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Complaint Email Example (Template Included)

Claudia Diaz - Complaint Letter - April 28, 2023

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Contents

    Not sure how to go about writing a complaint email? It can seem challenging, especially when you are unhappy with a product, service, or experience. However, a well-crafted complaint email can be an effective way to voice your concerns and achieve a resolution. In the article below, we go over step by step how to write a complaint email, provide a sample email template, and discuss what your next steps can be after sending a complaint email. 

    Did you know we have a free tool powered by AI that helps you create a complaint letter? Check out our complaint letter tool.

    What is Complaint Email, and Why Should You Send One

    A complaint email is a formal communication sent to an individual or business to express your dissatisfaction with a product, service, or experience. The purpose of a complaint email is to bring attention to a problem or issue that you would like to be addressed.

    Here are at least 3 reasons sending a complaint letter is important: 

    1. A complaint email demonstrates your commitment to resolving the issue. It shows the recipient that you are willing to take action to address the problem.

    2. Sending a complaint email provides a record of your complaint. This can be helpful if you need to pursue legal action in the future.

    3. The most important reason to send a complaint email is that it may lead to a resolution of your complaint without you having to take further action.

    What to Avoid in Your Complaint Email

    There are no set rules for how to write a complaint. However, here are some general tips for what to avoid when writing your complaint email:  

    • Do not use disparaging language. In general, try not to use language that will convey to the recipient that you are angry, hostile, or not open to discussion. 

    • Avoid making threats. This email could end up in court if you aren’t able to resolve your problem. Any threats or made-up facts can be used against you later. 

    •  Do not fabricate facts. As mentioned above, if you end up going to court over the complaint, the judge will read your email at the hearing. Any facts you claim in the complaint email may be brought up in court and will require further explanation. 

    Step-by-Step How to Write a Complaint Email

    Below, we provide a step-by-step guide to help you write an effective complaint email. 

    Step 1. Compile Necessary Information

    • Before you sit down to write a complaint email, make sure you have the recipient's correct email address. This information may be on a website (if you are sending the complaint to a business) or a document they provided you.  

    • If you can’t find an email address, you may need to send your complaint in the form of a letter that you can hand deliver or mail. Learn more about complaint letters here

    • You should also figure out who you are addressing the complaint email to. For example, is your dispute about a problem with your rental property? You may need to figure out if your complaint letter should be sent to your landlord or property manager. Here is a tip, if your complaint is about your security deposit, address your complaint to the individual who is holding your security deposit. 

    • You may want to attach documents to your email. If so, compile the information so you are ready to attach it when you write your email. 

    Step 2. Describe the Complaint 

    • Clearly and concisely describe what happened and why you are sending a complaint email. Your complaint email should not be too long. However, you still need to make sure the basic facts are in your email (dates, addresses, etc.) 

    • Make sure to also include how the issue has impacted you negatively. For example, if you are writing a complaint to an airline because they lost your luggage, state how you had to pay unexpected out-of-pocket expenses because all your belongings were in your luggage. 

    Step 3. State How You Would Like the Complaint to be Resolved 

    • Include reasonable solutions to your complaint. If you make unreasonable demands, you are less likely to receive a response. 

    • You may want to ask for a refund, a new product (if the product a business sent you was defective or damaged), or for a specific course of action

    Step 4. State How the Recipient Can Reach You 

    • The recipient of the email may want to reach out to you after receiving the email to discuss the contents of the email further.

    • Make sure you include how they can reach out to you. For example, state they can email you back to the email used or provide your phone number if you are comfortable with that option.   

    Step 5. Sign Off 

    • End your email with a deadline to respond. People usually give 7 to 14 days  This will ensure that the recipient knows you expect a prompt response. 

    • Sign off the email with your signature

    • Optional: Attach documents if you feel they will help illustrate your points.  

    Complaint Email Example 

    Below is a complaint email template you can use as a guide when writing your email to complain. This complaint email sample is addressed to a business from a customer. Remember, when using this sample complaint email, insert the relevant information of your complaint.

