Examples of Formal Complaint Letter (20 Free Templates)

Most of the interactions that you will have with local businesses will be enjoyable. You will receive great customer service and a product that you can use well. Unfortunately, we have all had a company that has mistreated us or caused us a grievance. Some of these we just brush off and ignore, but when we are injured or harmed due to the actions of the company or their products and services, it may be time to consider writing a formal letter to the company.

What Is a Formal Complaint Letter?

A formal complaint letter is simply a method you can use to inform a company about wrongdoing on its part. This type of letter is written by a consumer to address any offense, grievance, or wrongdoing that arises from a product or service you have received from the company. In addition, it can be used to raise valid concerns about an unfair situation and how you would like it fixed for you.

If you have been hurt by a product that you purchased because it is unsafe, then you could write a formal letter. If you are an employee who has been mistreated, you could write a letter to let the company or someone else know of your grievances. The point is to alert the proper authorities of the issue and give them time to make the situation better.

Free Templates

Great Printable Formal Complaint Letter Template 01 for Word File

Great Printable Formal Complaint Letter Template 02 for Word File

Great Printable Formal Complaint Letter Template 03 for Word File

Great Printable Formal Complaint Letter Template 04 for Word File

Great Printable Formal Complaint Letter Template 05 for Word File

Great Printable Formal Complaint Letter Template 06 for Word File

Great Printable Formal Complaint Letter Template 07 for Word File

Free Downloadable Formal Complaint Letter Template 08 for Word File

Free Downloadable Formal Complaint Letter Template 09 for Word File

Free Downloadable Formal Complaint Letter Template 10 for Word File

Free Downloadable Formal Complaint Letter Template 11 for Word File

Free Downloadable Formal Complaint Letter Template 12 for Word File

Free Downloadable Formal Complaint Letter Template 13 for Word File

Free Downloadable Formal Complaint Letter Template 14 for Word File

Free Editable Formal Complaint Letter Template 15 as Word Document

Free Editable Formal Complaint Letter Template 16 as Word Document

Free Editable Formal Complaint Letter Template 17 as Word Document

Free Editable Formal Complaint Letter Template 18 as Word Document

Free Editable Formal Complaint Letter Template 19 as Word Document

Free Editable Formal Complaint Letter Template 20 as Word Document

    Types of Letters

    There are two main types that you can choose to write. Writing the proper one will help make sure that you can address the proper parties well and get a response. The two types of complaint letters include a professional complaint letter and a personal complaint letter.

    If you are a customer who has visited a store and is dissatisfied with some of the services that you have received or you have a defective product of some kind, you will need to write a personal letter. These allow you to write to the business and let them know that your experience was less than ideal.

    Sometimes an employee will need to write a letter concerning their employment with the company. If the employee is dealing with workplace harassment, unfair pay for their work, or other unethical practices at work that oppose the Fair Labor Standards Act, they will need to write a professional complaint letter to solve the issue.

    When Should You Write a Formal Complaint Letter?

    You may choose to write a formal letter for many reasons. This letter is meant to give you a way to speak out and let the company know why you are upset, both formally and professionally.

    Some of the situations in which you may choose to write out this letter include:

    • When you receive goods that are damaged,
    • When you have complaints about the product or service you got
    • When you are dissatisfied with an employee and how they treated you.
    • When you are an unhappy employee
    • After harassment in the workplace
    • Complaints about insufficient salary

    Each of these provides you with a chance to alert the other party about some of the wrongs you have faced and can give them a chance to fix the issue if they choose.

    How to Write a Formal Letter

    Writing a formal complaint letter does not need to be difficult, as long as you make sure to add the right facts along the way.

    Some of the steps you can include are:

    Step 1: Start with a greeting

    Begin each letter with a quick greeting. Something simple like Dear Mr./Mrs., or to whom it may concern, and then add the name of your contact person too. This will help you get the letter off to a good start and show that you have taken the time to research and prepare your letter, rather than going on a rant with your complaint.

    Step 2: Briefly introduce yourself

    Take a few sentences to introduce yourself. This will show your tie to the business or how this problem relates to you. You may write something like, “I am Jane Doe and have been a customer of Company X for the past five years.” This is a simple way to show why they should listen to your complaint in the first place.

    Step 3: Give details about the reason

    Now it is time to get into the meat and potatoes of your complaint. You will use this space to talk more about your complaint and why you are writing to the business. This part needs to have details in it. It is not enough to tell the company that you are upset with them. Let them know more about it so they can figure out how to correct these problems in the future.


