How to ask for compensation in a complaint letter

If you've been treated unfairly as a consumer and have been unable to get satisfaction by contacting a company's customer service department, it will be time to put your complaint in a formal letter. No matter how small the problem may appear to others, and particularly if you've been brushed off by the business you're dealing with in the past, it's important you fight your corner and ask for compensation if you've been wronged. If you don't ask, you won't get.

Find out who you need to address your complaint to. Contact the company you want compensation from and ask which department you should send your letter to. Larger firms may have dedicated complaints departments, while smaller operations may ask you to send your letter to a general customer service address. Try to get the name of an individual so as you have a point of contact. If you're dealing with a larger business, copy your complaint to its press office and CEO. You can find a list of email addresses for the CEOs of some of the UK's largest companies at

Establish whether you have a legal right to compensation and if the company you're dealing with is overseen by a regulatory body. You may be entitled to compensation under UK or EU law. If this is the case, mentioning that you know this in your letter will strengthen your claim. Contact Citizens Advice for consumer issues or Consumer Focus if you're dealing with a regulated industry such as energy or postal services to find out where you stand.

Begin your formal letter by outlining your complaint in full. If you've recorded details of any dealings you've had with customer service staff, mention times, dates and names. Make it clear that you're ready to take your claim for compensation to the relevant regulatory body, ombudsman or court if you're entitled to compensation by law. If you're not legally entitled to monetary recompense or it seems as though your case is something of a legal grey area, make it clear that you expect to receive a payment to compensate you for any losses you've incurred along with a gesture of goodwill. Flag up any out-of-pocket expenses you've suffered as a result of the issue you're complaining about.

Seal your letter in an envelope, along with any documents that support your case, to the contact you were given by recorded, signed-for delivery. That way, the firm you're dealing with won't be able to claim it didn't receive your compensation claim. You can copy the content of your letter to other departments in the company you're complaining to by email.

Things You'll Need

  • Supporting documents
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About the Author

Michael Roennevig has been a journalist since 2003. He has written on politics, the arts, travel and society for publications such as "The Big Issue" and "Which?" Roennevig holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Surrey Institute and a postgraduate diploma from the National Council for the Training of Journalists at City College, Brighton.