Lesson 8: Making a complaint



  • Single class period


Activity 2: Making a complaint

Homework Task:

Useful Links:


You might find you need to make a complaint to a business. It might be about a poor service or a faulty product, or you might have complained already and had no response. A problem can’t be fixed if no one knows it exists. There are certain steps that can be taken when making a complaint. In this lesson, students will learn when, and how, to make a complaint to a business both in person and in writing.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Activity 1: Review of Lesson Seven Homework Task

1.  Ask the class to brainstorm the types of things they found were covered by multi-trip/annual travel insurance (e.g. flight cancellation in the event of illness, loss or damage of baggage during trip, medical expenses while away etc).

2.  Invite a selection of students to present their 160-character text message to Lucy.

Activity 2: Making a complaint role play

1.  Explain to the class you might find you need to make a complaint. Ask students to call out five reasons why people might complain to a business. Record student responses on the white/blackboard.  They may mention some of the following:

  • The product they bought is faulty
  • A product or service did not fit the description
  • A product is not of the quality expected
  • You complained already and didn’t get a response
  • You paid for something but didn’t receive it
  • They have a complaint about customer service or the way they were treated

2.  Ask students ‘What would you do if you had a complaint?’. Record student feedback on the white/blackboard.

3.  Divide the class into small groups.

4.  Distribute one scenario from Student Worksheet: Role play scenarios to each group.

5.  Invite each group to allocate the following roles to four members of their group: shop manager, shop assistant, person complaining, and friend/family member accompanying person complaining. If there are more than four people in any group the remaining people could take on tasks such as: director, script writer, time-keeper etc.

6.  Invite each group to prepare and then perform a short role play based on their scenario for the rest of the class.

7.  At the end of each role play ask the class to consider the following question:

Did the characters in the role play take the correct steps for making a complaint? If yes, give examples. If no, why do you think this was the case?

What do you think happens next?

8.  Explain that the steps for making a complaint need to be considered on a case-by-case basis but there are strategies which often work.

9.  Conclude by sharing information from Teacher Resource Sheet: Making a complaint.

Homework Task

Distribute one copy of Student Worksheet: Letter of complaint to each student.

Read through the worksheet and ensure all students understand the terminology and task.

Invite students to write a letter of complaint to a retailer about an MP3 player which has been repaired once, but has developed the same fault a second time.

Depending on your class you may decide to take-up and correct these letters once completed.


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