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How to Write a Polite Letter of Complaint

Updated July 20, 2017

Sometimes it is necessary to take action, such as writing a letter of complaint, when trying to resolve a problem with a product or service. It is easy to get emotional during this process, but a polite letter of complaint can help you tactfully state your case and go a long way in getting the situation resolved. Here are some important things to remember when writing this type of letter. Some of these tips will also be helpful while working out a grievance when speaking by phone, in person, or in an e-mail.

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  1. Do your homework. Find out who you must address this issue with, by calling the company, checking their website, or looking in the manual. Obtain as much info as possible: find out a name, address, department and any other relevant information. This is crucial for immediate attention because your letter will be professional and your request will be taken seriously.

  2. Get right to the point. The company's representatives need the basic information to address the situation quickly. Important items to include are: what the problem is, product info such as item number, services you have issues with, where you purchased the item/service, what you have done to resolve the issue, who you have spoken to and what they told you, and other related information.

  3. Include something positive in the letter, either in the beginning or in the closing. Including a brief sentence saying how you have trusted the brand before, or how the company's reputation led you to choose its product, or how the sales reps were helpful.

  4. Use a courteous tone. Don't use slang, inappropriate language, derogatory comments, accusatory statements, or print words in all capitals (thinking you are making a point). Simply state the situation and how you want it resolved. Close by thanking the contact person for his time.

  5. Use a business letter format, such as the block style, where margins are lined up on the left side of the page, lines are single spaced, and there is a single space between paragraphs. Check the Resource links for more letter writing format details.

  6. Be neat. Whether you hand write or type, a neat letter is part of a businesslike package that will gain attention.

  7. Check your letter for errors and unclear statements. Ask a friend to read it to make sure that it is clear.

  8. Keep at least one copy of your letter for reference. Store with other information relating to this situation. Send the letter by certified mail or with delivery confirmation to guarantee safe delivery.

  9. Tip

    People are more willing to work with others who respect and treat them decently. A little diplomacy can go a long way.

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Things You'll Need

  • Computer with word processing program
  • Paper

About the Author

Karen Lange is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Real Authentic Women, Westchester Parent, Knowledge Quest, The Link, Homeschoolers Notebook, TopNotch Writer, Home School Enrichment, and Family Times magazines. A graduate of The Institute of Children’s Literature, Lange is also a member of the Clear Creek Writers.

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