How to Write Complaint Letters

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Aim:
This page describes the content, language and organisation of letters of complaint. There are also example letters and an exercise . There is a different page on how to reply to complaint letters .

Introduction
Letters of complaint usually include the following stages:

Background Problem - cause and effect Solution Warning (optional) Closing
   Background
This section describes the situation; e.g.
I am writing to inform you that the goods we ordered from your company have not been supplied correctly. I attended your exhibition Sound Systems at the Fortune Hotel (22-25 January) and found it informative and interesting. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the event was spoiled by a number of organisational problems. I am a shareholder of Sunshine Bank and I am very concerned regarding recent newspaper reports on the financial situation of the bank. Your company is listed as the auditor in the latest annual report of the bank, so I am writing to you to ask for an explanation of the following issues. I am writing to inform you of my dissatisfaction with the food and drinks at the 'European Restaurant' on 18 January this year. Problem
  Cause: On we placed an order with your firm for 12,000 ultra super long-life batteries. The consignment arrived yesterday but contained only 1,200 batteries. Firstly, I had difficulty in registering to attend the event. You set up an on-line registration facility, but I found the facility totally unworkable. You sent us an invoice for $10,532, but did not deduct our usual 10% discount. We have found 16 spelling errors and 2 mis-labelled diagrams in the sample book. 

  Effect: This error put our firm in a difficult position, as we had to make some emergency purchases to fulfil our commitments to all our customers. This caused us considerable inconvenience. Even after spending several wasted hours trying to register in this way, the computer would not accept my application. I am therefore returning the invoice to you for correction. This large number of errors is unacceptable to our customers, and we are therefore unable to sell these books.

Solution I am writing to ask you to please make up the shortfall immediately and to ensure that such errors do not happen again. Could I please ask you to look into these matters. Please send us a corrected invoice for $9,479 I enclose a copy of the book with the errors highlighted. Please re-print the book and send it to us by next Friday.
  Warning (optional) Otherwise, we may have to look elsewhere for our supplies. I'm afraid that if these conditions are not met, we may be forced to take legal action. If the outstanding fees are not paid by you will incur a 10% late payment fee.
   Closing I look forward to receiving your explanation of these matters. I look forward to receiving your payment. I look forward to hearing from you shortly.

 

Politeness
The tone of complaint letters should not be aggressive or insulting, as this would annoy the reader and not encourage them to solve the problem. In addition, questions such as 'Why can't you get this right?' should not be included.

Content The content should contain enough details so that the receiver does not have to write back requesting more. Legal action is not normally threatened in the first letter of complaint, unless the situation is very serious.

Example letter s Fortune Goods
317 Orchard Road
Singapore


Attn: Mr David Choi
Sales Manager
Everlong Batteries
171 Choi Hung Road
Hung Hom
Hong Kong

Dear Mr Choi

Re. Order No. 768197

I am writing to inform you that the goods we ordered from your company have not been supplied correctly.

On we placed an order with your firm for 12,000 ultra super long-life batteries. The consignment arrived yesterday but contained only 1,200 batteries.

This error put our firm in a difficult position, as we had to make some emergency purchases to fulfil our commitments to all our customers. This caused us considerable inconvenience.

I am writing to ask you to please make up the shortfall immediately and to ensure that such errors do not happen again. Otherwise, we may have to look elsewhere for our supplies.

I look forward to hearing from you by return.

Yours sincerely

     J. Wong

J. Wong
Purchasing Officer

    Flat 303 Lucky Mansions
856 Cheung Sha Wan Road
Cheung Sha Wan
Kowloon

The Administrative Officer
Exhibition Services
Exhibitions International
33 Kadoorie Avenue
Kowloon

Dear Sir/Madam

I attended your exhibition Sound Systems at the Fortune Hotel from and found it informative and interesting. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the event was spoiled by a number of organisational problems. I explain each of the problems below.

Firstly, I had difficulty in registering to attend the event. You set up an on-line registration facility, but I found the facility totally unworkable. Even after spending several wasted hours trying to register in this way, the computer would not accept my application. I eventually succeeded in registering by faxing you.

Secondly, the exhibition was held at one of Hong Kong's most prestigious hotels, but frankly the venue was better suited to a medium-sized business conference than to a large exhibition open by registration to the public. The lack of space led to serious overcrowding in the venue, particularly at peak visiting times (i.e. lunch times and early evening). On one or two occasions I was also seriously concerned about the physical safety of attendees.

The final point I want to make concerns product information. It is very enjoyable to see and test a range of excellent sound systems, but it is also important to be able to take away leaflets on interesting products, so that more research can be done before deciding which system to buy. However, by the time I attended the exhibition all the leaflets had been taken.

