How To Write A Complaint Letter


How To Write A Complaint Letter

Complaint letter is a type of letter which is written when something wrong or bothersome is required to be brought to people’s attention. Therefore, it is very important to follow a set of guidelines to make sure that this letter points out the issue or problem at hand without sounding whiny and childish. The letters that this write-up talks about are not specific to any domain or industry; these can be written by people, institutions and even organizations. Be it a newspaper article that has hurt your feelings or a Government plan that you don’t approve of or even an event that you don’t think is being conducted in the right manner, complaint letters can cover a plethora of issues. Not only that, such letters can be both closed and open; while a closed letter is available only to the addressee, an open letter is addressed to one person but is presented via such a medium that is open for all. Common examples of open letters can be found on internet blogs and newspaper editorials etc. These are often addressed to people in power like the president or prime-minister etc. Irrespective of the addressee, however, such letters have an etiquette that must be known and followed by all. The following section sheds some light on how to write a complaint letter.

Tips On Writing A Complaint Letter

    • Clearly mention the facts explaining the reason of writing the letter.
    • Explicate the problems which you are undergoing and mention the names of the people involved. Make sure you have sufficient proof for naming these people or else this letter and the underlying accusations might just backfire.
    • Always stick to the point and mention the problems openly and truthfully. Do not talk about your assumptions in the beginning of the letter; there would be ample time in the second half of the letter for that.
    • Understand that you are complaining to the addressee because s/he is in a position to help you so don’t get informal; maintain the professionalism and make sure that your letter is error-free.
    • After mentioning the issue/problem, write about all that you have done so far to deal with the problem at your end. This would convey your commitment to the people you are writing to.
    • Follow up the explanation of the problem and your efforts so far with a possible course of action that can be taken to deal with the issue. Try being realistic here as the recipients may not be as vindictive as you are.
    • Do not use very complex language in framing this letter. Just like every other letter, even a complaint letter must be kept very simple, precise and appropriately descriptive.
    • Always sum up your complaint letter with a very formal “Sincerely” or “Yours Sincerely” followed by your name, contact number and other details relevant to get back to you when the complaint is acted upon.

Preparations Preceding A Complaint Letter

    • Before writing a complaint letter, ensure that you have the appropriate facts for complaining.
    • Edit the letter after writing and also use spellchecker to make your complaint letter error-free.
    • Keep one copy of the complaint letter for your records.
    • If you don’t get a positive response then write another letter by putting emphasis on your subject in a firmer tone or write to some other senior person in that particular department or the organization.

Example 1

Mr. Rajesh Narula
Project Manager
XYZ Company Limited, New Delhi
Email ID:

Mr. Akash Mehra
XYZ Company Limited, New Delhi
8th November, 2011

Subject: Poor Facilities

Dear Mr. Mehra,

This is to inform you about the inconvenience faced by the employees because of poor working conditions. Our repeated verbal complaints about the inadequate air conditioning units in our Department have yielded no results. I am sure you can understand how this can affect the work productivity of the team.

I request you to kindly look into the problem immediately and take suitable action.

Thanking You
Yours Sincerely
Rajesh Narula

Example 2

The Dean,
Academic Department,
International University of Information Security Management,
United States of America.

Subject: Complaint regarding non-availability of pilot journals in the library

Hello Sir,

I am a research scholar of the Information Security Management faculty in your university. It has been four months since the commencement of the course and till now we have none of the pilot research journals available in our international library. It was notified at the beginning of the course that some of the pilot journals may not be available due to some renovation work going on at the library journal section. But most of them were supposed to be replaced by their recent issues.

However, till date, there has been no such replenishment of the library stock and the management journal section still lacks the basic amenities required for the successful completion of our course. All our requests to the library in-charge have been in vain so far. It would be great if you could look into the matter and consider our appeal as early as possible.

Thanking You
Yours Truly

Above mentioned were examples of two closed letters i.e. letters meant only for the recipient’s eyes. However, there are instances when a newspaper or a weekly carries an article that hurts our religious sentiments or other beliefs. In such a case, you can address the letter to the editor-in-chief of the journal/newspaper in question and state your issue clearly. You can follow this up with explaining how and why you feel let down. The same format can be followed against certain Government policies that you do not approve of. You can address the letter to the president, prime-minister,cChief minister, governor or even the senator of your constituency, depending upon the issue and the legislative hierarchy of your country. All such letters can be signed off as written by “A concerned citizen”, if you want them to be anonymous. However, if you have no such qualms, then you can provide all the details you require. These were the basic guidelines for writing complaint letters. Hope they helped.