GE|Adults|Intermediate|13. Complaints

Think of the complaints that might be in the following shops

Example:

— A shoe shop.
— I bought these shoes yesterday and the heel’s already broken.

1. butcher’s

2. baker’s

3. bookshop

4. newsagent’s

5. chemist’s

6. stationer’s

7. travel agent’s

8. shoe shop

Listen and read the article. Say if it was worth complaining

Listen to the audio and do the exercise

Making a complaint — is it worth it?

Is it really worth complaining when goods or services are not satisfactory? According to a new report from the consumer magazine «Which?», it certainly is. As they point out, the old saying «if you don’t ask, you don’t get» is true for many situations, but particularly so when it comes to compensation Take the case of Mike Thomas from Cornwall. He bought a Toshiba laptop computer, but just three years later he found that it was getting slower and slower. As the machine was no longer under guarantee, Mr Thomas called a local repairer He charged him £45 to look at it and then told him that he would need to spend £650 plus VAT for a new part. Then he took the laptop to a well-known computer retailer — and they told him to buy a new one! However, Mr Thomas still felt that his computer should not be out of date after just three years. He decided to write a letter of complaint to Toshiba. A short time later, the company collected the laptop, diagnosed a software problem, repaired it and returned it with a new battery, all without charge. «I ‘d call that outstanding service,» said Mr Thomas. Another customer’s experience shows that it’s worth complaining to the top people of a company if the local company staff are unhelpful. Mark Oakley from Norfolk wanted to buy a recordable DVD player. At his local branch of «Argos», a shop which sells electrical goods, they told him that they didn’t have the one he wanted in stock, but that they were expecting a delivery «soon». However, when he went back it still hadn’t arrived. He returned twice more over the following weeks but each time they told him to come back in a week. He started phoning and trying to reserve the machine instead. But after several weeks of phoning unsuccessfully, Mr Oakley lost patience and wrote to the managing director of «Argos». «Four days later someone called me to say the DVD recorder was waiting for me and I could collect 10 recordable DVD discs to compensate for my wasted time,» he says. «And when I collected them I was treated like royalty.»


pic1|GE|Int|L13

Making a complaint — is it worth it?

Is it really worth complaining when goods or services are not satisfactory? According to a new report from the consumer magazine «Which?», it certainly is. As they point out, the old saying «if you don’t ask, you don’t get» is true for many situations, but particularly so when it comes to compensation. Take the case of Mike Thomas from Cornwall. He bought a Toshiba laptop computer, but just three years later he found that it was getting slower and slower.

As the machine was no longer under guarantee, Mr Thomas called a local repairer. He charged him £45 to look at it and then told him that he would need to spend £650 plus VAT for a new part. Then he took the laptop to a well-known computer retailer — and they told him to buy a new one!

However, Mr Thomas still felt that his computer should not be out of date after just three years. He decided to write a letter of complaint to Toshiba. A short time later, the company collected the laptop, diagnosed a software problem, repaired it and returned it with a new battery, all without charge. «I’d call that outstanding service,» said Mr Thomas.

Another customer’s experience shows that it’s worth complaining to the top people of a company if the local company staff are unhelpful.

Mark Oakley from Norfolk wanted to buy a recordable DVD player. At his local branch of «Argos», a shop which sells electrical goods, they told him that they didn’t have the one he wanted in stock, but that they were expecting a delivery «soon». However, when he went back it still hadn’t arrived.

He returned twice more over the following weeks but each time they told him to come back in a week. He started phoning and trying to reserve the machine instead. But after several weeks of phoning unsuccessfully, Mr Oakley lost patience and wrote to the managing director of «Argos».

«Four days later, someone called me to say the DVD recorder was waiting for me and I could collect 10 recordable DVD discs to compensate for my wasted time,» he says. «And when I collected them I was treated like royalty


Listen and read the article again. Answer the questions

Question Mr Thomas Mr Oakley
What did he complain about? ____________ ____________
What was the problem? ____________ ____________
How did he try to solve it? ____________ ____________
Why wasn’t he successful? ____________ ____________
Who did he write to? ____________ ____________
What happened as a result? ____________ ____________

pic2|GE|Int|L13

Match the words or phrases with their definitions

Now read again the last part of the article. Complete the tips with a phrase from below. Which two tips do you think are the most important?

