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Complaint letter structure

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Complaint letter structure
September 20, 2018 Anniversary Wishes 3 comments

Always try to resolve a problem with a business before seeking help from the ACCC. You can do this by speaking directly with the salesperson or manager or if .

  • Include your name, address, and home and work phone numbers.
  • Type your letter if possible. If it is handwritten, make sure it is neat and easy to read.
  • Make your letter brief and to the point. Include all important facts about your purchase, including the date and place where you made the purchase and any information you can give about the product or service such as serial or model numbers or specific type of service.
  • State exactly what you want done about the problem and how long you are willing to wait to get it resolved. Be reasonable.
  • Include all documents regarding your problem. Be sure to send COPIES, not originals.
  • Avoid writing an angry, sarcastic, or threatening letter. The person reading your letter probably was not responsible for your problem but may be very helpful in resolving it.
  • Keep a copy of the letter for your records.
  • Name of Contact Person, if available
    Title, if available
    Company Name
    Consumer Complaint Division, if you have no contact person
    Street Address
    City, State, Zip Code
  • Dear (Contact Person):
  • Re: (account number, if applicable)
  • On (date), I (bought, leased, rented, or had repaired) a (name of the product, with serial or model number or service performed) at (location and other important details of the transaction).
  • Unfortunately, your product (or service) has not performed well (or the service was inadequate) because (state the problem). I am disappointed because (explain the problem: for example, the product does not work properly, the service was not performed correctly, I was billed the wrong amount, something was not disclosed clearly or was misrepresented, etc.).
  • To resolve the problem, I would appreciate it if you could (state the specific action you want—money back, charge card credit, repair, exchange, etc.). Enclosed are copies of my records (include copies of receipts, guarantees, warranties, canceled checks, contracts, model and serial numbers, and any other documents).
  • I look forward to your reply and a resolution to my problem, and will wait until (set a time limit) before seeking help from a consumer protection agency or the Better Business Bureau. Please contact me at the above address or by phone at (home and/or office numbers with area code).
  • Sincerely,
  • Your name
    Enclosure(s) cc: (reference to whom you are sending a copy of this letter, if anyone)

Source: Consumer Action Handbook 2001, Federal consumer Information Center, Pueblo, CO, 82009, www.pueblo.gsa.gov

Counterfeit Products

Consumer Protection

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Use our interactive tool to help you write letters if you have a problem with a consumer issue, debt, Complain about faulty goods bought on hire purchase.

Sample letters

complaint letter structure

One of the essential Business English skills is how to write a letter of complaint.

It is a difficult task to get perfectly right because you have to make sure that you remain sounding calm and polite, but at the same time you also want to show to the reader that you are angry (or at least dissatisfied and not happy) and want some action to be taken to resolve the problem. To be proper business English, your writing should be in a formal style, with all the appropriate phrases and correct vocabulary.

It is very easy to get lost in your emotion because you keep thinking about the bad service that you received and then your writing will become too aggressive or sarcastic.

Let's look at a world-famous letter of complaint below...

Dear LIAT,

May I say how considerate it is of you to allow your passengers such an in-depth and thorough tour of the Caribbean.

Most other airlines I have travelled on would simply wish to take me from point A to B in rather a hurry. I was intrigued that we were allowed to stop at not just one or two, but a magnificent six airports yesterday. And who wants to fly on the same airplane the entire time? We got to change and refuel every step of the way!

I particularly enjoyed sampling the security scanners at each and every airport. I find it ridiculous that people imagine them all to be the same. And as for being patted down by a large number of security staff, well, I feel as if I’ve been hugged by most of the Caribbean already.

I also found it unique that this was all done on famous “island time”, because I love to have time to absorb the atmosphere of various departure lounges. As for our arrival, well, who wants to have to take a ferry to take them home at the end of all that flying anyway? Not me! I’m glad that the boat was long gone by the time we arrived into Tortola last night and that all the bars and restaurants were closed.

So thank you, LIAT. I now truly understand why you are The Caribbean Airline.

Arthur Ashe

P.S. Keep the bag. I never liked it anyway.

It is obvious that this person became too angry and took sarcasm to an extremely high level. This letter is actually very funny, but it is not known if the airline ever responded to this customer complaint. Therefore, we cannot conclude that this was an effective letter that achieved its aim.

So, how should you write a formal letter of complaint that is effective and businesslike?

How to write a letter of complaint checklist

  1. Who am I writing to (be specific)?
  2. What is the purpose of my letter?
  3. Why are you complaining? Why are you are unhappy with the company?
  4. What evidence do you have?
  5. What would you like them to do?
  6. When/how do you want them to respond?


Let's imagine that we need to write to an online phone shop because of a missing order.

You ordered and paid for a Samsung Galaxy phone from an online shop (yourphone.co.uk) three weeks ago on 20th September.
The website gave you a booking reference of THX34827
You did not receive any email confirmation.
The product has not been delivered yet.
You want to find out what has happened to your order.

