email writing · writing tips

Writing letters/emails – Complaints

This little piece is going to show you how to write a complaint letter or email. These letters should be fun to write, because they often get you results. Plus, simply writing about your anger or disappointment can help you feel better.

mr angry

When Should You Write a Complaint?

Writing a complaint is usually effective when you have a problem but there is nobody to talk to who can solve your problem. Also write a complaint when you’ve finished talking to the employees and manager at an organization, and you still didn’t get what you were deserving or expecting to get.

How to Start

Of course it’s important first of all to find out whom to address your letter or email to. Write in a polite way: Dear Mr. So and So, or Dear Ms Whatever. This will put them in the right mood to read your complaint.

Here are some phrases that you can start with:

I’m not at all happy with the service I’ve been receiving from your company.

I’m greatly disappointed that…

I’m dissatisfied with the way that…

I’m upset by your way of…

I was appalled/shocked by…

The Structure of the Complaint Letter

Your complaint letter should include a main statement about what your complaint is (you can put this in the first paragraph).

You should also write what can be done to solve the complaint. For instance, if you’re dissatisfied with a product that you’ve bought, send it back if this is possible, and ask for a refund. If the problem is a fine that you weren’t supposed to receive, ask for it to be cancelled. If it is about money that you haven’t been paid yet or a product that’s late for delivery, send a reminder.

At the end, thank the recipient of your letter for taking care of the matter.

Checking Back

If you didn’t hear back about your complaint after a reasonable time, it’s perfectly okay to phone to ask whether they’ve received your letter. If they still don’t answer you or give you a negative answer, write again. After that you probably need a lawyer.


Here are some letters as examples:

1)    A complaint about a bad product:

Dear Sir or Lady,

I’m very disappointed with the dress I bought in your internet shop on 12 June 2012. The order number is 919191. Unfortunately, after I had washed the dress and put it on again, the left sleeve came off completely and it tore the back of the dress as well. When I inspected the dress, it seemed that other parts of the cloth are also very thin and will come apart soon.

I buy many clothes at your shop and nothing of the kind has ever happened to me before. The quality of your products is generally excellent.

Hereby, I’m sending the dress back to you, and I expect a refund of 49 Euros debited to my credit card. If you want to contact me about this, my phone number and email are underneath.

Thanks in advance for your assistance.

Yours sincerely,

Happy Closet

54 Fashion St.

London E95QD

Tel: 020-87456545

mr angry

2)   A complaint about a rude employee at an organization:

Dear Mr. Tanzen,

I am upset by the rude and uncomprehending way I was treated by one of your employees today.

I’ve been a patron at the “Aquafine” swimming pool and your parking lot for two years, and have never experienced any trouble.

Here’s what happened: I had just paid for a yearly renewal of my Aquafine subscription which includes free parking at your parking lot. As you know, the arrangement calls for the electronic chip to open both the barrier in the parking lot as well as the one in front of the pool. For the first days, until the chip starts functioning, I’m required to show the payment slip to your staff.

Your employee, who was wearing a tag named Hannah, didn’t want to accept the payment slip as proof that I had paid for another year. She interpreted the date that was written on the slip as the closing date, and told me that my membership had expired. She asked me to go back to the pool reception to ask for another form to show that I had paid. When I said they didn’t have another form, she told me to go back to the swimming pool anyhow.

I reluctantly went back to the swimming pool. The receptionist searched in the computer for more details, but she didn’t find any. “This is the slip that you should show them,” she said. To clarify, she wrote a comment next to the starting date of the membership. She also circled the line where it said: renewal for one year. And she circled the amount that I had paid (which is 950 pounds, clearly a yearly sum).

When I went back to your employee, Hannah, she refused to recognize the handwriting on the slip. In her words, she claimed that “anyone could have written this.” Naturally I was mortified to be accused of lying. Once more, she told me she couldn’t accept the payment slip. I asked her to phone the pool, but she refused and told me to do that myself. When I asked for the manager, she said you weren’t in and she gave me your email address.

The end of it was that I had to go back to the pool for a second time. The receptionist phoned the parking lot and talked to Hannah to persuade her to accept the payment slip. When I went back to the parking lot again, Hannah grumblingly allowed me to leave the parking lot without further charge.

The worst thing is that it took so much time to arrange the parking, that I was late for my lecture which was scheduled at 10 o’clock. You can imagine my feelings when I found 150 students sitting drumming their fingers for their lecture to start.

I’d like you to take steps to ensure that this employee understands that her behaviour and comments were out of line. Additionally, I would like you to apologize for this unpleasant incident. Please make my chip work at the parking lot barrier as soon as possible.

I’d be happy to provide further details about these events; my phone number is 164-646464.

Best regards,

Dr. A. Swimmer

mr angry3

3)   A complaint about a payment not received:

Dear Mr Slow,

I am quite disappointed by your handling of the mistake you’ve made on my phone bills. I’ve phoned your company about it numerous times and every time I was promised that the mistake would be fixed and you’d pay back the excess amount you’ve been charging me for three months already.

My mobile number is 06-879122222. By mistake you’ve been charging me for a new device, whereas I had upgraded from an old device and was told the new device would be free of charge. The employee that I spoke to on the phone has acknowledged the mistake, yet the refund of 16 dollars monthly still has to be forthcoming.

Please send me a refund as soon as possible for the months of May, June and July of this year. The refunded amount will be 48 dollars.

Thank you in advance.

Best regards,

Dennis Talker


I hope you’re finding these examples helpful.
If you want me to show a letter that you’ve written, I’ll be happy to have a look at it and correct it if necessary. I’ve written and edited hundreds if not thousands letters for professional clients. Send your letter to

2 thoughts on “Writing letters/emails – Complaints

  1. I do believe all the ideas you have offered in your post. They are very convincing and can certainly work. Still, the posts are very short for novices. May just you please prolong them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post:


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