Letters of Complaint | IELTS Writing Task 1 General Training Test | IELTS Webinar


Hi everybody, and good luck for you if you
are doing your test this month, particularly if you’ve got it coming up this weekend. So
as Jamie was saying this is for general training. Okay, it’s the task one in general training,
which is writing letters. And in particular, today we’re going to look at writing a letter
of complaint. Okay, which is a very, very common topic that comes up when you do the
letters. And so we’re going to look at planning structuring your letter and some useful phrases
some useful vocabulary that you can use in this kind of task. Okay. So let’s just do
a quick overview of the general training writing task one. It’s always a letter A, but there
are different types of letters. So sometimes it’s a letter to a friend and sometimes it’s
more formal letter. It’s a letter to a company. Okay. You have to write a minimum of 150 words
and your advice to spend no more than 20 minutes on the task one. Okay. This is because it’s
not worth as much as task to and it’s also shorter. So you really do need the 40 minutes
for writing your essay for task to ok So the different types of letters apologizing asking
for information but complaining. Very, very common. And so just to get the ball rolling.
Anybody ever actually written a letter of complaint or an email of complaint. I mean,
in their real life. Anybody been in that kind of situation. Okay. Just tell us, tell us
quickly what the Subject was written one within the last hour. Tell us what this, what are
you complaining about into not not working okay for internet connection noise in my lab.
Okay, late delivery. Yeah, I’ve been there. I know what you mean. Okay. That’s not working.
Okay, faulty order get okay and so a lot of us have actually done this. Anyways, so we
know, we know what we’re talking about. Okay. So we’re going to look at some pictures of
some kind of common situations and I want you to tell me what you think the person would
be complaining about in this situation. Okay. So have a look at this poor guy here. What
do you think has happened to him who’s he going to write to Do you think the situation
is That if That’s possible. It’s not really anybody. You can complain about. Okay. Yes.
I think he’s writing to the car company because there’s car rental company Australia. Very
good, because he’s He’s some problem with the car. Okay. Could be at a petrol. But remember,
this is a situation where you’ve got a complaint. So, something which shouldn’t go wrong. I’m
guessing that would be his fault if he ran out of petrol. Yeah. Maybe he got the wrong
size of car, maybe, something like that. Okay, and His wife. Okay, let’s let’s focus on the
car and His wife is thrown him out of the house. Okay, what about this one in which
what do you think the situation is here. Haha yeah I think we’re definitely looking at noise
noisy neighbors. noisy neighbors. Definitely a situation. This comes up a lot. Okay, complaining
to your neighbors because they had a noisy party the night before. Also you can be apologizing
to your neighbors because you had a party the night before. Okay, so it actually kind
of works both ways. And what about the the lady here. Okay, yes. I think last baggage.
Yes. I think you’re right. Probably baggage hasn’t come could be something to do with
the flight. But I think we’re if we were on the baggage carousel. So I think we’re definitely
talking about lost luggage here. Quite sure what that was but And finally, another very
common situation to complain about Okay, good. So it could be the food or it could be the
service a worm in the salad that happened to me. In fact, but I didn’t write a letter
of complaint that yes so complaining in a restaurant about the customer service or fake
WINE, YEAH, YEAH. THANK YOU, a lead Or maybe a mistake with the order something like that.
Oh, very good. Because maybe the bills not right. That would be something as well. Okay,
so these are very typical letters of complaint that you could see coming up in the in the
aisles general training. Okay. So if you think about those kinds of situations and you think
about the kinds of letters that you can get Are you going to be writing. Yes. So it’s
definitely going to be a formal situation. don’t think there’s ever going to be a situation
where you complain to a friend that doesn’t really happen so we’re definitely writing
a formal letter, which means we’re writing to Usually to a company or it might be semi
formal where you’re writing to the neighbor. Okay. So that would mean that somebody you
know What the situation is a bit delicate. So that would be a semi formal letter. Okay.
