How to Write and File an Effective Complaint and Get the Result?

Here you will find specific Sample Letters of Complaint, but there are things you should consider when writing any kind of complaint.

1) At the top of the letter in the "FROM:" section,

- clearly identify yourself,

- provide your account number with the Company,

- give some contact information, so the Company can contact you.

If the Company you are writing to cannot identify you in their system (or database) as a customer or has no way of contacting you, the prospects of you getting what you want are questionable at best.

2) Next, in the "TO:" section of the letter,

- make sure you have the correct address for the Company. The address on their invoice might be different from Company's mailing address,
- address the letter to the highest executive in the Company you can find (Owner, CEO, VP of Operations, Director of HR, and so on).

Yes, the highest executive will most likely never read your letter, but it is his or her problem. You wrote to them to let them know about your complaint. If they made a choice not to read it - it is up to them.

By addressing the letter to the highest executive, you will avoid "I knew nothing about it. If only I knew..." nonsense.

3) Summarize your complaint in the "RE:" section.

Drop all irrelevant details - imagine you have 10-15 word limit. State your name, account number (with the Company) and desirable outcome from your complaint. This will allow the reader to get a summary of your complaint without reading the whole thing. This is very important when your complaint is going onto the desk of a customer service rep who is under time constraint. They need to quickly understand what is going on and whether they need to do something on the spot, or escalate the issue.

4) Consider using Certified Mail from USPS or some other form of proof of mailing and delivery confirmation.

Certified Mail will cost a few dollars more than regular mail, but if the amount of controversy is sufficient, Certified Mail will serve as a Proof Of Mailing and will eliminate all misunderstandings down the road. It is very easy for the Company to brush you off if they know you won't be able to prove you've ever mailed your complaint.

5) In the "BODY" of your complaint clearly state why you are writing this letter AND briefly describe what happened.

"Clearly" and "Briefly" are keywords here. Most customer service reps are under time pressure. They might only have 3 to 5 minutes to resolve a complaint. These poor people may be punished if they process less than 20 complaints per hour. If your letter takes 20 minutes to read and it is heavy on your emotions but light on facts and clarity, no one will take the time to read it. You get the picture.

6) State the desired outcome - be very clear

7) Describe next steps you are prepared to take if the problem is not solved.

For example, writing to a Company regulator, contacting Attorney General, filing a complaint with the licensing board/Better Business Bureau, or hiring an attorney.

8) Set a deadline for the resolution - create some urgency.

Ten days is usually long enough to resolve a complaint.

If you give them forever to work on this, they will take forever to work on this.

9) Include copies of all relevant documents, if any. Keep the originals.

10) Thank them for looking into this matter.

Be nice and leave the door open for further discussions.

Please keep this in mind when writing a complaint letter:

When a Company representative gets a complaint from a customer, there is only ONE main question a Company rep must answer: does this customer present any danger to our business, or is he/she just blowing off some steam?

Every time there are things like "I am frustrated", " I am quite disappointed!", "I expected more from you!", "I could not sleep", it is a clear indication that a consumer is talking purely about his/her emotions, and as soon as emotions are gone (probably next morning), this consumer will forget all about it and will not take any further actions.  You do not want to be in this category. 

However, every time there is a well-structured non-emotional complaint, with clear demand, deadline, consequences for not complying, and such, the opponent will understand that it could hurt the business.

These complaints usually get the attention of the decision maker and, ultimately,  get resolved.

You want your complaint to be noticed and resolved, right?

Below please find some pre-written templates to help you out.

Good luck and make sure to come back and File a Complaint on Pissed Consumer, if you don't get what you wanted fast enough.


Samples of Complaint Letters

Sample of Complaint About Service

Sample of Complaint Letter About Product

Sample Complaint About Service Contract

Sample of Complaint About Hotels

Sample of Complaint About Harassment

Sample of Complaint About Insurance

Sample of Complaint About a Billing Error

Airline Complaint Letter Sample

Apartment Noise Complaint Letter Sample

Sample of Complaint Letter to Employer

Sample of Complaint Letter to EEOC

Sample of Hostile Work Environment Letter

Sample Letter of Complaint against Supervisor

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