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Essay Complaint Informal Letter Writing

Nearly every individual has faced a personal issue by receiving an unsatisfactory quality of goods or services, flagrant violations, or were infringed upon in regard to their consumer rights. To prevent unpleasant events from happening again, and to save other people from similar inconveniences, people write letters of complaint to the appropriate authorities. Complaint letters often facilitate the process of an efficient resolution of a problem.

Steps for Writing a Complaint Letter

  1. You should clearly understand the problem.
  2. After writing a formal heading and greeting, state the reason why you are writing your letter to the authorities. Inform your addressee about your reaction to certain events or products.
  3. Describe your problem. First, use a description of the issue you think is appropriate and then provide some detailed background information; describe the circumstances that resulted in your dissatisfaction. Then, expand on the effects and consequences the problem had—show what damage you’ve suffered.
  4. After you’ve described your problem, you must state what exactly you want your addressee to do in accordance with the situation. You can ask him or her to investigate the situation to identify those responsible for it, demand compensation, ask for some corrections, and so on. Optionally, you can add a warning; this may be a threat to have a trial in regard to the case, break a business partnership, or perform other actions that are undesirable for the addressee.
  5. Write a closing for your letter. Be polite here; express your hope for a peaceful and mutually-beneficial resolution of the situation or your regrets about such an unfortunate misunderstanding.

Topic Selection

Some possible reasons for submitting a complaint letter are:

  • the poor quality of purchased products or provided services
  • the laziness of officials
  • unfair treatment
  • misconduct of the authorities at the workplace
  • the domination of children by teachers at school
  • corruption
  • an infringement of rights

Key Points to Consider

  1. What is important to remember about writing and sending complaint letters is they should be done on time. This is especially crucial if your complaint refers to products which are covered within a warranty period. Products purchased through the Internet often have time limits, during which a customer may demand a return or replacement of defected parts.
  2. A complaint letter written in a concise manner and straight to the point is better than a long one filled with unnecessary details. Complaint letters are often written in short paragraphs and the length of a whole letter is usually no longer than one page.
  3. It may take some time for your complaint to be satisfied, so expecting immediate results is unreasonable. However, specifying an exact date by which you will wait for a response, or expect the problem to be resolved, will play in your favor.
  4. In the case of several complaint letters being sent to resolve a single issue and your desired results are still not met, write to someone who is higher in the chain of command and mention the inactivity of those of the lower ranks.

Do and Don’t

  • Do be exact about what you want from your addressee: a refund, a material consideration, replacement or return of a product, a coupon, a discount, and so on.
  • Do take some time to cool down before writing your complaint letter.
  • Do stay clear and straight to the point. Don’t go into excessive descriptions of how badly set-off you were by the problem; communicate your case fully, but without unnecessary details and emotions.
  • Do create a timeline of events that resulted in the current troublesome situation; avoid piling up the facts all together. Instead, be organized and concise, and make it clear to the recipient how the events unfolded.
  • Do keep paper trails. Save every receipt, every cash-memo, and letter, and make copies of them. If you are talking with the recipient via phone, take notes including time, date, and the persons you spoke to.
  • Don’t be rude, sarcastic, or offensive. Be assertive, but stay calm and polite.
  • Don’t threaten to abuse. You can mention trials in the case of a recipient refusing to cooperate with you in the solving of your problem, but you can face serious legal trouble if you threaten harm, use extortion, or enact any other inappropriate actions.
  • Don’t blame your recipient, since in most cases the person to whom you address your complaint letter isn’t responsible for the wrong inflicted on you. The best way to communicate with your recipient is to treat the unfavorable situation as a misunderstanding that can be eliminated due to the cooperation of both you and your addressee.
  • Don’t forget to attach all the needed documentation to the letter to prove your complaint. Don’t send the originals: make copies of important documents, notarize them if needed, and send them together with the letter to your recipient.
  • Don’t give up if your first complaint letter had no effect or remained unanswered. Revise it, if needed, and keep on sending letters to reach the solution you desire.

Common Mistakes When Writing a Complaint Letter

– Being vague. Since a complaint letter is an important document that can sometimes even be used in court cases when you choose to go to the law in order to solve your problem, be as specific as you can with regards to the incident that occurred, adding names, dates, and so on.

– Expressing your negative emotions in an offensive way. You can afford yourself to express reasonable disappointment in your complaint letter, but not rage.

– Sending a handwritten copy of the complaint letter. This reduces the seriousness of your claim, especially if the letter contains grammatical and punctuation mistakes.

– Threatening legal action in your first communication. First of all, try to negotiate with a resolution to your problem. Mention legal action only when you see your recipient isn’t willing to satisfy your requests.

See our complaint letter samples here.

