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UK European Consumer Centre

Person checking a typed documentHow to write a complaint letter

If you have a problem with goods or services you have purchased from a company we would urge you to write a letter to them to ask for a resolution

What makes a good complaint letter?

If the phone you purchased becomes faulty or your broadband service is not what was promised writing an email or a quick call to the company in the first instance is all that is needed to resolve the problem quickly.  No matter how small or big the problem may be the quicker you get to making a complaint the better the outcome should be.

However, if the trader does not respond to you - or their response is not what you where looking for - we would advise sending a letter, preferably registerd post with proof of delivery. You should keep a copy of this letter for your records. The letter should be written in a clear, polite and positive manner.  There is no need to use big words and no need to add unnecessary filler, less is more!

A good complaint letter should follow these 4 steps to provide a clear indication of how you would like the trader to resolve your problem.

 

1 - Background

The aim of this part of the letter is to provide all the background information of the situation, showing the trader why they are being contacted. You will need to provide some relevant information:

  • What were the goods purchased?
  • When were the goods purchased?
  • Where were the goods purchased?
  • How were the goods paid for? 

If you have been provided with a reference number, this needs to be included too. It would be advisable to enclose copies of any receipts or invoices (never send the originals).

 

2 - Problem description

Now we need to make it clear to the trader what has gone wrong - what the problem is. This needs to be clear and informative - it may be easier to do it in a bullet point style, listing the problems. The following information needs to be included:

  • Description of the problem
  • When did the goods/service go wrong?
  • How have the goods/service gone wrong?

If you have any proof of the problem, for example an independent report, it would be advisable to enclose a copy in your letter.

 

3 - Tell them what you want?

This part of the letter allows you to tell the trader what it is you want or need to resolve the problem. You need to be reasonable in your request and to be able to justify why you are asking for it. It is important to realise the limits of the situation and the law.

If you are aware of your legal position it would be advisable to include this information in the letter.

 

4 - Give a deadline to respond

To finish the letter off, you need to provide the trader with a deadline to respond to you. This deadline needs to be realistic and reasonable, taking into account where you are sending the letter to, weekends, and bank/public holidays. Often a reasonable time could be 14 days, but it does depend on the situation.

 

Topic specific template letters

Here you can find links to pre-formatted template letters for a selection of our most popular queries.  If there is no template for the problem that you are experiencing below, we would be happy to check what you have drafted already.   

Distance Selling - Cancellation Services

Distance Selling - Cancellation Goods 

Distance Selling - Non Delivery 

Faulty Goods 

Basic Cancellation

Consumer Contracts Regs - Non Delivery  

Please note that we are closed on weekends and UK bank and public holidays.

Telephone Number:

+44(0)1268 886 690 (lines open 9am - 5pm)

Email Address:

eccnet-uk@ec.europa.eu

To save duplicate cases being created please only send us one email per issue.  If you need to send more please contact us. 

Postal Address:

UK European Consumer Centre
Chartered Trading Standards Institute
1 Sylvan Court
Sylvan Way
Southfields Business Park
Basildon
Essex
SS15 6TH

Please note that the UK European Consumer Centre does not offer a drop-in service.

Fax Number:

+44(0)1268 582 225

 

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