The Complaint Letter
The first thing before you write your letter is to make sure youíre not angry. Donít write a complaint letter while enraged. If you do, good, you got it out of your system. But then throw that angry letter away, wait until you calm down, and try again.
Why? Because the ultimate goal is getting the results you want, right? So the smart thing to do is to keep the letter calm, respectful and factual in order to get what you want.
Writing a flaming email simply makes you come off as a jerk and, worse, may keep the customer service rep from giving you all the help and cooperation you want.
Setting It Up
First, at the top center of the page, put your name and address. Center the text if youíre writing a physical letter so that itíll look like letterhead. Provide a physical address if you ordered and received a physical product; otherwise, your email and phone number are adequate.
Down drop two lines and, aligning your text left, put the date.
Double space again and put the full address of the company. You most likely will not have a personís name. But virtually all businesses have a customer service, customer help or customer relations department. Look at your product literature and find the accurate name of whatever that company calls its customer department. If youíre sending the complaint letter electronically, put the companyís web site address.
Example of Modified-Block Format
Click image below to watch video construction of letter, or copy and paste this URL: http://ewc.umgc.edu/ewc/mvids/complaint_let/complaint_let.html
Next comes the salutation. If you have a personís name, great, use it. But if this is your first correspondence you most likely will not have a name, so the most neutral greeting is: "Dear Sir or Madam." Right away, you are showing respect by using the honorific titles, sir and madam. Avoid the distant-sounding To whom it may concern.
Next comes some critical information: After the abbreviation Re: or the word Subject, put your account number, order number, or tracking number of your purchase. Providing this info will save time by preventing the customer service rep from having to contact you and ask for it. This number is essential for the rep to provide you the service you desire.
The first paragraph should consist of a single sentence that states the facts about your purchase: the date, type of transaction, full identification of the product or service you paid for, and where the purchase was made. Here is a template of the sentence you should write:
Next, in the second paragraph, explain the issue you are havingóthis is your actual complaint. You typically describe the fault, imperfection, or failure of whatever you acquired. The template for this paragraph is:
Your third paragraph states how you want the problem solved. In other words, what you want the company to do. The template for this paragraph is:
In your final paragraph, you sign off with a calm but firm warning that you expect action on your complaint within a reasonable amount of time--or else. Do not threaten legal action at this time. Here is a template for the final paragraph:
Next is the complementary closing and it should always be the single word: "Sincerely."
End with your name and the word Attachments (for digital correspondence) or Enclosures (for physical correspondence) if there are any attachments or enclosures.
Source: Bureau of Consumer Protection