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Samples for Writing a Complaint Letter

Creede Foods Complaint Letter

13 Silverton Ave. Creede, CO 81130, USA Phone: (555) 375-0050 March 2, 2013 Creede Foods, Inc. Consumer Complaint Division 22 North Chestnut St. Creede, CO 81130, USA To whom it may concern, Yesterday in the evening, on March 1st, I bought...

Invalid Expiration Date

64 Washington Ave. Creede, CO 81130, USA Phone: 555-867-237-004 November 22, 2013 "Tailbones Pet Shop" 13 Sunflower Grove. Creede, CO 81130, USA To the Owner of Tailbones Pet Shop, I am writi...

Flagrant Behavior

221 Parklane Ave. Salem, OR 97301, USA Phone: 555-375-0050 May 13, 2013 TechnoSalem, Ltd. Consumer Complaint Division 412 Abbey Drive Salem, OR 97301, USA To whom it may concern, Yesterday, on May 12, I visited your shop at 5 Cornwall Lane...

How to Write an Informal Letter – Yes, You May Have to Write One Someday

It’s hard to imagine. In your world of email, IM, tweets, and texts, you might have to write a letter for anything other than as part of an application or perhaps a business letter on the job. And true, letter writing by snail mail just does not occur much anymore. But, there may be times when you do want to write a letter instead of an email – grandma still appreciates a thank-you note for a gift; you may want to write a note of thank-you to someone who has done you a huge favor. The thing about letters is that they are a bit more permanent, and people may want to keep them.

Defining the Informal Letter

Informal letters are those that you would write to a friend, to someone you know who may not be a friend (teacher, coach, pastor) or a relative. Your language and style will be much more casual than in formal letter writing, along with the greeting (also called the salutation) and the ending, or sign-off. Still, your thoughts should be organized.

Here are some times when you will write an informal letter:

  • As a congratulations – someone got a promotion; someone achieved something (a new job, finished a training program, etc.)
  • A thank-you for a gift, for some help, for some advice
  • Hand-written invitations to an event
  • Declining or accepting an invitation
  • As an apology
  • As an expression of sympathy for loss of a loved one
  • Requesting information
  • Letter of complaint to a company

Obviously, your tone will vary, dependent upon the circumstances. For example, you will not use the same language in writing a letter of congratulations as you would writing a letter of sympathy.

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The Steps for Writing an Informal Letter

  1. You may or may not want to put a date at the top of your letter – this is optional, dependent on the circumstances. If you are writing a letter of complaint to a retailer, for example, you may want to include a date so that you have a timeline of the communication.
  2. Use a greeting that is comfortable for you and for your recipient. Typical greetings are “Dear Joan,” “Hi Joan,” or even “Hey There,” if the letter is going to a really close friend or relative, like a sibling. Sometimes you will use a title and last name, such as, “Dear Pastor Miller.”
  3. Start with a sentence of introduction which establishes the point of your letter. For example, “I just wanted to write a note of thanks for all that you did to help me out while I was sick,” or “I was so terribly sorry to hear about the loss of you sister,” or, “I am very disappointed with the electric knife I ordered from your company.”
  4. Start the main body of the letter with a new paragraph. Here is where you will give the detail. Depending upon the nature of your letter, you will be writing one-two paragraphs.
  5. Your concluding paragraph can be rather short – just a sentence or two. For example, “Again, I just wanted to say thank you for all that you did,” or “Again, let me say how sorry I am that you have suffered this loss. My thoughts are with you,” or, “I would like to hear from you soon regarding a refund for the electric knife I am returning,” “Let me say it once again – congratulations and great job!”
  6. Your sign off should be appropriate for your relationship with the recipient of the letter – “Fondly,” “Love,” “Sincerely,” “With Best Wishes,”
  7. Signature: In most instances, informal letters will be signed with just your first name. Exceptions will be in those instances where you do not know the person well or at all – for example, a letter of complaint or to request information.
  8. Be sure to proofread your letter for mistakes.

Do’s and Don’ts forWriting an Informal Letter


Be polite, even if you are writing a letter of complaint. You do not inspire others to help you out if your tone is angry and accusatory.

Don’t use lengthy compound sentences with too many thoughts in them. Break up sentences to keep the points being made simple. This is not an academic piece

Try to break the body up into at least two paragraphs. You reader will follow your train of thought better.

Don’t skip your introductory statement. You have to let the reader know the point of your letter right away.

You can let emotion show if the reason for your letter is to say thank you, to apologize, or to express sympathy.

Don’t use overly familiar jargon or slang for people who are not really close buddies or relatives.

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Learning how to write an informal letteris not hard. Here are some additional considerations:

  1. As you write, pretend you are speaking with the person face-to-face. Write as you would talk to that person, and you will get the right tone.
  2. Informal letter writingmay indeed occur via email. When it does, avoid using some of the typical shortened jargon – “yu” instead of “you,” “R U” instead of “are you,” etc. While your letter is informal, it is still a letter, and you do want to use basic English well.