How to Write an Effective Complaint Email

by Mara ShannonUpdated September 28, 2017

If you have a problem with a person or company, writing a complaint email can help you solve it. Writing a complaint email can also let you express dissatisfaction with a public problem that is too big to solve by yourself. By writing an email, you can direct your complaint directly to people in charge who can solve the problem. If you want your complaint to be read and taken seriously, however, you must learn how to write an effective complaint email.

Find the best person to address your complaint to. For example, if you have a complaint about a company, call or check out the website to find the email address for customer complaints. If you send your complaint email to the wrong address, it may be ignored.

Research the proper form for your complaint. Some large organizations will request you to fill a complaint form or ask for particular types of documentation supporting your complaint. You can find this information by checking out the organization's website or calling the contact number listed on the website. Following the procedures in place will make it easier for the organization to read and address your complaint.

State the purpose of your complaint email. This should be the first sentence or two of the email to get the reader's attention. If you take too much time getting to your point, he may start skimming or assume the email is not very important.

Explain and support your complaint. Be specific. For example, if you are unhappy with a company's product, state exactly what was wrong with it.

Attach relevant photos, receipts and other supporting information to your email. Make a note, in the paragraph explaining your complaint, that additional information is attached.

Detail a solution. Again, be specific about what should be done. For example, request a refund or replacement for a faulty product. Noting your desired solution will help get your problem solved more easily.

Request a reply. Include your name, mailing address and phone number at the end of your email to make it easier for the reader to contact you back. Asking for a reply shows that you take your complaint seriously, especially if you request a reply within a certain amount of time.

Proofread your email before you send it to ensure that it is concise, accurate and free of spelling and grammar errors. Complaint emails with errors look unprofessional, whereas properly formatted and correct complaint emails will help your complaint get taken seriously.


Be polite. Rudeness puts the reader on the defensive, which could make her less inclined to help you. Be concise. People who receive complaints are busy; extraneous information and rambling will make it harder for them to pay attention to your email. Know what additional steps to take. If the issue in your complaint email is not resolved, try taking your complaint to someone higher up in the organization or talking to a lawyer.


About the Author

Mara Shannon is a writer whose work appears on various websites. Shannon also blogs about gaming and literature. Shannon holds a Bachelor of Arts in music with a focus on performance.

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