling letter to address your concerns.