How to write an effective complaint letter

Having a problem with a product or service can be frustrating. When you’re trying to resolve a problem with a company, the first step should be to discuss your concerns with a representative of the business. If a phone call or email doesn’t resolve the problem, consider writing a complaint letter.

A letter is important. It puts your complaint on record with the company, helps preserve any legal rights you may have in the situation, and lets the company know you’re serious about pursuing the complaint.

Use this sample letter and these tips to write an effective complaint:

  • Be clear and concise. Describe the item or service you bought and the problem. Include serial or model numbers, and the name and location of the seller. If you’re following up on a conversation, be sure to say who you spoke with and confirm the details of your discussion.
  • State exactly what you want done and how long you’re willing to wait for a response. Be reasonable.
  • Don’t write an angry, sarcastic, or threatening letter. The person reading your letter probably isn’t responsible for the problem, but may be very helpful in resolving it.
  • Include copies of relevant documents, like receipts, work orders, and warranties. You also may want to send copies of emails and notes from conversations you’ve had with the seller about the problem. Keep your originals.
  • Include your name and contact information. If an account is involved, be sure to include the account number.

You may want to send your letter by certified mail and request a return receipt. That way, you’ll have proof that the company got your letter and who signed for it.

If your letter doesn’t do the trick, you may want to get outside help and look at other options. For more information, see Resolving Consumer Problems.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

thanks

Thank you for the advice. I have tried repeatedly to obtain a refund from a major cell phone service provider to no avail. Many promises of the issue being resolved, and my request was made 08/10/2015.
They know longer return calls even when the agent says they will.
Thank you again for your input, I feel like a victim of theft, not a misunderstanding, the amount is over $700.

Hi Matt, I'm going through a situation that sounds similar to yours.

was charged a fee for not returning my defective cell on time, after getting it replaced through my Extended Warr. I've been going in circles with theym for the past 3 months. I started looking at their dispute resolution process, which involved Arbitration or small claims. The Arbit agreement actually seemed pretty good.

I began putting together my case and made it clear to the customer care folks that a formal notificaion of the dispute was coming. Then last web a manager type called me, reviewed everything, and then said she was going to refund the late fee and everything related to it.

My advice, inform them of your intent to sue or go to arbit, whatever's outlined in the your agreement. They don't want to

Such as Chex systems that has me in their system when I should not be, they have no bad marks against me nor does my bank so I wonder why I am there, called Chex systems to get it resolved, evidently they out source their company to India she was no help, called the Ftc, I have no idea how to get my name removed very frustrating

AM LOOKING FOR A BUSINESS LETTERS GUIDE LINES

Of what value are you if I must list each # separately(that should not be calling me? I have been registered & recently verified with DoNotCall since 2003 - apparently useless. Here is a list of the #'s over the past month that I should not be receiving: 8104104973/9075550175/5865550144/7323743396/2532431281. Is that sufficiently telling you that what you purport to be a way of managing is not working?

You can report violations of the Do Not Call registry to donotcall.gov. The information you provide will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog complaints don't go into the database.

thank you, this sample-consumer-complaint-letter was helpful

In June 2014 I answered my front door and was handed two "intent to foreclose notices". Two uniformed men were at my door. They said I HAD to sign for both notices. One was addressed to my deceased husband, the other to me, personally.
Things had been going downhill financially for us before my husband died on July 18, 2011. . It had been a terrible shock to me. Diagnosis of end stage kidney disease at 64 and death within about five months later, still only 64. Our daughter with incredible strength, and while grieving her Daddy's death she was able to muster, who watched me doing my everything in my power to keep him alive after diagnosis, barely had a chance to file for early Medicare, kept working as much as he could while receiving dialysis in a center of some sort. The center helped file papers for assistance, meanwhile, his employer wanted him out of there. He worked as much as he possibly could.

Back to Chase bank. a 2nd mortgage home equity line. Apparently purchased from Wachovia. Current mortgage was with Wells Fargo. I don't know how or why they owned it. Apparently Mortgage companies trade mortgages like my grandsons trade Pokémon cards.
My Husband died on July 18th, 2011. We had been married 29 years. We have been living the same house since August 1990. I haven't checked Zillow today, but I think we bought it for between $130,000 & $140,000. Today, according to USAA, this same house, in which I stubbornly continue to live, has a market value of $311,100, a Rebuild Cost of $250,000, and a tax value of $280,600.

