Sometimes buying a used or new car from a dealership is a disappointing experience. You might have found the salesman was rude, that the car was a lemon or that the dealership's guaranteed maintenance service is anything but reliable. Whatever problem you've encountered, the first step to resolving the problem is often writing a complaint letter to the car dealership.

Start With a Summary

Don't expect someone to read pages of ranting just to find out what is wrong and what you want them to do about it. Instead, put the problem and your suggested resolution right in the first paragraph. It can sometimes be hard to summarize what's wrong in only a few sentences, so if you're having trouble summarizing the problem, write out what you want to say and then ask a friend to help you summarize things for your intro. For example:

Dear Car Dealership X,

I recently purchased a 2019 Hyundai Makebelieve from your dealership. Within a week of bringing home my Makebelieve, it started having trouble starting up and began leaking. I have already brought the vehicle in to your service department five times in only four weeks and each time the employees told me it was fixed. At this point, I would like you to take back the vehicle, provide a full refund, pay for the towing expenses, cover the costs of the Ubers I had to use to get around whenever the vehicle broke down and give me the car I used as a trade-in back, or else provide me with a rental while I look for a new vehicle.

Provide Additional Details

Add in more specific details about the purchase, about what's gone wrong, about the vehicle itself, where it was purchased, etc. At the end, be sure to restate the resolution you would like in order to drive your point home. Continuing the letter above:

I purchased my Makebelieve (registration number 123456789) from John Meet at your Paris Street location on Jan. 4, 2019. I first noticed a spot of oil on my driveway only two days later and that spot has continued to grow larger and larger throughout the past month. Only one day after I noticed the oil spot, I couldn't start my vehicle and had it towed to your dealership auto shop. After taking my car to the shop, I had to use an Uber to get to work, back home and back to the dealership, and had to go through this five times, which has cost me nearly $700 between Ubers and tows.

After doing some research online, I've found this is a common problem with the Makebelieve and that many other owners are filing lawsuits under the state's lemon law. While I know this option is available, I do not want to wait to file a lawsuit and just want to get a new car as soon as possible. This is why I would like to have you reimburse me for the Uber charges (I have attached a copy of all receipts), cover the cost of tows to your dealership (I also attached these invoices), fully reimburse me after I return the vehicle and either return my old car (a 2000 Surefire) or provide me a rental vehicle for up to a month while I look for a new vehicle.

Finishing the Message

You can finish your message as it is, but you may also want to specify what actions you will take if your problem isn't resolved in a certain period. Be sure to include your contact information as well. As an example:

I appreciate your cooperation in this matter. I know it will cost you drastically less to resolve the problem in the manner I have proposed, so I hope to hear from you and start the process soon. If you do not solve my problem to my satisfaction within 10 days, I will contact a lawyer and begin filing a lawsuit under the state's lemon laws.

Jan Wanda
(555) 555-5555

Car Service Complaint Letter

A car service complaint letter should be largely the same as one written to the dealership only switching out the dealership-specific wording so that it is better suited to an auto shop instead. Alternatively, if you've had issues with your insurance company, you can find a specific car insurance complaint letter sample online or just use this one as a template, switching out the relevant information to meet your needs.