Example Complaint Letter:
Printer Problems—Annotations

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Complaint letter. This writer is attempting to get the rebate as promised with her purchase of a printer.

Heading. The heading portion of a business letter includes the writer's address and date. For traditional business letters like this one, you don't normally include your name in the heading.

Inside address. The inside address provides the full name, title, and address of the recipient of the letter. If you do not have a specific name, you can department name or a position title. For some reason, this inside address does not include a name or organization—which may cause it to be lost in the recipient's organization.

Salutation. In this portion of the letter, you typically use the same name as you used in the inside address. However, without a specific individual or department name, the writer is forced to address this letter to "Gentlemen"—not a good choice. Be sure and punctuate the salutation with a colon, not a comma (which is for informal, friendly, nonbusiness letters).

Introduction. The introduction to any business letter should be brief—four or five lines at the most. In this complaint letter, the writer identifies her purpose and the topic—but without stating up front her demand for the rebate.

Background. The second paragraphs provides the narrative background on the problem.

Justification. This third paragraph gets into the reasons why the writer did not have the rebate coupon, which is the justification for her demand for the rebate.

Evidence. In these next two paragraphs, the writer describes the proofs of her claims—the copies of the various items that show how she is right in this matter. notice too that she allows herself just a bit of self-righteous anger when she describes the rude treatment she has received from the company.

Closing. In this final paragraph, the writer appeals to the recipient's sense of fair play and desire to keep a customer. She also firmly restates her demand for the rebate.

Enclosures. To document her request, this writer includes copies of various pieces of evidence that support her claim.

That completes the comments for this example.

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