How to Write a Consumer Complaint Letter

Do: Draft your letter on both e mail and your word processing program. If you absolutely must create a handwritten letter make sure your handwriting is neat.

Do Not: Be angry, sarcastic, or threatening in the letter. The person reading your letter was not likely to be personally responsible for your problem, but may be very helpful in solving it.

Do: Provide your full name, address, e-mail, cell and or landline phone number.

  • Describe what you bought, where, the date of your purchase and the cost.
  • Attach a photocopy of the receipt. Keep the original receipt.
  • State your problem. Explain what is wrong with the product or service and why you are not satisfied.
  • Attach photocopies not originals of warranties, contracts, receipts, etc.
  • If there is a warranty, read it carefully to see if it provides you protections, set up an appointment for an attorney at Student Legal Service to review warranty language/contract language.
  • Outline what specifically you want the company to do to resolve your problem for example: your money back, a replacement, repair, or whatever else will satisfy you
  • State a reasonable time for them to reply; ten days is generally appropriate.

Do: Tell the company to whom you are sending a copy of the letter such as:

  • Student Legal Service
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Office of Illinois Attorney General
  • Consumer Protection Bureau
  • Chamber of Commerce

Actually send the letter do not just say you are going to send it.

Do: Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested”, which can be done at any U.S. Post office. E-Mail should not be the sole means of sending your complaint!

Where and to Whom to Send the Letter

  1. To the business where the item was purchased and to the company that manufactured or is the brand of the item. Addresses can be found via Google, Bing, and other search engines.
  2. Send letter directly to company headquarters, Attn. Consumer Affairs Office
  3. Local businesses can be located via search engines and the local paper phone book.
  4. Address your letter to the person in charge of consumer complaints and or the President of the Company.

A Short Sample Letter

Date you are sending the letter (Ex: June 18, 2013)

Name of Business
Attn: Consumer Affairs Office
Their Address
City State Zip

Dear Consumer Affairs Office,

On April 1, 2014 I purchased a Widget brand 252AmpAid at your Bill’s Shade-tree AmpAid store at 666 N. Mud Street in Champaign, Illinois.

The device, when plugged in according to instructions, issued smoke and gave me a shock. I contacted the store and they refused to give me my money back which was $350. I have enclosed a photocopy of the paid receipt and the product warranty that states “Money Back Guarantee if not completely satisfied”.

At all times I followed the product instructions found in the manual. I want my purchase price refunded as I no longer trust your product.

You can contact me at 217-555-5215 or via e mail at disappointedconsumer or at the above address. I am sending/forwarding this letter to Student Legal Service at the University of Illinois.

I hope to hear from you with an equitable resolution in the next ten days.


(sign your name here, above the printed name)

Disappointed Consumer
Your Address
City State Zip
Telephone number
Email Address

C: Student Legal Service
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
324 Illini Union MC-384
1401 W Green St.
Urbana, IL 61801