What issues should I consider when trying to write an effective complaint letter?

Writing a letter of complaint

There are a number of reasons why you would wish to write a complaint letter. Many may centre on certain business transactions but often the requirement to write a letter of complaint may occur through anything which happens in everyday life. For example if you are driving you car on a road which is poorly maintained by the local authority and following damage to your care you may wish to write a letter stating the problem as a first port of call to get the issue resolved.

Will writing a complaint letter always result in legal action?

In some cases a complaint letter may be the first stage of a legal action in notifying the individual who you wish to claim against of the problem. In other cases it will remove the need for legal action as it may be the only required communication to enable you to receive what you require under the terms of the letter.

What factors should I take into consideration when writing a complaint letter?

You should try and take the following factors into consideration when writing an effective complaint letter:

  • Try and find a specific individual who you can address your letter to

  • Provide full contact information for yourself 

  • Ensure that the tone of the letter is correct

  •  Provide evidence of your complaint

  • Provide details of what it is you want

  • Think seriously about the threat of legal action

Finding a specific individual to address the letter to

It certainly pays to do some research before you submit a complaint letter to a specific company or a body and you should always try and find the specific person whose job it is to deal with these issues or an individual who should be aware of the problem. This will ensure that you have a record of it being sent to a specific person when you come to communicate again. If they have not responded you know who you are dealing with.

Furthermore it is more likely that action will be taken if you delegate the task to a specific individual.

If you simply send the letter to a general address or an email inbox it is much easier for the letter to become lost in the process and not delivered to the correct person. It is also much easier for the company or body to state that they never received the letter.

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  • Provide full contact information
  • Ensure that the tone of the letter is correct
  • Provide full evidence of the complaint
  • Provide details of what it is you want
  • The threat of legal action