Monday, June 11, 2018

Writing Letters of Complaint - Useful Phrases



Whether it's to complain about something you bought or a service you found was unsatisfactory, as part of your job or because you are preparing to take an exam in English at B2 or C2 level, it is a fact that you should know the basics about writing or even orally expressing your dissatisfaction. 



The following post should help you organize your letter or email (even an oral statement, if necessary) as well as give you some useful phrases you can use.





Organization



Letters of complaint have, like any other formal piece of writing

  • an introduction
  • a main body
  • a conclusion

Before these three parts, you also have addresses, the date and the opening greeting. After the conclusion, there is a closing and your signature.


See the layout of a letter at the end of this post for the positioning of the addresses, date and the opening and closing greetings.





In the introduction

  • you say who you are: give basic information about yourself and your relationship to the person you're addressing. You do not need to state your name, as that will be evident at the end of the letter.

    Examples

    • I bought a television set (a Simsang 55" Q8FN QLED Smart 4K UHD TV) from your store on March 20, 2018.

    • The package trip was booked from your office on Bond Street Tuesday afternoon of last week, after personally consulting with Ms. Mary Marple, an employee of yours.


  • state the reason(s) why you are writing the letter.

  Examples

    • The reason I am writing is to express how deeply disappointed I am about the entire experience.

    • I am writing to complain about the faulty installation of my kitchen appliances.

    • I want to protest about the misleading description your brochure gave of the cruise.



In the main body

  • you give details about the problems you encountered and wish to point out.
  •   each new detail must be described clearly in a new paragraph.

   Examples

    • I was told there would be vegetarian meals available free of charge. However, not only did the menu not include any vegetarian meals, but we were also told that no discount would be made if we ordered a regular meal without the meat.

    • An assistant informed me that the caterers would arrive at 9 am sharp to set up the tables, chairs and gazebos. By 11 am no one had arrived. When I called the cell phone number I had been given, there was no reply. It was at around quarter past noon that a van arrived and two of your employees started setting up in a hurry, without even apologizing for their delay.


In the conclusion
  • you should mention what you expect the person you are writing to, to do about the problem. The conclusion is therefore a call to action.
  • you should also remind the recipient of the letter of your feelings (disappointment, indignation, etc.)

   Examples

    • I feel you had a responsibility to inform us of these problems before we set off on the cruise, which is why we demand a partial refund.

    • Our disappointment, as you can imagine, is great. We insist that you replace the faulty appliance at once at no extra cost. I hope this matter will receive your immediate attention.


Useful Phrases for Letters/Emails of Complaint


Opening Greeting
  • Dear Sir / Madam,
  • Dear Mr. / Mrs. / Ms. + last name,

Introduction
  • I am writing to complain about ...
  • I am writing regarding ...
  • I am writing on account of ...
  • I am writing on the subject of ...
  • I am writing to you in connection with ...
  • I am writing to tell you how disappointed/annoyed I feel about ...
  • I am writing to draw your attention to ...
  • I want to protest about  ....
  • I was deeply dissatisfied with/by ...
  • I am writing to express my strong dissatisfaction with ... 
  • I am writing to express my disgust at the appalling (treatment I received while staying at your hotel)

Main Body
  • I was amazed/distressed/horrified to find that ...
  • As you must realize, ...
  • I am sure you know that ...
  • I am sure you can imagine ...
  • I am sure you will appreciate that ...
  • It goes without saying that ...
  • You can imagine how we felt when ...
  • As well as this, ...
  • In spite of the fact that  ...., ...
  • To make matters worse, ...
  • Although I was told there would be ...
  • I used it/them only a few times ...
  • The label says ...
  • I haven't received the goods I ordered ...
  • The brochure mentioned ...
  • There is a one-year guarantee ...
  • I was appalled at the poor quality / rude service / unsatisfactory accommodation / overpriced rooms

Conclusion
  • At the very least, I look forward to receiving ...
  • I feel you are responsible for ...
  • I feel you are partly responsible for ...
  • I feel you have a responsibility to ...
  • Unless you ... , I am afraid that I will have to take this matter further.
  • The least you can do is ...
  • I insist on immediate action ...
  • I insist upon full compensation or I will be forced to take this matter further.
  • I insist you replace this at once.
  • I demand a full refund ...
  • I hope you will deal with this matter quickly.
  • I hope you will resolve this matter quickly.
  • I hope this matter will receive your immediate attention.
  • I trust this matter will receive your immediate attention.
  • I trust the situation will improve.
  • I hope we can sort this matter out amicably.
  • I hope that I will not be forced to take further action.

Closing 
  • When the opening greeting is Dear Sir/Madam, we close with Yours faithfully,
  • If we opened the letter with Dear + name, we close with Yours sincerely,

Letter Layout
 


Recipient’s address                                             Sender’s address



                                                                                Date



Dear …,




Introduction




Main Body




Conclusion




Closing


Signature


Printed Name




 

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