How to write a complaint letter

A complaint letter, as unpleasant as it might be to write, is generally more effective than a phone call or an email. The point is that in order to achieve the desired result whether you want a refund, replacement or travel miles is to clearly define the purpose of your complaint and be polite, sincere and valid.

I’ve put together five important suggestions that will help:

  1. Always keep your letter short, and concise. Rarely should any complaint letter be more than one page in length. Use dates, locations (where you purchased the product), and include all relevant descriptions and information. It’s preferable to type your letter, and for heaven sakes, use spell check. Start your letter on a positive note so that your reader is still confident that you want to remain a customer.
  2. Always exhibit politeness. You should not be sarcastic, threatening or write as if you are angry. You could even begin with a friendly line such as, ” I’ve been a customer of ABC for the past ten years.”
  3. Make sure your facts are properly documented and true. State your complaint, and indicate what you would like done to rectify the problem whether it be a replacement item, a store credit, refund, etc. If you are complaining to an airline for a valid reason, discount coupons,  and additional mileage commonly accompany the company’s apology.
  4. Attach copies of all documentation. Do not send originals. Have exact dates and times, and in your letter make sure you indicate what actions you will pursue if the situation is not rectified.
  5. Make sure you remind the company of good relations and good customer service and how you want to help them maintain a good reputation.

Keep a copy of your letter, and if you aren’t satisfied with the reply or you haven’t received what you thought you deserved, write another letter, but make this one stronger. If that doesn’t work, go to the next higher-up; something to be said about friendly persistence.

photo credit: Alyssa L. Miller