How to Write a Complaint Letter in IELTS: Common Phrases, Sample Letters 

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Ielts complaint letter

The IELTS General Writing Task 1 requires test takers to write letters. One of the major topics of the letter-writing task is the complaint letter. Complaint Letters in IELTS require test takers to address specific instances of dissatisfaction clearly and professionally. The formal structure forms the bedrock of effective complaint letters. Initial elements such as the sender’s address, date, and recipient details must be presented with meticulous accuracy. A concise and informative subject line then sets the stage for the subsequent communication.


Within the body paragraphs, a measured approach is paramount. Articulate your concerns with clarity and precision, avoiding embellishments or emotional outbursts in your complaint letters. For those seeking to delve deeper into the art of crafting impactful complaint letters, this comprehensive article offers invaluable insights and guidance. Read the article to know more. 

IELTS Complaint Letter: Structure of Formal Letters

Letter writing in IELTS General Writing Task 1 demands students clearly state the purpose of the letter. Understanding the prompt and pinpointing the specific reason for writing is crucial. Opening paragraphs should introduce the letter’s objective in concise, unambiguous sentences.

When attempting a formal complaint letter, adhering to an appropriate tone is essential. Utilise formal vocabulary and expressions, avoiding informal language and contractions.

Every IELTS General Writing Task 1 letter follows a specific structure: sender information, recipient details, date, salutation, body, closing, and signature. By mastering this format, students can confidently approach any letter-writing task. 

The IELTS Complaint Letter Structure is as follows: 

  • Dear Sir/Madam, 
  • Explanation: Write a sentence or two about your complaint.

For Example, I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the services provided in your hotel.

  • Provide details regarding your complaint. 

For Example, I am writing to express my deep dissatisfaction with your services.

  • Suggest an action that you want the person/organisation to take. 

For Example, The ideal solution would be … 

  • End your complaint letter with a formal ending, name, signature

For Example, I look forward to hearing from you!, Yours Sincerely

To sum it up, you can use the following hack to easily remember the 6 part structure of an IELTS Complaint Letter: 

  1. Dear…
  2. Para 1
  3. Para 2
  4. Para 3
  5. Para 4
  6. Signoff 

5+ Common Phrases for Complaint Letters  

Mastering vocabulary is key to IELTS letter writing! Here are some common phrases to ace your General Writing Task 1, especially for complaint letters.

Section of an IELTS Complaint LetterCommon Phrases/Vocabulary 
Introduction/Reason of ComplaintI am writing to complain about
I am writing to express dissatisfaction with
Mentioning the Complaint My initial experience with your service was dissatisfactory. 
We went through extreme discomfort while dining in your restaurant. 
Negative ConsequencesIt is with regret that
I am afraid to say that
Requesting ActionI would like to request that
It would be great if you could
Signing OffI look forward to hearing from you
I anticipate your response in due course

Some other useful phrases that can be used for writing IELTS Complaint Letters are: 

  1. The information you provided was misleading 
  2. I would like to complain about the poor quality of service  I recently received from your hotel.
  3. I wish to make a complaint regarding your inefficient management. 
  4. The problems do not stop here
  5.  In addition to this,  there was no staff present to support me. 
  6. The overall experience was not worth the money I paid for it.
  7. Having paid a lot of money for the …, I found this extremely frustrating.

Sample Questions With Answers 

Here are some sample complaint letters that you can refer to whilst attempting the IELTS General Writing Task 1. 

Question 1

You have had a problem with your manager. You have not been able to speak to your manager about this. Write a letter to this manager.  In your letter: 

  1. Explain the problem
  2. Suggest a solution
  3. Say what action you will take if the situation does not improve

“Dear Abhinav Sir, 

I am writing to express my concern about a backlog of completed tasks awaiting your approval, which I believe may be due to an oversight.

I have been diligently working on the tasks assigned to me and consistently seeking your feedback on completed work. Unfortunately, these tasks remain unapproved, resulting in a significant backlog that impedes my ability to progress with further assignments. My seniors are now requesting the deliverables, which I am unable to provide without your feedback.

I understand that unforeseen circumstances can sometimes cause delays, and I initially hoped things would resolve themselves. However, the backlog has become a pressing issue, and I am now seeking your urgent attention to resolve it.

Therefore, I kindly request your immediate review and approval of all completed tasks so I can move forward with confidence. Please prioritise this matter to avoid further delays and potential escalation to senior management.

Thank you for your time and understanding. I look forward to your prompt response.


Shubham Das”

Question 2

“You have dined at a restaurant and have had a terrible experience. Write a letter to the manager of the restaurant informing them about your horrible experience and that you wish to have a refund. State the following points in your letter:

  • Describe what exactly happened. 
  • What do you want to happen?
  • Request for a refund

To the manager,

I am writing to express my disappointment whilst dining at your restaurant yesterday. 

My recent experience at your restaurant was unfortunately marred by a series of issues. Upon entering the dine-in, I discovered that the plates were in a deplorable state, visibly dirty and unsanitized. When I brought this to the attention of the staff, their response was surprisingly brusque and dismissive. Despite my attempts to rectify the situation, no one seemed inclined to address the issue, forcing me to endure the entire film while having my food on dirty and unhygienic cutlery. 

Beyond the unacceptable state of the plates, the food was terrible as well. My order for a plate of prawn curry was nowhere to be found, arriving only when I stood up to leave the place. The food tasted bad and seemed stale, rendering it practically inedible. Despite voicing my disappointment to the staff, my concerns were met with apathy, not to mention an inappropriate level of ridicule for raising the issue.

This experience was entirely unacceptable, and I would like to request a full refund of the amount paid. I would also suggest that your staff not promise customers degrees of service that they are unable to provide to avoid disappointing experiences such as these.

Shubham Das” 

So that was all about IELTS Complaint Letters. Hope the blog has answered your queries regarding the topic. 


Q1. How to write an IELTS Complaint Letter?

Ans. You can write a formal letter of complaint, including an introduction (Dear Sir/Madam), body paragraphs (1, 2,3 and more), and a signoff (I hope to hear from you, Yours faithfully). 

Q2. How to get 8.0 in IELTS Writing?

Ans. Test takers can use a range of linkers, adverbial phrases, references, and punctuations to bolster their overall scores in IELTS writing. 

Q3. What is the duration of the IELTS Letter Writing Task? 

Ans. The IELTS General Writing Task 1 (Letter Writing) requires individuals to complete the task within 20 minutes. 

Related Reads:

IELTS Syllabus 2023 & Section-Wise Exam PatternIELTS Marking Scheme | IELTS Scoring System & Grading
IELTS Eligibility: IELTS Exam Age Limit & QualificationIELTS Sample Tests: PDF (Download), Exam Pattern
IELTS Preparation Tips: General Tips and Section Wise …IELTS Exam 2023 Dates, Registration, Result, Preparation

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