Complaint letters are documents that allow consumers to inform a business about their grievances. These letters are a legal and formal way of drawing attention to a dispute and coercing a company into redressing errors. A well-written complaint letter increases the chances of a swift and effective response.
Few out there know how to write a perfect complaint letter. There are particular regulations to follow, and several nuances to be aware of. This write-up compiles every one of those requirements and presents a step-by-step guide to a convincing complaint letter.
When trying to resolve a problem with a company, complaint letters are often the last resort of a grievant.
This, however, does not undermine its importance. In many ways, a letter is the best way to address a dispute. It puts your complaint on record, helps to secure any legal rights you might have in the situation and informs the company that the matter is severe enough.
The steps below contain some potent tips for crafting a compelling complaint letter.
A complaint letter should always be written in a business-like manner. Make it short so that the message is a quick read. Follow the outline of a formal letter throughout.
Add all necessary details such as your address and date on the top left. Follow it up with the name of the contact person, the incumbent department (the consumer affairs or customer service as applicable) and their address & contact number.
Though it is quite natural to be a bit angry or disappointed under the circumstances, make sure your writing does not reflect that. Extend proper salutations before moving into the meat of the matter.
The trick behind how to write a perfect formal complaint letter lies in writing a calm and collected manner while pointing out other's mistakes. Keep in mind that the person reading the letter might not be the one responsible for the error. And the dispute may be completely unintentional on the part of the company.
NEVER use a threatening, angry or sarcastic tone in your letters. Be courteous and respectful to increase the weight of your message.
Write clearly about the reasons behind your grievances. Describe the specification of the goods or the services you purchased along with your problems. Include all codes and numbers, such as serial number, model number or any other identification. If you have conversed with someone, mention specifics of the conversation along with the details of the person.
Remember to add details of your personal account if you have one with the business. And, keep in mind to attach all relevant documents like emails, receipts, warranties, work orders, complaint dockets etc.
Be clear about the redressing you want—state precisely what you need and do so in a clear & convincing manner. Do not make any absurd claims, however. Explore the possible ways of reimbursement and mention the most appropriate one in your letter.
Also, mention the period within which you need the issue resolved. Try to make a reasonable claim to avoid any unreasonable and unnecessary clash.
Quite a few consumer complaints in the United States of America lead to civil lawsuits where state laws come into play. This means that if the business is at fault, then in all probability it will look forward to fulfiling your requirements rather than escalating the matter further.
If possible, do some research and find out the category under which your complaint falls. Mentioning the exact details about their violations, along with everything else, will show the business that the consumer knows how to write a professional complaint letter.
Stating how the company broke its own rules or broke the law can go a long way in convincing them to take some definitive action.
The above five steps collate all vital tips and techniques for writing an engaging document. Go through the steps properly and follow them to a T to craft a letter that’s persuasive as anything.
The next section offers an outline of a formal complaint letter using a generic template.
The outline below shows how to write a complaint letter using an example.
[Your City, State, Zip Code]
[Name of Contact Person]
[City, State, Zip Code]
Dear [Contact Person]:
On [date], I bought [or repaired] a [name of the product with the serial or model number or the service performed]. I purchased [location, date, and every other essential detail of the transaction].
Unfortunately, your product has not performed as expected [or the service was inadequate] because [state the problem].
In order to resolve the problem, I would appreciate that you [state the specific action you want]. Enclosed are copies [copies, not originals] of all essential records [receipts, guarantees, warranties, cancelled checks, contracts, model and serial numbers, and any other documents] concerning this purchase/repair.
I am looking forward to your reply and a quick resolution to my problem. I will wait for [set a time limit] before seeking third-party assistance. Please contact me at the above address or by phone [home or office numbers with area codes].
Follow the above outline and keep all the five steps in mind while writing. Write with confidence and deliver a complaint letter that will warrant immediate action from any business.
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