Stay with me, please, my mind is so frazzled. In June 2014 I answered my front door and was handed two "intent to foreclose notices". Two uniformed men were at my door. They said I needed to sign for both notices. One was addressed to my deceased husband, the other to me, personally. I had no issue with signing the one addressed to me, personally. I queried them in some way, wondering how I could, or even should, sign a paper that I believed meant I was ensuring that my deceased husband would take from my hand, into his, the correspondence that was addressed to him. (He couldn't..............................he was DEAD!*

Stay with me, please, my mind is so frazzled.
Chase Bank knew, or someone they employed knew, of my husband's death. My daughter tried to get in touch with them. There was a lot to handle. She was about 25 years old, a college graduate, unmarried, living on her own, or with room-mates, getting serious about a boy, whom she later married.

She handed the bills back over to me. I had been robotic-ally “nursing for dollars”, most often considered an FTE at two hospitals at a time for at lest twenty years of our marriage, depending on whose parent was dead or dying and whether or not I brought them into our own home for the care I felt they deserved.

Today, I believe Chase Bank's notice to foreclose, was the beginning of my descent. I do not believe that there was anyway they could have had the right to foreclose. I don't believe the two men who came to my door were USPS mail carriers, or sheriffs, or anyone else in the least bit official, I think they were wearing white shirts, “official looking hats”. I did not scrutinize anything at that moment, if there was a problem, I would face it. I fell for it. I just fell for it.

My first mortgage with Wells Fargo was paid ahead, because my daughter had arranged been able to arrange for them to take money out of my bank account every 2 weeks. All utilities were on a budget plan. Every month I checked the bar graphs to make sure I was where I thought it should be.

So I believed Chase. I read every instruction, called my “home preservation specialist” who sounded about seventeen and I do remember asking about her accent, where she lived because when she said the name Chase it sounded like “cheese”. I swear it did. Anyway, I endured weekly calls from her, memorized her 4 or 5 min “disclaimer”. First, since Chase was my second mortgage, I had to refinance my first, she said, and so I did. Wells Fargo had no problem refinancing me. I currently have a mortgage with them that will “mature” in November of 2054. I will be 105 years old. Same interest rate as before, just extended it 10 more years. No folks, I didn't “get it” it. I was too terrified of losing my home. I saved about $100/ mo, but added ten years there. You do the math. I can't anymore.

But wait, throughout the HARP ordeal with the more pleasant Wells Fargo, I was going through the HARP requirements, documenting my hardship, every penny I spent, absolutely nothing of my personal life unrevealed, all required by my government, my sweet little “Cheese Bank Home Preservation Specialist?!?!” continued with her hounding weekly calls, in which she continued at times to address to continue to address me as alternately Mr.........., or if I protested that I knew I had sent them at least one raised seal stamped death certificate. …...........................................long story longer, no where along the way did any specialist ask, hey Mrs. …...., what's up with this pending bankruptcy thing, on all your statements. Hello. “Trustee for the estate”, whom my husband told me in 2009, had been sanctioned by the judge for inappropriate antics of sort or perhaps, the law firm representing us failed to file something.

I have mounds of paperwork that surrounds me. I have several breaking points since I was widowed July 11, 2011. I was “workplace-bullied”, yeah, there's at word for it now, from a hospital I once loved.
Couldn't take it. Walked out. Had two new artificial knees hammered into my femurs. A daughter has been diagnosed with “invasive ductal carcinoma of the breast”, which she made me swear not to Google. I have determined I was only 2 months behind when fell for the scam by Chase. I've turned 65 years old, received a Medicare Card, have funds taken out of my own disability check to pay for a Rx supplement and Part B Medicare. The Medigap Insurance comes out of my checking account monthly. I have stopped taking all medications prescribed for me by PCP, because, first I can't afford them, second, they are not working to her satisfaction and she keeps prescribing more.

I was trusting, naïve, stupid. I now grasp the meaning of the phrase “it is what it is”. Maybe it's a sentence fragment. I don't think it could be called a sentence, but now I get your drift. Too bad, so sad. I don't give a ….........

