Flo-Joe for Cambridge English Exams

Cambridge English: Proficiency

Check out students' answers to Flo-Joe's CPE Writing tasks with a teacher's feedback

Writing Class: Letter of Complaint

Task Type: Letter of Complaint

You recently ordered an expensive item from a mail order catalogue after you saw it being advertised at a discounted price in the press. The company withdrew the offer after you made the order and charged you at the full price. Write a letter to the company outlining your dissatisfaction with the way you have been treated and the action you want them to take.

Write the letter to the company. (around 280 - 320 words) 

Makeover: Lena

Read Lena's answer to this question below. Try correcting the piece of writing yourself first: use the marking codes to think about what might be wrong (or what's good) about the piece of work. Then when you're ready, click the green buttons in the text for our feedback.

Re: Order Issue 36578937 

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing in regards to the problem I have encountered with order number 36578937 (Apple MacBook Air 13-inch, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage - Space Gray, 2020 model) purchased on March 3rd. 

The item was advertised in your March Monthly Ad magazine, in the member-only savings section, for WW a discounted price of $699, which is $100 off the original price. According to the terms and conditions, the reduced price was available for online purchases only even though it was out of stock on your website. Therefore, I called my local store to check availability, and not only did they confirm availability, but they were also kind WM to grant the discounted price. Thus, I placed the order over the phone and picked it up on the same day. 

I have to say that I was very excited about the purchase until I checked my account and saw the charge of $799 instead of $699. I immediately called customer service to clarify the problem, but they told me since I had not bought the item online, I did not qualify for the $100 off. I explained the situation to the representative, but he insisted that it was against the WW policy and refused to refund the price difference. In the end, he suggested that I should return the order and try to buy it online to take advantage of the sale. 

I feel this is grossly unfair Gd since I was promised the reduced price while placing the order on the phone. I have been a loyal Costco member for the last eleven years, and this is the first time something like this happens WT Honestly, T this experience has severely tested my goodwill towards your chain. I hope you understand the situation and will refund the difference of $100 to my credit card within ten business days. 

Looking WF forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours faithfully, 



You have explained clearly what the problem was and what you would like the company to do to resolve the issue. All content is relevant to the question.

Communicative Achievement
The piece is written in the style of a letter of complaint and adopts an appropriate persuasive tone. The reader would be fully informed of the issues and have all the information they need to resolve the problem.

The letter is laid out appropriately for a formal letter of this kind. Points are organised clearly into paragraphs. Discourse markers and other cohesive devices are used effectively.

A very good command of the conventions of a letter of complaint is demonstrated. Ideas are communicated in an effective way, holding the reader’s attention throughout. Your use of English is very accurate and comes across as very natural with excellent choices of vocabulary and some well-constructed sentences.

Well done!

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Marking Code

/\ Word(s) missing

- Omit word

C Capitalization

Gd Good

O Organisation

P Punctuation

PE Poorly expressed

R Register/Formality

SS Sentence Structure

S Spelling

T Tip

WF Wrong form

WO Word order

WT Wrong tense

WW Wrong word