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Write Complaint Letters That Get Results ~ by Stacie Heaps

Writing a complaint letter is often an undesirable task, but if it is done well, the end result can be very rewarding. Complaint letters can be used for the purpose of having products replaced or money refunded, for changing company policy or government legislation, for influencing the media, and so forth. Often a complaint letter is more effective than a simple phone call or e-mail message. Furthermore, in many cases, the formality of a complaint letter can add a seriousness to the situation that will bring results. When writing your complaint letter, identify a definite purpose and outcome that you want to achieve, and indicate those ideas clearly in your letter. Remember the Purpose of Your Complaint Letter Keep in mind what it is that you hope to accomplish with your letter, and stick to the point. Clearly make your complaint to the person(s) involved. State plainly and directly your reason(s) for making the complaint. Indicate what the reader can or should do to address your complaint, and specify how long you are willing to wait to have your complaint resolved. (Be reasonable.) Explain why your suggestion or request for retribution should be granted (if you made one). 8 Tips for Writing Complaint Letters 1. Before writing the letter, make sure that you have the facts straight and that your complaint is legitimate. 2. Type your letter if possible. Use a spellchecker, or have someone proofread your letter. If it is handwritten, make sure it is neat and easy to read. 3. Generally keep your letter short and concise. Write short paragraphs, and almost always keep your letter to one page. However, do include all important facts. Include important dates or places (for example, when and where you bought

the product or received the service), and include any additional relevant information you can (such as the product number or type of service). 4. While writing your letter, remain diplomatic and courteous at all times. No matter how justified your complaint may be, do not allow your letter to become angry, sarcastic, or threatening. Keep in mind that the person that reads your letter will often not be the person responsible for the problem. 5. Try to put yourself in the other person's place, and write your letter accordingly. 6. Include copies of any documentation relating to your complaint. Do not send original documents. 7. Keep a copy of the complaint letter for your records. 8. If your complaint letter does not bring about the results that you hoped for, consider writing another letter with a firmer tone, or try writing to someone higher up in the chain of command. How to Write a Complaint Letter: Start your letter with something positive in order to soften the blow of your complaint and so that the company or entity will be more willing to work with you. For example, if writing to complain about a faulty product that you purchased, you might begin, I have been a loyal customer of your store for many years. Mention some of the positive aspects of the company or organization, such as the overall quality of the products or services, the low prices, the excellent customer service, and so forth. Open the next paragraph with a sentence that begins to allude to the problem. For instance, you might write, It is understandable that companies that offer a wide variety of electronic products would occasionally come across a faulty piece of merchandise. Then, in the next sentence, state your complaint. (Again, if you intend to do more than just complain and want the problem to be solved, it is best to remain professional and courteous. Do not sound accusatory or demanding.) After clearly stating your complaint, indicate what you would like to have done to rectify the situation, if anything. You may want to mention, also, the actions you will take if your complaint is not answered or the problem is not solved. In the last paragraph, mention that you would like to continue to use the company's products or services, or to continue to be a customer of the store, or a member of the organization, or a viewer of the TV station. Then, suggest why it is in

the other party's best interest to grant your request: you might mention the importance of maintaining a good reputation or keeping you as a customer, or you might appeal to their sense of justice. In other words, give them a positive reason to want to resolve the concern. As you close your letter, express confidence that your complaint will be taken care of. Finally, thank the company or other entity for handling your complaint. Complaints against a Lawyer 1. Two Different Types Of Written Complaints You Can Make To The Council Of The Law Society From the 1st September 1998, if you are a client of a lawyer, you can make two different types of written complaint against a lawyer in private practice who acted for you to the Council of the Law Society (the Council). The Council is the governing body of the Law Society consisting of at least 18 lawyers. The primary aim of a complaint inquiry is to review the conduct of a lawyer. 2. Complaint Of Professional Misconduct The first type of a complaint is a written complaint against a lawyer concerning his conduct which you feel is not of a standard which you expect of a lawyer as a member of an honourable profession or as an office of the Supreme Court. When writing to the Council, please mark your letter for the attention of the Director, Conduct and caption your letter Complaint under Section 85(1) of the Legal Profession Act. The Society and its staff cannot accept oral complaints or complaints via e-mail. The staff of the Society cannot advise you on the merits or success of your complaint. Your letter of complaint will be acknowledged and you will be informed of the date when the Council will consider your complaint. 3. Examples particular to Complaint of Professional Misconduct Complaint of professional misconduct may for example, allege dishonesty, fraud, gross overcharging for work done, making misleading statements to you, divulging confidential information you have given to your lawyer, acting in conflict of interest or acting in breach of the Law Societys code of conduct of lawyers. 4. Complaint Of Inadequate Professional Services The second type of written complaint you can make against a lawyer can only be made if you are a client of the lawyer in private practice as he has acted for you and allegedly failed to provide adequate professional service to you. Written standards to measure if a

lawyer provided adequate professional service was set by the Law Society on 1st June 1998. When writing to the Council, please mark your letter for the attention of the Director, Conduct and caption your letter Complaint under section 75B of the Legal Profession Act. Please refer to the complaint Help Form found at the end of this leaflet for more information to ensure there is no unnecessary delay in processing your complaint. The Society and its staff cannot accept oral complaints or complaints via e-mail or advise you on the merits or success of your complaint. Your letter of complaint will be acknowledged and you will be informed of the date when the Council will consider your complaint. 5. What Is Inadequate Professional Service A lawyer may be found to be providing inadequate professional service to you as a client when one or more of these circumstances are provided: (1) failed to provide diligent legal service to you; (2) failed to ensure that as your lawyer, he was competent to conduct your case; (3) failed to complete your work within a reasonable time; (4) failed to keep you as the client informed on the progress of your case; (5) failed to acknowledge receipt of your money or securities; (6) failed to provide a statement of accounts to you as the client; (7) without reasonable grounds, failed to respond to your calls or keep appointments; (8) failed to explain to you important developments in your case; (9) failed to explain to you the manner in which he would charge for his services, describe payments you as a client would be required to make, provide an estimate of fees to you and deliver bills of costs to you at regular intervals; and (10) failed to discuss with you the possible risks or expense of proceeding with your case. 6. The Inquiry Procedure For Complaints If your have a complaint of professional misconduct, please read the leaflet Complaint under section 85(1) of the Legal Profession Act to understand the inquiry procedure. 7. What If Your Complaint Is About Both Professional Misconduct And Inadequate Professional Services

If your complaint includes particulars of both types of complaint, please submit your written complaint to the Council for the attention of Director, Conduct and caption your letter Complaints under Sections 85(1) and 75B of the Legal Profession Act. The Council will consider the complaint accordingly to the procedures set by the law.