But typically, their formal alright So let’s have a look at a specific one. So if you remember
the first picture there with the person who’s always taken all his luggage out. But anyway,
there’s a problem with his car. Number of problems with this car, actually. Okay. And
he’s also not been helped by the company. So if you have a look at this typical task.
So let’s break it down a little bit. So it gives you the background. It gives you the
situation in a very general way okay doesn’t really give you any details, you have to supply
the details. And it always tells you who to write to. Okay, so in this kind of typical
formal letter, you’d be writing to a company If it was informal, it would say write a letter
to your friend, and that the situation might be write a letter to your neighbor, your colleague
your boss, something like that. Okay. Then you always have three bullet points always
three bullet points and very important that you include those three bullet points in your
letter in order Okay, and each one has to be fully developed with lots and lots of detail.
Okay, that’s very, very important. You have to provide that detail yourself. Okay. And
it tells you also how to begin. And it just says, Dear so then you start from there. No
addresses no dates, nothing like that. Yeah, very good. Hello, hello, Amanda. And yeah,
so you just start from D and then whatever is going to be appropriate for the situation.
Okay, don’t Don’t waste time writing addresses or anything like that. Okay. It actually specifically
tells you not to write an address. Okay, so that’s what the task looks like. That’s what’s
included So before you start writing very, very important to plan. Okay, make sure you
know the content of your letter before you start writing That means that when you are
actually writing you can focus on your grammar, you can focus on your vocabulary linking phrases
you can focus on the actual language rather than thinking about the content. Okay. So
let’s think about this. So the same sample. We’re going to use this all the way through
today. And the most important thing. So the right at the beginning. Just get your task
and underline the key words. Okay, so it’s very focused in your mind, what you’re going
to do. So in this case, what do you think are the key words. What would you underline
here okay yeah renting a car. Definitely. That’s very key. What else would you and then
the problems. Okay. Very important talking about that and it says a number of problems.
Notice, so that means you’ve got to have more than one problem. Otherwise, you’re not doing
it accurately. Okay, and very good Nancy. Yeah, you’ve got to say, also about the fact
that you’ve already contacted the company and they haven’t dealt with the problem. So
that’s an extra complaint, you got there. OK, and then yeah irvin’s got it as well.
All of the bullet points. Okay, it’s always very important. What are the key things so
introducing yourself explaining the problem. And what action you want them to take. Okay,
so always underline the key words in the bullet points as well because you’ve really got to
focus on those in your letter. Okay. So let’s think about what we would do imagine when
our planning this before we start writing. Yeah, right. So thinking about introducing
yourself what kind of information, could you could you give the company. Okay, yeah. Name
and the thing else have a look at the bit of a clue on the screen there. Yeah. Okay,
you might give them that. Any other, yes. Okay, someone’s got it yesterday. Very good.
Like a you’ve got a membership card or you’ve got a VIP card or something like that. Yeah,
kind of order ID that would be important to okay Yet, something like that. Yeah, I’ve
been with this company for a number of years. So, you know, you’re showing them that you’re
an important client, you don’t want to. They don’t want to cause you any problems. Okay.
Okay, very good. Yet, when were you rented and look at the next picture, what are we,
what are we thinking about that. Yes, so Detailed description of the card you know the name
of the car. The make of the card, that kind of thing. Yeah. Okay, so that’s very important.
Okay. And as somebody said, Where and when you rented it would be probably quite key
as well. So what about the problems, what kind of problems, could you have with A rented
car. Okay, could be a flat tire problem with the engine or the air conditioning. Yeah,
maybe the size wasn’t when you ordered something like that factory, the car smell bad idea.
Okay, something some kind of problem of space got turned it on yet. Very nice. The previous
customer left the car dirty and they didn’t clean it. That’s a nice night okay marks and
scratches that you didn’t make yourself and the lights. Okay, very good. So that’s a good
point. So we’re going to come to that in a minute. And so if you look at the pictures.
