The letter of complaint is a part of business correspondence. The complaint letter is usually written when oral conversation has not succeeded in resolving the issue and the guilty party does not meet and does not seek to correct the conflict. It is also used in the case when the only way to resolve your disappointment is to write a letter. The most rational way is to sit down in a calm state, collect evidence, and make sure that the truth is on your side.
Unfortunately, if you haven’t written such letters before, you don’t know how to write a letter of complaint. Our experience shows that even skillful writers have difficulties while writing such letters. This is due to the fact that it is very difficult to stick to the golden mean, without slipping into the pool of personal emotions or threats.
A fair letter of complaint is an opportunity to protect one’s rights and encourage a partner or service provider to fulfill obligations. The purpose of any letter for complaint is to convey complete information about the problem that has arisen and to clearly communicate to the addressee the possible consequences of failure to properly fulfill obligations.
A letter of complaint can also be a document of evidence for legal proceedings. For this reason, it is very important to correctly and tactfully compose this type of letter.
Features of Letter of Complaint
The complaint letter is written in free form, by hand or electronically, and has a number of features:
The language of the complaint should be official, laconic, literate, mostly emotionless, without using offensive vocabulary and ambiguous expressions.
- Events should be presented sequentially and the situation should be shown as objectively as possible. At the same time the letter should be short and clear, without unnecessary details. It is desirable that the length of the complaint is not more than one A4 paper.
- A letter of complaint is necessarily accompanied by documents confirming what happened. It may be store checks, contracts, acts, receipts, and so on.
Keep copies of everything, including documents.
How to Write a Letter of Complaint
Before you actually start writing your complaint letter, collect the data about the event. This information consists of the time, date, and location where the case took place. If you know the names of personnel, also list them in your letter. In several sentences, describe what went wrong and how it influenced your financial or emotional state.
- Begin with the preliminary preparation for writing a letter.
- What became the subject or cause for a claim?
- What result do you expect from the consideration of the claim? This is what you will demand from the addressee.
- Collect evidence – documents relating to the subject of the claim (contracts, checks, certificates, receipts, etc.).
- Calculate the amount of damage.
Understand the situation from the point of view of the law. This will add to your persuasiveness.
Make a plan for your letter of complaint.
- Specify the context in which you tell the addressee about the subject of the letter. Let it be a neutral comment, in which you indicate the date, conditions, and circumstances of the purchase of goods or services. This will be the basic information from which the addressee will start.
- Begin to criticize the actions of the company that violated the obligations. But don’t insult – help the addressee to save face.
- Justify your requirements. Refer to the contract clauses, laws, regulations, etc. At the same time, make sure everything is accurate: names of documents, items, and dates. You can even quote them.
- Present your requirements. Inform the addressee how you can see the way out of the situation. State what you would like: goods return, cancellation of the contract, material compensation, fulfillment of obligations, and so on.
- Work on the structure of the letter of complaint.
- In the upper left corner write your contact details (your address and email).
- Specify the date of complaint.
- Write the contact details of the organization you are writing to.
- Write the salutation. Try to write directly to a particular person. If you don’t know the name, just write Dear Sir or Madam.
- Write the body of the letter.
- The reason for drawing up a letter indicating the number of documents, dates and other things;
- A description of your actions after the incident occurred;
- The situation today, when your actions did not bring the expected result;
- Your requirements in relation to the guilty party;
- The measures that you will take if the situation does not change;
- A list of documents (or their copies), confirming your words, which are attached to the letter-complaint.
- Sign the letter.
Letter of Complaint Structure
Name of Contact Person
Title, if available
Customer Service Department
City, State, Zip Code
Dear (Contact Person):
Chronology of the conflict.
It is necessary to briefly describe your entire history in chronological order.
Each event has:
– Exact date
– Exact time
– Exact location (possibly several places)
Note: if the date, time or place of the event is not known to you, make a guess (specify the length of time or set the boundaries of the territory).
At the end of each complaint, you are required to set a task to the recipient. Without this, any complaint is meaningless. Consider that, in addition to you, this complaint does not excite anyone. Therefore, the demand is a key part of the complaint.
– It is accepted as polite to use the word “I ask,“ but within yourself keep the “I demand” attitude, because you really need.
– Do not hesitate to ask (impose) the impossible. If you have any doubts about your own right or the legitimacy of your demands, lean towards your own rightness.
Yours sincerely/Yours faithfully
As soon as you complete the writing, check it for mistakes. If you want your letter to be attentively read, make sure your text is correct and plain. Check if you have attached all necessary documents that you have listed in your letter. Also, sometimes you will need more effort to find the right documentation, so be sure that the documents you list are in your hands.
Since there are many situations in which a wide range of complaints could arise, there is no single form for how to write a letter for complaint: it all depends on the particular situation. However, we can speak of the main elements of the text and the rules of execution, which should always be respected, regardless of the reason for which the claim is made.
It may sound impossible, but you should stay nice and positive while writing. Forgetting about this tiny detail may spoil all your complaint activities and lead to failure. A polite, well-reasoned letter of complaint that tells in detail how a company can address your appeal has a lot of chances for success. A wordy, unclear, and emotional letter is doomed to have no response at all.
If you like this article, check out also a Full Guidance on How to Write a Complaint Letter.