Do you need to write a complaint letter, but don’t know where to begin? As long as you can type a few facts in a box, you can produce a simple, classy, and easy-to-read complaint letter that should get the job done. [More]
It’s hard to know where to start when writing a complaint letter. If our inbox is any indication, this difficulty manifests itself in free-form rants and confusion about what to say. It doesn’t have to be that way: simply stating the facts and explaining why the company should help you is enough. If you aren’t much of a wordsmith, Consumerist is here to help.
There’s a difference between complaint letters that make you feel better and ones that get results. Here’s how to write the latter.
If you have a complaint and want to know where to put it, besides the place where the sun has not been seen for a while, the Federal government’s Consumer Action Handbook’s has an online address book to help point you in the right direction.
Try as they might, HP just seems to be incapable of getting David’s repair right. When repairing his wireless card that was damaged in a previous repair, they broke the motherboard. Fixing the motherboard, they broke the screen connector. And so on. Even the replacement computer they gave him started to fail, and then they failed at fixing that correctly. This ridiculous dance has been going on for 8 months.
Cal is at his wit’s end. After the third service outage in the past three months and going through the laundry list of troubleshooting procedures, an upper-level Sprint tech assured him there was no problem with the towers near his house. It was his phones. But when he drives just a few miles away, the signal is perfect. Then when he returns to within 250 meters of the towers near his house, his phone goes into roaming. He’s sick of the runaround and just wants Sprint to fix the towers. Here is the letter Cal wrote Sprint CEO Dan Hesse and several other top Sprint execs:
This is a video of comedian Eugene Mirman doing a dramatic reading of his complaint letter to Time Warner Cable that he paid for to have published as a full-page ad in a couple of local papers in Brooklyn. In the preamble, he helps to explain why, as several of you pointed out, the letter came off as rambling and discursive, as opposed to the more straight-shooting approach we usually advocate here. “I could write them an angry letter and someone would get it and think I was crazy,” he tells the audience. “I didn’t want that. I wanted them to know I was crazy.”
A Time Warner Cable customer decided to express his frustration with the cable company in a unique way, by running his complaint letter as an ad in several papers. That man was Brooklyn comedian Eugene Mirman, who is also the voice of Gene Belcher on FOX’s Bob’s Burgers. Here is that letter:
So you’re involved in a dispute and you want to make sure that your well-crafted complaint letter is mailed in a way so that it’s indisputable that your recipient got it. What’s the best way to shoot off your epistle? Certified? Signature delivery? Wrapped around a brick? Nay.
Glennda forwarded us a letter she sent to a Florida Walmart that she says is going to kill a gang of feral cats who have been camping out in the store’s garden section.
There are many kinds of complaint letters. I like the funny ones the best, like Tracy’s. Usually a nut for Wild Wings Lunch Buffet’s wings, she was sorely saddened to get a plate of “micro wings” foisted upon her. And instead of celery and dressing – tater tots! Tracy dashed off an amusing complaint letter, and they actually investigated it and will be fixing the wing deficiency!
If for some reason you feel compelled to contact Sprint’s lawyers, here is their email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
You’re mad, you’re annoyed, or you’ve been ripped off. So you decide to take action, and open up your word processor or e-mail client to write a complaint letter. But that doesn’t mean you actually want anyone to take you seriously, or to help you. Follow these tips to make sure your complaint goes nowhere near anyone in power.
Nancy asks, “I’m preparing to send a letter to Nissan’s customer service about a horrific experience I had at my local dealership. Do you have any pointers about tone or what specifically to include so that I know my letter will be taken seriously?” Great question!
When the Lenovo laptop Rick ordered for his college-bound daughter was super-duper delayed in arriving and he hadn’t heard anything from the company, he did the opposite of an EECB (executive email carpet bomb). Instead of blasting his complaint to every single executive he could find, he wrote a well-crafted letter laser-targeted at a single individual, the SVP of operations. The result? An email from the Chief of Staff in the CEO’s office. His order was expedited, and, in the meantime, they got a $5000 “Reserve Edition” leather-wrapped laptop as a loaner. Here’s his letter that got him the fix: