How to Write a Complaint Letter

Tips for writing a complaint letter that gets results.

Kevin Cummings, Writing for
4-minute read
Episode #191

What To Do If You Don't Get a Satisfactory Response

What do you do if your complaint is ignored or rejected, though? The old saying about “if at first you don’t succeed” applies in this case. Do a little digging and try to find the name (or at least position) of the manager of the department or some other upper-level individual in the company. Write them a similar letter, but reference the first letter.

If your letters are repeatedly ignored, you might want to escalate the intensity by discussing possible consequences such as a complaint to the Better Business Bureau. If the situation has reached the point where you feel threats are necessary, though, you may not have much hope of a mutually-satisfactory conclusion.

The key is to remember that your letter is being read by a human being who is probably doing their best and wants to help you. Give them the chance to save face and they’ll go out of their way to meet your needs. And, besides, you actually look pretty good without eyebrows.

Happily Domesticated

This podcast was written by Kevin Cummings, who has an MA in Conflict Management and Negotiation. More importantly, he's one of my favorite essayists and author of the new book Happily Domesticated, which you can find at happilydomesticated.com or Amazon.

I'm Mignon Fogarty, author of The Grammar Devotional and Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing.

Angry Customer image courtesy of Shutterstock