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Letter of Complaint Assignment

The Basics

Write a letter of complaint based on an actual and real previous experience with “customer service” sort of experience. Be sure to follow the basic guidelines of a complaint letter we will be discussing in class and based on the readings: identify the problem with useful information, explain what went wrong, and state what you expect to resolve your problem.

You will write your letter in Google Docs and post the link of your complaint letter for peers to read and respond to by the date on the calendar for the class. Also by the deadline: write me a brief memo where you introduce the assignment and explain any concerns you might have about the assignment or your goals. As is always the case, make sure your writing is free of errors that stop your readers.

Why I am assigning this project:

Letters of complaint (be it formal letters or email messages) are a common form of writing in professional settings, both for customers complaining to businesses and even businesses/professionals lodging complaints against other businesses. There are definitely strategies for crafting effective complaints, and, as we will see in the second part of the assignment, it’s also important to answer complaints.

Here are some things to think about:

  • Your letter will be based on a “real” complaint— and don’t we all have something to complain about?  There are only two main criteria for something to write a complaint about:
    • It has to be something that you are willing to share with other readers in class (besides me, of course).
    • It has to be something for which there is a specific audience where it is possible to seek some resolution. We’ll talk about this in more detail, but as an example: you can write a letter to an airline about lost luggage and/or bad service because you can ask to be compensated; but you can’t really write a letter to the EMU football coach about the poor game they played the previous week because you haven’t really suffered a loss and there’s no way you can be paid back anyway..
  • If you don’t have a specific example in mind, let me know and I’ll help you come up with something.
  • Both your letter and your memo must be free of unacceptable errors and all of the deadlines must be met. Too many errors and/or lateness will hurt your grade.
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