I have contacted ftc for awhile know and i have heavy fraudsters that are affecting my life money theft identy theft scams etc.I need some money back do to all these problems that have be happening please help

If you reported a complaint to the FTC and want to add more information, you can call the FTC at 1-877-382-4357.

I met a man online applying for a loan. We met in person twice and then several months later I signed a loan agreement to borrow $300,000. I was required to pay $1,200. I paid it. Then after we signed the contract he called,texted, and emailed me that he had forgot to include the loan insurance of $2,000. I paid by wire once again.Then they tried to wire me $296,500. He provided a Citi Bank receipt showing all the details. My secretary had written a 5 instead of a s on the swift code so it went back to Citibank. Now he says they want another $1,000 for the extra lawyer fees to do the transaction again. After checking on the swift code I was able to see that it was correct that my secretary wrote the swift code down incorrect given to her by my bank which is Chase.
The transaction took place in Fort Worth as well as the money was wired to a Chase bank in Fort Worth but then I was told that the money was being wired to me from Ghana by the lenders assisstant named Patricia Rafia. The lender is supposedly in the jungles of Brazil buying a cocoa farm and can't be reached. Well the man that signed the contract and I have met twice lives in Haltom City outside of Fort Worth,Texas. He has texted me as well as emailed me also forwarding me emails to and from Patricia in Ghana telling her that her wanting more money is wrong and begging her to fund the loan. I have even offered to give the extra $1,000 to Mr. Charles T. Stephens and for him to hold it until I receive the funding and then he could send it to her, but she is refusing that in emails to me and Charles Stephens. Now it is starting to lok like a scam. I met Charles Stepens on Linkedin. The name of the lending company was Eagle Lending and now it has been changed to A-1 Lending which has a website A-1 Lending
I have many texts and emails from both Charles and Patricia

If you gave your bank account number to the man you met online, he can take money from your account. Contact your bank and ask how to protect your money.

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

No way!!!! My husband and I are currently working with this Charles Stephens from A-One Lending of Haltom City Texas with last 4 digits of number 7476 and lenders name is Patricia Rafia with email address of
We are definitely putting on the brakes ASAP

Did anyone has terminate landline service with Birch Communication in real experience? How to file a complaint with FCC and FTC on Birth Communication who is(formerly called "Covista Communication")with their illegal charge a huge amount of termination fee without fully disclose in their service agreement which has not been agreed by most their customer and/or disclosed and signed by prior to the transition period from Covista to Birch Communication years ago.

Birch Communication took over the business from Covista Communication. In facts, the landline phone is not the same as or similarly to the Cellular Wireless Services Contract. The FCC should eliminating this kind of non-signature approved by the consumer/user's false service contract provided by Birch Communication. A class of Action by the attorney should have more interest on this type of activates. We are wondering the same illegal practice still exist without any legal consequences of the Birth Communication after many years of the complaints from the public, who are they? A group of scammer above the law or being protected by the Congress? Substantial complaints already shown in the internet as well as our experiences.

It seems to us, there is no result in legal action against or can stop Birch Communication illegally imposing their so-called early-termination fees to their account user. Hoping there is someone who can answer this question within the FTC forum. Our complaint is real, also it is our rights in standing with yours. The audio/TV/internet or bundle up services in the communication industry should be heavily regulated. Consumers would like to see this happen in the near future.

SIR.RELIANCE.AGENT.MAKING.FOOL'S.&TAKEN.MY.MONEY& .THEY.MAKING.PROMISED.I'M.GIVE.YOU.MONEY.BACK.&TAKEN.MY.MONEY.&ADDRESS.ALSO.FRAUD.SIR.TELL.ME.WHO.TAKE.ACTION.IMMEDIATELY.&WHO.WILL.GIVE.ME.MY.MONEY.BACK.SIR.REPLY.ME.

You can tell the FTC about fraud.

Go to ftc.gov/complaint to report fraud.

