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IELTS Complaint Letter: Model

Below is a model IELTS complaint letter which is estimated at band score 9. People taking the GT writing paper will be expected to write a letter for their writing task 1. That letter should be over 150 words. Complaint letters are one of the most common types of letters that you can be expected to write.

You bought a TV a week ago but when you got home you discovered it did not work properly. You called customer service to report the problem but you have not yet received any help.

Write a letter to the company and in your letter:

  • introduce yourself
  • explain the problem
  • and state what action you would like from the company

Dear Sir or Madam,

My name is John Davidson and I am one of your frequent customers. I am writing this letter to report the faulty TV that I purchased from your company on Tuesday last week.

On Tuesday, 12th June, I visited your store to purchase a TV. I bought a Toshiba LED TV which has the code 40L675B40. On purchasing this TV, I was assured that this was the latest model and the best there was to buy. However, when I got home I discovered that not only did the remote controls not work but also the quality of the picture was not as good as promised, in fact it was quite blurry. I called your customer service department immediately on Tuesday and they assured me that my TV would be replaced or fixed within two days. I am disappointed to say that this has not happened and I have received no communication since then.

I am exceedingly displeased with both the quality of the product I purchased from your company as well as the poor  service I have received since. I hope this problem will be resolved promptly. I expect to receive a replacement TV or have my current TV repaired but only if it could be fixed within a day.

I look forward to hearing back from you immediately.

Yours faithfully,

Mr J H Davidson


All Lessons for GT Writing Task  1: Letters

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  1. http://Shailesh%20Johar says

    Hi Liz,

    Is it ok to combine the first point with the opening statement?
    As in your model letter above, the personal introduction has been included in the opening statement, which, in this case is technically the best way to go at it. But in other cases, is it acceptable?

    Also, the first paragraph is rather brief compared to the other two. Could this risk getting a lower band score?

    Thanks in advance,


    • http://Liz says

      Letters do not have paragraphs of equal length. As long as you add information where necessary and expand in the right places, it’s fine. Sometimes the opening line might contain some of the required information – not common in formal letters though.

  2. http://Arshi says

    Hi Liz,

    Firstly thank you for your selfless contribution. You are really a saviour for the students like me who want to achieve high score in IELTS but somehow lacks in one or other aspect.

    There is a question in my mind- Can there be varying length of the paragraphs as written above?
    I am bit confused as this is not the case in task-2.

    • http://Liz says

      You do not need paragraphs of equal length in task 1. The marking criteria are not the same for task 1 as they are for task 2.

  3. http://Ravi says

    Hello Liz ma’am
    I am confussed about it.
    In formal letters,Do we need Subject line to mention.
    Salutations should be on right side or left side.

  4. http://Hassan%20Raza says

    Hello Liz….
    Have you any mock test sample for preparation.

  5. http://Emeka says

    Dear Liz,
    Is it advisable to jump a space when starting a new paragraph?


  6. Hi Liz,
    Would there be an issue if the response focuses on a slightly different aspect e.g. in this writing task your response letter focuses on fault in TV and getting it fixed. Would I be digressing too much if I focus on elaborating on bad customer service instead ?

    • As you can read in the instructions “…you discovered it did not work properly”, it is all about the TV not working as it should. Always read the instructions very carefully and follow them fully. Being on topic and highly focused is essential for IELTS.

  7. http://adel%20abdul%20alim says


  8. http://Mr.%20gaurav%20mishra says

    Hi Liz, Firstly I would like to show my gratitude that you have created this website and helping many IELTS aspirants. Recently I have given my ielts and disappointed after achieving the writing band 5.5 because of this my overall score became low. As per my understanding I did my best. Requesting you if you can review my below letter and please tell me where I am making a mistake and what band i can get as per you –

    “Writing letter on sportscente which i visit. 1)Mentioning about the problem 2) How I feel about the issue 3) what steps I want that manager should take ”

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I am writing this letter to complaint about the services of sportscentre located at SM road. My wife and I quite often visit this sportscentre during the weekends, and we are also the members of this centre for last many years.

    I want to express some issues which I have confronted recently. Since last two weeks, I have noticed that some changing rooms door not get closed properly and several times I have complained about the same to staff, albeit no action has taken yet. Additionally, swimming pool remains untidy and due to this hardly anyone wants to go into the water. Last time I took bathe there and faced multiple health issues pertaining to allergy.

