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If you translate a complaint from your language into English it will sound very rude to English speakers. This is because we complain very politely! We avoid making the complaint personal.

We do not say ‘I want this or that, you must do this for us‘ We use modal verbs such as would or could or the past tense as in ‘I was hoping that’ or ‘I would appreciate if you would look into my problem!’ ‘I was hoping you would be able to assist!’

Start by using the phrases below:

  1. “I’m sorry to bother you” or “Excuse me, I wonder if you can help me”
  2. “Can you help me with this?
  3. “There has been a misunderstanding.”
  4. “I understand it’s not your fault, but…….
  5. “I understood that the taxi ride to the airport was only 25 dollars.”

More ways to complain:

Getting Attention

  • Excuse me…
  • Pardon me…
  • I have a complaint…
  • Sorry to bother you but…
  • I’m sorry to say…

Expressing opinion

  • I’m afraid there’s a problem…
  • I’m really not happy…
  • There’s a slight problem with…

Making the complaint

I would like

  • to make a complaint                              
  • to report an issue                             
  • to give you some feedback                                 
  • to inform you

Finally a letter of complaint:

Dear Sir/Madam

My name is _______ and I am writing to inform you that there seems to be a problem/issue with ________ .

I am/was extremely disappointed/very upset/offended because _____________ .

I would really appreciate it if you could explain to me why this issue occurred and what you might do to rectify the situation.

I hate to make a fuss, but I feel it’s necessary to draw this to your attention.

I await your considered response.

Yours Sincerely,

Remember to always be polite when complaining in English as you will get a better outcome!

Andrew Waters
ASG Training Manager