Example Claim Letter Assignment

Letters of complaint

Writing a formal letter of complaint remains an effective way to alert a company to a problem. This page includes guidelines for structuring your complaint, suggestions for style, and example letters.

Preparing to write

Before you begin your draft, gather all the information you will need to include in your complaint. This information may include the time, date, and location that you purchased faulty goods or services, reference or invoice numbers, and records of previous communication with the company. To support your complaint, you may need to enclose copies of documents such as receipts with your letter.

How to structure your letter of complaint

Your letter of complaint should follow the standard composition format for a formal letter. See how to lay out a letter.

Below the recipient’s address, include a subject line to indicate the product or service that you are addressing in your complaint. In the first body paragraph, open with a sentence that immediately draws the reader's attention to the matter, e.g.:

I am writing to complain about the faulty installation of my air conditioner.

 I wish to express my dissatisfaction with my stay at your hotel.

Follow the opening sentence with a summary of the events that prompted your complaint. Be sure to include exact dates and times, and give all the relevant information in a clear and logical sequence.

In the next paragraphs, you should outline what steps you have taken thus far to resolve the matter and describe the consequences of the faulty product or service. Adding specific details, such as additional costs you have incurred to replace a faulty product, will strengthen your complaint. If you have had previous communication with the company, be sure to note it in your letter; include reference numbers where applicable.

In the final body paragraph of your letter, you should state your expectations of how the company should resolve the matter, including specific actions and deadlines, e.g.:

I would appreciate it if you could replace the missing part by next week.

Please let me know as soon as possible what action you propose to take.

I look forward to hearing from you within the next ten days.

Suggestion: Take a calm and focused approach

Keep your complaint focused on the exact incident that prompted your letter. Do not veer into generalized criticism of the company, and avoid personal attacks and abusive language. Even though you may be quite frustrated and angry, maintain a calm, gracious tone in your complaint. Expressing optimism that the matter will be resolved will produce a more persuasive letter than berating the reader for the company's mistakes.


See a letter of complaint about a faulty product (pdf).

See a letter of complaint about unsatisfactory workmanship (pdf).

See a letter of complaint about a disappointing holiday (pdf).


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Announcement Letters

Business Announcement Letters

Personal Announcement Letters

Sales Announcement Letters

Apology Letters


Application Letters

Appointment Letters

Appreciation Letters

Accept an Honor/Suggestion


  • Accept a job offer
  • Accept an invitation to a business appointment
  • Acknowledge the receipt of a report, letter, or other
  • Acknowledge the receipt of a resume
  • Congratulate someone on his or her retirement
  • Encourage/motivate your reader to increase sales
  • Relieve someone from delegated responsibilities because someone else will assume them
  • Thank a business for good service, low prices, or professional courtesies
  • Thank someone for an appointment, interview, or meeting
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  • Write a farewell letter to a person who is leaving employment
  • Write a farewell letter to a person who is retiring
  • Write a farewell letter to management, co-workers or clients

Civic Service






Positive Feedback



Social Event


Thank You

Approval Letters

Authorization Letters

Cancellation Letters


Collection Letters

Complaint Letters

  • Appeal to higher authorities when complaint letters don't work
  • Complain about a faulty delivery or a shipping error
  • Complain about receiving damaged goods
  • Complain about poor facilities or equipment
  • Complain about harassment
  • Complain to a neighbor or a landlord
  • Complain about an unfair insurance payment or settlement
  • Complain about community problems
  • Complain about a billing error
  • Complain about overdue work or poor workmanship
  • Complain about laws, policies, or inefficiencies
  • Complain about poor service or a faulty product
  • Complain about a delay in an order
  • Complain about a radio or television broadcast
  • Complain about an employee who has given poor or offensive service
  • Complain to a club or organization
  • Correct an official's mistake on your taxes
  • Delegate follow-up on a complaint from a customer
  • Demand satisfaction on a mail order transaction gone bad (suspected mail fraud)
  • Disagree about benefits (social security, retirement, insurance, etc.)
  • Disagree with a bill, rent payment, or other financial issue
  • Disagree with a subordinate, a superior, or a person in authority
  • Dismiss an employee for poor performance or unacceptable behavior
  • Document employee reprimands
  • File a warranty claim
  • Make an insurance claim
  • Reprimand an employee for poor attendance or tardiness
  • Reprimand an employee for a breach of policy
  • Reprimand an employee for poor performance
  • Request correction of an error in a check
  • Request a retraction or correction from the media
  • Request correction of an error in a credit report
  • Request correction of a billing error
  • Request a refund or reimbursement
  • Respond to a complaint and treat it as valuable feedback
  • Respond to a complaint
  • Respond to a complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment
  • Respond to a complaint while admitting fault and making an adjustment
  • Respond to a false accusation from a government agency
  • Respond to a complaint while avoiding agreement or denying liability, and refusing to make an adjustment
  • Respond to a complaint while avoiding or denying liability, but making an adjustment
  • Respond to a complaint, but needing more information
  • Warn a distributor under your supervision
  • Write a disagreement letter
  • Write a complaint letter to a superior
  • Write a complaint letter to a subordinate
  • Write a letter reprimanding tenants