    You can’t say that the product hurt you, and now you want money. You can tell them that you purchased the product on January 22, 2022, and after reading the applicable directions and trying out the product, you were injured. Then go into detail about the type of injury and what medical attention you needed to receive, if any. The more details, the more you can bolster your case.

    Step 4: Explain the steps you took to resolve your issue

    If you took the time to resolve the issue on your own, then you need to stop and explain which steps you took to make this happen. List them all out to show the work that you had to go through.


    You may have visited the store or given them a call to talk to a manager and discuss what happened during the situation. The manager may have been able to help you out, or they may have been limited in the actions they can take. It will depend on the rules of that particular company.

    Your goal in this section is to explain in detail all of the steps you took to rectify the situation. Since you are writing this letter, your problem was not rectified, but this does show that you did make a good-faith effort to get the problem fixed but without any luck.

    Details are important here. List when you visited the store to resolve the issues and who you talked to while you were there. Do the same with any phone calls you make to the company, too. If you spoke to the company more than once,  you can write each of these down to explain what happened and why you feel the situation has not been resolved.

    Step 5: Attach copies of relevant supporting documents

    If you have any relevant supporting documents to include too, this is the time to add them. You can keep notes in the original document to let the company know you are attaching these supporting documents and why they are pertinent to the information. Pictures of the product being broken after one use could be relevant


    Only include documents that support your claim.

    Step 6: State how and when you want the issue resolved

    With all of the evidence listed, it is time to let the company know what they can do to make you happy and fix the problem. Would it be a refund or a replacement product? Would you like them to do something else? Finally, choose a date when you would like to see the issue resolved.

    Step 7: Sign off

    Finish your letter with a sign-off. You can keep it simple by adding something like “Yours Sincerely,” followed by your name and signature.

    Sample Letter

    The hardest part about writing it is getting started. You need to take the time to figure out the best ways to get this started and create a letter that will get noticed and can get results.

    When you need inspiration on how to write the letter, take a look at some of the samples below:

    Letter 1: Complaint About Damaged Goods

    Subject: Formal Complaint Regarding Damaged Kitchen Appliances

    To whom it may concern,

    I am Alex Johnson, a frequent shopper at your establishment and a loyal customer for over three years. My previous experiences with your company have generally been positive, which is why I was surprised and disappointed with my most recent purchase.

    On December 15, 20XX, I purchased a set of kitchen appliances (Invoice No. 12345) from your online store. Upon receiving the package on December 20, 20XX, I was dismayed to find that the blender and toaster were significantly damaged. The blender’s glass jar was shattered, and the toaster had a noticeable dent on its side, rendering it inoperable. This was particularly upsetting as I had planned to use these appliances for the holiday season.

    I immediately contacted your customer service team on the same day and spoke with a representative named Sarah. While Sarah was sympathetic, she informed me that a replacement could only be processed upon return of the damaged items, which I promptly shipped back on December 22. Unfortunately, there has been no further communication from your end regarding the replacement or refund.

    Enclosed are the photographs of the damaged goods upon arrival, a copy of the purchase invoice, and the postal receipt of the returned items.

    I kindly request a full replacement of the damaged items or, if that is not possible, a complete refund. I would appreciate a response and resolution by January 5, 20XX.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Alex Johnson  


    Letter 2: Complaint About Insufficient Salary

    Subject: Formal Complaint Regarding Insufficient Salary

    Dear Mrs. James,

    I am Emily Carter, an employee in the marketing department for the past two years. During my tenure, I have consistently met and exceeded the goals set for my position.

    Despite my contributions and the growing responsibilities I have undertaken, I have noticed that my salary has not been reviewed or adjusted accordingly. This concern is compounded by the fact that, based on my research and discussions with industry peers, my compensation is significantly below the market average for similar roles in our region.

    I have previously raised this issue during my performance reviews and in meetings with my supervisor, Mr. John Smith, but there has been no concrete action or response to address my salary concerns.

    Attached are records of my performance reviews, emails regarding salary discussions, and a market salary report for reference.

    I am requesting a formal review of my salary to align it with market standards and reflect my contributions to the department and company. I hope to have this matter addressed and resolved by February 1, 20XX.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Emily Carter.


    These letters serve as effective examples for someone looking to write a formal complaint letter, whether it concerns a product/service issue or a professional matter like salary. They demonstrate how to structure such a letter, what details to include, and how to present a clear and reasoned case. 

    Both letters excel at detailing the specific problem—damaged goods in the first letter and insufficient salary in the second. They include relevant details such as invoice numbers, dates, and specific examples of the issues faced, making the complaints concrete and verifiable.

