How to write a letter of complaint

The complaint letter is a common option for General Training writing task 1. When writing this type of letter make sure that the tone is formal and that you meet the word limit (at least 150 words).

Answer all the bullet points – if you don’t you’ll lose marks on Task Response. Write a greeting and an ending but do not include an address. You should aim to write between three and four paragraphs.

Remember, don’t spend too long on this letter (no more than 20 minutes) as it only counts for 33% of your total writing score,

Here is a sample complaint letter:


You should spend about 20 minutes on this task.

You recently went to a restaurant for special celebration but you did not enjoy the meal.

Write a letter to the restaurant manager. In your letter

  • say what the occasion was
  • describe what was wrong with the meal
  • say what action you would like the manager to take

Write at least 150 words.
You do
NOT need to write any addresses. Begin your letter as follows:
Dear .....................,

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is Miranda Fowles and I am writing to complain about a meal I ate in your restaurant last week. I booked a table to celebrate my mother’s 70th birthday as your restaurant came highly recommended by a good friend of mine.

When we arrived at the restaurant, the waiter said that we did not have a reservation despite my making an online booking a week before. We had to wait for 45 minutes for a table and were then given one by the stage where a very loud band was playing. The steaks we ordered took a very long time to arrive and the chips were cold by the time it was finally served. Also, my husband had asked for a rare steak and it came burnt to a cinder.

I would be grateful if you would refund the cost of the meal which came to more than £120.

I can be contacted by email at

Yours faithfully,

M. Fowles


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