We got to remember is a number of problems. So if you look at our to two pictures, what
problems. Have we chose and for our car. Okay, yeah, the engine and the lights. Okay. I’m
a rating now. As I say so. Okay, good. Yeah. So some the lights and the engine not working.
Okay. And then you have to say what action you would like to company to take Very important.
You tell them specifically what you want them to do. Okay, don’t just say, I’d like you
to do something about this. Okay, you have to tell them exactly what Okay, so yeah, we’ve
got refund. We’ve got replaced the car. Yeah, replace maybe replace the part Reem blow air
very nice reimburse the cost of the ticket for the flight that you missed discount on
the next booking Vickers that’s very nice as well. Okay. Oh, yes. And also remember
that we we contacted the company and they didn’t reply. Okay. And yeah, so we’ve gone
for we want other we want our money back, and we want something else as well. So some
kind of compensation. Yeah. Okay, or maybe you could say repairing the car you can sue
them as well. You could threaten to sue them in the letter and has got quite strong. Okay,
so we’ve got all of our information here. Okay, so if we just put that together. So
the Mercedes with the registration number. Okay. That a bit more information about you.
Again, something like frequent customer or somebody said, you know, I’ve been with you
for a long time. Very nice information to include And then we’ve got the problems indicator
lights and engine won’t start. And we want. Place the car apologize and Give us some compensation.
So you just make a very quick table like this before you start writing and just make some
notes. Just key words and it will just really keep you focused as you go through and stop
you from going a little kind of off topic, which gets, you know, it’s very easy to do,
or including too much information. Okay, so very, very quick. Table before you start writing.
Okay, so now let’s look at the structure of the letter. So it’s always going to be the
same structure. Okay, so we always have an opening Which is where we say the purpose
of the letter. Okay. Really, really important you know your first line should definitely
be the purpose of the lateral certainly in the first paragraph. Okay. And and then we
can introduce ourselves because that’s really quite an introduction as well. separate paragraph
for the second bullet point where we talk about the problems. Okay then separate paragraph
for the third bullet point where we make the request. And then you need to close in some
kind of appropriate way. Okay, so those are all the elements of the letter and it will
be, you know, the same for all of the different types of letters should be the opening the
three bullet points and then closing statement. Okay. So let’s look at some of the things
that you can do in each of those sections. Okay, so Where would you put you can just
say 123 or four. So where would we put I’m writing to to complain about Don’t use any
bullet points searching they heard that the point is to write those things are in full
sentences using structures complex sentences. All of the vocabulary. Okay. So don’t use
any bullet points in your letter. Okay, good. Yeah, so that’s giving you the purpose, I
am writing to complain about very clear right at the beginning, you know, no messing about.
How about the next one. Where would you put that Okay, very good. Hello sky. Yeah, so
that’s definitely a good, good one of these standard closing phrases that we had. They’re
always the same don’t change them in any way, just use them as they are. Okay, what about
the next one. Okay, yet. So we’re explaining the problem we’re saying why so because bum
bum bum bum bum. Okay. And then what about the next one. Yes. Okay, so this is when you
ask politely, you’re still going to be polite for them to do something for you. Okay, what
about this one. This is a very nice linking phrase. Okay, very good. To make matters worse,
describing the problem. And how about the next one. Yes. Okay. Again, another way to
make a request. Okay. And so this is when you’re asking them for the action that you
want them to take. Okay, what about this one. Okay, very good. Yeah. Another way of starting
the letter still with the purpose Okay, what about this one. We’re going to read the whole
thing where you start. Yeah, so this is you could put that at the end because I look forward
to and then you’re just really telling them you want that refund that it would probably
work also in three as well. Okay, if you put three As a result, Okay, yeah, this is describing
the problem. So it’s always really nice to say what the consequence of the problems were
so you’re not just describing the problem. But there’s some kind of end outcome for example
before someone was talking about missing the flight. That’s great. Yeah, you know, this
happened and therefore I missed the flight. It’s much better to have a consequence of
these problems. Okay, and my general statement that. Yeah. Again, very good general statement
to finish off with useful in lots of different types of letters and then Like this one. Yes.
