Have a Complaint? Then Write a Letter!

Have a Complaint? Then Write a Letter!
  • Opening Intro -

    The days of letter-writing are dead, aren't they? Well, not entirely. One area where letter writing can make a big difference is in the complaint department, as in a consumer complaining about a product.


Whereas your phone call may not get answered or your email just might be ignored, writing a good old-fashioned complaint letter and sending it to the CEO can get results. Read on for some tips on how to craft a winning letter.

1. Type it, if possible. If you own a computer and a printer, then typing your complaint letter is the best approach. If you don’t have the equipment, then carefully printing your letter can be beneficial.

When printing, use an 8.5 x 11 sheet of white paper. Leave one inch borders all around and match that paper with the same color envelope.

2. Just for starters. At the top of your complaint letter include your name on the first line, your address on the second line, and your city, state and zip code on the third line. On the fourth line you may include your phone number and an email address.

Skip two lines and list today’s date. Skip two more lines and list on the following six lines the contact person’s name, his or her title, the company’s name, the company’s division for consumer complaints, the street address and the remaining address information. Skip a line and include a regarding or “re” line that titles your complaint.

3. Your salutation. The main part of your complaint letter is the body and that should be started off with a salutation as in “Dear Mr. Smith.” Always endeavor to get the name of the person that will receive your letter to ensure that it ends up in front of that individual. While “Ladies and Gentlemen” is a proper general salutation, it doesn’t work for complaint letters. An example — Re: Defective coffee maker.

4. Describe your complaint. The body of your complaint letter will describe your problem. Be as specific as possible, including details about the product you bought, where you bought it, the purchase date and a description of the problem. Mention what action you took to resolve the problem, “I visited your customer complaint desk and they were unable to assist me.” Describe how you would like to have the problem resolved as in, “Please refund my money or credit my account.” Politely ask that the problem be corrected; reiterate your phone number or other contact information.

5. Just conclusions. Always end your letter with a “sincerely” followed by your name. If you are enclosing documents, then note that. Never send originals, only copies.

Complaint Letter Considerations

Make sure that your envelope is addressed to the same person and place as listed in your letter. If you want to verify that your letter was received, then take it to the post office and ask for a certified letter, return receipt requested. Finally, if you do not hear back from the company within two weeks, file a complaint with your local Better Business Bureau.

See AlsoConsumer Complaints and How You Can Get Heard


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Categories: Consumer Tips

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".