So, let's use the checklist from above...

1. Who am I writing to (be specific)?

In this example, I don't know the name of the person to write to. So, to start the letter (or give a 'salutation') I can use...

Dear Sir,
Dear Sir or Madam,
To whom it may concern,
or in this case... Dear yourphone.co.uk

2. What is the purpose of my letter?

I need information about my missing order. A good opening sentence would be...

I am writing to you to complain about an order for a mobile phone that I have paid for and which I have not received.

3. Why are you complaining? Why are you are unhappy with the company?

I need to say why I think the service I have (or have NOT) received is not good enough.

I paid in full for a Samsung Galaxy phone three weeks ago in your online shop. However, I did not receive any email notification from your website. I am sure you agree that three weeks is too long to wait to receive an online order.

4. What evidence do you have?

Here you specify as many details as possible that you have which can help to the company to identify your account or order.

When I completed the order online at yourphone.co.uk on 20th September at about 3pm in the afternoon, I was given a booking reference: THX34827.

I paid £209.99 for the Samsung Galaxy by VISA card (ending 3865) and using my email: [email protected]

​As I have already stated above, I have received no further communication from your company to confirm my order.

5. What would you like them to do?

It is very easy to start making threats at this point, but keep calm and state exactly what the company should do, so that you will be satisfied.

I would like you to confirm that I paid the full amount by VISA and that you will send the phone to my contact address as soon as possible.

If this is not possible, I require an immediate refund for the full amount of £209.99 to my VISA card (ending 3865).

6. When/how do you want them to respond?

You can finish the letter with a standard business phrase.

I look forward to your immediate response.


I hope that helps you when you are writing a complaining letter. 

If you need further help, then leave a comment below and I will do my best to give you some good English advice.

If you want to see how a business should reply to a customer complaint, then please click here for a video.

To improve your Business English skills, click here to find out details on our range of Business English courses in London

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How to write a letter of complaint - Business English

complaint letter structure

Useful Explanation How To Write a Complaint Letter

What is a complaint letter?

It is good to understand the definition of a complaint letter before you proceed to writing. A complaint letter is a letter written by a customer to an organisation complaining about a certain product or service. A complaint letter is written to a company or any agency to state a complaint on a faulty device you purchased from the company or for poor services you received from the said agency.

It can be a customer complaint letter or a business complaint letter. Here I will highlight what a complaint letter is, what it entails, how it should be written and a sample of a complaint letter.

How to write a complaint letter

When one encounters a problem of any form be it with a product, device or the services you received can disappointing and frustrating too. The first action to be taken when such happens is to contact the responsible company via a phone call or e-mail. If no action is taken towards your complaint what usually follows is a letter of complaint. Just like any important formal letter, this one is important too as it can help you in case you decide to take any form of legal action towards the company.

Complaint letter writing tips

When writing the complaint letter: Ensure you address the relevant authority. Always when writing a letter of complaint channel your complaint to the customer care department. This is because the main function of the customer care is to deal with whatever the issues the customers may have.

Ensure you have the correct address of the company before writing your letter. For you to come up with an effective complaint letter, you need to pay attention to some small mistakes common in writing. Below are some of the tips for writing an effective complaint letter:

  • Get to the point. You should indicate your reasons for writing the letter. Highlight the facts which include the time, date and where you purchased or received the services. The reader should be able to get the point on reading the first few sentences hence it is important not to beat about the bush. Explain yourself well and be detailed to capture the reader’s attention.
  • Be specific about what you need and want to be done. Clearly state what you want whether it’s a repair, a replacement of the product or a refund. All this write them in the next paragraph. This will make work easier for whoever is receiving your letter know exactly what you need. Suggest to the company what you think can be a lasting solution.
  • Attach copies of the necessary and relevant documents. This may include receipts, warranties, cheques and e-mail conversations if there is any. This important as it makes your complaint legit. Make sure to include in your letter the exact documents you are including. For example: “I have attached a copy of the receipt and a warrant for the phone.”
  • State the time limit you giving them to fix the issue. It is important to state the time in which you want your issue resolved. This will help your issue be solved in the soonest time possible. The period you are providing should be realistic to avoid an unreasonable clash between you and the company.
  • End your letter in a respectful manner. Just like any formal letter, finish your letter by closing with yours faithfully.
  • Use the correct tone to write a complaint letter- Avoid being emotional in your letter. when you are writing the letter, it is expected that the person who will receive your letter is not the one responsible for the problem, but he or she can help to ensure you get the best service. You should be polite in your writing so that the person in charge can be able to address your issue effectively to your satisfaction.
  • When writing a complaint letter, you need to be polite. It should be written respectfully and shun away from using angry and threatening comments no matter how mad you may be. The recipient will be willing to help if you are polite.
  • Be precise. Make sure you get to the point so that whoever is reading the letter should be in a position to identify what exactly the problem is.
  • Be in command. When you write your letter with authority, it lets the recipient take your complaint with a bit of seriousness. When you authoritative it gives credit to your letter enhancing positive response.
  • Identify your self- identifying yourself is important because the company will be able to know you at a personal level. You should also include your contact so that in the case where they will need to find out more information about the product you can always be available to give explanations.
  • Check out for spelling and grammatical errors. After you have written your letter, it is always good to proof read to correct any grammatical and spelling errors you may have made. Follow up your letter.
  • Wait patiently for the time limit you had provided to elapse if no action nor feedback has been given you may follow up to find out. If no response gives you may address your complaint to someone in a high position.
  • If no feedback is provided by the person in a high position, you may consider seeking legal help. You can see a lawyer and he/ she will advise you on what to do. Remember this is usually the last option.