Compliment Letters

Condolences Letters

See Sympathy

Confirmation Letters



  • Acknowledge the receipt of a report, letter, or other
  • Confirm a directive or decision
  • Confirm a transfer, promotion, or relocation assignment
  • Confirm an appointment, meeting, or interview
  • Confirm miscellaneous business agreements
  • Confirm an order you have made
  • Confirm receipt of an order from a customer
  • Confirm the receipt of a resume, contract bid, or application (receiver's letter)
  • Follow up after a meeting to review decisions and assignments
  • Request confirmation of the receipt of a resume, contract bid, application, etc. (sender's letter)
  • Schedule an appointment to interview a potential employee


Social or Business Events


Congratulation Letters

Cover Letters

Credit Letters

Cancel, Suspend, or Restrict a Credit Account


Open a Credit Account

Request a Loan or Credit

Request or Make Payment

Delegation Letters

Directive Letters

Disagreement Letters

Dismissal Letters

Encouragement Letters

Endorsement Letters

Error Letters

If you have made an error:

If someone else has made an error:

Farewell Letters

Follow-Up Letters

Fundraising Letters

Get-Well Letters

Gift Letters

Goodwill Letters






Sympathy/Get Well

Thank You



Government Letters

Responding to Complaint Letters

See response letters

Holiday Letters

Inform/Notify Letters


  • Announce a budget surplus
  • Announce a business anniversary
  • Announce a change in your company's name
  • Announce a change of business address
  • Announce a company savings plan
  • Announce a hiring freeze
  • Announce a holiday closing
  • Announce a holiday work schedule
  • Announce a job opening
  • Announce a job-related party or retreat
  • Announce a layoff
  • Announce a new business, store, or branch office
  • Announce a new partner
  • Announce a new product or service
  • Announce a routine meeting
  • Announce a special meeting
  • Announce actions to be taken during a strike (management's announcement)
  • Announce an imminent strike (labor's announcement)
  • Announce punitive measures against a client's account
  • Approve a proposal
  • Approve a vacation or leave of absence
  • Approve attendance at a conference or seminar
  • Approve payment or funding for expenses incurred
  • Authorize work to be done
  • Cancel or decline to schedule an appointment
  • Cancel or postpone an appointment
  • Complain about poor service or a faulty product
  • Confirm a transfer, promotion, or relocation assignment
  • Confirm that you have given authorization to someone
  • Confirm the receipt of a resume, contract bid, or application (receiver's letter)
  • Confirm miscellaneous business agreements
  • Delegate a special project
  • Delegate new or additional duties
  • Delegate responsibilities for the period of your absence
  • Give advice to subordinates
  • Grant a promotion or raise
  • Introduce a product or service
  • Issue directives concerning specific tasks
  • Issue directives concerning studies and investigations
  • Issue directives concerning reports and paperwork
  • Issue directives to adjust territories or structures
  • Issue directives to establish, change or reaffirm policies
  • Issue directives to establish, change, or reaffirm procedures
  • Notify a shipper that an order is incomplete, incorrect or damaged; also, return unwanted or incorrect merchandise
  • Request confirmation of an authorization to take action
  • Request confirmation of the receipt of a resume, contract bid, application, etc. (sender's letter)
  • Respond to a complaint
  • Respond to a request for your resume
  • Take the minutes of a meeting
  • Transmit informational or sales literature
  • Write a complaint letter to a subordinate
  • Write a complaint letter to a superior
  • Write a cover letter to introduce a resume








Social Events/Travel

Inquiry Letters

Introduction Letters

Business Introductions:

Business Announcements (Very Similar):

Personal Introductions:

Sales Introductions:

Invitation Letters

Extend an invitation

Accept an invitation

Announce or cancel an invitation

Confirm or decline an invitation

Job Offer Letters

Love Letters

Love Letters: Confessions of Love

Love Letters: I Love You

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