Making a complaint — is it worth it?

Another customer’s experience shows that it’s worth complaining to the top people of a company if the local company staff are unhelpful.

Mark Oakley from Norfolk wanted to buy a recordable DVD player. At his local branch of «Argos», a shop which sells electrical goods, they told him that they didn’t have the one he wanted in stock, but that they were expecting a delivery «soon». However, when he went back it still hadn’t arrived.

He returned twice more over the following weeks but each time they told him to come back in a week. He started phoning and trying to reserve the machine instead. But after several weeks of phoning unsuccessfully, Mr Oakley lost patience and wrote to the managing director of «Argos».

«Four days later, someone called me to say the DVD recorder was waiting for me and I could collect 10 recordable DVD discs to compensate for my wasted time,» he says. «And when I collected them I was treated like royalty.»



  • to sort out — to solve the problem
  • genuine [ˈdʒɛnjʊın] — not pretending; sincere
  • to make an effort [‘efət] — If you make an effort to do something, you try very hard to do it
  • to meet halfway — to compromise with

Look at the sentences from the article. What do you think were the exact words the shop assistants used?

pic3|GE|Int|L13

1. They told him to buy a new one.

2. They told him to come back in a week.


Complete the sentences with a positive or negative infinitive (e.g. to be or not to be)

Read the rules and the examples

Reported Speech (commands)

Intermediate

«To tell» and «to ask» will help you to report commands

pic4|GE|Int|L13

Examples

I’ve recently bought a floor lamp which stopped working a few days later. I went back to the shop. The shop assistant asked me to show the receipt and my ID, then he told me to talk to the manager. I found out that the lamp didn’t come with warranties. They told me not to worry and promised to repair the item because it was my birthday.

Forms

tell somebody to do something He told me to open the window.
tell somebody not to do something He told her not to talk to Greg.
ask somebody to do something I asked him to pass me the salt.

Usage

  • Use told to do/told not to do to report commands.

«Talk to the manager.» ➝ He told me to talk to the manager.

«Don’t drink coffee.» ➝ The doctor told me not to drink coffee.

  • Use ask somebody to do to report requests.

«Can you show me the receipt?» ➝ The shop assistant asked me to show the receipt.

«Can you turn the music down?» ➝ He asked me to turn the music down.


Complete the reported imperatives and requests


Listen and answer the questions

I was in a taxi in Greece, in Athens, and I was going into the centre to do some shopping and the taxi driver started chatting to me. He asked me where I was from. When I said I was English he started getting really aggressive. He said that he didn’t like the English and that all English people were football hooligans. He went on and on — he just wouldn’t stop. I got really annoyed. I mean I thought, «Why do I have to listen to all of this?» So I asked him to stop the taxi and let me get out. Luckily, he stopped and I got out – and of course, I didn’t pay him anything. This happened to me recently when I was travelling around France on business. I was really tired because I’d been working and travelling all day. Anyway, when I got to the hotel in Toulouse — it was the evening — I checked in and the receptionist gave me the key to my room. So I went up to my room and opened the door, but it was a complete mess! The bed wasn’t made, there were dirty towels on the floor and the bathroom was filthy. I went downstairs and told the receptionist and he said that I would have to wait for half an hour while they prepared the room. But I was exhausted and needed to rest so I told him to give me another room straightaway. Luckily, he did. This happened to me last week. I went to a restaurant in London with my family to celebrate my dad’s birthday. Anyway, my dad ordered ravioli and when his dish arrived he saw that it had a long, black hair in it. So he asked the waitress to take it back and bring him another one. She brought him another plate of ravioli and it was fine, and we finished our meal. But when my dad asked for the bill, he saw that they had charged us for the ravioli. He didn’t think that was right. He thought the ravioli should be free because he had found a hair in it. So he asked the waitress to take it off the bill. She went away and spoke to the manager, and he came and apologized and he took the ravioli off the bill.

The taxi

1. Why did the man get annoyed?

2. What did he ask the taxi driver to do?

3. What happened in the end?

The hotel

1. What problems were there with the woman’s room?

2. What happened when she told the receptionist?

3. What did she tell him to do? Did he do it?

The restaurant

1. Why did the man ask the waitress to change his ravioli?

2. Why wasn’t he happy with the bill?

3. What happened in the end?


Look at the situation and roleplay the conversation. Spend a few minutes preparing what you are going to say

You’re a customer. You bought something in a clothes shop in the sales yesterday (decide what) and there’s a problem (decide what). Go back to the shop. Your teacher is the shop assistant. You’d like to change it for another identical one. If you can’t you’d like a refund. If you aren’t satisfied, ask the shop assistant to call the manager.

