Wednesday, December 1, 2010

How to Write a Letter of Complaint

I wrote this letter in response to some finance charges I received in addition to some toll charges. read this letter to a friend to get her opinion on whether I should send it...and, she said that not only should I send it, I should post it up as an example to others who may want to write similar letters of complaint (or, just wish to read it for kicks and giggles)...Enjoy!

November 30, 2010

Express Toll

22470 East 6th Parkway, Ste 110

Aurora, CO 80018

To Whom It May Concern:

I drove through Denver on your toll road as I was moving back to Idaho after being temporarily away. I have driven all over the US and this is the first toll road I've encountered that is not user-friendly, and frankly, in my future travels I do not plan to use it. Certainly, I don't enjoy the thought of dealing with downtown Denver traffic, but after my last experience the negatives outweigh the positives of using the Denver Toll Road.

My first concern is with the poor service offered to those who *do* use the toll road. As you know, there is no option to pay for the tolls right there on the roadway. I was rather confused by this. A few months after returning home I received a bill for the toll and an additional finance charge. Please note that this was the FIRST bill I had received. I NEVER received a bill for just the toll amount itself. When I expressed this concern to your very nice Customer Service agent (and consequently her supervisor), I was told that it was up to me to read the Express Toll signs and go online or call the 1-800 number. It was made clear to me that not receiving the first bill could not have possibly been oversight or mistake, and it was predicated on me to search the bill out (even though I live in a different state, and I had no way of knowing who to contact). I find such logic to be flawed and offensive. I've worked in customer service for many years and I understand how to deal with complaints, and that some people just whine and gripe. That was not the tone of my call, nor my purpose. I was more than happy to pay the tolls since I used the road and was rather befuddled at the prospect of not being able to pay at that time. The issue is that universally accepted customer service rules of 'the customer is always right' and extending a grace period were not enlisted. When I mentioned that most companies have at least a 90 day grace period and reminded the representative once again that I did not receive the initial bill, I was flatly told that "we don't have a grace period". I don't wish to be inflammatory, but not only do I find this to system to be clumsy, I would call billing in such a manner robbery. Honestly, I don't know why you have a Customer Service phone number on your bills if there is no opportunity for discussing a bill and actually serving the customer.

My second concern -and another reason I will not be using the toll road in the future - is on a deeper level. I do not appreciate the technology set up to monitor the cars (license plate numbers, and thus names and addresses) of those who drive on the road. Please understand, as I already stated, for my work I drive all over the country, and I travel overseas on a regular basis. I'm no stranger to transportation, transportation systems, security, etc. That being said, I don't appreciate the invasion of my privacy and right to travel that your system subjects every driver on the toll road to. My freedom and right to privacy is more important to me than avoiding 30 extra minutes of downtown Denver traffic.

All this concern, you say, because of a $5.00 finance charge? Yes. Certainly, as I've explained above, this is a matter of principle to me. However, it's also a matter of economics. These are hard times. I have a budget, and I don't believe in debt, and work every day to pay all my bills and pay my credit cards off. I can't afford to accrue $5 finance charges. $5 is what I spend for meals for 2 days. Having paid the bill - since I wasn't given any other option - I now face figuring out how to eat for the next 2 days.

Thank you for your understanding in this matter, and I hope that improvements will be made for the benefit of those who will drive on the Denver Toll Road in the future.


Elysse Barrett


  1. That's my sister! go you! And if you lived in ID I would feed you for the next 2 days. :)

  2. Awesome letter, Elysse. I've never encountered anything like that on the roads. Simply preposterous! I hope they have the brains to take your words into consideration and redeem their faulty system.

  3. Did you investigate what leverage they have to enforce these charges? I probably would have just blown it off :P (and of course stopped using the toll roads).

  4. Thanks :)

    I considered blowing it off, but it was in my brother's, I wasn't going to do that - just in case :)