IELTS General Training Task 1- Structure of Writing Formal Complaint Letter

General training IELTS exam is an exam which is conducted for the students who want to immigrate permanently to abroad in order to work or to be employed there. Paper pattern of the GT IELTS exam is all the same with some major changes in writing and reading exams.

In this particular article, GT's writing test will be discussed within which tips to write a letter of complaint under IELTS General Training Writing Task 1 (letter writing) will be shared.

IELTS General Writing VS IELTS Academic Writing-What's the Difference?

Letter Of Complaint

A letter of complaint is a type of a semi-formal letter. It is written to the person to express dissatisfaction for the thing you have bought or for the service you have paid for.

It needs to have:

● A clear definition of the problem

● Suggestions or solutions that possibly can be provided

● suggest the type of action needed.

Examples of letters of complaint include:-

● To a neighbour (e.g. loud music problem)

● To a landlord (e.g. something needs to be repaired)

● To a shopkeeper

● To a restaurant

● To a public transport or service provider (e.g. bus or train company)

● To the local council (e.g. littering, bin collections)

Structure Of Writing A Formal Complaint Letter

A formal letter as the name suggests should use formal language. It should not include the words informally.

The structure is as follows

● Start with the greetings in a very polite and respectful way.

● Start with the first body paragraph which should include your indirect introduction and the purpose of writing the letter.

● The 2nd body paragraph should include the problems being faced by you or the reasons for your complaint can be stated here.

● The 3rd paragraph can be the conclusion paragraph in which you can write to have a response to your complaint.

● At last, do mention your full name Along with the date.

Further Explanation To The Structure

✔️ Greetings

It is very important to write the opening and closing of a letter correctly, as this sets the base for the rest of the letter.

Way to write greetings

● Dear Sir

● Dear Sir/Madam

(Note that first letters for both the words should be in uppercase)

✔️ Reason For Writing

As mentioned above, after greetings, you are expected to start with the first paragraph and it should include your indirect introduction and purpose of writing the letter.

Connectors to start this paragraph can be-

● I am writing to express my annoyance about…..

● I am writing to complain about..

● I am writing regarding…

● I am writing to express my dissatisfaction about…..

● I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with…

● I am not happy about…..

● …… was very disappointing.

● I am very disappointed (with the phone).

● I am not at all pleased (with/about the outcome/decision).

● I am deeply unhappy (about the way I was treated).

You may also need to introduce yourself.

● I have been a regular customer…

● I am your customer…

● I bought one of your latest products…

● I availed one of your services last week…

✔️ Introducing The Complaint

Next paragraph should state the reasons or problems being faced by you.

Start by saying something positive if you want to say so, and then discuss about the problem


● I was extremely happy with the (phone/flat) when I (bought it/moved in).

● I was excited to move to my new flat…..

● I heard about it from many people…. However, I soon started experiencing a number of problems.

✔️ The First Complaint

● Firstly/First of all

● The first problem/complaint/concern is…

● The first thing I would like to draw your attention to is…

✔️ Addition To The First Point!

● Secondly/ Also/ In addition (to this),

● Furthermore…, in addition to above….

● To make matters worse,

● Not only was it (cold), it was also (noisy).

If the complaint can be done in a little polite way….

● Rest of the things were good but the food was cold…….

● Rest of the services are satisfactory but not happy with ….

✔️ Mentioning The Outcomes

After mentioning the problems, tell them about your dissatisfaction and what results can be after this, if the problem is not being answered.

● I’m afraid that I would no longer be a part of your community….

● Unfortunately, I cannot visit it again…

● which means that(I can no longer work from home)

Consequential outcomes can be the result of the problem too…


● As a consequence, (I was late for class).

● As a result…..

✔️ Stating What's Been Said To You Before Getting That Product Or Service-

Last paragraph is a conclusion paragraph. Here you can state the said lines or the expected outcomes from the offender.

Here are a few connectors which you can use:

● I was promised a refund

● The sales person promised me a refund.

● Your sales manager promised to get in touch.

● You promised me that you would fix the heating.

✔️ Asking For Action

● I suggest that you replace the item.

● I therefore suggest that I be given a full refund.

● I would be grateful if you could give me a full refund

● I would like to request that you send me a replacement

● I would ask you to fix the problem as a matter of urgency.

● To resolve the problem, I would appreciate it if you could

● Unless the problem can be fixed in the next few days, we will be forced to (find alternative accommodation/contact the council/report you).

✔️ Letters ending

End the letter by saying or writing these words and remember to keep it formal….

● I look forward to hearing from you.

● I look forward to receiving (a full refund/a replacement/ your explanation).

● I look forward to your reply with a solution to my problem.

Finally, similar to the pattern of greetings, you should write these words in a semi-formal letter.

● Yours sincerely

● Yours faithfully

After that write your full name… (name)

Regards or Best regards is also totally acceptable.

Phrases for IELTS General Writing Task 1: Formal /Semi-Formal /Informal Letters

Sample Letter

Write a letter informing the eCommerce online store customer desk about a damaged product you received. In your letter:

Give a brief description of the issue

Mention what type of action will you like them to take

Provide some solution ideas and even images of the product if possible.

Dear Sir/Madam,

I have been a regular customer of your eCommerce store and often buy after visiting your product catalogues online. However, this is the first time that I have experienced such a shortcoming in your service. I bought a Bluetooth speaker from your eCommerce store last month, and since then, I have been unable to connect it with my smartphone and laptop too.

The same problem continues for every other device with which I am trying to connect. I would like to replace the product with a new one as this is damaged. Please make arrangements for a replacement for the product and a full refund of the amount if the product is out of stock.

Here are the details related to the product:

Product Name: Bluetooth Speaker

Order no.: 4584

Payment type: Online UPI


Yours Sincerely


So this is a type of semi-formal complaint letter. I hope that the structure is clear. Practice for these types of letters and read our blogs for more types of letters like these.

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