Writing an Effective Complaint Letter
To increase your chances of receiving a speedy settlement, follow these seven steps in writing your letter of complaint. They will help you build your case.
1. Send your letter to the right person to further ensure your success. As we saw, never address it “To Whom It May Concern.” Do your homework—search the company’s website or go to Hoover’s business directory (www.hoovers.com) to get contact information. But don’t send your letter to the CEO. Find the appro- priate person or office that responds to customer problems.
2. Be concise. Keep your letter to one page. Your reader wants essential details, not a saga of your troubles.
3. Begin with a detailed description of the product or service. Give the appro- priate model and serial numbers, size, quantity, color, and cost. Specify check and invoice numbers. Indicate when, where (specific address), and how (through a ven- dor, the Internet, at a store) you purchased it and also the remaining warranty. If you are complaining about a service, give the name of the company, the date of the service, the personnel providing it, and their exact duties.
4. State exactly what is wrong with the product or service. Be factual. Precise information will enable the reader to understand and act on your complaint.
How many times did the product work before it stopped?
What parts were malfunctioning?
What parts of a job were not done or were done poorly?
When did all this happen? How many times?
Where and how were you inconvenienced?
Was the service late, incomplete, rude?
Stating that “the brake shoes were defective” tells very little about how long they were on your car, how effectively they may have been installed, or what condition they were in when they ceased functioning safely.
5. Briefly describe the inconvenience you experienced. Show that your prob- lems were directly caused by the defective product or service. To build your case, give precise details about the time and money you lost. Don’t just say you had “numerous difficulties.” Did you have to pay a mechanic to fix your car when it was stalled on the road? Did you have to buy a new printer or Blu-Ray DVD player? Where appropriate, refer to any previous telephone calls, emails, or letters. Give the names of the people you have written to or spoken with and the dates.
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