Business Complaint Letter Sample
When a customer has a problem or complaint with a product or service purchased from a business, if the problem cannot be resolved with an on-site visit, email or phone call to customer service, a business complaint letter may be the next step to reach a solution.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a consumer protection agency, and has some suggestions on how to write a business complaint letter, similar to the example shown below.
Be Mature, Polite and Respectful
Although some problems might make you frustrated or angry, it is best to wait until your emotions calm down to write a rational business complaint letter. Be mature, polite and respectful. Don’t aggravate the situation.
Stay on topic. Stick to the facts of the problem. Don’t make personal attacks, condescending remarks, accusations, threats, engage in name calling, harassment, foul language, verbal abuse, ridicule or insults, or question a person’s intelligence, character, ethics, values or integrity.
Publishing, speaking or spreading false statements or half-truths about a person or business on social media or customer review sites can lead to lawsuits for defamation. Contract or website terms may limit your speech, comments, actions, time frame and legal remedies in settling a dispute. You may be sued for breach of contract if you violate the terms.
Remember that your actions, statements, online comments and business complaint letter may be reviewed and used as evidence in court later if a legal dispute arises. Always behave like a mature, reasonable adult, not an angry child.
Review Terms and Conditions
Review the terms and conditions of all applicable ads, sales, contracts, agreements, websites, guarantees, and warranties. If the business or product manufacturer offers a guarantee, read and follow the terms and provisions before writing a business complaint letter or negative customer review.
Gather Your Purchase Records
Gather your purchase information including the transaction date, dollar amount, receipt, canceled check, product or service description, sales rep name, brand name, and model number. This evidence may be needed to verify you are an actual paying customer and the product or service was purchased at that business. Also keep records of your contacts and prior communication with the business to resolve the problem.
Describe the Problem or Complaint with Your Purchase
Describe your problem or complaint clearly so that the business representative can understand it and seek a solution. Would a court or mediator understand your business complaint from reading your problem description?
Propose a Reasonable Solution
Propose the solution that you desire to remedy the problem to your satisfaction. Be reasonable. A good solution will be fair to both parties.
Attach Copies of Relevant Documents
Attach copies of relevant documents to show your information and evidence.
Set a Reasonable Due Date
Set a reasonable due date when you expect to receive a response and some initial action toward a solution to the problem. The amount of time will vary depending on the nature of the problem and the difficulty of implementing and completing the solution.
Optional Notary Certificate
You can add an optional notarial certificate to your business complaint letter. You make a sworn statement (affidavit) before the notary that the facts given in your complaint letter are true and correct. The notarized letter and the notary journal entry of your document can serve as evidence, if needed.
It is good practice to send a business complaint letter by certified mail with a return receipt or delivery confirmation, so you have firm evidence that you sent your letter and it was received by the business.
End with a Positive Relationship
Once the matter has been resolved, consider giving the business a positive customer review for their efforts to make things right. Mistakes, misunderstandings and problems sometimes occur. No person or business is perfect.
What matters is how they respond to solving the problem, learning, and taking measures to improve service, and reduce or eliminate the problem from happening again. Don’t hold a grudge, resentment or an angry, hateful, vengeful attitude.
Most customers will continue to do future business after a problem or complaint has been resolved fairly.
Filing a Complaint with the Better Business Bureau
You might also file a business complaint with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If you have tried to resolve the matter with customer service and are not satisfied, you can submit your a complaint to the BBB. They work with both parties to attempt to reach a mutually agreed fair solution. Be reasonable in your expectations and negotiations.
Your customer complaint will be forwarded to the business. The business will be asked to respond within 14 days. You will be notified of the response or if no response was received. Complaints are usually closed within 30 business days.
Filing a Complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
If the business is engaged in unfair, deceptive or fraudulent business practices, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection using the FTC Complaint Assistant website.
The FTC does not resolve individual business complaints. They report complaints to law enforcement agencies for investigation of dishonest businesses. They may also investigate and fine a business for violations of FTC rules on unfair, deceptive or fraudulent advertising and business practices.
Seek Legal Advice if Needed
If the problem requires professional assistance, seek legal advice from a business attorney. The contract or website terms of service may restrict your legal recourse to mediation or arbitration, rather than a court case. Maximum damages might be limited to a refund.
A person or business that is attacked publicly may seek legal advice from a defamation attorney to file a lawsuit to defend their reputation.
Sample Business Complaint Letter
[Customer City, State, Zip Code]
[Date], [sent by email, mail, Certified Mail, return receipt, delivery confirmation]
[Name of Contact Person], [Title]
[City, State, Zip Code]
[Contact Person Phone Number], [Contact Person email]
Subject: Problem/Complaint with Product/Service Purchased
Dear [Business Contact Person]:
- Purchase Information: On [date], I purchased [description of the product/repair/class/service purchased, include product brand name, model number/serial number, part number] from your business. I made this purchase at [location, sales rep, other important transaction details]. The purchase amount was [$xx.xx], paid by [cash, check, credit card].
- Customer Status: I am a [new, repeat] customer. I [have also/have not] had problems before.
- Problem/Complaint: Unfortunately, [the product has not performed well] [or the class/service was not acceptable, not satisfactory] because [state the problem, defect, quality, description, error, omission].
- Proposed Solution: I [have read, could not find] the applicable Terms of Service, Guarantee, Refund provisions posted on your business website, [and/or from the product manufacturer]. To resolve the problem, I would appreciate your [state the specific action or solution you want, refund, credit, fix, repair, replacement, cancel contract, change contract, perform class/service again].
- Documents: Enclosed are copies [not originals] of my records [receipt, cancelled check, guarantee, warranty, contract, photos, email and any other related documents] concerning this purchase/repair/class/service.
- Response Due Date: I look forward to your prompt reply and a quick resolution to my problem. I will wait until [due date] for a reply before seeking third-party assistance.
Please contact me at the above mail address, or by phone [home/office phone numbers below], or at my email address below.
[Customer Name], [Customer Account Number, if applicable]
[Customer Phone Numbers, home/cell/work], [Customer email address]
Enclosure(s): [list attached documents]
===== ===== ===== ===== [Notary Certificate, Optional] ===== ===== ===== =====
State of _______________
County of _______________
Subscribed and sworn to, or affirmed, before me on __________________ ____, 20____,
Notary Signature [Notary Seal]
1. Contract image, by Gerd Altmann [CC0 or CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
2. Certified Mail form, US Postal Service [fair use for education]
3. FTC Seal, by U.S. Government [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons