Six of the best customer complaint letters

(4) You’d hope that a company specialising in communications would actually be alright at, well, communicating, but Vodafone apparently isn’t. 

At least according to a certain Mr Jenkins, who wrote the CEO Nick Read, a highly irritated (and very long) letter when the firm just couldn’t deliver the sharer plan he had asked for.

The highlights included: 

“I need your help Nick.

I?ve started dreaming about you. I wonder what you look like; I wonder if you really are the savior of Vodafone. I want you to be Nick, but then I check my inclusive minutes and I realize you are not. I check my voicemail to see if Vodafone Business Relations have called me back but they haven?t Nick. They haven?t called me. It?s all been a dream and I want to die.

You see, for five months now Nick, I have been in a communicational conundrum, a sort of Newbury Hell.

I wanted a Sharer Plan; I needed on average 3000 minutes per user, so for 15 users I needed 45,000 minutes. I also needed them on 12-month commitments and free calls to 0870 numbers.

I was promised all this Nick, the world was my oyster. Vodafone was my Morrissey and I was a young Russell Brand, all gushing with enthusiasm and gusto, but with sexual tension replaced with 500 texts free every month.

We were flirting Nick, Vodafone and I were courting and there was nothing the world could do about it. You wanted longer commitment, but I couldn?t give it, you said 24 months, I said no, give me time, lets take it slow, lets not rush into this, I want to give you my heart but I?m unsure how Google Maps works on the Nokia N95.

We agreed on 12 months contracts.

Next up was the plan, now I?m no Shakespeare Nick, but I would proclaim to have a certain grasp on the English language, so when I uttered the words:

?I do not want 3000 minutes fixed per phone; I want the whole 45,000 minutes to be shared between the 15 users?

I stupidly assumed that Vodafone would understand this, but in hindsight, I now see that this was all too much for Hayleigh Hegar and Jenna Bird to comprehend.

I mean, they barely could grasp the concept of phoning people back, and as for email, well; this alien concept was lost on these two.

You see Nick, after the first months bill arrived, I couldn?t wait to open it. The morning it turned up I was like a little boy at Christmas, all exited and red faced. My wife even commented that my cheeks looked like the little Vodafone logo, you know, the one which look like a speech bubble. The irony only added to the moment Nick, it was heaven.

There it was, in a white cardboard box. It looked like a well organised letter bomb. I couldn?t hold it any longer. I wanted to see my savings, I wanted to open that letter bomb Nick and I wanted the savings to jump out of the page and blow up in my face like corporate Anthrax. I ripped the highly emissive carbon paper and there it was Nick, there it was?

I was overcharged ?500 because I wasn?t on a Sharer Plan.”


(5)?Effective complaint letters need not be page upon page of witty prose though. Just ask Lily Robinson, who was three and a half when she penned a letter to Sainsbury’s. She wanted to know why the company had done something as silly as naming tiger bread after the wrong animal, when the markings more closely resembled that of a giraffe.

Chris King, the customer manager (aged 27 and a third) replied that perhaps the baker who had originally named the bread was ?a bit silly?, and renaming the bread was a brilliant idea. He also gave her a ?3 gift card to buy her own bread.


(6) Elephants never forget and neither did aggrieved James Barnard, who was suddenly struck with the reminder he never received ?10 for finding a green polo in his packet all those years ago, despite Nestle saying it was offering ?10 cash prizes at the time for different coloured polos. 

The highlight of the letter is probably his speculation about what this amount could have meant to an 11 year-old boy and the career opportunities that were surely stunted as a result of this deprival.

Nestle righted that wrong, admitting its customer service had been “hole-ly unacceptable”. 


Finally, if we’re not just considering recent times however, we can look back to around 1750BC for a first class complaint letter. The British Museum boasts a tablet from Nanni, an angry Mespotamian who was notably unimpressed at being sold poor quality copper ingots.

“When you came, you said to me as follows: ‘I will give Gimil-Sin (when he comes) fine quality copper ingots.’ You left then but you did not do what you promised me. You put ingots which were not good before my messenger (Sit-Sin) and said: ‘If you want to take them, take them; if you do not want to take them, go away’.

How have you treated me for that copper? You have withheld my money bag from me in enemy territory; it is now up to you to restore (my money) to me in full.?Take cognizance that (from now on) I will not accept here any copper from you that is not of fine quality. I shall (from now on) select and take the ingots individually in my own yard, and I shall exercise against you my right of rejection because you have treated me with contempt.”

Unsurprisingly, after having his money withheld despite Nanni failing to receive the prearranged goods, he decided he was going to be more exacting about deals in the future.


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