How to Make Complaints in English

Most of us do not enjoy complaining. But sometimes we must do it to get a solution or simply vent our frustrations

In this post, you will learn how to make a complaint in English.

In order to make a successful complaint, You need to:

  • Get somebody’s attention.
  • Explain the problem.
  • State how you feel.
  • Accept a complaint.
  • Reject a complaint.
  • Signaling you disagree
  • Ask for action.

Let’s check all that you need to make effective complaints in English

How to Get Somebody’s Attention

These are two ways to get the attention of the person you are going to make a complaint to.

  • Excuse me…
  • Pardon me…
  • I beg your pardon
  • Do you have a minute?
  • Can I ask you a question?
  • Can I take a little of your time?

If you need an image to remember the most common communication strategies, you can save this one.

Communication Strategies

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General Expressions to Make Complaints

These are some of the most common expressions to make complaints in English

  • I am sorry to say this but…
  • I understand it is not your fault but…
  • I want to complain about…
  • I am sorry to bother you but…
  • I am not satisfied with…
  • I hate to tell you this but…
  • Excuse me, I wonder if you can help me…
  • Can you help me with this?
  • I am angry about…
  • Perhaps there was a misunderstanding but …
  • I’m sorry to say this but I am really quite upset …
  • There appears to be a problem here …
  • There appears to be something wrong with…
  • I’m afraid I’ve got a complaint about…
  • I’m sorry but I’d like to make a complaint about …
  •  How can we fix this?
  • Could you help me with …?
  • I am afraid there is a problem…
  • I’m really not happy…
  • There is a slight problem with…

Ways to Make a Complaint in a Restaurant

There are several reasons why you should make a complaint in restaurants, those reasons could be dirty cutlery, cold food, uncooked food, long waiting time and bad service.

  • I am sorry to bother you but the food is cold
  • I’m sorry, but this isn’t what I ordered
  • Sorry, but I think I got the wrong order
  • I am sorry to have to say this but  the food is overcooked
  • I  have a problem with my dish, the meat is raw
  • I would like to speak to the manager
  • I am not happy at all with this service

Ways to Make a Complaint in a Hotel

These are some ways to make a complaint in a hotel

  • Excuse me, but there’s a problem with the air conditioning in my room” 
  • Sorry to bother you, but I think there’s something wrong with the toilet in my room
  • I’m afraid I have to make a complaint. I can’t find the jewelry I left in my hotel room.
  • I’m sorry to bother you, but my hotel room is a little cold
  • There seems to be a mistake on my billing statement

Ways to Make a Complaint in a Shop

You would like to make a complaint in a shop for many reasons.

The three main reasons are:

  • You bought a faulty product.
  • The customer service is poor.
  • There was an error in the price.

Common expressions to make a complaint in a shop:

  • I would like to lodge a complaint.
  • I want a refund.
  • I would like a refund.

Accepting a Complaint

These are sentences that the manager or a representative of the company you are complaining about could say:

  1. I am sorry but this won’t happen again
  2. I am sorry but this will never happen again
  3. I am really sorry
  4. I just don’t know what to say but…
  5. I don’t know what to say about this sir

Rejecting a Complaint

These are sentences that the manager or a representative of the company you are complaining about would say:

  • Sorry, there is nothing we can do about it.
  • Sorry but it’s not our fault.
  • I’m afraid there isn’t much we can do about it.
  • We are sorry but that’s the right price

Signaling that you disagree

Signals show that you understand what someone is saying or asking you, but you have a different opinion or something unexpected to say

  • Well, I don’t think it isn’t fair to pay for food that was undercooked.
  • Well, I had to wait almost an hour for two dishes, I think that fact speaks about how bad the service is.

Actually shows that you have a different point of view from the person you are speaking

  • Actually, we never receive the desserts you are charging us.
  • Actually, we never ordered the wine.

5 Useful Expressions to Complain in English politely

Watch this video so you can learn more about ways to complain in English

More English Lessons

I hope that you have found everything you need to make complaints in English

These are some English lessons that you might find useful

  1. How to Talk about The Daily Routine in English
  2. How to Give Personal Information in English
  3. How to Describe Physical Appearance
  4. How to Talk about Your Last Vacation in English
  5. How to Apologize in English
  6. How to Describe your Neighborhood in English
  7. How to Order Food in English
Manuel Campos, English Professor

Manuel Campos

I am Jose Manuel, English professor and creator of, a blog whose mission is to share lessons for those who want to learn and improve their English