    As you are the manager and supervising this centre, so would like to request from you that please scold your staff and ask them the reason why they are not maintaining properly. It would be highly appreciable if you look into it as soon as possible and get these problems fix.

    Look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours Faithfully,
    Gaurav Mishra

  9. http://ifeanyi%20brown says

    Hello Liz,

    My wife just took her IELTS GT test, in her Task 1 she was told to write a formal letter.
    After the greeting (Dear…) she didn’t leave a line before writing the main body of the letter; will this be a problem for her? Secondly she wrote Dear sir or madam (her Sir and Madam started with small letters) does that matter too? Please I will like to know how much these could affect her scores in general.

    Thanks in anticipation.

    • http://Liz says

      It is normal to leave a line after the title. It is not grammatically correct to miss the capital letters. However, the score will depend on how your wife did on other aspects of the letter overall. The writing score for task 1 is worth 33% and task 2 is double that.

  10. http://Adams says

    Hi Liz,

    Please I will really appreciate your constructive comment on my previous post with an answer to the GT question above.

    Thank you always.

  11. http://Abdul%20Mannan says

    Thanks for the sample. I only have one question in mind at the moment. I have heard that for letter, exceeding 165 words will deduct your marks. Is it true? If yes, how the sample is estimated at band 9?

    • http://Liz says

      There is no upper limit for words in IELTS writing. There is a lower limit of 150 words for task 1. This means you aim should be between 160 and 180 words. If you don’t develop your writing, you won’t get a high score.

  12. http://Yaman says

    Hi Liz,

    I’m really hoping that you will see this. I just want to know about the proper usage of tenses. I could see that you’re using “visited”, “bought”. etc. But how about using “I had visited” and “I had bought” and such, would it be a problem?


  13. http://Alex says

    Hi Liz,

    1. I think you missed “… and I am one …” in the first sentence.
    2. If in the task not specified “introduce yourself”, can I still add the sentence in which I introduce myself?


    • http://Liz says

      You task is to make sure all required information is given. Then you also decide what extra information to add. The extra information and detail will depend on the aims of the letter and also who the letter is for.

  14. http://Adedoyin says


    Please could you give the link to your Youtube channel

  15. http://Ash%20M says

    Could you speak to how IELTS would grade if wrong ending salutation is used? meaning for an semi-formal letting instead of Yours sincerely, Yours faithfully was used.

  16. http://arun says

    hi liz,
    In the first line of this essay, it is mentioned ‘one of your frequent customers’. but second paragraph says ‘i visited your store following a recommendation from friends ‘

  17. http://Farnaz says

    Hello Liz and thank you so much for the videos and the tips on your website. Do you think you will be making any videos on general IELTS writing task one?

  18. My issue is when writing the letter for Task 1 , are there specific words that have to be Capital or Case letters .. For example-
    I , Me , We , e.t.c

    Thanks for your prompt response ..

    • I am confused by your question. There are rules of English language regarding the use of capital letters. You learn those rules early in English language learning. Those are the same rules that apply for IELTS writing.

  19. Speaking
    Cue card situation where u cnt use mobile.
    Enough money brings happiness n lot of money create problems.agree/disagree.

    India August 19 th 2017

  20. Speaking
    Cue card
    Situation where u CNT use ur mobile
    Uses if mobile
    Enough money brings happiness n lot of money creates problem.agree/disagree

  21. http://Rita%20chiedu says

    Hello Liz. Good day and thanks for ur teachings. Pls, I’d like to know if it’s necessary to include the 3 bullet points in ur letter writing introduction, then address each point paragraph by paragraph in d main body. Secondly, in the GT essay writing, when you are to discuss both views or write advantages of different. Views, do you have to include every main point of urs in the introduction, and discuss each by paragraph? Thirdly, if you are addressing a problem and ur opinion is asked for, do u include the causes of the problem as wellas the solutions in ur introduction? And do u address each problem with solution in one paragraph or discuss problems differently while solution be on a different paragraph.
    Pls respond. God bless you.

    • http://Liz says

      You never use bullet points in writing task 1 or task 2. You use full sentences. In GT writing task 2, you will follow the same techniques as the academic essay – there’s no difference in techniques. Se, see this page: http://ieltsliz.com/ielts-writing-task-2/. You will include in your essay what is asked for in the instructions – you follow the instructions only.

