How to Ask for a Refund in a Complaint Letter [with Sample]

When purchased goods or services do not meet the consumer’s expectations, he or she has the right to write a complaint letter that asks for compensation. 

Most companies recognize two types of customers including the ones who complain when they are not happy, and the ones who keep quiet and do not complain.


Best customers

The customers that complain are considered the best customers, because they are more likely to become repeat customers if their complaints and compensation requests are met. People, who do not complain, usually quietly go elsewhere for their next purchase.

Knowing this, it need not be an ordeal to write a the letter. The consumer can send a complaint email or phone the customer service department, but letters remain the most effective and reliable way to have a complaint heard.

Be Concise

The letter should be professional and clearly state the facts. It should be concise because business representatives appreciate short, to-the-point communications. 

If the consumer can pretend that he or she is receiving the complaint, they will get a better idea of how the receiver will feel about the letter. 

The consumer may be angry and upset about the defective product or service, but he or she should never let these feelings show in the letter.

Compelling Reasons

If the consumer requests compensation, he or she needs to give clear, compelling reasons why the company should comply with the request. 

If the reasons are clear and documented with receipts, warranties or any other relevant evidence, it should be obvious that the only proper response from the company is to give compensation.

Simply asking for compensation will not usually be successful. The consumer should also request the exact compensation he or she expects. 

It may be a replacement product, refund for money spent or a voucher for a free dinner. The company needs to know exactly what the consumer expects, if it is going to give a satisfactory answer. 


If compensation is being requested for damages, it is recommended to enclose photographs of the damages and a copy of the repair bill. 

For example, if a plumbing technician pulls into a driveway and accidentally crushes a bicycle, the owner of the bicycle may request compensation from the plumbing company.

The letter may produce the desired results if it is addressed to a specific person rather than a customer service department. 

The consumer can phone the company, ask to speak to the customer service department and ask to whom a letter of complaint should be addressed. 

If one customer service agent does not help, the consumer should ask to speak to the head of the department. 

Good customer service is essential for any company that wants to be successful. If the consumer takes the time to plan a complaint letter carefully, it has a good chance of getting results.

Here are some features a good complaint letter will contain:

• The contents should be factual. It should contain dates and relevant details that give a clear picture of why the complaint is justified and compensation should be given.

• The format should be professional and the language polite. This gives the impression of authority on the part of the consumer.

• The letter should use positive statements and suggest positive outcomes that encourage action and quick decisions.

• The tone should be friendly and considerate, complementing the company. This may encourage the reader to prioritize the request.

• The letter should be based on cooperation and constructive problem solving.

• The consumer should know what compensation he or she wants and ask for it. Rather than saying, “Give me compensation,” the consumer should say “this is what I believe is fair compensation.”

Below is a sample complaint letter requesting refund. The consumer should send the letter by registered post and request a return receipt. He or she should keep a copy of the letter. Any enclosures such as receipts, contracts or other documents should be copies and not the original documents.

Sample Complaint Letter Requesting Refund

Your Name
Your Address
City, State, Zip Code


Name of Restaurant Manager
Name of Restaurant
Address of Restaurant
City, State, Zip Code

RE: Requesting compensation for dinner at Name of Restaurant

Dear Name of Restaurant Manager:

Name of Restaurant has excellent food and a reputation for good service. However, this was not my experience on DATE. 

I made a reservation two weeks in advance for dinner for eight. My family was celebrating the 40th wedding anniversary of my parents. I have enclosed a copy of my reservation that was sent to me by email.

When we arrived at the restaurant, our table was not ready and we had to wait for 30 minutes in your small lobby. There were not enough chairs for all of us and some of us had to stand. We were not offered a drink or a glass of water.

When we were finally seated, the food, which I had ordered in advance, was not ready. We waited another 20 minutes for the food, and only received enough for five people.

I ordered a special cake that was not prepared. We tried to make the best of the situation by ordering more food and dessert. After all of that, we were presented with a $365 bill, which I paid.

I have eaten at your restaurant many times and enjoyed the ambiance and food, but I believe I am owed a refund for the disastrous celebration of my parent’s wedding anniversary.

You can ask our waiter, Tom, about the food service and the receptionist Trish about our time in the lobby. I can be reached at Phone Number or Email Address if you have any questions. I hope to receive a favorable reply soon.


Your Name
List of Enclosures: Reservation Receipt, Dinner Bill, Credit Card Receipt