How To Write A Complaint, Demand Letter, Or Other Legal Term Letter

If you’ve ever had to deal with disputes or issues with a company, you know that figuring out how to write an effective letter is important. 

The wrong tone or wording can make the situation worse or even cause legal trouble down the road not something anyone wants when all they’re hoping for is a simple solution. Here are some tips for writing complaint letters, demand letters, and other types of legal correspondence:

How to Write a Demand Letter – YouTube
1. Clear Communication: A well-written demand letter is essential for effectively conveying legal demands and concerns.
2. Structured Format: Follow a structured format to organize your letter, including a concise introduction, detailed explanation of the issue, and a specific request for action.
3. Professional Tone: Maintain a professional and respectful tone throughout the letter to enhance its impact and credibility.
4. Legal Terminology: Use appropriate legal terminology to accurately describe the situation and the legal remedies you are seeking.
5. Supporting Evidence: Include relevant supporting evidence, such as documents or facts, to strengthen your position and demonstrate the validity of your claim.

Be Polite

When you’re writing a complaint letter, demand letter, or another legal term letter, it’s important that you be polite. However, being polite doesn’t mean that you don’t have to be firm and clear about your intent. It’s also important that your tone reflects your message; being polite does not mean being passive-aggressive or vague about what you want.

For example: “I would like to request an adjustment on my bill for the following reasons…” is preferable to “I’m requesting an adjustment of my bill because…” In this case, “because” is unnecessary; it adds no further information without making the sentence feel awkward.

Building a strong legal argument requires careful analysis and attention to detail. Learn how to craft an effective legal analysis memorandum with our comprehensive guide on writing a legal analysis memorandum.

Be Courteous

It’s important to be polite, so use the recipient’s name in salutation and closing. The salutation should include ‘Dear Mr./Ms. Last Name or ‘To Whom It May Concern.’ The closing should also include the recipient’s name; for example, ‘Sincerely,’ or if you know them well enough, ‘Yours truly.’

Salutations and closings don’t have to be formal; they can be casual or even funny if you’d like them to be (for example: ‘Hey Joe’). But whatever type of language you choose, take care that it doesn’t come across as unprofessional.

Finally, make sure your letter is signed by hand by either yourself or someone on your behalf—if it isn’t signed by hand then people won’t know who wrote it!

Say What You Want And/Or Demand

The final paragraph is where you spell out what the other party should do to rectify the situation.

You can also use this section to state what you want if you haven’t done so already, and/or demand that they take more specific actions. This section is also a good place to state why exactly their actions were illegal or unethical. If it’s relevant, say how much money was lost as a result of their actions (for example: “I am asking for $10 million in damages for my suffering”).

If they refuse to comply with your demands or requests, say so here and warn them that further action may be taken if they continue not complying. For example: “If my demands are not met by August 1st, 2018 at noon EST, I will file suit against the company.”

When it comes to asserting your rights, crafting a well-structured complaint demand letter is crucial. Discover the steps and strategies in our article on writing a Complaint Demand Letter or Other Legal Term Letter to ensure your concerns are effectively addressed.

Indicate That Legal Action May Follow If The Recipient Does Not Do What You Want

It’s important to explain that a demand letter is not a threat. A threat can be easily ignored, but the recipient of your demand letter may take it more seriously if they know that legal action is on the horizon if they don’t comply with your terms.

This section should include a reminder that you are writing this letter because you’re hoping for an amicable resolution and would like to avoid having to take any sort of legal action against the recipient. Indicate that you’re willing to continue working through this issue in court if necessary and let them know what type of compensation you’re seeking (if any).

Set A Time Limit For Response

If you want your letter to be effective, you should also specify how long the recipient has to respond. The amount of time they have to reply depends on what you are asking for. 

For example, if you are asking them to make a payment or return something within two weeks, then it’s probably reasonable for them to give a response within that period. 

But if you need information from them about an issue that happened six years ago and their response could affect your life significantly now (like getting a job), then it may be reasonable for them only have one week or less.

If they don’t respond after this time limit passes, then mention in your letter what further action(s) will take place if no response is received by this date (e.g. going forward with legal proceedings). 

If no further action has been taken by this time limit, but the issue still hasn’t been resolved satisfactorily for both parties after all attempts at negotiation were exhausted, then consider taking legal action against them via court or arbitration (depending on where jurisdiction lies) without any further notice given beforehand.

However, keep in mind that doing so may result in negative repercussions since some people will rather avoid confrontation than engage with someone directly face-to-face when there’s little hope left of resolving anything peacefully.”

Legal briefs play a pivotal role in the courtroom, and writing them with precision is essential. Avoid common pitfalls and annoyances by following our guide on how lawyers can write legal briefs that don’t annoy judges, ensuring your arguments are heard clearly.

Provide Your Contact Information At The End Of The Letter

The final step is to provide your contact information. This should include your name, address, and phone number (you may also want to include an email address if you have one). If there are multiple people on the letter or document you’re sending, it’s appropriate to add their names as well.

You may also want to include other pertinent details such as your fax number and/or website address in case they need additional information from you.

