Business communication part iii

Business Communication – Part III
Bombay University
Intro to Complaints and Claims & Specimen letters
In the business world, however careful you maybe, things go wrong and when things go wrong,
the aggrieved party will complain. There are occasions when you, as a businessman, too will have
to complain. The purpose of this chapter is to show how complaints and claims can be made
without souring the relations between buyer and seller.
It becomes necessary to write letters of complaint for:
{a} poor quality or improper quantity of goods received
{b} goods arriving late
{c} goods arriving in a damaged condition
{d} defective packing
{e} goods differing from the sample
{f} goods differing from those specifically ordered
{g} higher price
{i} mistake in bill or invoice
{j} reminders for payment
{k} goods delivered to the wrong party or place
{l} poor after sales service.
How to write a letter of Complaint:
While writing a letter of complaint, care should be taken to see that it is addressed to the proper
person or department and that it is sent as soon as the error is detected. This will ensure speedy
adjustment of the complaint or claim. Since the purpose of a letter of complaint is not to start a
quarrel but to point out mistakes and get these rectified, the tone of the letter must be firm and
polite. The letter should provide full details such as:
{a} the date and time of the order and delivery
{b} the nature and quantity of the goods ordered or services required
{c} the details of what exactly went wrong and where
{d} the nature of loss to the letter writer
{e} how best the letter writer can be compensated for this loss.
The letter must be complete, concise and firm without being rude. It must be sound from the
legal point of view, which means the complaint must be genuine one. If the matter goes to the
Court of Law, the claim made by letter writer must prove legally effective. The letter writer must
give full details of the goods and the date of delivery so that the seller can identify the transaction.
Invoice numbers and order numbers must be properly quoted. The letter should firmly demand
an adjustment of the complaint or claim and should also, if possible, specify the manner in which
such adjustment is to be made. If you have ordered a new TV set, which has proved to be
defective, specify in your letter of complaint whether you want the set to be replaced, repaired
or if you want to be paid back. There is nothing to be gained by using insulting language and
insinuating that the seller of goods is “unreliable” or his goods are of “third grade”. Avoid any
show of anger or sarcasm. It is in the buyer’s own interest to suggest that the letter of complaint
has been sent because of a slip or error on the part of the seller. This attitude will help the seller
to meet you half way and adjust the complaint without feeling hurt, insulted or humiliated. It is
also advisable to resist the temptation to give advice. It is better to discuss the problem than try
to “lecture” to the seller.
The correct tone in a letter of complaint can be struck if the writer keeps in mind the “You”
attitude. Just as you would not like to receive a rude letter and would refuse to meet any claim
that is made, in the same manner your own claim will not be met if you word your letter rudely.
In this context, it is always better to give the other party the benefit of the doubt and suggest
that errors are certain to take place even in the best organized firms. A tolerant attitude on the
part of the complainant will please the receiver of the letter. It has rightly been said that a
tactfully written letter of complaint by itself brings about a proper adjustment. The tone of the
letter should be polite throughout in such letters.
It is suggested that the writer of a letter of complaint must specify the manner in which he wants
the complaint to be adjusted. This is the “claim” part of the letter. However, if the writer is not
sure as to what should be fair settlement in that case he should leave it to the adjuster { i.e., the
person who is in a position to redress the grievances of the complainant.}.
Example of:
Complaint of Goods damaged in transit
The Famous Trading Co.
Sattar Street, Bombay – 4
Date: 9th November, 2002
The Exporting Corporation,
Shipping Street,
Dear Sir,
Sub: Our order no.IM/6543 for Plasticware
I regret to inform you that the above order was received by us in a badly damaged condition.
Two of the cases of the consignment had their sides broken and five sets of plasticware have
been either broken or crushed. Three other sets are also damaged and are in an unsaleable
As insurance of the consignment has been covered by you, I hope you will take up the matter at
your end. I have, while taking delivery of the consignment, endorsed the receipt with details of
the damage.
As eight out of the twelve sets ordered are in an unsaleable condition, please let me know at
your earliest how you intend to adjust the account.
Thanking you,
Yours faithfully
Example of:
Complaint of shortage in Quantity
The Fragnant Shop
Causeway I, Colaba
Bombay – 5.
Date: 9th December, 2001
The Sandalwooders,
3, Palace Street,
Dear Sir,
I must express my appreciation of the promptness with which you executed my order no.876 for
200 Sandalwood Caskets. My foreign customers who had placed the rush orders were all praise
for the excellence of the workmanship.
I would, however, like to point out that on opening the package, I discovered the number of
Caskets to be only 193. I was in a position to meet the shortage from my old stock of Caskets and
delivered 200 Caskets to my clients. It is a small matter considering the several years of
satisfactory dealings that we have had and in the normal course, I would not have mentioned it.
But I am sure you would like to check up with your packing department and root out any
negligence that might have occurred.
I have already settled your bill No.78 for the caskets. I am enclosing with this letter my order for
some more Sandalwood articles that are required by me. Please send the Sandalwood Caskets
along with the next consignment to adjust shortage in the present consignment.
Thanking you,
Yours faithfully
Example of
Complaint of Inferior Quality
The Retail Cloth Shop
Linking Road, Bandra
Bombay – 50.
Date: 9th September, 2001
The Manager,
The quality Textile Mills
Mill Street,
Dear Sir,
Re: Our order no.53 dated. 20th August, 2001
You executed the above order on the 5th of September, 2001, as usual, with promptness.
However, we regret to inform you, that the material is not up to your usual standard. The cloth
is loosely woven and can be easily pulled out of shape. A cutting from the material, enclosed with
this letter, will convince you of this.
This material has already been rejected by several of our customers. We shall thank you to
replace this inferior material at the earliest possible date with your high quality product.
Thanking you
Yours faithfully,

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