How to Write a Complaint Letter

Complaint letters can be effective ways to resolve issues pertaining to bad products or services and learning how to write a complaint letter that gets attention and results will help. Complaint letters can also be the basis of future legal action if that becomes necessary. People who take the time to craft a complaint letter show the company in question that they are serious about wanting to resolve a problem rather than just complaining about the bad product or service to others. Giving the company a chance to rectify the situation may actually resolve any hard feelings.

Writing a Complaint Letter

Write down the events soon after they happen

If a company or employee acts in a manner that prompts a complaint letter, writing down the facts of the event when they are fresh prevents the information from getting lost. Trying to write the facts from an objective, third party stance might even help put the events into more perspective.

Identify to whom the letter should be sent: Many companies have customer service agents who handle written complaints which arrive through the Internet or via mail. Of course, letters can also be sent directly to managers or owners. Names and addresses of whom to contact can often be found online. If that doesn’t work, a local library will most likely have copies of specific reference manuals that contain businesses corporate address information and their officers. Two such publications are:

  • Standard & Poor’s Register of CorporationsDirectors and Executives
  • Thomas Register of American Manufacturers

Write the letter

Companies take written complaints much more seriously than verbal ones. Anyone can complain but sitting down and penning a letter of complaint often means that the person is truly dissatisfied. Some specific information should be included in the letter:

  • The complaint letter should be kept simple and to the point.
  • Keep the language of the letter neutral. Rants or curses in a letter are not necessary and will most likely not get a favorable response.
  • Explain the situation using the notes compiled after the event occurred.
  • Include information about the purchase such as time, date, and store where the purchase occurred or include information about the service requested.
  • Include specific product information such as serial and model number, if necessary.
  • Include contact information such as name, address and phone number for further communication to resolve the issue.
  • Explain how the company should resolve the situation. If the requests are reasonable, they will most likely make every effort to help.
  • Give the company adequate time for acknowledging and rectifying the situation and before attempting any other means of recompense.
  • Make copies of receipts or warranty information to send along with the complaint letter. If the letter is being sent through email then this paper work can be scanned and sent as an attachment or scanned and added directly to the body of the email.

Beyond the Complaint Letter

A complaint letter is an opportunity to tell a company where they may have problems with their services or products. However, not all companies see complaints in this way and may not act on them. Consequently, learning how to write a complaint letter may not completely solve the problem. Some companies may still refuse to settle a customer dispute. In this case, the next step would be to contact the Better Business Bureau or any trade association that the company belongs to. Another option would be to contact the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau.

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