A Complaint Letter

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Have you ever struggled to understand the assembly instructions of a product? I know I have. We received this question from a reader requesting free grammar help:

Do I need a comma in this sentence?
Therefore not wanting to purchase it and have to battele with the assembly process.

Normally you would put a comma beforeĀ “therefore,”–however, this is not a sentence–it is a sentence fragment. Even if you had something before “therefore”, you would need a subect to make it a complete sentence. I’m making up some parts to fix the sentence, I hope you can see where it changes:

The instructions are too complicated for this product, therefore I don’t want to purchase it and have to battle with the assembly process.

And thanks for asking for grammar help with this letter. An effective complaint letter should be grammatically correct. You will get a better response from any company if they think you are an effective communicator. They may imagine you are capable of mounting a campaign against them, and in these days of social media, it doesn’t take much to spread the word about shoddy business practices.

How many assembly instructions have we battled with this past Christmas season. I was given a new office chair, for which I am immensely grateful. However, it did require assembly. The assembly instructions were in English and French, as per Canadian law. However, some parts of the instructions were in French only! Fortunately I do speak enough French to work my way through them, but that’s a pretty poor quality control process.

The chair was made in China, of course, and I’m guessing that most of the people making it didn’t speak either English or French. But I’d hope that someone from the company selling the chair in Canada would at least visit the factory at some point and examine the manufacturing process from beginning to end, including the assembly instructions.

As Shakespeare said: “All’s well that ends well.” And now I’m resting comfortably in my new chair, after doing battle with the assembly instructions.

About Peter J. Francis

Peter J. Francis is owner and operator of HyperGraphix Publishing Services (HGPublishing.com). He has over 30 years of professional writing and editing experience. He holds a BA (Honors) degree in English (1987), a B. Ed. degree from SFU (2005) and a certificate in Special Education from SFU (2011). He teaches high school and offers editing services as time is available.