How does someone write a formal complaint letter?


Quick Answer

To write a formal complaint letter, provide as many specifics as possible regarding the time and date of the incident, summarize the incident or experience, define expectations in terms of a response from the recipient and thank the recipient for his or her time. Effective complaint letters are clear, concise and free of abusive language.

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Full Answer

Wait for a "cooling off" period before writing a formal complaint letter. This provides the author with an opportunity to consider appropriate wording and to avoid "knee-jerk" reactions to the problem.

  1. Provide the recipient with specifics
  2. Note the date and time that the incident took place. If it involves the purchase of a product or service, mention it specifically. It is also helpful to mention by name anyone with whom the complainant interacted, such as a sales associated or company representative.
  3. Describe the incident
  4. In as few words as possible, summarize the incident that inspired the complaint letter. Use simple, concise language with no abusive words or unnecessary adjectives. Explain the results of the incident as well, such as disappointed wedding guests because of a substandard catering experience.
  5. Request a response
  6. Provide the recipient with a desired response, such as a refund of a purchase or an apology from a rude employee. Alternatively, ask the recipient to suggest a remedy. Thank the recipient for his or her time, then sign the complaint letter.
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