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Government of Manitoba
Consumer Protection –
Consumer Protection Office

Tips for Writing a Complaint Letter

Before you start writing, think about what exactly the problem is and how you would like it to be resolved. This will help you organize your thoughts when you write them down.

Structure your letter so that you include a heading - which identifies the issue and name of product, service, person, location, with code or reference number if applicable.

Be clear, and stick to the facts when you describe the problem, so that your problem can be quickly and easily understood. Exaggerating or getting angry will not help and may hurt your chances of getting your problem resolved.

Include all important facts, for example, the serial, model or brand name and number of any product in question. Also include the times, locations, and the names of anyone who was involved. Detail anything you've done to correct the situation yourself.

Include copies of everything: receipts, warranties, repair invoices, and any other relevant documents. Keep the originals!

Ensure your letter is well written and edited, so that it is taken seriously.  Professional presentation, good grammar and spelling, firmness and clarity are important.  What your letter looks like, its presentation, language and tone, can all help to establish your credibility - that you can be trusted and believed, that you know your facts, and that you probably have a point.

Ensure the name and address details are correct, include the date, keep it tidy, well-spaced, and print your name under your signature.

You want your letter to be authoritative and create an impression that you are reasonable and know what you are talking about.

If there were positive elements of your purchase or interaction with the business, it can be helpful to say so, rather than solely focusing on the negative.

State the facts, and then state what needs to be done to resolve the matter. Be reasonable and constructive. Having a friendly tone may make the business want to help you and make the situation right.Constructive letters - with positive statements, suggesting reasonable actions – are more likely to be responded to quickly and positively than a threatening complaint letter.

If you don't get a response within a reasonable period of time, or if the response is not to your satisfaction, and you want to pursue the complaint, contact the Consumer Protection Office. It may also be a good idea to let the business know you are going to file a complaint with the Consumer Protection Office.

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