Respond to a Complaint — Letter-Writing Tutorial


Use a polite, understanding tone. Don't argue. Even if you do not agree with the complaint, and can do nothing about it, a considerate response will often help soothe an irate client.


1. If you agree that the complaint is justified (even if only in part), say so, and express your desire to correct the problem. If you do not agree with the complaint, politely thank the writer for bringing the problem to your attention.


  • We are sorry to hear of your dissatisfaction with your new hair dryer. We make every effort to be fair in the replacement or repair of defective merchandise in accordance with the terms of our limited warranty.
  • I fully understand your frustration at not receiving the shipment by June 30.
  • You are justified in being upset that no one has responded to your letter of April 1. Our customers deserve better.
  • Thank you for writing about the problem you are having with the new engine. I believe we can easily resolve the matter.
  • Thank you for your courteous letter explaining the problem you had with our salesperson.
  • Thank you for calling our attention to the damage that your speakers received during shipment. It is important to us that such problems are reported promptly so we can correct them.
  • Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. Let's get together on Monday to discuss a solution.
  • I appreciate your bringing this to my attention before the problem got out of hand.
  • I am sorry that you had to write about the problem. I had hoped to resolve it last week.
  • Thanks for caring enough to point out what is happening in the front office. I appreciate your informing me of the problem.
  • You are absolutely right in your assessment. Thanks for being so observant.
  • I am sorry that our misunderstanding has caused you so much concern and am glad that I now have a chance to set the record straight.
  • I am sorry for the oversight. Please drop in, and I will be happy to honor the 10% discount agreement.
  • I understand your impatience regarding the list of final candidates.


  • always want to know
  • appreciate your bringing this
  • appreciate your candidness
  • appreciate your patience
  • are absolutely right in your assessment
  • are indebted to you for
  • areas which need improvement
  • before the problem got out of hand
  • appreciate being made aware of
  • bringing this issue to our attention
  • calling our attention to
  • caring enough to point out
  • certainly understand your
  • to discuss an effective solution
  • was disturbed to hear of
  • fully understand your frustration
  • have every right to
  • was not aware of the
  • is important that such problems are reported promptly
  • will direct our attention to
  • is important to us
  • are quite justified in being upset
  • make every effort to
  • our customers deserve better
  • owe you our deepest apologies
  • wish to set the record straight
  • am sorry that you had to write about
  • are sorry that our misunderstanding has caused
  • was sorry to hear of
  • sorry for the oversight
  • thank you for
  • for telling us about
  • for letting us know
  • for your courteous letter
  • for your suggestions
  • for bringing this matter to our attention
  • for directing our attention to
  • for informing us of
  • for taking the time to
  • for writing about
  • for caring enough to
  • understand your dissatisfaction with

2. Explain what you have done or plan to do to resolve the complaint, or explain why you are unable to resolve it.


  • Upon reviewing your claim, I found several factors that contributed to the conditions noted on your claim. The most serious was that the dryer had been damaged by a severe impact after it had been installed. The warranty covers defects that arise in normal use, but not from abuse.
  • When the engine responds in the way you describe, it is because the oil and gasoline mixture is not correct. If you follow the instructions on page 4 of your user's manual, the problem should disappear.
  • We are sorry, but we no longer make the 2GS model. The machine you purchased is not covered by the same warranty as the newer digital models
  • We would be happy to either replace the clock, give you a full refund, or credit your account with the amount of the purchase. Please let us know by mail or telephone which of these options you prefer.
  • You can be assured that I will handle the problem immediately. This issue should not come up again.
  • Beginning tomorrow, we will instruct our staff to use the parking lot at the south end of the building.
  • I plan to personally visit the site to determine who is best suited to take his place.
  • If you will return the merchandise with the receipt, we will be happy to refund your money or credit your account.
  • Please drop in with your receipt, and I will refund the 10% as we agreed.
  • Because the clock was not under warranty, we really cannot accept responsibility for its failure.
  • I am sorry to report that we do not have the resources to handle your problem in this office. We recommend that you turn to your local retail office.
  • Our service representative makes calls every weekday. He will call for an appointment on Monday and then determine whether the machine requires only minor adjustments. Otherwise, we will replace it without charge.
  • You will hear from me as soon as I receive the documents.
  • The committee will meet next Wednesday to determine who the final candidates will be. You will receive a letter soon after that informing you of their decision.
  • We regret to inform you that the warranty on the vacuum expired one year ago.


  • am sorry to report that
  • are completely willing to
  • are sorry, but we no longer
  • are unable to resolve this problem
  • as we agreed
  • as a result of this finding
  • was no longer under warranty
  • cannot resolve this problem now
  • cannot accept responsibility for
  • committee will meet to determine
  • do not have the resources to
  • warranty has expired
  • will give you a full refund
  • have no control over
  • if you prefer
  • if you will return the merchandise with the receipt
  • will inform you of their decision
  • may rest assured that
  • much to our dismay
  • credit your account with
  • our staff will be instructed to
  • out of our jurisdiction
  • with your receipt
  • recommend that you consult
  • regret we are unable to
  • sorry that we cannot
  • have taken the liberty of
  • this issue should not come up again
  • upon reviewing your claim
  • warranty does not cover
  • which of these options you prefer
  • will be resolved immediately
  • have acted on your
  • will replace it without charge
  • will handle the problem immediately
  • will hear from me as soon as
  • will personally attend to

3. Close with an expression of good will.


  • I am very sorry for the inconvenience that this mix-up has caused. We value your business and good will.
  • Please let us know if this will be satisfactory.
  • We apologize for the misunderstanding and look forward to serving you for many years to come.
  • We are sorry for any inconvenience we may have caused you and your staff. We want to make this a mutually rewarding association.
  • Please assure the president that we intend to work this out as soon as possible. We will send you a report soon.
  • Thank you for helping us improve our service.
  • If this does not prove satisfactory, do not hesitate to call me personally at 555-5555.
  • Thank you for giving us an opportunity to serve you.
  • I am sure the machine will give you many years of useful service.
  • We appreciate your concern, and hope that these actions will meet with your approval.


  • am happy to
  • apologize for the misunderstanding
  • appreciate your concern
  • as soon as possible
  • can assure you that
  • don't hesitate to
  • for helping us to
  • for your interest in
  • for drawing our attention to
  • for giving us the opportunity to
  • for many years to come
  • have helped us improve
  • hope that these actions will
  • if this is not satisfactory
  • if this does not meet your approval
  • if this is not to your liking
  • know we can do better
  • look forward to
  • many years of useful service
  • please be assured that
  • problem certainly warrants
  • sorry for the inconvenience
  • thank you for
  • to serving you
  • to hearing from you
  • to be of service to you
  • to respond to your concerns
  • want to keep this a rewarding
  • will work this out
  • will have a direct effect on
  • will send you a report on

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