How to Make and Format a Complaint Letter

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You are not satisfied with a particular product or service. Instead of complaining to friends and relatives, take action and write a complaint letter. In addition to serving as a permanent record of your grievance, a well-written complaint letter may motivate the company responsible for the product or service to ensure that you and other customers do not experience these problems in the future. Create a well-formatted business letter that gets positive results.

Things You'll Need

  • To write a complaint letter, you will need the following:
  • Invoices and receipts
  • High-quality bond paper
  • Create your letter using the full-block format, which is preferred by most businesses in the United States. Left-justify all parts of the letter. You can insert a colon or comma after the salutation and a comma after the complimentary closing. Alternatively, you can leave out punctuation.

  • Begin the date 6 to 10 lines below the letterhead or header. Use the American format, for example, January 15, 2011.

  • Leave four to six lines between the date and the inside address. Include the contact person's name and business title. Telephone the company switchboard and ask for the name and title of the appropriate manager. Confirm the correct spelling of his/her name. If you cannot identify a name, use an appropriate title, such as "Customer Service Manager."

  • Leave two blank lines and enter the salutation. Do not use "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom It May Concern." Use the recipient's surname with the appropriate personal title. If you are uncertain about the gender, use "Dear Chris Smith."

  • Double space and begin the body of the letter. Use at least three paragraphs for the letter, leaving a double space between them. As you compose your letter, refer to any invoices or other documents you have received from the company. Ensure that all product names, prices and other details are accurate.

  • Start on a positive note. Use the first paragraph to mention your loyalty to the brand name or the company. For example, "I have always enjoyed shopping for furniture at your store. I appreciate the wonderful advice I have received from your in-store decorator and feel very comfortable with all my purchases."

  • Use the second paragraph to include any details that the reader needs to know in order to process your complaint. For example, "On February 25, 2011, I ordered a duvet cover (Order #5768, blue floral print, queen size) from your online catalog. Two weeks later, I received the duvet cover. After unwrapping it, I discovered a strong metallic odor, which lingered after two machine washes. Enclosed is a copy of the shipping order." Do not send original copies of receipts or other documents.

  • State your expectations in the third paragraph. For example, "Since the steam feature of the iron does not work properly, I expect a full and immediate refund of $52.38 plus the postage I paid for return of the iron. I will wait 4 weeks for your response. If I do not hear from you, I will contact the Better Business Bureau."

  • Leave two blank lines and enter an appropriate complimentary closing, such as "Yours truly" or "Sincerely." Leave four to six blank lines for your signature. Directly underneath, enter your typewritten signature.

  • Double space and enter Enclosure(s).

Tips & Warnings

  • Use high-quality bond paper.
  • Create a header that Include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address.
  • Write short paragraphs and keep the length of the letter to one page.
  • Use the Print Preview feature of your word processing program to check the vertical placement of the letter. If necessary, adjust the spacing.
  • Ask a trusted friend or relative to proofread your letter. In addition to checking spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors, your friend or relative must ensure that the tone of the letter is appropriate.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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