Finally, be sure that any links sent through social media are clearly labeled so that recipients can easily understand where they lead and what they represent

Know Your Rights, And Cite Them, When Possible

Know your rights. If you know your rights, you will be more likely to use them. For example, if the law provides that the landlord must make repairs within a reasonable period and fails to do so, then you can write:

Please Repair My Apartment Immediately

Cite the law. If a statute is relevant, cite it in the letter. For example: “You are required by California Civil Code § 1941(1)(b) to maintain these premises in good repair.” In this case, you’re citing a statute that says landlords have responsibilities under California state law. 

You don’t have to cite every single possible argument in one letter just pick out those that are most persuasive and relevant for each situation (e.g., if there’s an issue with something small like paint peeling off the walls or mold on some windowsills).

Understanding the validity of a contract is vital to ensuring your legal agreements hold up in court. Dive into our insights on how to know if a contract is valid and if it isn’t to make informed decisions when entering into contractual relationships.

Refer To Previous Correspondence Or Conversations

If you have written to the recipient before, include the date and time of your previous communication. The word ‘you’ should be used for the recipient. Write:

I believe it was on (date), at (time), that we discussed this matter on the telephone and agreed to meet again on (date). 

You were unable to attend our meeting scheduled for (date), but I assume that you will be able to attend today’s meeting at 10 am or 2 pm. If not, please contact me immediately so that I may make other plans in order not to miss my flight back home tomorrow night.

Be Sure To Sign The Letter And Make A Copy Before Sending It Out

Now that you’ve written your complaint letter, it’s time to send it. This is where the rubber meets the road.

First and foremost: make sure you sign your name at the bottom of the letter and date it on top! It may seem like an obvious step, but I once received a complaint letter from a client who forgot to sign their name or date it. 

As a result, when we got into court, our opponent was able to claim that they had no idea what was going on because there were no dates or signatures in evidence. Oops!

Make sure you also make copies for yourself so that if anything goes wrong (and if something does go wrong), then at least one copy exists out there somewhere as proof of what happened.

Some people prefer sending their letters via registered mail rather than regular old snail mail it costs more but can give extra security against misdelivery or fraud (if someone tries to intercept your letter). However, if this isn’t an option for whatever reason (maybe because it’s not available in your country), then regular old snail mail works just fine too!

If possible, take advantage of carbonless paper so that when people send responses back they’ll know exactly who sent which piece of information without having any extra work involved either way.”

Communicating effectively with a judge requires a structured and respectful approach. Learn the key elements of how to write a letter to a judge to convey your message clearly and professionally within a legal context.


It’s important to keep in mind that letters such as complaint letters are legal documents, so you should be careful not to use any language that could be taken out of context. 

For instance, if you’re a customer who’s not happy with the service they’ve received from their bank, it would probably be better to say something along the lines of “I am very disappointed with how this matter has been handled” rather than “I am shocked by your lack of professionalism”.

Takeaways For Communication Professionals

Write in plain and simple language. Use short sentences with no unnecessary words. Do not write like a lawyer or an academic paper! Write like a normal person who wants their message heard by other normal people.

When writing anything that could potentially have legal consequences (e.g., complaint letters), please keep in mind that these are legal documents and should be written accordingly: using plain and simple language instead of fancy terms; avoiding sarcasm; using short sentences with no unnecessary words; etc. 

This is especially true when addressing someone else’s decision-making process or behavior because courts may look back at the previous correspondence between parties when determining if there was any malice aforethought on either side and we all know how easy it is to read into things when emotions are high! 

If there were mistakes made on our part during this process which led up until today’s news release (not intentionally!), then we apologize profusely for those mishaps.” “We’re hoping everyone can now move forward towards what will hopefully become a better tomorrow!”

Further Reading

Explore these additional resources to enhance your understanding of legal writing, demand letters, and related topics:

Nolo: Small Claims Court Guide: Learn about the intricacies of small claims court proceedings and the importance of effective communication in legal matters.

UMKC Library Guide on Legal Writing: Access a comprehensive guide from the UMKC Library on legal writing techniques and resources for improving your legal communication skills.

Washington LawHelp: How to Write a Demand Letter: Gain insights into the process of crafting demand letters to effectively communicate legal demands and requests.


How can I improve my legal writing skills?

Enhancing your legal writing skills requires practice, attention to detail, and familiarity with legal terminology. Consider taking writing courses, studying legal writing guides, and seeking feedback from experienced legal professionals.

What should I include in a demand letter?

A demand letter should clearly state your legal claims, provide supporting evidence, and specify the action you seek from the recipient. It’s essential to maintain a professional tone and adhere to relevant legal guidelines.

How do I format a legal memorandum?

Formatting a legal memorandum involves organizing your analysis, including relevant legal precedents, and providing a clear and concise summary of your conclusions. Follow your jurisdiction’s guidelines for memorandum formatting.

Are there templates available for complaint letters?

Yes, many online resources offer templates for complaint letters tailored to various legal situations. However, it’s crucial to personalize the template to your specific case and ensure it accurately conveys your concerns.

What’s the importance of legal research in writing?

Legal research is essential for providing accurate and up-to-date information to support your legal arguments and claims. Thorough research enhances the credibility of your writing and strengthens your case.