So again, another way of saying to complain. Very nice way, much higher level vocabulary
express my desist dissatisfaction with Okay, so just some useful phrases there for all
the different type parts of the letter. Okay, one more. Sorry, I’ve got that. So you’re
making a suggestion for the request. Okay. Let’s look at the greeting and the sign off.
So these are not in the body of the letter, but you still have to do these and they’re
part of the letter conventions. And in the task achievement in order to get, you know,
a good score band seven or something like that, you need to follow the correct letter
convention. So that’s those standard phrases which we’ve looked at, but also the opening
and closing. Okay. So in a formal situation, how would we want to start the letter. If
you’re writing to a company Okay, dear. We’ve got the deer. Then what do we follow with
that we’re not writing to an individual writing to yes just, dear sir, madam. Okay, don’t
need to put anything else that’s going to work in every way. Okay. Or if it was to a
neighbor. How would you start if you were complaining to your neighbor. Yes. Okay. Very
nice. Oh, my dear Mr. Jones. So, I mean, that’s right, or a name, you wouldn’t say, dear sir,
madam, because you’re writing to a person Dear. So, madam. If you’re writing to a company
okay SDM Mr. Williams. Okay. So, for example, Dear Mr. Anderson, we’ve gotten for all right.
And how about in those formal situations. How do you sign off, okay. You can you can
use. You can use a slash or you can use or. Okay. Okay, very good. Yeah, it was faithfully
and in the last situation, it would be Yours sincerely. Before we look at that. Make sure
you’re not using any of those informal words like hi, hello unlikely to be using the first
name, probably Okay, but now we move to the sign off, so yes. Yours faithfully, so dear,
So, madam, you would finish with Yours faithfully, okay. Dear Mr. Anderson. So when you have
the name you would finish with Yours sincerely. Okay. Things like best wishes. Okay, I know
most of the time. Now we’re writing emails and things like best regards best wishes,
something like that. They’re quite common. All the best. But they don’t work in a letter.
Okay, they’re very strict the letter conventions. Yeah, they’re really very much again. Kind
regards this is more of an email, rather than a letter form. So if you’re writing a formal
or semi formal letter would stick with Yours faithfully, you’re, you’re sincerely, you’re
not going to go wrong that way. Okay. Anything else could be considered to be not the correct
Letter convention. We don’t really say yours truly, very much. I don’t know if that’s more
of an American phrase. But I haven’t. Maybe we’ll talk about this at the end. But again,
like I said, really stick to his faithfully are Yours sincerely and then you won’t go
wrong and nothing else is potentially you’re you’re getting wrong. Okay. So that’s your
beginning and you sign up, you are going to need to do that and you’re going to need to
get that right. Okay. And an informal letter, you would say, like, you could say love or
you could say something like this, or the best. See you soon. If that’s an appropriate
ending. Okay. You have a lot more options with the informal ones. Okay. And, you know,
commerce was nice. You’d calmer after the greeting comma after the sign of and then
just put your name at the bottom. Okay. So let’s now look through the letter itself.
So remember we had the opening the three bullet points and the And then the closing statement,
you can say in a certain situation, you can say thank you in advance. Again, it’s going
to depend on the situation. Very common one is I look forward to hearing from you that
that works in a lot of situations. But you could be thanking them. If you’re requesting
information. It really, it really depends. Yes. And you’re sincerely would be the semi
formal one because you would be starting with the name of the person if it was like your
neighbor or your manager or something like that. Okay. So just to remind you of the situation
again. Okay. So dear stroke, madam. Don’t need to think of any other way that just works
really well. So we’re going to give you the beginning of the sentence. And if you can
just put up some options. Some ways you would carry on that sentence, then We’ll go through
that. Okay, so we always start with the purpose. So, and also you’re an introducing yourself.
So what could you say here. Name is less important. We don’t really put the name at the beginning.
