Objective: To learn how to make a complaint in English.
Think about it!
Have you ever had to complain about something? What was it? How did it go? What’s the best way to deal with a
Track 8: Englishman &
Complaining in a shop, etc.
I’d like to make a complaint.
I’d like to speak to the manager, please.
I’ve been waiting here for twenty
minutes and no one’s attended to me.
I’d like to put in a formal complaint.
I’d like to see the complaints book,
Introducing a problem
Actually, I didn’t want this one, I wanted...
You must have understood me when I
I’m sorry to trouble you, but…
Excuse me but there seems to be a
I think there’s been a misunderstanding...
I don’t think I explained myself very well.
What I meant to say was...
I’m afraid you didn’t understand what I
was trying to say.
What I was trying to say was that...
I wonder if you could help me...
Do you think you could help me with this,
I’m sorry to have to say this, but….
Accepting a complaint
I’m sorry about that.
I can’t tell you how sorry we are.
I’ll deal with it immediately.
Leave it with me.
I’ll see what I can do.
Delaying a complaint
I suggest you leave it with us and we’ll
see what we can do.
I’m afraid the manager isn’t in at the
moment. Could you call later?
I’m afraid we can’t help you at the
moment. Could you leave your contact
phone number and we’ll get back to you
as soon as we can.
Rejecting a complaint
Well, I’m afraid there’s nothing we can
do about it.
I’m sorry but that’s really not our
I’m sorry but that’s not really part of my
If you’d read the contract carefully, you’d
have seen that...
Well, I’m afraid there isn’t much we can
do about that.
Patricia is staying at a luxury hotel in New York. But she’s having
some problems. So she decides to make a complaint at the front
desk. [Listen and complete with the verbs from below.]
think ordered prefer stole want booked found used
Desk clerk: Hello madam. How can I help you?
Patricia: [annoyed] I’d like to speak to the manager, please. I want to make a
Desk clerk: Oh, I’m sorry but the manager is out at the moment. Can I help?
a room with a double bed, but the room
Patricia: Let’s see… I (1)
you gave me has a single bed.
Desk clerk: Oh, well, that’s easy to sort out. I can put you into room 459, which has
a double bed. Was that all?
room service for lunch today. And
Patricia: No, not even close. I (2)
a hair in my soup.
when it came, I (3)
Desk clerk: Oh dear. I’ll speak to the chef straight away. Erm… to make it up to you,
here’s a voucher for a free lunch in the hotel’s fine-dining restaurant.
Patricia: That’s the least you could do. Next problem. I can’t find my iPad. It
was in the room this morning, and now it’s gone. I think the maid (4)
Desk clerk: Oh dear. I suggest you leave that with me and I’ll speak to housekeeping.
But I doubt one of our maids would have stolen it. Have you got the
serial number? If you have, we can get a police report. You’ll need it in
order to claim the money back from your insurance company.
it’s in my bag... Oh, look, isn’t that strange.
Patricia: Erm, yes, I (5)
My iPad is in my bag.
Desk clerk: What a relief! Is there anything else, madam?
Patricia: One last thing. And I’m afraid this is a very serious complaint.
Desk clerk: OK…
Patricia: I’m getting a bit fed up of this dreadful weather. It’s been raining
the whole time I’ve been here! I mean, this wasn’t mentioned in the
brochure or on the website. And the photos you (6)
showed sunny days, not grey, rainy ones like today. I feel a bit cheated.
Desk clerk: Well, I’m afraid there isn’t much we can do about the weather. But we
do have a lovely selection of umbrellas in the gift shop.
an umbrella! I want sunshine! I’m sorry to have
Patricia: I don’t (7)
to say this, but this is the worst hotel I’ve ever stayed in.
Desk clerk: Oh, I am sorry to hear that. Perhaps
madam would (8)
a voucher n
hotel opposite? I hear they have
a ticket or piece of paper that can be used
instead of money to pay for something
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