Complain About Poor Service or a Faulty Product • Example Letters, Guides and Samples
Omit irrelevant details and use firm but respectful language. Communicate facts more than emotions. If this letter does not bring action, assume a stronger but still credible tone in the next one. Send only photocopies of receipts and other documents, and retain all original records.
How to write this complaint letter:
- Tell why it is important that the reader take care of the complaint. Give a full description of your complaint, including relevant dates, verbal exchanges, complete names, actions, amounts, invoice numbers, or previous correspondence.
- State what you expect as a reasonable response. Be firm about any agreed-upon prices, deadlines, guarantees, or services (include copies of such agreements). Assume that your reader will be fair and will take appropriate action, until he or she proves otherwise.
- Close with an expression of confidence or anticipation.
Example Letter #1
Last September we purchased one of your five-gallon water distillers from your Springfield distributor, John Doe. We find now that the holding chamber has a leak where the stainless steel sections come together, and it loses water almost as fast as it distills it.
Since John Doe has moved to another state, I turn to you to honor the lifetime guarantee on this unit. I am returning this part of the distiller for a replacement. Enclosed is a copy of the warranty and my registration number. I understand that I incur no costs with this exchange. I appreciate your service.
Example Letter #2
I have not yet received the refund of $226.98 you promised to send me two weeks ago for the faulty lawn mower. I trust this delay is just an oversight, but I need the refund immediately so I can purchase another machine.
To refresh your memory of the details of my case, I have enclosed copies of my sales receipt and the warranty card. I look forward to receiving the check soon. I need the money by next Monday.
Example Letter #3
The CV joint you recently installed has gone bad in less than two weeks. Since I travel extensively for my work, I need that joint repaired as soon as possible. Your service manager insisted that next Friday is the earliest he can schedule the work. Given that I waited three weeks last time only to have a bad part installed, I think that scheduling the repair work within the next two days is reasonable. I trust that you will agree. I'll call this afternoon to verify the time. Thank you.
Write Your Letter Step-by-Step
1 Tell why it is important that the reader take care of the complaint. Give a full description of your complaint, including relevant dates, verbal exchanges, complete names, actions, amounts, invoice numbers, or previous correspondence.
Sample Sentences for Step 1
- It has been over thirty days since I placed an order for new tires, but I have not received confirmation of a shipping date. It is important that I know the status of my order, so I can plan for servicing my fleet.
- I regret that I must write about the way your receptionist treated my assistant when he delivered the contracts. As he attempted to hand the receptionist the bundle, she said, "Hold your horses sweetie; you're not the only one in this room!" When my assistant attempted to explain what he was doing, she said, "I don't care if you're King of England! I'm busy!" A good working relationship is placed in jeopardy by such unprofessional behavior.
- I am very dissatisfied with the performance of my newly assigned caseworker. It was my understanding that we would meet weekly to review my progress, but I have only seen him once in the last five weeks.
- I was surprised when my son returned home and informed me that you had charged him the full amount for his new rifle after you had assured me that he would receive a 10% discount.
- I regret that I must call your attention to the faulty workmanship on the hinges of the chest I purchased last week at your showroom outlet. The enclosed documents show that the warranty on the chest covers faulty workmanship and materials.
Since the warranty is good for only one week following the purchase, I am also enclosing a copy of the receipt dated May 25, just three days ago.
- Even though you assured me that you would send a refund by June 1, I have not received it. I have now purchased another model and need the money immediately to cover the payment. I feel that I am entitled to a full refund plus the interest that has accrued on my credit card.
- We have always enjoyed our association with your firm, so we were shocked at the callous treatment we received from your sales representative last Thursday. During our negotiations she used extremely offensive language. Her behavior places our working relationship with your firm at risk.
- I know that you strive for customer satisfaction, so I think you should know about the rude behavior your new employee exhibited last Saturday. When we asked whether we could exchange some merchandise, he said he didn't know, and walked away. My wife thought there had been a misunderstanding, so she approached him again with the same question. He repeated the same words with a smirk and walked away again. It was not the kind of service we have come to expect from your company.
- After several attempts to resolve this problem by phone, I am writing to get my account straightened out. I am enclosing copies of cancelled checks that verify every payment I made in September.
- We are having continual problems with the dishwasher we bought from you on November 15. Currently, the dry cycle does not work. It is difficult for us to fulfill our obligations when the equipment we count on does not function.
