This is the next in my series of model IELTS letters. This one is a letter of complaint and before showing you the model letter, I give you a quick lesson on how to read the question, plan your vocabulary and structure your answer.
Reading the question
You have just bought a new mobile phone from a website on the internet. When it was delivered, the phone was faulty.
Write a letter to the website. In the letter:
- introduce yourself
- explain the situation
- state what action you want to be taken
1. Answer all parts of the question
The first point to see is that this question asks you to write about 3 different points. You must remember that it is not enough to say what the problem is, but you must also say who you are and what you want to happen next.
2. Think about what the main reason of the letter is – it’s a letter of complaint
Most IELTS letters have a function: explaining/apologising etc. This letter is really just a letter of complaint and that means you need to use some good complaining language.
3. Think about who you are writing to
It is always important to think about who you are writing to,as that will tell you whether you need to use more formal or less formal language. You should see here that you are writing to someone you don’t know and that it is quite a business-y letter – that means you need some more formal language.
4. Think about what vocabulary you need
Vocabulary is 25% of your score, so it makes sense to think about what words you need – the clue is always in the question. My suggestion is that you should brainstorm some language before you start writing. If you do not do this, you might use too simple vocabulary or repeat words too much. this should also give you ideas for writing. Here are the words I found:
mobile phone: handset/text/camera phone/smart phone/message/screen
faulty: not work/malfunction/break/unreliable
Letters of complaint are quite common and it is sensible to prepare some language to help you write them. Here are some simple variations:
I am writing to complain
I must complain
I would like to complain
My complaint is
I am unhappy with
I am dissatisfied with
Structuring the letter
Generally, IELTS letters are quite easy to organise as you just need to follow the 3 different points the question asks you to write about and use a paragraph for each one of them. If you do this, you make sure that you get a good Task Response score by answering the question fully. Two points to remember ( and these are good for life and not just IELTS):
You should say clearly what the purpose of the letter is. The standard language in a more formal letter like this is:
I am writing to [complain]
You should say what you expect to happen next. This will normally involve asking the other person to contact you in some way. Again, there is standard language here:
I look forward to
Note that if you use this phrase with a verb following it, the verb needs to be in an -ing form (eg “I look forward to hearing form you”).
Read the letter
I am writing to you to complain about the mobile I bought from your online store on 23 November. I have been a loyal customer of yours for the last 4 years and have successfully made many purchases over the years. Unfortunately, however, this time I am dissatisfied with the service you have provided.
The mobile telephone I ordered was the latest smart phone, the Samsung Android SA23. My reasons for choosing this model was that you advertised it on your website as having the new Swype texting system and complete social network support. Unfortunately, neither of these functions work properly. When I try to write a text message, the system either crashes or switches into Chinese and does not recognise the words. Likewise, the telephone does not have the advertised complete social network support, as I am unable to upload photographs to Twitter and Facebook.
For these reasons, I would ask you either to refund the purchase price in full or send me a replacement handset. I look forward to your immediate response.