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Sunday, September 27, 2009

How to write a letter of complaint

Introduction
Letters of complaint usually include the following stages:

  1. Background
  2. Problem - cause and effect
  3. Solution
  4. Warning (optional)
  5. Closing
Background
This section describes the situation; e.g.
  • I am writing to inform you that the goods we ordered from your company have not been supplied correctly.
  • I attended your exhibition Sound Systems 2009 at the Fortune Hotel (22-25 January) and found it informative and interesting. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the event was spoiled by a number of organisational problems.
  • I am a shareholder of Sunshine Bank and I am very concerned regarding recent newspaper reports on the financial situation of the bank. Your company is listed as the auditor in the latest annual report of the bank, so I am writing to you to ask for an explanation of the following issues.
  • I am writing to inform you of my dissatisfaction with the food and drinks at the 'European Restaurant' on 18 January this year.
Problem Cause:
  • On 18 September 2009 we placed an order with your firm for 12,000 ultra super long-life batteries. The consignment arrived yesterday but contained only 1,200 batteries.
  • Firstly, I had difficulty in registering to attend the event. You set up an on-line registration facility, but I found the facility totally unworkable.
  • You sent us an invoice for $10,532, but did not deduct our usual 10% discount.

Effect:

  • This error put our firm in a difficult position, as we had to make some emergency purchases to fulfil our commitments to all our customers. This caused us considerable inconvenience.
  • Even after spending several wasted hours trying to register in this way, the computer would not accept my application.
  • I am therefore returning the invoice to you for correction.
  • This large number of errors is unacceptable to our customers, and we are therefore unable to sell these books.
Solution:
  • I am writing to ask you to please make up the shortfall immediately and to ensure that such errors do not happen again.
  • Could I please ask you to look into these matters.
  • Please send us a corrected invoice for $9,479.
  • I enclose a copy of the book with the errors highlighted. Please re-print the book and send it to us by next Friday.
Warning (optional):
  • Otherwise, we may have to look elsewhere for our supplies.
  • I'm afraid that if these conditions are not met, we may be forced to take legal action.
  • If the outstanding fees are not paid by Monday, 5 October 2009, you will incur a 10% late payment fee.

Closing:

  • I look forward to receiving your explanation of these matters.
  • I look forward to receiving your payment.
  • I look forward to hearing from you shortly.
Politeness
The tone of complaint letters should not be aggressive or insulting, as this would annoy the reader and not encourage them to solve the problem. In addition, questions such as 'Why can't you get this right?' should not be included.

Content:

  • The content should contain enough details so that the receiver does not have to write back requesting more.
  • Legal action is not normally threatened in the first letter of complaint, unless the situation is very serious.
Examples 1:


Flat 303 Lucky Mansions 856
Cheung Sha Wan Road
Cheung Sha Wan
Kowloon

24 September 2009

The Administrative Officer
Exhibition Services
Exhibitions International
33 Kadoorie Avenue
Kowloon

Dear Sir/Madam

I attended your exhibition Sound Systems 2009 at the Fortune Hotel from 14 - 17 September and found it informative and interesting. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the event was spoiled by a number of organisational problems. I explain each of the problems below.

Firstly, I had difficulty in registering to attend the event. You set up an on-line registration facility, but I found the facility totally unworkable. Even after spending several wasted hours trying to register in this way, the computer would not accept my application. I eventually succeeded in registering by faxing you.

Secondly, the exhibition was held at one of Hong Kong's most prestigious hotels, but frankly the venue was better suited to a medium-sized business conference than to a large exhibition open by registration to the public. The lack of space led to serious overcrowding in the venue, particularly at peak visiting times (i.e. lunch times and early evening). On one or two occasions I was also seriously concerned about the physical safety of attendees.

The final point I want to make concerns product information. It is very enjoyable to see and test a range of excellent sound systems, but it is also important to be able to take away leaflets on interesting products, so that more research can be done before deciding which system to buy. However, by the time I attended the exhibition all the leaflets had been taken.

Could I please ask you to look into these matters - not only on my behalf but also on behalf of other attendees, and in fact on behalf of your company, too.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours faithfully


Michael Leung

Example 2:

Fortune Goods
317 Orchard Road
Singapore

25 September 2009

Attn: Mr David Choi
Sales Manager
Everlong Batteries
171 Choi Hung Road
Hung Hom
Hong Kong

Dear Mr Choi

Re. Order No. 768197

I am writing to inform you that the goods we ordered from your company have not been supplied correctly.

On 18 September 2009 we placed an order with your firm for 12,000 ultra super long-life batteries. The consignment arrived yesterday but contained only 1,200 batteries.

This error put our firm in a difficult position, as we had to make some emergency purchases to fulfil our commitments to all our customers. This caused us considerable inconvenience.

I am writing to ask you to please make up the shortfall immediately and to ensure that such errors do not happen again. Otherwise, we may have to look elsewhere for our supplies.

I look forward to hearing from you by return.

Yours sincerely

J. Wong
Purchasing Officer

Grammar Of Complaints

Grammar Notes:

Word Part of Speech Examples
to complain infinitive verb I would like to complain about your services.
complains third person verb He complains all the time.
complained past tense verb Customers complained about our services last year.

I complained to the customer service representative 2 weeks ago.

have complained present perfect verb Recently several customers have complained about this problem.
complaining continuous verb Customers are complaining about our services.
adjective We value complaining customers because they help us to improve.
gerund Complaining makes me feel better.
complaint noun I have received a complaint about our services.
compliant
(meaning: obedient / co-operative)
adjective The company is a compliant customer.

Notes:
Prepositions:

  • complain about + problem ( a noun or noun phrase); e.g. 'I would like to complain about your services'.
  • complain to + a person; e.g. 'I complained to the customer service representative'.
  • complained of + a medical problem; e.g. 'He complained of not sleeping well'.
  • complaint of + date the complaint was written; e.g. 'I received your complaint of 25 September 2009 '.
  • complaint on + date the complaint was received; e.g. 'I received your complaint on 25 September 2009 '.
  • complained that + clause; e.g. 'He complained that we had not answered his e-mails'.

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Collection of SPM English Language Question Papers

2005
Terengganu Trial [Paper 1]

2007
Johor Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Terengganu Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2] [Answers], Melaka Trial 2007 [Paper 1] [Paper 2], TIMES [Paper 1] [Paper 2] SPB [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

2008

Terengganu Mid Year [Paper 1] [Paper 2],
Trial
MRSM Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], SBP Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Kelantan Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Terengganu Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Kedah Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Johor Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Perlis Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Sabah Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2], Sarawak Trial [Paper 1 & 2], Melaka Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

2009

Terengganu TOV [Paper 1] [Paper 2] Terengganu Mid Year [Paper 1] [Paper 2]
Melaka Trial , Johor Trial , Sabah Trial , Kedah Trial , Perlis Trial , Times , SBP , Pahang Trial [Paper 1] [Paper 2]

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