Could I please ask you to look into these matters - not only on my behalf but also on behalf of other attendees, and in fact on behalf of your company, too.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully

Michael Leung

Michael Leung


 

Instructions :

Choose parts of the letter from the Contents column to build the letter of enquiry in the Letter column. Then click the 'Show Feedback' button at the bottom to see comments on your letter.

hits since 27 February 2006

Related pages:

li.liclass{margin-top: 8px;} Complaint letters: How to write complaint letters - describes the content, language and organisation of letters of complaint, and includes examples and an exercise. The grammar of complain / complaint Letter of complaint practice task -  type in your letter and the computer will analyse it for you, and give you some feedback.

li.liclass{margin-top: 8px;} Adjustment letters: How to write adjustment letters - includes the stages of dealing with complaints, some useful expressions, some example letters, and an exercise. Adjustment Letter Constructor - build a letter of adjustment by selecting the right phrases. Letter of Adjustment (Reply to a Letter of Complaint) correction exercise. Positive Tone in Adjustment Letters Adjustment letter practice task - type in your letter and the computer will analyse it for you, and give you some feedback. Adjustment letter scenario and practice task - go through the interactive office scenario, then write your letter of adjustment and submit it. The computer will give you feedback.

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Complaint

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Meaning of “complaint” in the English Dictionary English English American Business Contents Contents noun (2) complaint (REPORT OF A PROBLEM) complaint (ILLNESS) Contents noun (3) complaint (1) complaint (2) complaint (3) English American Business "complaint" in English   See all translations complaint noun uk ​ / kəmˈpleɪnt / us ​ / kəmˈpleɪnt / complaint noun ( REPORT OF A PROBLEM ) B1 [ C or U ] a statement that something is wrong or not satisfactory :

We've received a complaint from one of our listeners about offensive language . I've made a complaint (= formally complained ) to the police about the noise . [ + that ] We've had complaints that you've been playing your radio too loud . Do you have any grounds for complaint (= reason to formally complain ) ? More examples

The manufacturers are reported to have received a long list of complaints from dissatisfied customers . The company has new procedures for dealing with complaints. We've received lots of complaints about the changes from regular listeners to the programme . My lawyer is going to compose a letter of complaint. I wish to make a complaint - these chips are cold . Thesaurus: synonyms and related words

Complaining

beef bewail bugger, sod, etc. this for a lark! idiom cavil chunter complainant groan grouse harp harp on (about sth) huff and puff idiom kick lodge make a noise about sth idiom nark protest quibble squeal start on at sb whinger

See more results »

complaint noun ( ILLNESS ) › [ C ] an illness :

a heart / stomach complaint Thesaurus: synonyms and related words

Disease & illness - general words

abnormality autoimmune disease bilharzia bluetongue bout CFS CGD dose dreaded lurgy endemic lay life-threatening lurgy morbidity pandemic pinkeye strangulated syndrome viral wasting disease

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(Definition of “complaint” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"complaint" in American English   See all translations complaint noun [ C/U ] us ​ / kəmˈpleɪnt / › a statement that something is wrong or not good enough, the act of complaining , or the thing you are complaining about:

[ U ] a letter of complaint [ C ] Her only complaint is that she sometimes didn’t get enough heat in her apartment . › law A complaint is also a formal statement to a government authority that you have a legal cause to complain about the way you have been treated :

[ C ] He filed a complaint with the commission , charging discrimination based on his disability .

(Definition of “complaint” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"complaint" in Business English   See all translations complaint noun uk ​ / kəmˈpleɪnt / us ​ › [ C ] a written or spoken statement in which someone says that somebody has done something wrong or that something is not satisfactory :

lodge/make/receive a complaint The council has said that it received complaints but that it cannot disclose details. deal with/handle complaints They have an efficient system in place for dealing with customer complaints. complaint about sb/sth The gas company has promised to investigate the man's complaint about a quarterly bill for £1,500. complaint against sb/sth Complaints against an employment agency should be made to the Employment Agencies Standards office . › [ C or U ] the act of complaining , or a reason for someone to complain :

The biggest complaint about the new proposal is that it could increase costs . cause/grounds for complaint On this occasion, shareholders have little cause for complaint. We have received several letters of complaint . › [ C ] LAW a formal statement that someone has harmed somebody else or done something illegal , which must be proved in a court of law :

file/lodge a complaint A complaint alleging financial wrongdoing was lodged with the district attorney's office .

(Definition of “complaint” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

Translations of “complaint”   in Arabic in Korean in Portuguese in Catalan in Japanese in Chinese (Simplified) in Turkish in Russian in Chinese (Traditional) in Italian in Polish شَكوى, تَذَمُّر…

항의…

queixa, reclamação…

queixa, reclamació…

苦情…

投诉, 抱怨,牢骚, 不满…

şikayet, itiraz, yakınma…

жалоба, причина недовольства, болезнь…

投訴, 抱怨,牢騷, 不滿…

reclamo, protesta…

skarga, zarzut, reklamacja…

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