    To: [Recipient Email Address]

    From: [Your Email Address] 

    Subject: [Subject of Your Complaint] 

    To whom it may concern, 

    My name is [insert name], and I reached out to your business because [insert what product or service the business provided]. Unfortunately, I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with [the product or service provided]

    [Describe the complaint and how it impacted you negatively, if applicable, also discuss any steps you have taken to resolve the issue]

    I am now requesting that you take prompt and effective action to remedy these issues. To resolve this issue, [describe what action you want the recipient to take]

    I look forward to resolving this matter amicably. If you would like to discuss this matter further, you may contact me at [your email or phone number]. If I do not hear from you by [14 days from now], I will take further action.

    Sincerely,

    ____________________________

    [Your signature]

    Did you know we have a free tool powered by AI that helps you create a complaint letter? Check out our complaint letter tool.

    Want to send a complaint letter instead? Check out our article here.

    What if the Complaint Email Doesn’t Work? 

    If you don’t receive a response after sending a complaint letter, consider taking the following actions: 

    1. File a complaint with the appropriate government or nongovernment organization. 

    2. Send a demand letter. 

    3. Sue in small claims court.

    Send a Demand Letter 

    Consider sending a more strongly worded demand letter if your complaint email doesn’t work. A demand letter is a formal communication you can send in order to demand action or compliance with a particular request.

    Here are some frequently asked questions we receive about demand letters: 

    • How do I send a demand letter? Just like with a complaint letter, there are a variety of ways you can send a demand letter. The most common methods used are mail or email

    • Do I need to hire a lawyer to send a demand letter? No, you can write and send a demand letter on your own. People Clerk also offers a free AI-powered demand letter tool. 

    • How long after I send a demand letter can I expect a settlement or resolution? It is hard to predict when you will reach a settlement after sending a demand letter. This is because many factors can affect how long it can take. However, from what we have seen, a majority of people reach an agreement or settlement weeks or months after sending a demand letter. 

    File a Complaint 

    Besides sending a complaint email, you may be able to file a complaint with a government or non-governmental organization.  

    • If your complaint is against a business, you may be able to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau (“BBB”). The BBB is a non-profit organization that provides a platform for consumers to file complaints against businesses. Learn how to file a complaint with the BBB here

    • Your state’s Attorney General’s Office may also handle complaints against different types of individuals and businesses. An Attorney General is the chief legal officer of a state. The Attorney General’s Office has many different roles, but one of its main responsibility is enforcing consumer protection laws in their state.

    Sue in Small Claims Court

    If all else fails, consider suing in small claims court.  

    Small claims courts were designed to provide an accessible and cost-effective way for individuals and businesses to resolve their disputes without the need for a lawyer. In most cases, the parties involved will represent themselves in court.

    Here are some quick facts about small claims court: 

    Common types of disputes filed in small claims court

    Your landlord did not return your security deposit.

    Someone hit your car and won’t pay to reimburse you for the costs of fixing your car. 

    Your clients won't pay you for services rendered or issue unjustified chargebacks

    You lent someone money, and they won't pay you back.

    An airline lost or damaged your bags. 

    Your tenant refuses to pay rent.

    How much can I sue for in small claims court? 

    The amount you can sue for in small claims court is known as the small claims limit. This amount varies by state and even by court but is usually around $10,000

    How long do you have to sue in small claims court? 

    States have set deadlines, called statutes of limitations, that let you know by when you should sue an individual or a business in small claims court. 

    Try not to wait too long to file your lawsuit or this deadline may pass. 

    How much does it cost to sue in small claims court? 

    States have made filing in small claims court accessible. 

    Most small claims court charge between $10-$75 to file a lawsuit. 

    Some small claims courts also offer court fee waivers, which means if you apply, you could pay $0 to file and serve your lawsuit. 

    Who can represent you in small claims court? 

    Small claims courts were intended to allow individuals to file, and represent themselves without the need for a lawyer

    Some small claims courts, like California small claims, don’t even allow lawyers to represent individuals at the initial small claims hearing. 

    Did you know we have a free tool powered by AI that helps you create a complaint letter? Check out our complaint letter tool.

    Author

    Claudia Diaz

    Legal Educator @ People Clerk. Claudia holds a J.D. degree and is a certified mediator in New York and Florida. She has participated in dozens of small claims mediations in New York City courts.

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