How to Write a Letter of Complaint


A letter of complaint, or complaint letter, is normally written to deal with a problem situation when other attempts have failed to rectify the situation.

When you are responding in in written form, you should avoid angry, hostile or sarcastic tones.

You are more likely to get specific action on what you want, if your written response reflects tact, courtesy and emotional intelligence.


The writer’s tone is his/her attitude towards a subject.  The writer’s tone is created by the his use of language, that is, the style of address, word choice, point of view and voice.

Structure of a Letter of Complaint

  • Purpose of the letter
  • Begin with a detailed description of the product or service
  • State what is exactly is wrong with the product or service
  • Briefly describe the inconvenience you have suffered
  • Indicate precisely how the situation should be corrected
  • Ask for prompt handling of the claim

Complaint Letter Lesson Steps

Paragraph 1: Describe what is wrong with the product or describe the issues/problems. Give the date of purchase and place of purchase, if applicable.

Paragraph 2: Explain how you would like to resolve the problem.

Paragraph 3: Explain that you look forward to receiving a reply with a resolution. Set a date or time limit in which to receive the reply. Give a phone number where you can be reached.

Step 3: Include a closing, such as “Sincerely” and your full name.

Step 4: Ask students to peer edit their each other’s letter before turning them into the teacher.

Language Structure of the Letter of Complaint

Here are some helpful language structures that are used in letters of complaint:


I’m writing:

  • Because……
  • On account of…
  • On the subject of….
  • To draw your attention to…..


  • I must object…..
  • I must complain about…..
  • I find it quite distressing that …..
  • I feel something ought to be done/ said about……
  • It’s time that….was/were…….


  • I expect to be compensated for the compensated for inconvenience I ……
  • I expect better service from……..
  • I would like to know what action you will take to resolve this situation.
  • I look forward to a prompt reply/ a full explanation
  • I await your response/ suggestions/ comments


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