What type of complaint letter gets results? An effective complaint letter is short and to the point and includes documentation. Here are points to keep in mind when composing such a letter…
Write to a specific person. Call the organization that you are unhappy with for the name of the president or CEO, as well as the head of consumer affairs or customer service. Letters addressed to "Dear Sir" are likely to get lost or take a long time finding their way to the right person.
Begin with a positive.Suggestions: "I have long been a fan/customer/client of your company, so it is with regret that I write this letter of complaint." Throughout the letter be polite—no name calling.
Stick to the facts. List events in chronological order and try to fit it all on one page. Note: Be sure to type your letter so that it will be easy to read.
Specify the solution. Would you like a refund? A product replacement? A free repair? A credit for future use?
Enclose copies of any receipts involved. Keep original receipts as well as a copy of your letter for your records.
Include several forms of contact information. Give the recipient your phone number, full street address and e-mail address.
Send copies. Indicate at the top of the letter that you have sent copies (for example, "cc: John Doe") to people who will lend weight and credibility to your case. These might be your lawyer, accountant, the Better Business Bureau as well as newspapers where the company is headquartered, or an appropriate local, state or federal agency. For the latter, check the blue pages in your phone book and USA.gov, the US government’s official Web portal (800-333-4636, www.usa.gov).
Source: Nancy Dunnan, a New York City-based financial and travel adviser and author or coauthor of 25 books. Her latest book is the ninth edition of her best seller, How to Invest $50–$5,000 (HarperCollins).
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