Complaint letter writing format

It is good to understand the writing format for a complaint letter because it enables the recipient to easily understand your problem and address it as you expect.

The first part of the letter is writing your address and the recipient address. You should counter check to ensure that you use the right address for the company lest your letter becomes displaced.

In the title, you should address what the complaint is all about. Once the recipient reads the title, they will easily know where your issue falls, and it would be easy in coming up with a solution.

In this letter, you need to go straight to the point. Go ahead and explain your complaint giving all the relevant information about the product then state what you expect them to do for you to be satisfied.

In the concluding paragraph, you should `give them a time span for them to solve your problem. Try and be polite at this part so that they can see the essence of serving you as one of their customers. You can go ahead and thank them in advance.

Complaint letter example

In cases where you need to write a complaint letter and you not sure how to write you can always check complaint letter samples to get hints of what complaint letters are all about. Reading examples have some benefits to the reader they include;

  • It helps the reader to master the correct tone of writing complaint letters. Going through examples helps one know how the writer was able to compose themselves to writing a letter that is not abusive or sarcastic amidst their anger.
  • It helps to master the format to be followed when writing a complaint letter. Just like any other letter complain letters have a format to be followed in writing a good letter.
  • It helps one master the grammar to be used, helps one write a letter that is readable, concise and to the point

There are so many reasons to go through example those are just but a few. Below is an example complaint letter template that can be of use to those who may need to write one in the future.

Rian Elsi

Po Box 43-30100, Goa

6th February 2017

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Brian Easy

Customer Care Director

Brioel Furniture

30-30100, Goa

Dear Brian Easy,

On the 5th of January 2017, I bought a shoe rack with serial number 30267981. I purchased the product online on 5th January 2017 and paid for it online too. Unfortunately, the said product is not exactly what I had chosen. Instead, a shoe rack similar to that was delivered to me.

 To solve his issue, I would like a replacement to be made. I have attached copies of the receipt, serial number, warrant of the shoe rack and the email conversation I had with one of your salespersons concerning the purchase as mentioned above.

I look forward to hearing from you and a solution to my problem. I will wait for a week before seeking help from a third-party. Please contact me via e-mail at [email protected]



Rian Elsi

With the above guide you are sure to write a good complaint letter that will be understood by your recipient and they are going to solve your problem easily.

Use this sample letter and these tips to write an effective complaint: Be clear and concise. Don't write an angry, sarcastic, or threatening letter.

How to write an effective complaint letter

complaint letter structure

Having a problem with a product or service can be frustrating. When you’re trying to resolve a problem with a company, the first step should be to discuss your concerns with a representative of the business. If a phone call or email doesn’t resolve the problem, consider writing a complaint letter.

A letter is important. It puts your complaint on record with the company, helps preserve any legal rights you may have in the situation, and lets the company know you’re serious about pursuing the complaint.

Use this sample letter and these tips to write an effective complaint:

  • Be clear and concise. Describe the item or service you bought and the problem. Include serial or model numbers, and the name and location of the seller. If you’re following up on a conversation, be sure to say who you spoke with and confirm the details of your discussion.
  • State exactly what you want done and how long you’re willing to wait for a response. Be reasonable.
  • Don’t write an angry, sarcastic, or threatening letter. The person reading your letter probably isn’t responsible for the problem, but may be very helpful in resolving it.
  • Include copiesof relevant documents, like receipts, work orders, and warranties. You also may want to send copies of emails and notes from conversations you’ve had with the seller about the problem. Keep your originals.
  • Include your name and contact information. If an account is involved, be sure to include the account number.

You may want to send your letter by certified mail and request a return receipt. That way, you’ll have proof that the company got your letter and who signed for it.

If your letter doesn’t do the trick, you may want to get outside help and look at other options. For more information, see Resolving Consumer Problems.

Tagged with: complaint, customer service, dispute resolution, product, refunds, shopping

WATCH THE VIDEO ON THEME: How to write a letter of complaint - - UPV

Put your complaint in writing to the lawyer or law firm concerned. Clearly write ' Formal complaint' at the top of your letter and keep a copy (see the example we.

complaint letter structure
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