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Are you looking to write an effective complaint letter? It's helpful to explain the problem and say how you want the company to resolve it. Make the letter clear and include only the details that describe the problem and the resolution you want. The sample letter below might help.

Information To Include in Your Letter

Be polite and reasonable in your letter. The person who will read it probably didn’t cause the problem, but may be very helpful in resolving it.

Give the basics

  • Include your name, mailing address, and phone number, if you want the business to use it.
  • Include your account number, if you have an account with the business, and the related transaction number.
  • Give the product name and its serial or model number.
  • State the date and place you bought the product or service or had it repaired or serviced. Give important details about the transaction.

Tell your story

  • Explain the problem.
  • Give a brief history of what you've done to fix the problem if that helps to explain why you’re writing to the business.

Explain how you want to resolve the problem

  • Tell the business what you want, like a refund, repair, exchange, or store credit. Or ask the business to suggest a solution.
  • Name all the documents you include with the letter. Make copies of important documents and send the copies in the letter. Keep the original documents.
  • Tell the business how to contact you.

Describe your next steps

Send your complaint letter

  • Make a copy of the letter to keep.
  • Send your letter by certified mail and ask for a return receipt. If you file your complaint letter online, print the screen that shows your letter or take a screenshot of your letter before you click “submit.”

Sample Letter

This sample letter has choices to help you build your letter. When you write, pick the words that describe your situation.

[Your Mailing Address]

[Your City, State, Zip Code]

[Your email address]

[Date you write the letter]

[Name of Person you're writing to]

[Title of person you're writing to (or) Consumer Complaint Division]

[Name of Business]

[Business Street Address]

[Re: Your account number if you have one and the order (or) transaction number]

Dear [Name of Person (or) Consumer Complaint Division]:

On [date], I [bought (or) leased (or) rented (or) hired (or) or had repaired (or) had serviced] a [name of the product or service] [with serial (or) model number] at [place you got the product or service]. [Add other important details about the transaction.]

Unfortunately, [your product has not performed well (or) the service was inadequate] because [the product was defective (or) the product doesn't work properly (or) the service wasn’t performed correctly (or) I was billed the wrong amount (or) something was not disclosed clearly (or) something was misrepresented (or) explain the problem].

To resolve the problem, I would like a [refund (or) repairs (or) an exchange (or) store credit (or) explain what you want the company to do]. I have enclosed copies of my [records (or) receipts (or) guarantees (or) warranties (or) cancelled checks (or) contracts (or) model and serial numbers (or) other documents] about this transaction.

I look forward to your reply and a resolution to my problem. I will wait until [give a date] before I contact a consumer protection agency or get other help.

Please contact me [at the address on this letter (or) at the email on this letter (or) by phone at (xxx)-xxx-xxxx].


[Your name]


[Name the documents you include with the letter]

Example Complaint Letter

Here’s an example of a complaint letter.

example complaint letter

Report Fraud or Deception

If you think a business has been dishonest, contact your state attorney general or consumer protection office. Tell the FTC too, at The FTC doesn't resolve individual reports, but your report helps law enforcement detect patterns and may lead to an investigation.

For more help resolving a customer problem, check out these ideas and strategies.