How to Write a Complaint Letter

Definition of a Complaint Letter

A complaint letter is a type of letter that is composed in order to address wrong doing, grievance, offense, or resentment arising out of a product or service. Everyone should know how to write an effective complaint letter correctly, as this is one of the ways to protect their rights and freedoms. We will talk about how to write a complaint letter to any government agency or organization in this article.

how to write a complaint letter

How to Write a Grievance Letter to an Organization or the Authorities

How to make a complaint letter to an organization? The legislator does not establish a special form for writing complaint letters, including when submitting them to state and municipal authorities. However, there are general requirements for the format of letters of this kind that should be followed when conducting business correspondence:

  1. When writing a complaint letter, you should not use obscene expressions, slang, or offensive words to anyone. Appeals that do not meet the requirements may be left without consideration. In addition, they deprive the sender of the right to invoke the observance of the pretrial dispute settlement procedure.
  2. The text should be concise and accurate. You should not stretch your complaint over several sheets: describe the situation as concisely as possible, focusing only on those points that are really important for a correct assessment of what happened. Do not use expressions in your speech that can be interpreted in various ways, that have a figurative meaning, etc. All data essential for the consideration of a dispute must be reliable (dates, numbers, addresses, etc.).
  3. Carefully keep track of whom you are addressing in your complaint. This may be the head of the department, organization, or supervisory authority. Not only does the promptness of the consideration of the complaint depend on the choice of the addressee, but also the quality. In addition, one should not forget that the tacit priority principle is always in operation. This means that, for example, it is not necessary to complain about the seller right to the director of the distribution network – it will be enough to send a complaint letter to the administrator or manager of the store.
  4. Pay attention to literacy and follow the rules of syntax and punctuation. Literate speech is one of the most important conditions for conducting business correspondence.

How to Start a Complaint Letter

Before you write a complaint letter, remember that all of your actions have consequences, and complaints, as a rule, are not anonymous. If the complaint is really worthwhile, then go ahead, but if there are other options, it is better to consider them all.

For example, the threat of writing a complaint often has a far greater impact than the act of writing it. This is especially true for various institutions or points of service, where there is a mandatory complaint book. If someone decides to write a complaint in it, a check will be conducted, for example, from state control, and the institution will have problems. That is why a complaint is a universal means for manipulation, even when it is not yet written.

How to Make a Formal Letter of Complaint – Main Points

How to make a professional complaint letter? First of all, it must be remembered that, depending on how the complaint letter is written, it can produce either a strong or a weak effect. A poorly written complaint letter can, on the contrary, harm you. So, we want to present the points that you should pay attention to.

  • Presentation style

All complaint letters are written exclusively in the official business style, which is characterized by its inherent features.

  • Lack of emotion

If you are going to write a complaint letter, remember that in this case the first rule is the same as in writing negative things: emotions should not slip in the text. More than half of the people who write complaints pour all their anger, all their experiences and frustrated feelings in them. Emotions here are not only inappropriate, but they can also hurt.

  • Only arguments and facts

The more arguments there are in the complaint letter, the stronger the effect will be. However, no one needs a large amount of unnecessary words, and it is very annoying to those who read dozens of these complaints every day.

When starting to write a complaint letter, remember that it will be read by a person who does not care about your problems. That is why it is extremely important to show via objective reasoning that your complaint letter is not just a tearful paper with scribbles.

  • Minor nuances

Make sure that your complaint letter does not have grammatical or punctuation errors. They greatly spoil the impression and reduce its entire effect to nothing.

Complaint Letter  Sample

Let’s look at how to write a complaint letter example. You can take this typical sample as a template and write your own letter of complaint in the easiest way. We present it to show you how a complaint letter can look in practice, and not just to give you tips on writing it. With a sample, you can write an effective letter of complaint that will work.

Click on the images to see them in a full size.

how to write a formal complaint letter

how to end a complaint letter

How to Write a Complaint Email From a Group of People

How to write a letter of disappointment from a group of people? If the situation violates not only your personal rights, but also the rights of other citizens, for example, your neighbors, then all victims can unite and write a collective complaint letter. A collective complaint letter is any complaint letter in which the claims are expressed not by one, but by several people whose rights have been violated in one (general) situation.

