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Complaint Letter Example (Free Template Included)

Camila Lopez - Complaint Letter - June 6, 2024

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    Whether you have a problem with a product or service, a dispute with a neighbor or a complaint to against a business, by sending a well-crafted complaint letter you can ensure your concerns are taken seriously and addressed promptly. In this article, we go over how to write an effective complaint letter, provide a formal complaint letter template, and discuss possible next steps after you send your complaint letter. 

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

    Why Sending a Complaint Letter is Important

    Sending a complaint letter can be an effective way to communicate your concerns, ensure that your issue receives proper attention, and ultimately work towards a resolution.

    Here are at least four other reasons to send a complaint letter: 

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

    2. You are taken more seriously if you send a complaint letter. 

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

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

    Tips for Writing an Effective Complaint Letter 

    For the most part, there are no formal requirements for what you need to include in your complaint letter. However, here are some tips to help you write an effective letter to solicit a response. 

    • Tip #1. The tone of the letter should be professional. You want to be taken seriously by the letter’s recipient.  

    • Tip #2. Use respectful and constructive language. Avoid using argumentative or disparaging language, as it may be less effective in getting your complaint addressed. Remember, your goal is to persuade the recipient to take action and resolve the issue."

    • Tip #3. Have your facts in order. Your complaint letter should not be long, get to the main points right away. Consider collecting relevant information prior to sitting down and writing your letter. 

    • Tip #4. Offer a solution. Offer suggestions or a course of action that you believe would resolve the issue.

    • Tip #5.  Be reasonable. Make sure any suggestions you make in your complaint letter will resolve your complaint and is a course of action the recipient is capable of taking. 

    • Tip #6. Give a deadline for response. It's important to give the recipient of your complaint letter a reasonable amount of time to respond to your letter (usually 7 or 14 days). Including a deadline in your complaint letter can help you receive a timely response. 

    What to Include in Your Complaint Letter 

    Unsure of what to include in your complaint letter? Below we break down how to structure your complaint letter and the essential elements to include in each section. 

    What to Include at the Top of Your Letter 

    • Include your contact information. Make sure this is the most up-to-date information in case the recipient of the letter needs to reach out to you. 

    • Include the date you sent the complaint letter.

    • Include the recipient’s contact information

    What to Include in the Body of Your Letter

    • Include the facts of the complaint. Only include relevant information, and stick to the issue at hand. 

    • Tell the recipient of the letter how you would like them to resolve the problem. These should be reasonable suggestions like asking for a refund or for a specific course of action within the recipient’s control. 

    • Let the recipient know how to reach you and that you are open to further discussion. For example, include your email address or phone number. 

    • List the documents you are attaching to your letter (if any). You may want to include a receipt, pictures, or other relevant documents. This will help you better illustrate your complaint. 

    What to Include at the End of Your Letter 

    • Include a deadline. Give the recipient enough time to take action to resolve the complaint. 

    • State you will take further action. Include a line that states if the complaint isn’t resolved within the deadline provided, you will take further action.  

    • Add your signature. At the end of the letter, sign your name.

    Example Complaint Letter 

    Below is a complaint letter template you can use as a guide when writing your complaint letter. Remember, when using this sample complaint letter, insert the relevant information of your complaint.

    [Your Name]

    [Your Address]


    [Recipeint’s Name]

    [Recipient’s Address]

    RE: [Subject of your complaint] 

    Dear [Recipient’s Name]: 

    I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with [a product or service provided]. Unfortunately, [describe the complaint in more detail]

    I have tried to resolve this issue through [explain the steps you have taken so far, if any]. However, I have yet to resolve the problem. 

    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.



    [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.

    How to Send Your Complaint Letter

    For the most part, you can choose to send your complaint letter in whichever way is easiest for you. Here are some common methods used: 

    1. Mail. If you are sending your complaint letter by mail, consider including tracking information so you know when the letter is received. 

    2. Email. This is a good option if you don’t have someone’s address.

    3. Text message. This is another good option if you don’t have the recipient’s address. 

    4. Hand delivery. Even if this option is available to you, delivering the letter in person can sometimes seem confrontational. 

    Next Steps After Sending Your Complaint Letter

    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 letter doesn’t resolve your complaint. A demand letter is a document you can send in order to make a formal demand for 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 letter, 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 the recipient of the complaint letter in small claims court.

    Small claims court is a type of court that handles disputes involving small amounts of money, typically up to a certain amount called the small claims limit. Small claims courts are typically faster and less formal than regular courts and are often designed for people to represent themselves without the need for an attorney

    Small claims courts also handle a wide range of disputes against individuals and businesses. Here are some common types of disputes handled 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.

    • You hired a mechanic to repair your car, and they did a terrible job.

    • You contracted with a painter to come paint your home, but they never show up. 

    • You paid a contractor to fix your roof, but they never showed up.

    • An airline lost or damaged your bags. 

    • Your tenant refuses to pay rent.

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


    Camila Lopez

    Legal Educator @ People Clerk. Camila holds a law degree and is a certified mediator. Her passion is breaking down complicated legal processes so that people without an attorney can get justice.

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