But, you know, okay, very good. Drew. I’m a regular customer. And even though some uh
yeah long standing member would be quite a nice yeah customer of yours. That would work
very well. We’ve gotten for frequent customer and member of the patent and Car Club. So
we’re starting with the fact that we’re, you know, an important customer And then how are
we going to continue with that. Okay. Very nice Raya that’s a really nice option. Yeah.
Yes to complain or member complain is the verb complaint is the noun. But yes, very
nice guy. You could say make a complaint about express my dissatisfaction. Remember we had
before. So you’re explaining exactly what it is and then give some key details. So I
rented the vehicle from Okay, from your company. More specifically, if we wanted to be very
specific. What could we put Okay, yeah, from the net. Yeah, or the location. That’s what
I’m thinking about or the dealer. So we’ve gone from your London branch okay because
it will be a car company all around the country and the date. Okay. Okay. Very nice. We’re
both your branch in Toronto. Okay. Yes. So remember specific specific really specific
information. Okay, just making it out, but you just make sure that you’ve got very detailed
information. Okay. So let’s look at some of the language there. So for this kind of letter
of complaint so frequent customer works very, very nicely. Okay, the vehicle which I rented
so nice complex form that and slightly different from what’s written in the task as well. Okay.
And your London branch. Okay, so there’s a good be quite useful in lots of different
situations of letters of complaint. Okay. So that’s our opening Okay, and then we’re
going to describe the problem. So now we’re moving on to the second bullet point. And
usually, the second one is where you had the most information. Okay, this is where you
really go into the detail. Probably going to be your longest paragraph. Okay, so Very,
very detailed that’s really, really important and make sure it flows in a logical way. So
it’s very easy for the examiner to read it, it makes sense, they can read it quite quickly.
OK. So again, will give you the beginning of the sentence. How would you continue that.
So first you explaining the car I rented is a giant explosion. Yes, yes and no CDs yet
okay so we got to say exactly drew forgot to say what it is. Okay. So Mercedes s type.
For example, this is kind of over my head now. Okay. Yes. A $5 Mazda okay we got some
other ones. Okay, Mercedes Benz. Okay. When I collected the car I was assured that What
would they tell you when you picked the car up Okay, yeah, basically 90 everything was
fine. Everything was in working condition okay good condition edit had a full service.
Okay, good. Working didn’t condition works well. Okay. Then we’re going to move on to
the problems, however. I quickly noticed a fault with okay yeah the engine. But that’s
what we were talking about, well, the engine. And what was the other one. Okay, we got tail
lights. Or here sidelights got lots of different indicator lights as well. We’ve gone for but
yes headlights side loads tail lights. rear lights I think satellites is American isn’t
it not that that matters, that’s perfectly okay and okay, which were How would we continue
that. Okay, the integrator lights which were Okay, maybe they would burn up faulty blinking.
Broken not working as they should. That’s very nice. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Some good
malfunctioning. Okay then. Remember our next race we had. So, to make matters worse when
I already talked about the lights. Whoops, sorry. Okay, yeah. When I started the engine
what happened. Sure us when I started the engine or when I turned on my car. Okay, good.
Maybe there was smoke coming out of the engine or few, okay. Something got jammed gay bad
noise. Okay, so I left it overnight. I wouldn’t say it was fuming, that means angry. Okay,
you can say there’s fumes. But I think if you say the engine was fuming, it means that
it wasn’t happy. Okay. And so, it failed to start. We’ve gone from. Okay, all right, died.
Yes. Okay, didn’t start something like that. Okay. And again, you know, you choose what
problems you want to talk about these are two examples, but you could be talking about
some of the other things like the AC that people have mentioned there. Okay. As a result,
so what could be the result of this, the fact that you couldn’t start the engine. Well we
everybody’s obsessed about it being dirty. Dirty girl. Okay. Very nice amount I missed
my flight. Yeah. You didn’t get to your meeting on time, something like that. Okay. Not, not
particularly polite such in There. No, no. I was late to work. So yeah, we’ve gone late
for important business meeting, but any of those would be fine. Okay, or lost my job.
