Poor Claim Letter

The following claim letter suffers from many writing faults. List at least five weaknesses. Then revise the message to remedy its faults and make it more likely to achieve its purpose.

Current date

Mr. John Lear
Regional General Manager
Apex Car Rentals
4510 Cyprus Street
Denver, CO 80246

Dear Regional General Manager John Leer:

I have a horror story of gargantuan proportions to relate to you so that you know how incompetent the amateurish bozos are that work for you! You should fire the whole Colorado Springs Airport branch. I’m tired of lousy service and of being charged an arm and a leg for extras that end up not functioning properly. Calling your company is useless because no one answers the phone or returns calls!

In view of the fact that my colleague and I were forced to wait for an hour for a car at Colorado Springs Airport on August 15, your local branch people gave us a free navigation device. That would have been really nice in the event that the thing had actually worked, which it didn’t. We advised the counter person that the GPS was broken, but it took another half hour to receive a new one and to finally start our business trip.

Imagine our surprise when the “free” GPS showed up on our bill apparently costing a whopping $180, plus tax! What came next would qualify as some dark Kafkaesque nightmare. I spent hours over the next three weeks talking to various employees of your questionable organization who swore that only “the manager” could help me, but this mysterious person was never available to talk. At this point in time, I called your Denver Airport location again and refused to get off the phone until I spoke to “the manager,” and, lo and behold, he promised to credit the cost of the GPS to our corporate account. Was my nightmare over? No!

When we checked the status of the refund on our credit card statement, we noticed that he had forgotten to refund about $60 in taxes and surcharges that had also been assessed. So much for a full refund!

Inasmuch as my company is a new customer and inasmuch as we had hoped to use your agency for our future car rentals because of your competitive rates, I trust that you will give this matter your prompt attention.

Your very upset customer,

Source: Guffey/Loewy, Business Communication: Process and Product, 8e.


A possible solution is available for this newsletter bonus case study at the Instructor Premium Websites for any of the Guffey books: Business Communication: Process and Product; Essentials of Business Communication, and Business English. Look under the tab “Supplements and Solutions.” Or e-mail Dr. Mary Ellen Guffey at m.e.guffey@cox.net.

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