Writing a Complaint Letter for Defective Product [with Sample]

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Even with the best intentions, companies turn out defective products. If you purchase a defective product you may first call the seller to see if you can exchange it for a good one.

If this doesn’t get results, you may want to file a complaint with the company by writing a complaint letter for the defective product and requesting a replacement or compensation. 

A letter is essential for making a formal complaint because it puts your issue on record. This may help if you need to take legal action to get compensation, especially if the product costs a lot of money. 

A letter also tells the company that you are serious about getting results for your complaint and may induce them to settle your complaint rather than put it off.

Here are a few guidelines for writing an effective letter:

• The letter should be concise and clear. The aim of the letter and the results you want should be stated in the first few sentences. If you have any model or serial numbers, they should be included when you describe the product.

If the letter is a follow-up after a conversation with a customer service person, you should give the name of the person to whom you spoke and state any details or information you were given.

• Avoid superfluous detail that adds words but no value. The letter should be about 200 words and be on one page. If the letter is too long and complicated, the receiver may only scan the contents and not get a clear picture of your problem.

• The results you want should be clearly stated at the beginning of the letter. The general rule is that the receiver should be able to find the purpose of the letter in less than five seconds. For example, you may want a replacement product or your money back. You should give a reasonable time limit for getting the results you want.

• The letter should not contain any sarcastic, angry or threatening wording. It is not a good idea to write the letter when you are angry. The tone should be that the recipient wants to help you rather than to an adversary. You are not writing to the person responsible for the defect, but to a person who is in a position to remedy your problem.

This is why the tone should be positive, courteous and friendly. In addition, if you demand a refund while telling them you will find a different brand in the future, you reduce your chances of getting what you want. 

It is not a good idea to threaten legal action in your first complaint letter. You may need to take legal action, but give the company a chance to make compensation by waiting for their response to your first letter.

• An authoritative tone tells the receiver that you expect your complaint to be taken seriously, that you know your rights and that you have the documentation to prove your complaint.

• You should include with the letter copies of receipts, warranty cards or credit card bills. If you have already talked to a customer service representative you may want to include any notes from the conversation or emails that pertain to your request. 

Do not send any original documents. You may need them later and they could get lost if you include them in the complaint letter.

• The letter should contain your contact information, including your name, phone number and email address as well as an account number that is associated with the purchase.

Here is a sample complaint letter that can be modified for different situations. It should be addressed to the director of the customer service department because that is the department that is used to dealing with complaints and may be able to resolve yours quickly.

You can call the company for the name or look at the company website. For legal reasons, to prove later if necessary that you made a timely complaint, the letter can be sent by registered mail including receipt verification with the signature of the person who received it:

Sample Complaint Letter For Defective Product

Your Name
Your Address
City, State, Zip Code


The Contact Person’s Name Customer Service Department
The Name of the Company
The title of the Contact Person
The Company’s Address
City, State, Zip Code

Dear Name of Contact Person:

This letter is to complain about a remote control dinosaur that I bought on DATE, at LOCATION. I am requesting that you replace the toy with a new one as my child likes it very much and would be disappointed if it didn’t work properly. Otherwise, I would like my money back.

I paid with a VISA credit card and have enclosed copies of the receipt, credit card bill and warranty card with this letter. The toy worked well for two weeks and has stopped working. 

I changed the batteries and took it back to the seller, but he said there was nothing he could do. The warranty for the toy is for one year.

I look forward to your positive reply and will wait until DATE before seeking further assistance. I can be reached at Email Address or at Phone Number at any time during working hours. Thank you in advance for your quick attention to this matter.


Your Name
Enclosed: receipt from the store, credit card receipt, stamped and valid warranty card