A complaint letter serves as a permanent record of your grievance with an individual or organization. A well-written letter clearly states the problem you have encountered with a particular product or service and the expected resolution. When writing your letter, adopt a calm and professional tone. Avoid any threats, undignified rants, sarcasm or inappropriate language. In most cases, you are writing a letter to an individual who was not responsible for your problem, but he can be helpful in resolving it.

Address your letter to a specific person. Do not use "Dear Sir" or "To Whom It may Concern." Telephone the company switchboard and ask for the name and title of the appropriate manager. Confirm the correct spelling of her name. If you cannot identify a name, use an appropriate title such as "Customer Service Manager."

Use pen and paper or the draft version of your word processing program to record all the details pertinent to your complaint. Include information such as the product name and description, order number, brand name, model number, price and date of purchase. Photocopy all documents relating to your complaint. Reread all the information and ensure that your complaint is legitimate.

Begin the letter on a positive note. Use the first paragraph to discuss some positive aspects of the organization. For example, you can mention your loyalty to the brand name or any specific dealings with company personnel. For example, "In the past, I have enjoyed visiting your store. Many of the sales associates greet me by name and go out of their way to ensure that I am satisfied with my purchases."

State the nature of your complaint in the second paragraph. Include all the details that the reader needs to know in order to process your complaint. For example, "Under the conditions of my 30-day guarantee, I am returning the monitor I purchased on March 7, 2011, for $373.89. Enclosed is a photocopy of the receipt." Do not send original copies of receipts or other documents.

Use the third paragraph to clearly state your expectations. For example, "Since the toaster does not perform as indicated by the manufacturer, I expect a full and immediate refund of $47.83 plus the postage I paid for return of the toaster. I will wait four weeks for your response. If I do not hear from you, I will contact the Better Business Bureau."

Tip

  • Include your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. Write short paragraphs and keep the length of the letter to one page. Ask a trusted friend or relative to proofread your letter. In addition to checking spelling and grammatical errors, she must ensure that the tone of the letter is appropriate.