IELTS General Writing Task 1: A Complaint Letter To A Publishing Company

Mar 30, 2023 | IELTS Test

The complaint letter is a common Task 1 in the General Training test. As it will almost always be directed to a company, or organisation such as a local authority, it is important to communicate in a formal and largely impersonal tone.

The contractions commonly used in speaking or in writing to a friend should be avoided.

The mock letter below fulfils the task well in 194 words (the salutations “Dear…” at the start is not counted). The language is polite but firm as is the convention in a complaint.

The letter covers all three bullet points in order. Although paragraphing in T1 is not critical as in T2, the separation of the points into distinct paragraphs aids the reader in progressing through the text.

Note that the grammar structures include four complex sentences, adding more variety to the simple and compound sentence types.

Even in the shorter word length of T1, it is still important to include at least two complex sentences, as examiners are instructed specifically to check for these.

The Mock IELTS General Task 1 Question

You should spend about 20 minutes on this task. Write at least 150 words.

You sent the text for an e-book to a publisher for formatting. However, the publishing company has made some formatting mistakes.

Write a letter to the manager of the company. In your letter 

  • describe the situation 
  • outline the errors
  • say what you expect the company to do

You do NOT need to write any addresses.

Begin your letter as follows:

Dear _____________

image of woman reading a book

Mock IELTS WT1 Answer

Dear Mr Martin,

Thank you for sending me the latest version of the book. However, there are a number of significant errors in the formatting. At this stage I had hoped we would be ready to have the book published, but the delay that this situation will inevitably incur is quite disappointing.

All the maps and photos to appear on pages 16 through to 22 are currently in black and white, but they should be in colour. The size of the chapter headings for Part 2 of the book do not match those of Part 1, while there are still a number of mistakes in the layout of both the text and the tables for pages 50 to 58. As I had commented on this in our previous communication, it is especially disappointing to see that they remain.

To minimise further delay, please ask your designer to set a time with me as soon as possible for a Skype session so that I can discuss in detail face-to-face exactly what is required. It seems only fair, too, that this further work should not mean any additional expense for me over what was agreed in the final contract.


Michael Robertson


[194 words]

How to Continue Your IELTS Study

If you would like to get some IELTS practice, answer the same question and purchase one of our Writing Correction Packages to get feedback.

If you would like to watch a video about how to write IELTS General Task 1 letters, visit this page.

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