- In your last letter you stated that you would notify us by September 15 whether we could move into the apartment on October 1. It is now September 24, and we need to know immediately.
- I am writing to inform you that the cabinet I purchased on May 5, was delivered with a deep scratch on the door.
- I notice from my last credit card statement that you have billed me twice for the same purchase of June 30.
Sample Phrases for Step 1
- after several attempts
- after you had assured me
- am not accustomed to
- are having continual problems with
- as you strive for customer satisfaction
- billed me twice for the same
- even though you assured me
- faulty workmanship on the
- feel that I am entitled to
- has not returned my
- have come to expect
- have not yet received
- have received no confirmation of
- is important that you
- is appalling that
- is placed in jeopardy when
- it was my understanding that
- must write about the way
- must call your attention to
- need to call your attention to
- need to inform you
- places our working relationship at risk
- regret that I must
- the performance of the
- the appalling behavior of
- the unacceptable behavior of
- the latest problem occurred when
- think you need to know
- this intolerable behavior has
- this situation warrants
- was appalled by
- were shocked at the
2 State what you expect as a reasonable response. Be firm about any agreed-upon prices, deadlines, guarantees, or services (include copies of such agreements). Assume that your reader will be fair and will take appropriate action, until he or she proves otherwise.
Sample Sentences for Step 2
- I suspect that this comes to you as a surprise, and that you will surely take measures to assure that customers are treated with more courtesy in the future. This employee is not serving the best interests of your store by having such an evasive and unresponsive attitude.
- Since the warranty is still in force, would you please either send a service representative to correct the problem or provide us with a new machine. I am trusting in your advertising that promises service within 24 hours.
- You will recall that we were considering the Doe model. Because you had made a special purchase, you were willing to sell it at a discount.
- I trust that you will let me know immediately so we can make other plans if necessary.
- I want to return the washer for the full refund your company guarantees. You may pick it up any weekday from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. Please call to confirm a time.
- Please have your delivery crew pick it up and exchange it for one that is not damaged. They may call during work hours any day except Saturday.
- Kindly credit my account with the amount that you have overcharged me. The credit card reference numbers appear on the enclosed photocopy.
Sample Phrases for Step 2
- am entitled to a full refund
- as a valued customer
- as I had indicated
- as your company guarantees
- as the contract states
- as it states on the invoice
- credit my account with
- exchange it for one that is not damaged
- expect to receive my money back
- expect to be treated with courtesy
- have fulfilled my obligation
- have included a copy of
- in the future, kindly
- kindly credit my
- may come to you as a surprise
- please call to confirm a time
- provide a new machine
- reference numbers appear on
- request a full investigation
- request that you honor your advertised promise to
- send a service representative to
- should refund my
- take appropriate measures to ensure that
- the agreed-upon price was
- the guarantee states that
- trust that you will be fair
- trust that you will let me know
- want a full refund of
- will take appropriate action
3 Close with an expression of confidence or anticipation.
Sample Sentences for Step 3
- Since the agreed-upon price was $297.00, I trust that there was a clerical error and that you will refund him the difference. Please send him a check or credit his account with that amount, since he plans to make other purchases.
- We have relied on your service for the past five years, and we trust that this relationship can continue.
- I felt that if I brought this problem to your personal attention you would see that it was resolved.
- I hope we can regain the confidence that we once had in your product.
- You have been so responsive to our needs in the past that I am confident you will handle this case well.
- I trust that you will take care of this situation immediately.
- I believe this problem must be distressing to you, too, and I trust you will notify us by June 1 what action has been taken.
- Unless we receive a suitable response by October 15, we will cancel our account with your firm.
- If you do not respond by August 15, we will refer the matter to our legal counsel.
- I will refer this matter to the Environmental Protection Agency unless you take appropriate action by July 3.
- I trust that you can resolve this problem without my having to refer it to the company president.
Sample Phrases for Step 3
- always have my support
- am confident that this too will
- am aware that problems do occur
- appreciate your position
- bring this to your personal attention
- credit his account with
- give your personal attention to
- have confidence in your
- have been so responsive in the past
- have not hesitated to
- have relied on your service
- hope we can maintain
- if we don't hear from you by
- loyal customer for the past
- maintain our professional relationship
- must be distressing for you too
- regain the confidence that
- responsive to our needs
- take corrective action
- trust that you will
- was a simple error
- was no doubt a clerical error
- will take appropriate action