3 Easy Steps to Write an Effective Complaint

Last updated on May 23, 2023 / By 

When faced with a problem or an unsatisfactory experience with a product, service, or company, filing a complaint is an essential step towards finding a resolution. However, writing an effective complaint is crucial to ensure that your concerns are heard and addressed. In this article, we will guide you through three easy steps to help you write an impactful complaint that increases your chances of receiving a satisfactory response.


Step 1: Gather Information and Identify the Issue 

Before putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), it’s important to gather all the relevant information and identify the core issue you want to address in your complaint. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Collect supporting evidence: Start by gathering any documents, receipts, emails, or photographs that are related to your complaint. These will serve as evidence to support your claims. For example, if you received a faulty product, take pictures of the defect or keep the purchase receipt handy.
  2. Clearly define the problem: Once you have your supporting evidence, identify the main problem or concern. Be specific and concise in explaining what went wrong, how it affected you, and what resolution you seek. Use factual information and avoid emotional language or unnecessary details. State the facts objectively, providing a clear picture of the issue at hand.
  3. Include relevant details: To strengthen your complaint, include relevant details such as dates, names of individuals you interacted with, account numbers, order numbers, or any other information that can help the company identify your case quickly. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for them to investigate and address your complaint.

Step 2: Structure and Tone 

Once you have a clear understanding of the problem and have gathered all the necessary information, it’s time to structure your complaint effectively and adopt an appropriate tone. Consider the following guidelines:

  1. Start with a polite greeting: Begin your complaint with a respectful salutation, such as “Dear Customer Service” or “To Whom It May Concern.” This sets a professional tone from the outset and shows that you expect a fair resolution.
  2. Provide a concise summary: In the opening paragraph, provide a brief summary of the issue you’re experiencing. State the key problem and mention any previous attempts you’ve made to resolve it. This helps the recipient of the complaint to quickly grasp the essence of your concern.
  3. Use clear and logical paragraphs: Divide your complaint into paragraphs to ensure clarity and easy readability. Each paragraph should focus on a specific aspect of the issue. Use logical transitions between paragraphs to maintain a coherent flow of information.
  4. Stay calm and objective: It’s natural to feel frustrated or upset when writing a complaint, but it’s essential to maintain a calm and objective tone throughout. Avoid using offensive or derogatory language, as it can hinder the resolution process. Stick to the facts and express your dissatisfaction respectfully.
  5. Request a specific resolution: Clearly state the outcome you expect or the resolution you seek. Whether it’s a refund, replacement, apology, or any other appropriate action, be specific in expressing your desired outcome. This helps the company understand your expectations and respond accordingly.

Step 3: Proofread and Send 

The final step involves reviewing and proofreading your complaint before sending it to the relevant party. Follow these important steps:

  1. Check for errors: Carefully read through your complaint, checking for any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. A well-written and error-free complaint conveys professionalism and seriousness.
  2. Edit for clarity and conciseness: Ensure that your complaint is clear, concise, and to the point. Remove any unnecessary information or repetitive statements that might dilute the main issue.
  3. Provide contact information: Include your full name, contact number, and email
  4. address at the end of your complaint. This allows the company to reach out to you easily and ensures effective communication throughout the resolution process.
  5. Choose the appropriate method of delivery: Decide on the best way to send your complaint. You can opt for email, online forms provided by the company, or even traditional mail, depending on the company’s preferred method of communication. Consider sending a copy of your complaint via certified mail if you need proof of delivery.
  6. Maintain copies for your records: Before sending the complaint, make copies of all the documents, including the complaint itself, supporting evidence, and any correspondence with the company. Keeping a record of your complaint ensures that you have evidence of your attempts to resolve the issue, which may be helpful in case further action is required.
  7. Follow up if necessary: After sending your complaint, allow a reasonable amount of time for the company to respond. If you don’t receive a satisfactory resolution or any response within a reasonable timeframe, consider following up with a polite and firm reminder. Persistence can sometimes be the key to getting your complaint addressed.


Writing an effective complaint requires a systematic approach that involves gathering information, identifying the issue, structuring your complaint, adopting an appropriate tone, proofreading, and sending it to the relevant party. By following these three easy steps, you can increase the chances of receiving a satisfactory resolution to your complaint. Remember to remain calm, objective, and respectful throughout the process, as maintaining professionalism can greatly impact the outcome

sample letter