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Making a complaint in English

Speaking Topic Lessons

  • Have every made a complaint in English? What was it about?
  • How do you feel when you make a complaint?

When you have a bad experience on something, you will be angry and want to make a complaint. How do you do that? Listen to the conversation and learn the way they complain.

AHello, I bought this cell phone last month, but there seems to be a problem with the screen. Look, it doesn’t work.
BOh dear. You’re right. I’m very sorry about that. Can I offer you a full refund or an exchange?
AI’d like an exchange, please.
BNo problem. Do you have the receipt?
ANo, I don’t. I lost it.
BI’m afraid I can’t help you without the receipt.
AWell, that’s not good enough. The phone was very expensive and now I can’t use it.
BI understand that, but we do need the receipt, I’m afraid. Perhaps you can get it repaired? There’s a repair shop at the end of the street.


Language Note:

Polite and strong complaints

You can make your complaint polite or very strong.

Use the verbs like seem and appear to make the complaint more polite

  • There seems to be a problem with the screen.
    (= I’m not sure what the problem is.)

You can use the specific phrases to make the complaint very strong.

  • That’s not good enough.
    (= This situation is not what I want.)

Using “I’m afraid…”

I’m afraid… means I’m sorry to tell you that… Use it to make an apology. You can put it at the beginning or end of a sentence.

  • I’m afraid we’re very busy today.
  • We cannot repairt it, I’m afraid.

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