Letters of complaint

If you are writing a letter of complaint, here are some dos and don’ts that can help you achieve the right outcome:

  • gather all your facts before you start writing the letter—e.g., where and when goods were bought, any customer reference numbers or invoice numbers, or a record of any previous communication with the company concerned.
  • get straight to the point and set out exactly what the problem is.
  • give all the relevant information in a clear and logical sequence.
  • state what action you want the company to take and when you expect them to have done this.
  • enclose copies of any relevant documents that support your case.
  • use abusive language, however frustrated or angry you might feel.
  • allow yourself to get sidetracked from your specific problem into generalized criticism of the company or its products or services.
  • send your letter without checking it carefully for grammar or spelling mistakes.

Structuring your letter

The opening 
  • Start your letter with the greeting Dear Mr. (or Mrs., Ms., Miss, etc.) Surname.
  • If you don’t know the name of the person you are writing to, begin with Dear Sir or Dear Madam; if you don’t know their name or sex, use Dear Sir or Madam.
The content 
  • Begin with a heading alerting the reader to the subject of the letter, and in your first sentence draw their attention to the matter you’re going to raise or discuss. For example: I am writing to complain..., or I wish to express my dissatisfaction with ... or Thank you for your letter of ...
  • Introduce your main point as early as possible, stating your reason for writing in a clear, concise way. Once you have done this, you may want to give more details, perhaps adding further background or relevant facts.
  • In conclusion, you should state what your expectations are. For example: Please let me know as soon as possible what action you propose to take or I look forward to hearing from you within the next ten days.
The close
The wording at the end of a formal letter follows a standard format: 
  • If you know the name of the person you’re writing to, you should end the letter with Yours sincerely.
  • If your letter begins with Dear Sir or Dear Madam, it should end with Yours faithfully.
  • Your own name should be typed out underneath your signature.
Sample letters of complaint


Obtener más de Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribirse para eliminar anuncios y acceder a los recursos premium