Letters of Compliment and Complaint
Objective: Teaches students the art of writing an effective business letter by writing to actual businesses
with a compliment and/or a complaint.
Text book with a sample business letter format or a teacher handout with a sample business letter format,
paper, computer/typewriter and envelope. We will be using the Write Source 2000 book.
To help students understand the importance of writing an effective business letter, actual letters are
submitted to businesses.
1. Students are to think of a product or service they like or have had a problem with. (Students may
write either a letter of compliment or a letter of complaint.)
2. They then use the correct business letter format to express their satisfaction or dissatisfaction
with the product or service.
It is important that the students use these steps in the body of the complaint letter:
1. Begin with something positive about the product. (“I’ve always been a loyal friend of Ben
and Jerry’s. You stole my heart four years ago with Phish Food.”)
2. State very specifically what the problem is. (Do not say "The jeans I bought are a piece
of junk." But rather say "The inside seam of the jeans ripped two weeks after I bought
them, and now they have a three inch hole.")
3. Tell them exactly what you expect them to do about the problem. Be realistic--do not ask
for a new bicycle if your problem is only with the bicycle seat. Asking them to replace the
seat would be reasonable.
4. Enclose any receipts, product codes or numbers, proof of purchases, or any other
identifying materials. This helps to validate your claim.
5. Close by stating your confidence in their company's desire to "make it right." (“I know
after many years as a satisfied customer this is not how Ben and Jerry’s conducts
business. I look forward to hearing from you.”)
Please do not to write in an effort to receive free "stuff." Most companies can sniff those letters
out immediately. Only write with a legitimate complaint or compliment. (Plus, you will be
surprised at what happens when you compliment someone!)
3. Students use the school’s address as the return address and in the heading. For example, write
[Your Name Here] c/o Westglades Middle School, 11000 Holmberg Road, Parkland, FL 33076.
4. I grade the letters on the use of proper business letter format, spelling, grammar, effectiveness,
and following directions.
We will make a bulletin board and post all the return letters so the other students can see the
replies. Students learn not only how to write an effective business letter, but also how to be a
Please try to bring a stamp or $.39 for a stamp of your own.
See below for the proper formatting of an envelope.
Ms. Christina Lambard
Westglades Middle School
11000 Holmberg Road
Parkland, FL 33076
Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc.
30 Community Drive
South Burlington, VT 05403-6828