  22. http://Dhaval%20Bhatti says

    Hi Liz,

    I am a regular reviewer of your website. I used to read your article even when I was not preparing for IELTS.

    could you please help me to get a list of sample essays and letters ( not full text) I just need the topics so that I can write at least one Essay and a letter, every day.

    And thanks so much for useful tips on your website 🙂


    Dhaval Bhatti

  23. http://Lea%20Lazaro says

    Hi Liz,

    My name is Lea and I just wanna say thank you so much for your site. I have learned a lot since day one I started reading your lessons and watching your videos. I will have my IELTS General training exam on 08th of July. I’ve gone through all your lessons and I feel confident at least that I can pass the exam.

    Just one question, what block type format of the letter I will use in writing the letter task 1. Is it depend on the type of letters?

    And please advise me Liz if my writing had improved through writing this comment.

    Best Regards,

  24. http://Grishma says

    Hii mam,

    I want to know each and every difference in LRWS tests for GT and AT. I would like to tell you that, recently i attended the Academic test and come up with good score only with reference to your website and Youtube channel and I’m so glad and thankful to you for that and also willing to do the same with my General Training test which is on 8th July.. Request you to guide me in such a way that I can clear it with first attempt.


  25. http://ayesha says

    Hai mam,
    I know well you are great tutor among others. it would be great if you clarify my doubts that were counting word in writing task whether they did not count repeated word in task 1 and 2 .even else repeated preposition, articles, verbs.

  26. http://Tamimul%20Haque says

    Dear Liz
    In some letters we get an instruction that “Begin your letter as follows –
    Dear Sir or Madam”
    Should we start the heading with exactly same words “Dear Sir or Madam” or we may write only Dear Sir or Dear Madam in this case?
    Thank You.

    • http://Liz says

      Always start: Dear Sir / Madam or Dear Sir or Madam – just follow the instructions. In English we never write: Dear Sir or Dear Madam – it is considered wrong.

  27. http://Irene says

    Hi Liz!

    In the sign-off portion, for FORMAL COMPLAINT letters, would you advice to write something like “Expecting a prompt reply, (your signature)” apart from writing the usual “Respectfully yours, sincerely yours, etc…”?

    Your avid follower,

    (something like that ^) 🙂

    • http://Liz says

      Even if you use “Expecting a prompt reply” you will still need to use “Yours sincerely” or another such sign off.

  28. http://Kashif says

    Dear Liz,
    Thank you so much for helping us in the preparation of IELTS. Is there any possibility, if i email you my writing easy for your assessment. It will surely help me to improve my score.

  29. http://Ejime%20Stanley says

    Dear Liz,
    Thanks for your good humanitarian job in assisting people all over the world on IELTS exams. I have written IELTS academic and i am expecting result but i have IELTS general this 25th March. On the Task1, letter writing,for the formal letters, do we write heading after Dear Sir/Madam before the body of the letter?
    Dear Sir,
    I humbly write to apply for the post of an Electrical Engineer in your company as published in the Guardian Newspapers on the 24th February , 2017.
    Pls Liz, do we need to write the heading above for a formal letter of job application?

  30. http://Ash says

    Hello liz,
    I wish you gonna have a good day 🙂
    I have question , are they count ” I , is , are etc ” as a word !!

  31. http://SandeepHamsa says

    Dear Liz
    Hai and how are you? firstly, I ‘d introduce myself my name is Sandeep hamsa from India and in the past, I wrote 3 IELTS exam I couldn’t make it to required score and I want to improve in writing module and If I write essays and letters anybody there to correct them?

  32. http://shabnam says

    Hi Liz,
    I have some problems about reading task.and next month i have general ielts exam.what should i do to do my best during this short time?

  33. http://shabnam says

    i would like to know do check our writings if i will send?

  34. http://Emmil says

    Hi Liz! Kudos to you for this very helpful site on IELTS. I would just like to ask if it’s ok to use the block format on all types of letters when writing Task1 GT? Thanks!

  35. http://Moytri%20Barman says

    Hello Liz,
    Is it necessary to introduce myself in very first line.i.e:
    Dear Sir,
    This is Moytri Barman.I am writing this letter with great regards to request information about the seminar on “Cyber Security” which is going to held in Germany.

    Is it necessary to write “This is Moytri Barman”.

  36. http://Karim%20Fahmy says

    Hi Liz,

    I was wondering how would I write “Dear Sir or Madam” ?. Would it be more language oriented to write “Dear Sir/Madam” ?

