Adults|Spoken|Pre-Intermediate|12. Grounds for complaint

Do you like shopping? Let’s see what kind of customer you are.


Complete the questionnaire and count the number of points

My score is ____________.

You understand that it is not easy to provide an excellent customer experience for everyone every time. You don’t like making complaints and when something goes wrong, you are willing to give the company another chance.

You don’t like making a fuss in public places, but you will make a complaint if you feel like you did not get what you had expected.

You like good service, and you will do your best to have it. If you don’t like something, you won’t keep silent — you will make a complaint.

Read the sentences and complete the sentences to make them true about you


Match the words with their definitions

Listen to the dialogues and choose the correct options

picture A
Picture A

Picture B
Picture B

Picture C
Picture C

Shop assistant | Customer | Narrator

Narrator: Dialogue 1
Shop assistant: Hello, can I help you?
Customer: Yes, I’d like to make a complaint about these jeans.
Shop assistant: What’s the problem with them?
Customer: I bought them for my son, but when he tried them on, we realised that they were ripped at the knee. I didn’t notice it at the time of purchase. Now I want to get a refund.
Shop assistant: Do you have the receipt?
Customer: Sure, here it is.
Shop assistant: I am sorry to say this, but I can’t give you the money back. The jeans were on sale, and sale items cannot be refunded.
Customer: Could you exchange them for another pair?
Shop assistant: Let me check. Mmm… Unfortunately, they have sold out.
Customer: Well, how can you fix this problem?
Shop assistant: I’m afraid I can’t help you right now. Could you give me your phone number? Our manager will contact you soon.
Customer: Oh, Ok…

Shop assistant | Customer | Narrator

Narrator: Dialogue 2
Shop assistant: Hello, can I help you?
Customer: There appears to be something wrong with my new earrings.
Shop assistant: Let me see. Oh, the clasp is broken. How long have you had them?
Customer: I bought them a week ago.
Shop assistant: I’m really sorry about that. Do you have the receipt?
Customer: Yes, here it is.
Shop assistant: Would you like to get a refund or exchange the earrings for something else?
Customer: A refund, please.
Shop assistant: Sure, here you are. We promise you it won’t happen again.
Customer: Thanks for your help.

Read the sentences and name their functions.


There is a problem with my laptop. — Making complaints

We’ll call you later. — Receiving complaints

I’m sorry to say this, but I can’t give you a refund. — Rejecting complaints

Making complaints
Making complaints


Receiving complaints
Receiving complaints


Making complaints
Making complaints


Rejecting complaints
Rejecting complaints


Making complaints
Making complaints


Rejecting complaints
Rejecting complaints


Put the sentences in the correct order to make a conversation and understand the nature of the complaint


Choose one topic and do the task

Continue the dialogue by receiving the complaint.

Assistant Customer

A: Hello. Can I help you?

C: Yes, I’d like to make a complaint about this dress.

A: What’s the problem with it?

C: I ordered it online when there were discounts on your website, but when it arrived, I saw that it is too short for me.

A: Alright, do you have the receipt?

C: Here you are.

Continue the dialogue by rejecting the complaint politely.

Assistant Customer

A: Hello. Can I help you?

C: Yes, I’d like to make a complaint about this mobile phone.

A: What’s the problem with it?

C: I bought it yesterday, but when I came home, the earphones were missing. I think I lost them because of the bad packaging. And I really need them.

Match the sentences with the pictures that illustrate them

Complete the dialogue with your own ideas

Choose the number and role-play the situation

You are absolutely furious! You took your date out to a romantic dinner in one of the town’s best restaurants, but it is a disaster. You have decided to complain to the waiter/waitress because the background music is so loud that you can hardly hear what your date is saying. You would like to get a refund.

You work as a shop assistant in a large department store. You sold a pair of expensive jeans a couple of days ago. They cost $150, but they were on sale (50% off). You checked them very carefully before wrapping — there was nothing wrong with them. You now have to deal with the complaint that there is a stain on one of the trouser legs.