Or call 1-877-382-4357 to talk to a FTC representative,

l purchased a couple of things from a company in China. They were not what l thought and do not fit. I can find no way to speak to them and there is no receipt in the package. The item numbers are C-P85-B1-119,C-P53-B2-104 AND E-A11-B2-105.. I don't not know how much l paid because there is no receipt. The company's name is Dresslilly. l ordered online. When all else failed in knowing how to contact them l looked them up on Facebook. The complaints about how unhappy people were with them was endless. l still did not know how to reach them. l did complain on their facebook page but was told to contact them......there is no such number. The address of the company on the bag is : LI CHUNYUN BUILDING C-4C-5 GLP PARK NO.88 XIANDAI AVENUE SIP YUANQU SUZHOLU JIANGSU 215121 PHONE : 1111111 That is all l have. l hope it is helpful for you and everyone else on Facebook who are not happy...... Genevieve

Thank you for sharing your experiences. We can't address complaints that come through the blog comments. Please go to ftc.gov/complaint to report this.

I paid Divine Tech. Services Tel 855-605-2323 $599.00 in Sept. 21/15 to fix my comp. which was affected by virus.I paid by personal check. On 1 22/16 my computer was again affected by virus again on requesting the contract they agreed on they are seeking $399/.00 to fix my computer after agreeing that on my first payment was a lifetime warante. I am not requesting that they the company reimbursed my monies because they did not honor the contract and that I lost programs on my computer bacause it crashed with virus, which I think they were the ones who put the viruses on my computer.

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The details you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

Blog comments don't go into the database.

I want a refund on my money spent.$599.00

A Duffy realtor salesperson misled me/took$600 for selling my home. I never even listed the home. I feel I was misled by the Co. This is the first home I've owned. I am 73 & living on social security. I want a $600 refund, as the money is , "wasted>" I don't believe in their advertising/selling/promises. I believe I was taken advantage of by the salesperson.

You can contact the company directly and explain that you weren't satisfied with the service. If you signed a contract with the company, you can read that to see what your rights are. If you think a business did not live up to its advertising, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission,  your state Attorney General’s office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Look I did not bother to methodically document this problem but after dealing with the time consuming frustration it creates I would like to make awareness of a growing concern voiced. It is computer related and involves what I felt to be reputable and reliable business' First of all the industry has the consumer over the barrel because the majority of customers don't even know how to describe the technical jargon they throw around like a new pigeon laguage. They have the perfect alibai in place with the vulnerability of software to corruption, virus. adware , hacking and it is always from an external source of underground elements according to them. I purchased a modest HP computerabout two years ago and also a membership to the geek squad which is trying to copy thew banking system and make money off revenue and pseudo service. In that time I must have brought the unit in at least 20 times for service and 4 times they completely washedit aand st it back to company default settingswithout longlasting quality results.It was stiil under warranty and I inquired about a tradein or any salvagible exchaange for what I considered a lemon. No dice the technician asked me how I could really expect them to guarantee something I probably picked up on the internet, Well this went on and I made due because I needed the machine as asenior citizen trying to complete my BA, but in that time theaggravation at times was unbearable when it ate or damage documents I had worked hours on. Most recently I rented/ not purchased Microsoft office 365 on an annual basis. I had prblems with that and they reinstalled it for me a few times. Now Recently I got away from the geeek squad that is like a speedy's for computer care and acquired a highly reccomendwe tech that does some work for URI and he has me up and running but not completely efficient. I could not get my Canon printer a$300 item to print when I got my computer back home and after several consultations with online help it was determined that my system configuration was violated essentil components to the operating system were disabled and cause dysfuntion and damage So I was back to square one and every pleasant tehie I talked to told me the same thing it was avery tecnical engineering problem and could be fixed for 150=300 dollars otherwise it would just be reoccuring. I checked out the programs and they were accurate in what they told me the part that really concerned me was the programs that were disabled wre thw ones I purchased and yes you guessedit those reputable microsoft products were the ones ssystematically disabled...I paid decent money for what I expected to be reliable products and feel like a victim of surgically manipulated digitl undermining that has a perfect alibhai. I think it is an atrocity that this marketing device along with the stress it creates should be allowed to be perpetrated on the American public probabhly with a nefative rap song playing in the background. Our values and ethics have hit an all time low and it is discracful that these companies are so big noone even investigates their sstandards, Thank You and being a realist I do not expect action but at least I did get to throw my hat in the ring and maybe that will help the next guy.

You can contact a company directly and explain that you weren't satisfied with its service.

If you signed a contract with a company, you can read it to see what your rights are when a product or service doesn't work as advertised.