The pattern of writing a collective complaint letter is not much different from the pattern for writing a complaint letter by one person. The only difference is that the collective complaint letter should reflect the general opinion of all citizens on a single issue, and also describe everything that happened to each of the victims.

After the complaint letter has been written, all the persons indicated in the collective complaint must put personal signatures, which will act as confirmation of their agreement with the circumstances stated in the complaint. Show that it has real weight. To do this, you need to include arguments, presenting them in the direction you want.

For example, you can take the following phrases:

– That leads to …
– That is discrediting …
– That negatively affects …
– That is a threat to …

  • Effective volume

When starting to write a complaint letter, remember that the more volume it has, the less likely it is that it will be read until the end. At best, it will simply be viewed. Therefore, try to convey the basic facts in the most concise manner.

At the same time, a short complaint letter without objective justification will also not have any effect. That is why neither in the first nor in the second case should you violate the balance of the volume.

  • Clearly defined requirements

A complaint letter must have specific requirements. Even if you simply bring to the attention of the store management the fact of a cashier’s boorish attitude toward you, and do not make special requirements, then in such a case there is a universal requirement that is suitable for writing 80% of complaints: Please take appropriate measures.

  • References in the complaint letter

It doesn’t matter to whom you would have to write a complaint letter; remember that the final decision is finally taken by the correspondent. But the bureaucratic apparatus is constructed in such a way that for the most part the decision is not adopted in the majority of instances, as it must be based on certain normative acts.

Now imagine two situations:

  1. You write just a complaint letter.
  2. You write a complaint letter referring to clauses of, for example, the code of administrative offenses.

In the first case, the person in charge who reads your complaint letter should fit your arguments under the law. To do this, he or she needs to think, maybe even look in the directory, if he or she wants to do this.

In the second case, you do all the work yourself. It means that the responsible person can only sign the resolution, because everything is logical, everything is according to the law, and this removes all responsibility from him or her.

How to Write a Formal Complaint Letter – What You Should Know

Most importantly – and what can never be forgotten – do not forget to keep a second copy of the complaint letter. It should also be said here that if you file a complaint in person, that is, independently send it to the receptionist of an official or organization, then a note should be left on your copy of when and who accepted your claim.

This is necessary for two reasons: first, from this date, the deadline for response will be counted; secondly, it serves as a direct confirmation of the fact of the claim receipt by the addressee. If you send a complaint letter by mail, then you need to keep a receipt for sending the letter or wait until you return the notification of its delivery.

The next thing to know is the time it takes to respond to a complaint letter. It depends on who you are filing a complaint with and in relation to which violation. If the complaint touches the consumer protection law (for example, if you bought a substandard product and sent a complaint to the seller), the period for responding to the complaint can be 10 days. If you apply to state or local authorities, the answer may be given no later than 30 days after receiving the letter.

In the case when there is no specific time limit for responding to a complaint letter, you can set any that you consider reasonable and acceptable. As a rule, the response to the complaint is asked to be given within 10 days from the date of its receipt.

The answer should contain information not only on which solution of the dispute is offered by the counterparty, but also on when he or she is ready to implement the proposal (or refusal to fulfill the requirements of the victim and the rationale for the reasons for such refusal).

how to write a complaint email

How to Write a Complaint Letter to a Company

Where can a complaint be sent to within a company? This topic is relevant for many people because of the numerous and often systematic violations by the managers. Therefore, we propose to understand how and to whom you can complain in a company in case such a need arises.

The complaint letter against the company is made in a general form. As in any complaint letter, there is a headline which states the authority where the appeal is sent, and the name and surname of the applicant. In addition to this, it is useful to indicate the phone number where you can be contacted later. Further, you should describe the essence of the problem.

In the main part of your complaint letter, you need to indicate which violations were done by the company, and in which obligations were not fulfilled. For example, if the company does not take out the garbage, then it is necessary to write that for a certain period of time (or from a certain date) the garbage was not carried out from the containers located near your house (specifying the exact address of your house). Then you need to specify that this fact is a violation of the contract concluded with the Management Company, so you are asking to eliminate the violations detected in a certain period.

If you are offended or your rights are violated, then the universal way out is to write a complaint letter and do it right. This article contains the main recommendations and an example of a complaint letter. However, if you have any questions, you can feel free to ask them in the comments. Also, you can find more guides presented on our blog for writing other types of letters.