You start: Excuse me, I bought…

Complaints book
Complaints book


Look at the situation and roleplay the conversation. Spend a few minutes preparing what you are going to say

You’re a customer in a restaurant. You have just finished your meal and you didn’t enjoy it at all (what was wrong with it?). You complained to the waiter but the waiter didn’t solve your problem. You have asked the waiter to саll the manager. Try to get at least a 50% discount on your meal. Your teacher is the manager.

You start: Good evening. Are you the manager?

Read the article

«Fake» goods

Fake goods are a huge global problem. Technology has improved so much that it is easy for criminals to make sophisticated copies of products.

What are the most common fakes?

  • Designer clothes, especially famous brands like Gucci and Lacoste.
  • Watches — for example, a fake Rolex watch will cost as little as $10.
  • Perfume and cosmetics — it is estimated that up to 10% of perfumes and toiletries in the global marketplace are fakes.
  • CDs, DVDs and computer software, such as games.
  • Toys and sporting goods.

How can you identify fakes?

  • Be suspicious about bargains. If something seems too good to be true, it рrobably is!
  • Check labels and packaging for misspellings and poor-quality logos. Poor-quality labels and packaging on perfumes and cosmetics can often indicate that the contents are not genuine.
  • Take extra care at street markets or in other situations where it may be more difficult to get in touch with the trader after the purchase.
  • If you are buying CDs or DVDs, be suspicious of any with poor quality boxes, no artist or film name on the disk itself, or no outer plastic wrapping.
  • If you are unsure about a watch, look at the strap — fakes will often feel and look cheap.

Why should you avoid buying fakes?

The goods may be dangerous, from cosmetics that can cause rashes to toys that may cause accidents. Quality may be low — DVDs may have very poor sound, and computer software may not run correctly.

A lot of fake goods provide money for drug dealers and other organized crime. You may be putting people out of jobs because genuine manufacturers can’t compete with criminals. Remember that if you do decide to buy something from a street trader, you will have no rights, no after-sales service, no guarantees, and no consumer protection.


Complete the sentences with words from the article

Change the direct speech into reported commands and requests

Example:

She asked me

to sign the credit card slip.

pic4_Adults|Grammar|Pre-Int|L12

Complete the text with the noun form of the verbs in box

Read the following information about poor products or services and the template of a letter of complaint


Dear (Mr/Mrs/Ms Contact Person),

On (date), I (bought, rented, or had repaired) a (name of the product, with serial or model number or service performed) at (location and other important details of the transaction).

Unfortunately, your product (or service) has not performed well (or the service was inadequate) because (state the problem). I am disappointed because (explain the problem: for example, the product does not work properly, the service was not performed correctly, I was billed the wrong amount, something was not disclosed clearly or was misrepresented, etc.).

To resolve the problem, I would appreciate it if you could (state the specific action you want—money back, charge card credit, repair, exchange, etc.).

I look forward to your reply and a resolution to my problem. Please contact me at the above address or by phone at (home and/or office numbers with area code).

Sincerely,

Your name


Choose one of the situations and write a letter of complaint. Use the template to help you

Instructions

  1. Read the topic and the questions carefully.
  2. Plan what you are going to write about.
  3. Write the text according to your plan.
  4. Check your writing before sending it for assessment.
  5. Learn the rules and look at the sample answer 🔗here.
  6. Please use 🔗Grammarly to avoid spelling and grammar mistakes.

1. moreover
2. furthermore
3. additionally
4. however
5. otherwise
6. despite
7. in spite of
8. particularly
9. such as
10. not only … but also


«My letter of complaint»

Урок Homework Курс
  • Warm-up
  • Making a complaint
  • Words from the text
  • Top tips
  • What are the actual words?
  • Reported speech: commands
  • He told me...
  • Bad service!
  • Roleplay the conversation
  • What's wrong with my dish?
  • Fake foods
  • Reported commands
  • Making nouns
  • A letter of complaint