How To Write a Complaint letter about Poor Service, Defective or Inferior Products

When complaining in a letter, summarize the problem briefly, specifically, and clearly. Include all information basic to the problem or resolution such as complete names, addresses, phone numbers, full description of the product or service, dates, places, amounts, methods of payment, previous correspondence, and file numbers. Include enough detail so a previously uninvolved reader can understand what has happened, but do avoid irrelevant detail that will only obscure the real issues.

In the complaint letter, state the facts of your complaint in an organized, easy-to-follow format. A bulleted list is an effective way to give specifics. In most situations, a once-upon-a-time format is not an appropriate arrangement of facts or issues.

Decide what specific action you want and firmly stick with it. Don't sound wishy-washy in what you will accept as restitution.

Be firm about any agreed-upon deadline with regard to any delayed response you have been promised.

Sound factual, not emotional.

In the complaint letter, assume a confident tone about a suitable resolution. Avoid aggressive or sarcastic statements. Assume the reader will give you a fair deal until he or she proves otherwise.

If follow-up letters become necessary to gain the reader's cooperation, become stronger in stating your next course of action while maintaining an objective tone.

Be sure to attach any necessary documentation for your claims such as invoices, receipts, canceled checks, order numbers, authorizations, and so forth.

Here are two sample complaint letters.

Here is a more specific advice on the billing errors complaint letter.

Responding to complaint

by M

My boss has accused me of not preparing for my projects on time but forgets that these projects were one day there and then next day not because of not having enough time to carry out the same.


Hi M,

If I understand you correctly, the project was on a constant go / no go status. When the project was finally approved to start, you did not have enough time to complete the work. So you want me to help you with a letter explaining the situation to your boss.

Having had projects like this before, I sympathize with your situation.

To answer the accusation, it depends on your role in the project.

If your role is the project manager, then I am sorry to say, your boss is right in criticizing you. As a project manager, your job is to manage the project which includes escalating such a situation to your boss as well as doing the necessary preparation (and if necessary, obtain the necessary resources be it time or people) in the event that the project is approved.

If your role is as a member of the project, then you have an argument that the tasks was only given to you at the last minute. In this scenario, I would write the following email and then have a chat with your boss. In the email, do not even bring up the fact that your boss criticize you but highlight the sequence of events and problems faced. Then ask for his/her advice.

I understand the criticality of the project and I am committed in completing the tasks on time. I have a few issues I would like to run by you. The following are the sequence of events for the project.

Sep 12 – Initial meeting to discuss the project.
Sep 13 – Been told by the project manager to hold off any preparation work while management decides on the scope of the project.
Sep 21 – Meeting to discuss the revised scope of the project.
Sep 23 – Been told by the project manager to hold off on the project again.
Nov 10 – I was given the final scope of my tasks (state what the tasks are) and these are to be completed by Nov 25.

As you know, it is possible to complete all the required tasks by the 25th, however, I would need to work on these full time and would not be able to do any of my day to day activities.

Can I meet up with you this afternoon to discuss how we can move forward with these tasks and still not impact our current operations?

Good luck.


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Hi I'm Dax...

I’m an entrepreneur, mentor, consultant and I was a global IT service manager for one of the largest multinational in the world.

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