Formal Letter of Complaint Example: Be as constructive and positive as you can, for best results

| March 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

To have arrived at the point where you are willing to use your precious and valuable time in writing a letter of complaint, you are probably very angry indeed about what you perceive to be very poor service.  Maybe even furious.  But keep in mind that furious doesn’t get the job done.  You need to be concise; professional; stick to the facts; constructive, positive and friendly, if you want to achieve maximum effect with your Letter of complaint.

Acting in an aggressive or confrontational manner immediately puts someone on the defensive. Your letter should encourage them to respond positively to the complaint, to want to be helpful, and so to merit your approval!

It’s a positive outcome that you are interested in.  If you want the results, this formula is the most likely to achieve them.   These are the best rules to follow when writing a letter of complaint –

Be Concise – A concise letter of complaint must make its major point in less than five seconds!  Vague and rambling letters will not be read properly.  Once you have engaged the reader’s attention there is a better chance that the rest of the letter will be read carefully.

Be Professional – letters that are written in a professional manner are more authoritative and are therefore taken more seriously

Be factual – Set out the relevant facts and details, with any Case Reference numbers and dates, to enable the reader to immediately identify the problem

Be Constructive – make positive statements, suggest positive actions. A decision will made faster

Be Friendly – a considerate, and cooperative approach is very likely to give you priority in the queue, because people will respond positively, and in the same spirit of cooperation will want to help

Structuring the letter is important.  Below we have given you an example that you can use as a model, to develop your own formal letter of complaint.

Don’t be aggressive – be positive where you can with your formal letter of complaint

Use the business letter format.  Your address and email address on the top left hand side, followed by the date and your employer’s name and address.

The complete example of our Formal Letter of Complaint

12 New Kings Road
Moon Valley, Ontario
SW3 458 / Tel. 123-90876

June 10, 2011

Mr T F Rainier
Head of Food Transportation
120 Williams Avenue
Moon Valley, Ontario
NW1 890
Dear Mr Rainier
Re: Food deliveries Nos. 5672 and 1289 to 7th Floor, 12 New Kings Road Moon Valley, Ontario, SW3 458, on 15 May and 1 June 2011

I wish to file a complaint regarding the content and state of the two abovementioned deliveries.  One third of the items had not been on my order list, and raw, packaged meat was packed alongside detergent and cleansing fluids.  In addition, the frozen food was not packed in separate containers, but in the same bags as other raw food items.

I am 70 years old and somewhat frail.  Carrying shopping bags has become too difficult in recent years, and I have come to depend very much on Ocado for these food deliveries, twice a month.   I have always regarded your organization as very professional, and this service to be excellent. I know that these problems must have occurred because you were introducing new systems or processes, and I have every confidence that you will do what you can to rectify this situation.

I have appended a list of the items I did not order on those two occasions, and would appreciate it if you would reimburse me for those by the end of the month.

I look forward to hearing from you, Mr Rainier, by June 20th, with an assurance that you have resolved this matter.


(Your Signature)

Alice Mountbatten

More ideas for your Formal Letter of Complaint

  • Outline what you have done to attempt to fix the problem prior to writing the formal letter of complaint. This might include contacting various departments within the company or leaving phone messages. Do not worry if you are repeating information. Outlining the time line of events is very important.
  • Structure your letter so that you include a heading – which identifies the issue and name of the product or service, person and location.  Include any code or reference number that might have been on the letter/packing slip.
  • Then state the simple facts, with relevant details. If the situation is very complex with a lot of history, keep the letter itself very short and concise, and then attach the details in an appendix, in whatever format is appropriate (photocopies, written notes, photos etc). This enables the reader of the letter to understand the main point of the complaint, and then to process it, without having to read twenty pages of history and detail.
  • Even if you are very angry, it is always important to make a positive, complimentary comment. It will make the reader and the organization more inclined to want to make a positive impression on you, and help turn this problem around.
  • Complaints are best resolved if you take the view that it’s nobody’s fault in particular. Attaching blame causes defensiveness – the barriers go up and conflict develops.
  • Give a specific call to action. Say exactly what you want to happen. For example, if you were sent a defective product, let the company know that you would like a replacement product. Make  a positive request for the reader to react to.
  • State your contact information again in the final paragraph and ask the person or company to contact you within a certain time regarding an update or more information on the matter. End by signing your name.

Download This Letter Example

Category: Letter of Complaint Examples for Dissatisfaction

About the Author ()

Melanie Walters is a writer and editor for several businesses both online and offline. Her experience with writing business letters and marketing materials has helped her understand exactly what works in written communication for businesses. In the 10 years she's been writing, Melanie has amassed a large collection of letter examples that she gladly shares with you here on Letter Example

Leave a Reply