Match the words to make phrases


Fill in the gaps with the words from the list. Use the correct form


Listen to the audio and fill in the form

Travel agent | Mrs Caldwell | Mr Caldwell

Travel agent: Can I help you?
Mrs Caldwell: Yes, you can actually. We came back from Bermuda last night. This is the brochure of the holiday you sold us.
Travel agent: Oh yes. Did you have a nice time?
Mr Caldwell: No, we didn’t. My wife and I are both very angry.
Travel agent: Oh dear. What was the problem?
Mrs Caldwell: Well, to start with we had to pay £20 extra each for airport tax. But it says here in the brochure airport lax is included.
Travel agent: Oh yes, so it does.
Mr Caldwell: And our room didn’t have a sea view. We paid extra for a sea view, but all we got was a view of the car park at the back of the hotel.
Travel agent: Oh dear. This is very serious. I think we should fill out a complaint form. Now, what are your names?
Mrs Caldwell: It’s Mr and Mrs Caldwell. That’s C-A-L-D-W-E-L-L.
Travel agent: OK … And the holiday was in Bermuda?
Mrs Caldwell: Yes. Two weeks, from the tenth to the twenty-fourth of February.
Travel agent: Tenth to twenty-fourth of February. And today is the twenty-fifth. OK. Do you have your customer number?
Mr Caldwell: It’s here on the receipt. DW83247.
Mrs Caldwell: Oh yes. OK. Now, you had to pay £20 each for airport tax, and the hotel room had no sea view…
Mr Caldwell: And you can add that the food in the hotel was terrible.
Mrs Caldwell: I couldn’t eat a thing. We lived on sandwiches, didn’t we, darling?
Mr Caldwell: Yes, I lost a kilo in weight.
Travel agent: Oh… So, the food in the hotel was terrible. Oh dear.
Mrs Caldwell: Well, what are you going to do about it?
Travel agent: I’ll send this complaint to our Head Office, and I’ll phone you when I get a reply. Can I have your telephone number?
Mrs Caldwell: It’s Walton 8932443.
Travel agent: Walton 8932443. OK. Well, I’m very sorry about this.
Mr Caldwell: It was an awful experience. We want our money back.
Travel agent: I’ll see what I can do. Our apologies once again.
Mr Caldwell: Goodbye.
Mrs Caldwell: Goodbye.
Travel agent: Another one for the bin!

Read the text and do the task


A travel website conducted a survey and found some really unusual complaints.

The website asked 400 international hotel staff about the strange things guests asked for or complained about. Some complaints were very ridiculous. It would be difficult for any hotel to make some guests happy. The majority of unusual requests relate to food. One guest demanded 15 cucumbers a day. Another asked for only the right legs of a chicken — the staff wondered if the left leg didn’t taste as nice as the right one. Once staff was asked to deliver one glass of water every hour throughout the night. One guest made a complaint that his ice cream was too cold.

Complaints about the room are also very popular. One man at a luxury hotel in London was unhappy that his room did not have a sea view — the nearest beach to London is about 75 kilometers away.

Strange bathroom demands are also at the top of the list among most unusual hotel requests, such as a bath of honey and one full of chocolate milk while one guest demanded the toilet to be filled with mineral water.

One woman asked for a refund as her dog hadn’t enjoyed its stay. Once a guest asked for a discount because his girlfriend snored.

So, it’s difficult not to feel sympathy for hotel staff.

Read the text once again and mark the sentences as True, False or Not mentioned

Read the task and prepare your 2-minute speech on the topic «Complaints»


Read the situation and say what you would do.

You have paid a lot of money for a holiday abroad. When you arrive at the airport, you find out that the travel agency made several mistakes with your flight and hotel arrangements. Now you might not be able to arrive at your destination until tomorrow afternoon, but you have a tour scheduled tomorrow morning!

You may use the following ideas:

  • To call the travel agency and make a complaint
  • To ask for a full refund upon arrival
  • To leave a negative comment about this travel agency on all travelling websites
  • Not to recommend this travel agency to anyone
  • To do nothing

Allow your browser access to your microphone, press the button «Record» and record the speech you have prepared