Complaint and Adjustment letter: How to Write (Format & Example)

A complaint letter is a letter in which the writer files a complaint about a product or service they have purchased and requests compensation. An adjustment letter is a letter in which the writer grants full or partial compensation as a response to a complaint letter.

You will probably write a complaint letter when the problem with a product or service requires a detailed explanation. In a complaint letter, you can describe the compensation you want.

The recipient of your complaint letter can evaluate your complaint and then write an adjustment letter. This writer will offer full or partial compensation. In some cases, they may not be able to provide any compensation.

This article provides writing tips for both complaint and adjustment letters. We provide a letter format and two sample letters.

How to Write a Complaint Letter

  • Introduce the purpose of your letter. Use the first sentence of your letter to state why you are writing – you have a complaint and would like a satisfactory resolution to the problem. This part of your letter introduces the problem, but avoid going into details in the first paragraph.
  • Describe the problem in detail. Write a detailed narrative describing the problem with the product or service. Be sure you clearly identify the problem and avoid other details. This portion of your letter is your evidence of the problem.
  • Describe the compensation you desire. Detail the compensation you feel you are entitled to in this part of your letter. You might ask for a refund, a replacement, or a repair of the product. If the problem is an incorrectly performed service, you might ask for a refund or for the technician to return and fix their mistake.
  • Explain why you are entitled to the compensation. If your product has a warranty, state that information here and include a copy. You need to demonstrate why you deserve the compensation you have requested. Write like the seller has your best interest as their primary concern, and the problem was entirely unintended. Writing in a professional, conciliatory tone can help you get the outcome you desire.
  • Close your letter with a vote of confidence. Tell the seller you are confident they will correct the error and provide a satisfactory response.

Complaint Letter Format

{date}

{recipient name}

{recipient address}

Dear {recipient name}:

{Briefly state your complaint.}

{Describe your complaint.}

{Discuss the compensation you desire and why you deserve it. Reference enclosures.}

{Close your letter with a vote of confidence.}

Sincerely,

{your signature}

{your name}

Sample Complaint Letter

Mallory Davidson

5498 East Second

Elysium, NC 28659

May 4, 2038

Jason Harding

Best Choice Vacuums

3069 South Madison

Elysium, NC 28659

Dear Mr. Harding:

I purchased a Best Choice vacuum on May 2, 2038, after your in-home vacuum demonstration. I cannot use the vacuum because it malfunctioned.

On May 3, I attempted to use the new vacuum. As soon as I turned the vacuum on, it began to shake and make a rattling noise. I was able to smell burning and see smoke coming from the vacuum motor. I immediately turned the vacuum off and called the customer service line.

Customer service told me to contact you about a replacement vacuum. I have enclosed my purchase receipt and the full warranty you provided with the vacuum. I have the Best Choice vacuum at my home.

I understand that manufacturing issues occasionally result in malfunctions. I would like to exchange the faulty vacuum for a replacement. I am confident you want to resolve the issue, and I look forward to your response about a replacement vacuum.

Sincerely,

Mallory Davidson

Mallory Davidson

Enclosures

Complaint Letter (Word Template)

Complaint Letter (Word Template)

How to Write an Adjustment Letter

  • Begin your letter by referencing the complaint. Reference the complaint letter in the first sentence of your letter.
  • Thank the other writer for calling your attention to the problem. Thank the other writer for letting you know they are experiencing a problem with your product or service. Empathize with the complainant and express your regret for their issue.
  • Grant or deny their request for compensation. Whether you can grant them the compensation they requested or not, write in an empathic tone. Adjustment letters require the writer to use kindness and tact.
  • If you cannot grant their request, try to provide substitute compensation. For example, if the other writer’s warranty is expired and you cannot refund the purchase price, perhaps you can offer a credit on a future purchase. You may not be able to provide any compensation, and you must explain why you cannot. Some experts recommend offering friendly advice in this case.
  • Close your letter by showing the customer appreciation. Close your letter with a statement that you hope you can continue to do business with the customer in the future.

Adjustment Letter Format

{date}

{recipient name}

{recipient address}

Dear {recipient name}:

{Begin your letter by referencing the complaint letter.} {Thank the writer and express your regret.}

{Describe the compensation you can provide or discuss why you cannot provide compensation.}

{Close your letter with hopes you can continue to do business with the customer.}

Sincerely,

{your signature}

{your name}

Sample Adjustment Letter – Response to Sample Complaint Letter

Jason Harding

Best Choice Vacuums

3069 South Madison

Elysium, NC 28659

May 6, 2038

Mallory Davidson

5498 East Second

Elysium, NC 28659

Dear Mrs. Davidson:

I just received your May 4 letter about your Best Choice vacuum. I appreciate you letting me know about the malfunction of your new vacuum. I regret the inconvenience this situation has caused you.

From your description of the problem, I am sure I can replace your vacuum with a new one. I ordered your new vacuum just a moment ago, and it will be shipped directly to you via ShipExpress. You should receive it within the week. I will be calling you to schedule a pickup of the malfunctioning vacuum.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call me at (256) 394-6821 or send me an email at hardingjason@bestchoice.com. I sincerely hope this unfortunate situation will not prevent us from doing business in the future.

Sincerely,

Jason Harding

Jason Harding

Adjustment Letter (Word Template)

Adjustment Letter (Word Template)

Conclusion

Complaint and adjustment letters are two sides of the same problem. A consumer writes a complaint letter to describe the problem they are having and requests compensation. An adjuster or other employee writes an adjustment letter in response to the complaint. They attempt to provide the requested compensation and retain the customers. Both letters are brief and tactful, making the point without accusing the other party of any fault.

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