Yeah, that would be very serious. Okay. And then remember that there’s one other thing.
Okay. So remember, we’ve already contacted the company. So I called Yeah, I called the
company or I got it. Okay. Also sweater, you could say, customer service, you could say
last week. Yeah. So, exactly. We’ve said customer service and the time frame, you know, DETAIL,
DETAIL keep putting it in and I was reassured that I would Would what Okay. Very nice. Don’t
see be compensated. Get a replace to have it fixed. Okay. Very nice guys and really
be attended to very, very good. Yeah, so we’ve gotten receive a replacement car. That doesn’t
happen. Does it. So it’s extremely disappointing that Okay, getting another car. No time that’s
that is a little informal ratio, but that’s very nice. Yes, so that nothing happened.
The promise was not. Okay, very good. No one responded to my problem. Okay. Or, you know,
haven’t had any communication with them since then. Okay, remember to keep it for more.
Yeah, even though you’re angry. You got to keep it for more. You got to keep it polite.
Okay. Bye bye problems are yet to be fixed. Very nice. Oh, no, no, that’s, that’s a lovely
expression. Okay. And so having a look now a bit more at the language. So we’re talking
about what happened when you pick the car up. So we’re using past simple throughout.
And we’re also using some passive there. So we’ve got a good range of passive and active
verbs. Okay. And again, linking phrases going all the way through. Yeah. When, however,
to make matters worse. So keep those linking phrases and they’re very important Equally
important in Task one, a lot of times people use them in their essays, but they missed
them out from the Task one, but it’s just as important. Okay, so make sure you’ve got
those linking phrases, particularly when you’ve got quite a lot of information like here.
Okay. So then, remember we want them to take some action. Okay, so if you remember the
picture should remind you, and again, keep it polite, very important. Keep it sort of
professional and be detailed tell them what you want them to do. Don’t just say, I’d like
you to do something. Okay. All right. So I would like to Okay, good. So that I’d like
you to send me a refund. Request to compensations or request some compensation, we would say,
okay, So we talked about. We want the to replace the car. So an immediate replacement of the
car. So that’s quite strong, but it’s still polite. Yeah. look into the matter that’s
quite nice as well. I would add something else. And, to be more specific. And then what
else do we want, I would appreciate Okay, being reimbursed for the inconvenience or
compensated for the inconvenience. That’s very nice. Okay, I’m not sure what you mean.
Now, Jose a refund for the days last so we’re going for an apology and appropriate compensation.
Okay. Over the prob with compensation. Okay, good. Very, very nice. And in 24 hours. Yes,
very good, very strong. replacement for the car. Okay. Because it’s one for. It’s like
a substitution Don’t use any abbreviations that to inform or okay doesn’t. You don’t
have to be massively for more big. It’s not like you’re applying for a job. I mean, you’re
the one who’s got the problem here is annoyed, not the company. But asap is to inform them
okay and alright so for and then you’ve mentioned that. So the inconvenience cause to me. Okay.
On my loss. So this is a quite a bit shorter. You can see compared to the one where we have
the information describing the problem, but it’s still very specific, very concrete. Okay.
So yes, so we, if we look at that, things like appropriate compensation immediate replacement
Very nice language. And also, you know, useful in lots of different situations doesn’t have
to be a car with a problem. It could be all sorts of complaints that you want to make.
Okay. So just to close off. So, we have here the full letter as we put it before, but remember
that we always have to have that closing statement. And so what do you think would be an appropriate
closing statement for a letter of complaint. How can you round off the letter very nicely.
Okay. I look forward to hearing from you in due course is very nice. Your, your prompt
response. That’s very good. Okay, I would appreciate your prompt response. That’s very
nice. Okay, good. I look forward to is more formal than I’m looking forward to So it’s
better to probably a little bit better to say that. Yeah, so we’ve got. I look forward
to your reply. Okay. So I think that’s the whole thing. So basically, you’ve got your
whole letter there. And then sign off and put your name at the end. Okay.

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