IELTS LEADER — your guide to success —

IELTS General Writing Task 1: Complaint Letter

IELTS Complaint Letter is a formal or semi-formal type of letter where you are given a situation that you wish to be resolved in some way.

Complaint letters are used to raise your concerns about unfair things, such as bad service, faulty goods, problems with people and to seek a productive outcome.

Here is an example how the task may look like:

WRITING TASK 1 (General)

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You have had a problem with your next-door neighbour. You have not been able to speak to your neighbour about this.

Write a letter to this neighbour. In your letter

  • Explain the problem
  • Suggest a solution
  • Say what action you will take if the situation does not improve

Write at least 150 words.

You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear ... ,

Note! You will find the IELTS Complaint Letter Sample with grammar corrections and estimated band score down below.

IELTS Complaint Letter Structure & Vocabulary

We have listed for you the letter structure of IELTS Complaint Letter with common phrases you can use to get the correct structure and right tone.

empty notebook


  • 1
    Dear Sir/Madam, (or name if given)
  • 2
    Explanation: 1-2 sentences what you are complaining about
  • 3
    Explain in more detail
  • 4
    What action you want the person or company to take
  • 5
    Formal ending, name, signature
  1. Dear Sir/Madam, (or name if given)
  2. Explanation: 1-2 sentences what you are complaining about
    • I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the ... / my concern about
    • I am writing to complain about ... / I had been led to believe ...
    • I would like to draw your attention to ...
    • The reason I am writing to you is poor quality of a ... , which I bought in your store.
    • After only two times it was in use, problems started to appear.
  3. Explain in more detail
    • what had happened, what is the problem
    • I was supposed to receive ... . Unfortunately, that never happened.
    • I could not believe that ...
    • what are you unhappy about
    • You can imagine how unhappy I was to discover ...
    • I regret to inform you that your service was below my expectations.
    • what did you do to resolve the situation
    • I contacted your store immediately in order to return ...
    • When I tried to contact you by phone no one could offer me any sensible answer.
    • how do you feel about the problem
    • You can imagine how receiving this offer upset me.
  4. What action you want the person or company to take / What would you like them to do, what will you do?
      background, writing correction markups
      ielts essay correction
      feedback from ielts teachers
      button see more
    • The ideal solution would be ... / Nevertheless, I hope/assume you will replace ...
    • I hope you can settle this matter by ... (doing smth)
    • I insist on getting a refund of ...
    • I am very disappointed with the ... . Therefore I expect a full refund of $100 as soon as possible.
    • I hope this matter will be resolved / I trust the situation will improve.
  5. Formal ending, name, signature
    • I look forward to hearing from you!
    • I look forward to receiving a prompt reply!
    • Yours sincerely, ... (you know the name of person you are writing to)
    • Yours faithfully, ... (you don't know the name!)

Learn by playing!

Learning should be fun, right? For that reason, we have created a little game in order to help you learn useful vocabulary and phrases for writing complaint letters.

There are 15 questions in total and the questions are in random order. Give it a try and test your knowledge. Just click the answer!

Practice vocabulary
Play again!

Useful phrases

  • misleading information
  • I would like to complain about the poor quality of service I recently received from your company.
  • I wish to make a complaint regarding your inefficient staff. (level of service)
  • I am writing to complain about the poor train service your company provided from the 5th to the 12th of November. / ... and I missed my plane as a result.
  • I am writing to you about the party ... . I have a number of complaints. I hope you will agree that it was a very disappointing evening.
  • The problems do not stop here. / ... / Furthermore, ...
  • To begin with ... / In addition to this, ... / Added to this, there was no ...
  • ... was not worth the money I paid for it.
  • Having paid a lot of money for the ... , I found this extremely frustrating
  • In your ... you promised a pleasant ... . This was definitely not my experience.
  • However, I would like to point out that ...
  • I feel I am entitled to a partial refund in addition to an apology for the inconvenience caused.
  • Furthermore, you will find a bill on the value of ... . I expect it to be compensated as well.
  • I would appreciate it if you could look into the matter as soon as possible.

IELTS Complaint Letter Sample (Corrected)

You have had a problem with your next-door neighbour. You have not been able to speak to your neighbour about this.

Write a letter to this neighbour. In your letter

  • Explain the problem
  • Suggest a solution
  • Say what action you will take if the situation does not improve

Begin as follows: Dear ... ,

Dear Mr. Stafford,

I am writing to you to complain about a problem that has recently appeared withmay have been caused by your kids.

First of all, as I have been made redundant since last month, I need to spend a lot of time at home. However, your kids make it impossible to stay inhave any peace, especially soon after they have arrived (at) home from school. They play with a ball indoors, run around and listen to music too loudly. I have really tried not to pay too much attention to itthis and I havehad hoped that things would settle without a real need of forbiddingneeding to forbid them from enjoying themselves. At the same timeHowever, the situation tends to getis getting worse.

As I do not use a phone and I have not seen you around in/for a while, I have decided to contact toyou by post. I would like to ask whether it would be okay for you to restrain your kids and explain that there are other people living in the house as well. Otherwise, I amwill be compelled to report this matter to the police.

I seriously hope that my letter will not create too much confusionany ill-feeling between us and we couldcan remain asgood neighbours.

Yours sincerely,

Jack Smith

(206 words)


Band Score Estimate
(prior to corrections)

Brief comments:

  • to report something (to somebody)
Want to send your own tasks for the assessment?
Send your tasks to an IELTS teacher today!
IELTS teacher Claudia

"I have 7+ years of IELTS teaching experience. I will correct your grammar and give suggestions for more appropriate word use. I will give you tips on how to answer the question in the way the IELTS examiners expect."

— Claudia, IELTS teacher from the UK

We are here to help

Whether you have any questions, want to leave feedback or discuss cooperation possibilities, do not hesitate to contact us. We are here to help and will answer as soon as possible. In the meantime, discover our site and let it help you smooth your IELTS journey and make your studies more efficient.

You will find useful information on all the four IELTS test components:

Contact us

Got a question? We'd love to hear from you!