    These letters serve as excellent templates for formal complaint letters due to their clear structure, detailed content, evidence-based claims, and professional tone. They demonstrate how to effectively communicate dissatisfaction in a business context while maintaining respect and seeking a constructive resolution. The principles outlined in these letters can be adapted to various situations where a formal complaint is necessary, making them valuable examples for anyone needing to write a similar letter.

    Best Practices for You

    As you are writing out your letter, it is a good idea for you to take time and care with it. You want to be concise and do it the proper way from the beginning. This makes it more likely that the company will pay attention and take it seriously.

    Some of the best practices that you can use when writing a formal letter include:

    Be concise

    While providing details is essential when you talk about the problem and how you would like it fixed, you also do not need to ramble at all. Take some time to think about what you write. Even if it takes a few days for you to cool down from your anger, utilize this time to formulate your thoughts and come up with a concise and clear point while writing the letter.

    Find the right recipient to address

    Your letter will look more professional if you address the right person within the company. It will also get the letter to someone who can do something about your complaint faster. Research ahead of time to whom you would like to send the letter.

    Finding the right recipient for the letter may take a little research. The first place to look is for a toll-free number that will direct you to the customer service department. This can be found online or on the packaging of the defective product. You may be able to talk to a customer service representative to help solve your problem right through that number. 

    If the company does not provide a toll-free number for its customer service department, other options are available.

    You can choose to:

    • Check the company website to see if they provide information on the right contact. 
    • Check the product label for information on the name and address of the manufacturer. 
    • Visit your local library. They may have some reference manuals that can help you find your letter’s corporate address and officers. 
    • Use the Thomas Register online to direct you to the right person in a company. 

    These steps can help you find the right person to address.

    Set a time limit

    You need to choose a time limit for the company to respond. Give them enough time to get the letter and give you a response. If you do not put a time limit on it, you will find that the company will decide to ignore you and put you off.

    Maintain a polite tone

    It is easy to get angry when you are working on your letter. This is not the time for anger and swearing in the letter. It is important to keep the tone polite the whole time.

    A request in the form of a question

    Your goal should be to ask your request in the form of a question. When you send your request in as a question, you will give the other party a chance to respond without feeling like you are attacking them. You want to learn how the company plans to fix the issue for you to make the situation better, so you will stick around as a loyal customer. You have had a problem with the company, and now the manufacturer has to take control and figure out how they will keep you around.

    Keep it formal and polite without all of the attacking. Your question should be clear and easy to understand, all while avoiding sarcasm and being as genuine as possible. This is why you may want to wait a few days before writing the letter. 

    Don’t blame the person you are writing to

    While it is tempting to write the request out to the person directly that you plan to write to, it is not time to blame them. It is unlikely that the person who can solve your problem had anything to do with the situation at hand, and they did not make the product you are mad about. They are an impartial third party who wants to improve it, but they won’t be kind to you if you attack them.

    Research the company’s laws before making a complaint

    There may be special rules and conditions with the company that will void your complaint. Reading up on some of the company’s rules can help out with that. Also, look up the warranty and other agreements concerning your situation to see what options are available to you.


    After you write out the letter, take some time to read through the letter and look for any spelling and grammar mistakes. It is a good idea to have someone else take a look at it too. Your letter will look more professional after you edit it.

    Keep a copy of the letter

    Do not send your only copy to the company you want to complain to. You want to keep a copy for your records too. If you plan to type the letter, you can just print off a second or third copy and then keep it somewhere safe in case you need to pull it out later.

    Final Thoughts

    A formal complaint letter can be a great option for you to choose when you would like recourse for a product or service that caused injury or greatly disappointed you. Writing it gives you a way to air your grievance directly to the business at fault while also giving them a chance to respond to you. Following the steps outlined in this article will help you write the best letter and make it more likely that you will get a favorable response.

    About This Article

    Melissa Horton
    Authored by:
    Legal Writing | M.A Marketing, B.A. Finance
    Melissa Horton is a highly skilled legal writer and co-owner of a leading financial planning firm in Washington, D.C. With over a decade of experience in the financial services and planning industry, Melissa's expertise lies in teaching clients how to maintain sustainable financial health. She holds a JD degree and possesses a deep understanding of legal principles and regulations, enabling her to deliver exceptional legal writing that is both informative and accessible. Melissa's passion for helping individuals navigate complex legal matters shines through in her work, making her a trusted authority in the field of legal writing.

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