    Best regards,

  37. I was looking for formal and semi-formal starting and signing off differences and i came across http://www.oxforddictionareis.com that says “formal letter greetings end in a colon.
    such as ,Dear Ms Jones:
    i wanted to know does this apply to formal letters for IELTS test?

  38. http://Hiroko says

    Hi Liz,

    I wonder this sample isn’t too long?
    It will be 213 words.
    I head 150-180 words is better.
    What do you think about it?

  39. http://ugen says

    Hi Liz,
    Could you please do me a favour and assess my letter. I recently started preparing for IELTS General.

    Dear Sir,
    I am writing to you regarding a problem I had with your hotel. I would like to recreate the situation for you.
    Last week, I appeared at your hotel for a professional conference. The venue was Eagle Conference Centre from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. The services of the hotel were not up to the standard like Chairs were not aligned in correct order by the hotel staff, Internet Access was too slow and there were not enough cell phone charging stations.
    I expect immediate action to be taken on your side and resolve these issues. I recommend guiding your staff by giving them proper trainings and upgrade the technological services.
    Expecting prompt action.

    yours faithfully,

  40. http://Nadis says

    Hi Liz,
    Have a question for you.

    How would one start and end a complain letter to your next neighbour, in the letter you have to complain to him/her about the problem you have with him/her, make suggestions to these problems, and inform him/her about your next line of action, should he/her not adhere to your suggestions.

    Should i address this letter as a complete formal letter both in beginning and signing off. Or an informal letter?

    Do one need to include his/her signature when we end formal letters?

    • http://Liz says

      This will probably be a formal letter to a neighbour that you don’t know very well. But you should use their name “Dear Mr Brown” for example.

      • http://Nadis says

        Thanks Liz for the response.

        One more question, for formal letter, do we need to put our signature and the end of our sign off ? Just like you recommended on your blog that we should add tittle to the names in formal letters.


    • http://Mike says

      In this question the first thing it asks you to do is introduce yourself.
      There is no introducing yourself in this letter. Other than at the end ( Yours Faithfully )
      As i have been reading all kinds of tips, every single tip suggests to answer the required tasks in the question. Would what you have written be classed as answering all parts of the question? Even without introducing yourself in the letter from the start?

  41. http://Dawood says

    Dear Liz,

    Kindly upload an informal latter of band 9, just like you posted the above formal one. If you can email me one at dhamid@gmail.com It would be wonderful.



  42. http://Liz says

    Please read my notice: http://ieltsliz.com/posting-writing/

  43. http://Herbert says

    Hi Liz

    When asked to introduce yourself,do we need to give our name and street name in the body paragraph or do we just need to introduce about the date and model number of the item purchased like in the above sample letter?

    Basically, what are they asking us to do: introduce ourselves or introduce the items we purchase?

    Thanks in advance!

    • http://Liz says

      You introduce who you are in relation to what the person reading the letter needs to know. If you are writing to complain about a TV you bought, the information about yourself relates to the produce you bought not your name (which is at the end of the letter) or your street (which is irrelevant to the purpose of the letter). You are being marked on the information having the right purpose.
      All the best

    • http://Raymund says

      Hi Liz, I want to ask something in regards to the writing exam in General Training IELTS. In task 1 (writing a letter) and task 2 (writing an essay) do we need to make indentions in every paragraph?

      • http://Liz says

        Indents are not always very clear so I don’t recommend them. It’s better to leave one empty line between paragraphs.

  44. http://Tosin says

    Hello Liz,
    I recently came across one of your practice questions, a letter of complaint which goes:

    “Work is being done on the street where you live. The noise is disturbing you.
    Write a letter of complaint to your local council. In your letter:
    Introduce yourself
    Explain what the problem is
    Suggest solutions to the problem”

    How would you write the introduction of this letter please? I see from various comments that you shouldn’t write your address in the body of a letter. Isn’t this appropriate for the content of this particular letter?

    • http://Liz says

      That’s right. The address is never given in the body of a letter. In fact, you don’t need to give it in IELTS. Here is how you would start this:

      Dear Sir,

      I am writing to complain about the level of noise relating to road works being completed in Bedford Street, Brighton, which is where I live / of which I am a resident. (you can choose how to phrase it).

