Getting Help and Helping Yourself

Writing a Complaint Letter

If you have a problem, in most cases your first action should be to approach a trader directly with the issue. The vast majority of businesses are law abiding and want to treat customers fairly, so should be willing to deal with a problem directly.

However if that doesn’t work, you should consider writing a formal letter of complaint. The Citizens Advice Consumer Service offers a wide range of template letters that can be used to help resolve common consumer problems. If you are in doubt which applies to you, or you require advice on your consumer issue, or wish to report a trader to Trading Standards, please do not hesitate to contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or 0208 1850710, or via this online form.

There are a number of important things to consider before you write to a business about a product or service you have purchased:

  • Make sure you have a valid complaint against the business in question. (Use our consumer advice leaflets to find out more about your rights)
  • Make sure you have the correct address details for the business (some larger companies have central complaints departments you can address your letter to).
  • Make sure you have all the necessary paperwork or documentation that you may need to help you resolve your complaint.
  • If you send documents with your letter (such as a receipt or invoice), ensure you send copies and keep the originals yourself.
  • It’s always advisable to send all your letters by recorded delivery and to keep a copy of the letter yourself. We find this adds credence to the correspondence and of course means the business cannot claim they never received it (if you end up escalating the dispute, for example to the small claims court, you may also be able to use this as evidence of how you tried to resolve the problem)! If you decide to use email to send your letter, consider selecting read and delivery receipt options so that you can help to show your letter was communicated.

Complaint Letter Templates

The Citizens Advice Consumer Service provides a wide range of Consumer template letters which you can view, complete and download.  This useful page also contains sample letters you can use in relation to debt and money advice, housing, healthcare and work related issues.