Template on How to Write a Formal Complaint Letter

by Jay Hawkins; Updated September 26, 2017
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We all have encountered a store manager or owner who doesn't believe in the adage "The customer is always right." Whether it's a sale not being honored or poor customer service, screaming and making a scene won't correct the problem. In fact, it may just worsen the situation. As hard as it may sound, when facing the heat of the moment, it's important to remain calm and know there is a more productive way to resolve any issue involving a business.

Step 1

Know whom to contact. Your complaint will have a better chance of being heard if you address it to a specific person rather than "to whom it may concern." If the person you're complaining about is a manager, seek out the name of the store's owner or someone in the corporate office. You can typically find this information on the company's website.

Step 2

Provide documents. Include copies of all receipts with your letter. Be sure to keep a copy for your records.

Step 3

Be professional. If you are still fuming over the incident, don't start writing until you have calmed down. It is not professional to wish pain and suffering. Kindly state what you think they did was wrong and explain why.

Step 4

Tell the company how you want to be compensated. It's important to state how you want the company to resolve this issue. Do you want a refund or just an apology? Be willing to negotiate if your request isn't being satisfied. Something is better than nothing at all.

Step 5

Follow up. A single complaint letter may be not be enough to make a difference. Contact the company again with another letter if you have not heard from anyone by your requested deadline.

Step 6

Contact outside sources. To settle a grievance you may need to involve an outside source like your area's Better Business Bureau or the local Chamber of Commerce.

About the Author

Jay Hawkins has been writing and editing as a professional journalist since 2006. He covered county government as a reporter for a daily newspaper in Tennessee. Hawkins holds a bachelor's degree in journalism.

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