      After that, you have two more body paragraphs. So, we mention the street and town because we need to explain where the noise is. But we don’t need to give the street number or postcode (so not the full address). This is in fact the only time you would write your street name and town name – when you are complaining about something in your own street.
      All the best

  45. http://Onyenna says

    Hi Liz,

    A big thank u for the selfless service u renderto us here.

    From the instruction giving, we were asked to introduce ourself. So, i was thinking we need to begin such letter by writting our name and possibly home address?

    Please, could u explain why u adopt this approach.

    Thanks for reading.

    • http://Liz says

      This is a letter of complaint. The house address and name is never given inside the body of a letter.
      All the best

  46. http://GS%20Bhatia says


    Can you compare :
    1. I am writing to report the faulty TV that I purchased from your company on Tuesday last week
    2. I feel extremely disappoint to acquaint you about the malfunctioning of the Television, witch I bought a couple of days back from your showroom located at city centre.

    (First one is the written by you. This is simple, clear but plan writing. Should we follow this or until now I was trying to make the start a little complex, see second and guide accordingly)
    I need 7 band and I learnt that I should not write simple sentences
    should I write TV or Television?

    • http://GS%20Bhatia says

      In my above query I made spelling mistakes, I should write disappointed, plain


  47. Hi,

    I am preparing for IELTS G but have certain questions. Do you have any video or link which explains how many sentence in each paragraph? both for task 1 and 2.

    • http://Liz says

      I only have model letters and model essays which show the organisation and paragraphs. See the relevant sections of this blog.

  48. http://Bob says

    Hi Liz,

    Could you please do me a favor and assess my letter.


    Dear Sir/Madam,

    I am writing this letter to express my dissatisfaction regarding a TV I bought from your shop last week as well as your customer service.

    My receipt number is 54682 and the TV model is Toshiba AR3526. The main problem is that the quality of picture is not acceptable at all. I would say that its quality is much weaker than my old TV that I bought it three years ago. More importantly, it has just one USB jack which only support USB1. What is more annoying is that when I called your customer service department, they told me a professional technician would call me back within 24 hours in order to discuss these difficulties in more detail and give me advise. Now, three days has passed and no one has called me yet.

    Based on what was mentioned above, I expect these problems will be resolved within two days. Otherwise, I have the right to make a request for a full-refund.

    I look forward to hearing from you so soon.

    Yours faithfully,
    John Smith

    • http://Liz says

      It’s well organised and the information is clear. However, when you write ” I expect these problems will be resolved within two days”, you should explain how because the instructions ask for details about that. So, make it clear what you want the company to do exactly. Also review some of your grammar: “it has just one USB jack which only support USB1″ = ” it has just one USB jack which only supports USB1″ – you need the “s”.

  49. http://Eduardo says

    Hey LIZ, I am practising essays and letters and if you could check my complaint letter would be perfect. If you have time of course. Thanks in advance.

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    I am writing this letter with regards to the purchase that I did a week ago. I am an old client of your shop and I have not had a problem with something that I bought.

    I decided to buy a LED TV taking advantage of an offer that I saw for Christmas. The product has a one year guarantee but I did not expect to use it. At the begining the TV worked well but two days later the image started to disappear without a reason every one hourmore or less. Then the problem became worse and it happened every fifteen minutes including a bad noise from behind. Finally today I could not turn on the TV, it does not work any more.

    I think the company had no idea about the problem but from my pioint of view employees have to check all products before delivering. I did not receive a solution and I am worried because I need it for work. Please contact me as soon as possible to find a solution.

    I look forward to hearing from you immediately.

    Yours sincerely,

    Eduardo Aguirre

    • http://Liz says

      Two issues with this.
      1. The instructions say that you must state what action you want from the company. You asked them to contact you to find the solution. You should state the solution you actually want. If you fail to do this, you will not have completed the instructions and it will affect your score.
      2. Grammar – “to the purchase that I did ” = “…I made”. Learn more about the difference between do and make. There’s no difference in meaning but there is a difference in when to use which one. It’s similar in Spanish to learning when to use “ser & estar”. Also “I have not had a problem ” which you wrote in the introduction, it confusing for the reader. Be clearer.
      Otherwise, it’s all very good. The right tone, well expanded and well organised.

  50. http://Liz says

    Sorry but I don’t have time to assess your writing for 4 criteria in order to score it. The most I can do is offer some comments on obvious problems.
    All the best

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