If you think a business did not live up to its advertising, you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission,  your state Attorney General’s office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

I ordered a beauty product at BlissCreams USA. I've got a package after 30 days. I know parcels to EU took a bit longer to be delivered. After 20 days the company charged my credit card-they automatically enroled me into their best customers list-I've missed in small print. They charged me for another 70 € but never sent the products. Do FTC also help EU buyers? I am not the only one, there's a long list of complaints on BlissCreams facebook page. Thank you for your answer.

If you’ve done business with an overseas company that hasn’t lived up to its end of the deal, you can file a report at econsumer.gov.

Learn more by reading our post, Reporting International Scams.

I purchased a product (custom wheels) on December 21, 2015. They normally take 6-8weeks to be assembled and delivered, unfortunately the company doesn't sell to the public so I had to go through a 3rd party company (a local body shop). I been waiting for months and the local body shop has been giving me the run-arounds. They keep saying "they almost ready". I got tired of waiting and i emailed the actual company about my order and they said they received the order on March 21, 2016. I payed for my custom wheels on December 2015... It is now July 10, 2016 I'm tired of waiting, last week I started a dispute process with my credit card company. Its currently under investigation... The merchant is being a huge pain in the butt. I never received the product, I no longer want it. So why are they giving me a hard time to give me my money back? What should i do? How can I win this case? Im tired of waiting, wheels cost over $4,000. I just want my money back. Like i said till this day I still haven't received my product. The local body shop claims they have a policy that they don't have control on how long customs wheels take.. But its been 7 months... Im tired of waiting. He's been harassing me non-stop, I'm even considering a restraining order.

If you can’t resolve a problem with a company, you may be able to try an alternative dispute resolution program. These programs — including mediation or arbitration — can be quicker, cheaper, and less stressful than going to court. Learn more by reading our brochure, Alternative Dispute Resolution.

I was contacted by the bank.. Its under investigation.. The merchant forged my signature and signed a "policy" saying it was me... Im sure they'll resolve this in a timely manner, atleast i hope so

Skin Complex RX Noticed two charges on 07.21.16 for Skin Complex totaling approximately $158.00. Contacted Skin RX and informed that this was not my purchase. Customer service representative told me I should have read disclosure on web site. Explained again I did not order and will dispute. CS rep told me they win 100% of all disputes. Explained bottles not open obvious mistake, I see no term period and charge was not authorized by me. Customer service representative rude as a consumer found this company and there representatives to be rude and less than honest. I did receive product and do not dispute that but I did not order nor did anyone in my home. Looking for Skin complex RX to be a responsible corporation and take their product back.

I wrote a nonexistent address by mistake and UPS is telling the business that they delivered my package to what I wrote down. Now Guitar center won't return my money because UPS can't retrieve my package. What do I do, they tell me that they forwarded this to a manager yet the managers never contact me. It's been 3 months! Please help

If your letter didn't do the trick, you may want to get outside help and look at other options. For more information, see Resolving Consumer Problems.

on 4/7/16.purchased a used truckfrom a dealership,received a loan,,the next day I noticed the moter did not sound right,took it to his mechanic hes said it needs timing chain,,tokk it back to salemen ,he gave me a warrenty ccontract to fix the engine,,that was on 4/29.Idropped truck off at shop May5 2016..ive only received lies from salesmen,mechainic and know the loan company wont answer my calls ....

today is9/25/16..almost forgot..didn't get a loner until june 26th.have had 3 diffterent loners the one I'm driving know is not insepected and has a dealer plate that expires oct.16..plus I was told not to call the shop.only to talk with salemen...Ive been paying on time my payment plus full coverage..it cost me $20 a day to get back in forth to work,and my son who has autisumto school and to my nanny..i live in Jonesboro maine there is no bus..ive talked to the att general they said I should tslk woth the ftcis this right..in fear of being stranded...

It sounds like you took a loan for a truck, but you haven't been able to use the truck for a long time. And, you're making loan payments on a truck that the dealer is holding.

You may need to have a lawyer look at the contract you signed with the dealer, and maybe your loan paperwork. Pine Tree Legal Assistance helps Maine residents with legal problems. They have offices all across the state.  This page  in the Pine Tree website tells you more about finding help.

You can also call the the attorney general's office again, and find out how to report a complaint in writing. You could see if there are other state and local consumer protection agencies to help. This FTC article has other ideas about how to fix consumer problems.

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