How to Write a Better Complaint Letter

So you’ve been wronged, and now you’re mad. I get it. You want someone to know, and you want something done about it.

Before you fire off that angry email or courier that letter, take a second to breathe. Here are a few tips to help you achieve the desired results.

  1. Before writing the letter, make sure that you have the facts straight and that your complaint is legitimate.
  2. Type your letter in Word if possible. Use a spellchecker, or have someone proofread your letter. If it is handwritten, make sure it is neat and easy to read.
  3. Generally keep your letter short and concise. Write short paragraphs, and almost always keep your letter to one page. However, do include all important facts. Include important dates or places (for example, when and where you bought the product or received the service), and include any additional relevant information you can (such as the product number or type of service).
  4. While writing your letter, remain diplomatic and courteous at all times. No matter how justified your complaint may be, do not allow your letter to become angry, sarcastic, or threatening. Keep in mind that the person that reads your letter will often not be the person responsible for the problem.
  5. Try to put yourself in the other person’s place, and write your letter accordingly.
  6. Include copies of any documentation relating to your complaint. Do not send original documents.
  7. Keep a copy of the complaint letter for your records.
  8. If your complaint letter does not bring about the results that you hoped for, consider writing another letter with a firmer tone, or try writing to someone higher up in the chain of command.

Start your letter with something positive in order to soften the blow of your complaint and so that the company or personwill be more willing to work with you. For example, if writing to complain about a faulty product that you purchased, you might begin, ‘I have been a loyal customer of your store for many years.’ Mention some of the positive aspects of the company or organization, such as the overall quality of the products or services, the low prices, the excellent customer service, and so forth.

Open the next paragraph with a sentence that begins to allude to the problem. For instance, you might write, ‘It is understandable that companies that offer a wide variety of electronic products would occasionally come across a faulty piece of merchandise.’ Then, in the next sentence, state your complaint. (Again, if you intend to do more than just complain and want the problem to be solved, it is best to remain professional and courteous. Do not sound accusatory or demanding.) After clearly stating your complaint, indicate what you would like to have done to rectify the situation, if anything. You may want to mention, also, the actions you will take if your complaint is not answered or the problem is not solved.

In the last paragraph, mention that you would like to continue to use the company’s products or services (if you do), or to continue to be a customer of the store, or a member of the organizationwhatever. Then, suggest why it is in the other party’s best interest to grant your request: you might mention the importance of maintaining a good reputation or keeping you as a customer, or you might appeal to their sense of justice. In other words, give them a positive reason to want to resolve the concern. As you close your letter, express confidence that your complaint will be taken care of. Finally, thank the company or other entity for handling your complaint.

We hope this helps, and any feedback is appreciated.

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