The Ultimate Canadian Grocery Savings Guide

How To Make A Customer Complaint For A Product (sample letter)

How to make a customer complaint for a product



Your grocery budget is important as should be the products you spend your money on an expect a certainly level of quality from. Lodging a customer complaint is not new but the way we communicate complaints to companies has changed over the years.

Not everyone has a computer and not everyone is interested in making a phone call or writing a letter. The good news is that companies offer various ways to contact them which appeals to all generations of shoppers. My mother-in-law for example is a phone call kind of gal and that’s the way she rolls. She’s also the customer who will go into a bank instead of using online banking.

On the other hand I’m an online banking customer and would rather do a live chat or send an email into customer service if I had a customer complaint. Options are important for all levels of customer service to appeal to the masses of consumers buying products in our grocery stores.

Consumer help is always a phone call, email or live chat away if you have a product you’ve purchased but aren’t satisfied which is why it’s important to lodge a customer complaint. I’ve heard over the years of blogging that there is no point making a customer complaint because it takes too much time, waste of gas and not worth it so the product ends up recycled or tossed in the garbage.

Believe it or not there are customers who would rather throw money away instead of placing a customer complaint for a product that doesn’t meet quality standards. Before anyone does anything I have said a million times that saving all of your receipts in a safe spot each month is mandatory smart budgeting. It’s also a big deal when you need to make product returns because you’ve stumbled upon a problem.


Grocery store returns


Can you return food and other products to a grocery store?

First and foremost if you have a customer complaint about a product especially if it is from a grocery store and you have the receipt, just return it back to customer service. Even if for some reason you didn’t keep your receipt and tossed it give the store a call and ask for customer service.

Just remember when you are seeking consumer help the most important thing you can do is to be calm and friendly to whoever is handling your phone call. Often you will find that grocery stores will honour a customer complaint for a product especially fresh foods or packaged items with store labels attached without the receipt. It’s always smart for customers to save receipts because even though it may only be food to you it’s money YOU worked for.

Some of the reasons you may want to return a product or lodge a customer complaint to the grocery store might include;

  • Out of date products
  • Moldy products
  • Broken products
  • Damaged packaging
  • Wrong product in package
  • Weird and wonderful things you’ve found inside your product
  • Wilted or rotten product
  • Wrong price (SCOP may apply here)

Can you return a product if you don’t like it?

I don’t really think that grocery stores would be in business if customers returned products they didn’t like. What I mean is that if you opt to try something new and don’t fancy it that’s your problem not the stores or the company who manufacturers the product. However, if you have a legitimate reason for not wanting the product then yes the store will most likely offer your money back with a receipt.


Complaint handling


Every product you can purchase in Canada is manufactured somewhere in this world which means the producer should have a customer complaint handing service. This may come in the form of online chats, email complaints or simply making a phone call to a customer service line.

If your read the packaging of what you are purchasing as long as it’s not an in-store package ex: meat dept, fresh produce you may find a customer service number for you to call. When there is no number go online and Google the company name and see if you can find any information about where you can make a customer complaint. Often you might find what you are looking for or others who have chatted in a community forum might have been in a similar situation with the same product.

In all of our years of grocery shopping in Canada we have yet to struggle finding or making a customer complaint when needed to go above and beyond customer service level at the supermarket. Most often the only reason we would place a customer complaint to a service line is because we didn’t have the receipt, quality or health concerns that needed attention at the company level. Other than that we’d simply make a return to the grocery store for our money back.


Don’t be a product complaint scammer!


They’re rich, they owe me. Don’t have this mind-set when it comes to companies that provide products to grocery stores or any store. Avoid try to make or save extra cash by constantly complaining to retail companies just to get free products because it’s just not right. If it were your company I’m sure you wouldn’t appreciate customers doing the same.

Sometimes being NICE pays better dividends

A better approach might be to take the compliment route and you might find a company appreciates your time to let them know how much you like their products. We’ve done this and been given high-value coupons for Palmolive and Chapman’s Ice-cream.

For those of you who haven’t contacted customer service with a customer complaint you may find that they offer you;

  1. Thanks for letting them know about the concern
  2. Coupons for free products
  3. Coupons for other products
  4. Money Back (cheque or gift card)

Keep in mind they know the customers who call in without legitimate reasons and they might ask you to ship the product back to them (they will pay) along with a receipt if you have it so the quality department can examine it. Customer service might call the grocery store in question and have you return the item for inspection right to the store if you don’t have a receipt. They also might just take your word for it and offer you money back or any of the above.


How to compose yourself before making a customer complaint


Perhaps you aren’t getting the help you need at the store’s customer service level and want to take it to the next level, product customer service. Keep in mind this may take some time out of your day but if it is legitimate and has to be done then do it especially it if is health and safety related.

Even then I think it’s important to voice your opinion about a product that you paid for and would like to return because it didn’t live up to the standards set out by the company. Again, if it is a case of “I didn’t like it” well, you might just be out of luck. Some companies might oblige with the “customer is always right” scenario but this is not always the case.

The last thing you want to do when making any customer complaint for any product or service is to be fired up. It’s very important to remember that the other person on the end of the line, email or chat is just doing their job. They are human and will follow the rules that the company has set out for customer service returns, complaints, queries or compliments.

  • Take deep breaths especially if you’ve just returned from a not-so-pleasant grocery shop
  • Collect your receipt
  • Find the customer service phone number or search online for the store website
  • Access email complaint or live agent if offered or call the store or product company direct
  • Be friendly, Direct, Don’t ramble and tell them what you’d like to see happen from your customer complaint.


How to make a customer complaint (sample letter)


If you’ve already spoken on the telephone with customer service or had chat with an online live agent and they’ve given you a claim number it’s important that you write that down. The reason for this claim number is that under it will be the information you and the agent who took your customer complaint spoke about. This helps whoever is taking your customer complaint letter to better understand what you might be complaining about and what the agent discussed with you.

This may be an email or a typed or hand-written letter sent to your grocery store or the product company you are sending a complaint in for. My idea for any customer complaint letter or email is to keep it simple and to the point. Keep in mind if you plan to do a direct email via a product website they may already have a form that asks you questions, codes and dates for the product you are complaining about.

Many companies offer a drop-down list where you can choose the reason for your email which may be a compliment, inquiry or complaint. In the even that you don’t find this than most certainly you can send a letter to head-office via snail mail (Canada Post) or make a phone call. If you plan to make a phone call you can also type out this letter as a way of practicing what you will say especially if you feel nervous about making the call.

Remember, it’s your money and you should look after it.


Sample Customer Complaint Letter/Email or Phone Call Practice


Your Name:




Claim Number: Add this only if you were given one from a previous conversation with an agent or customer service employee.

Product Name:


Dear Sir/Madame,

Introduce yourself and the reason for the letter including the store you purchased the product at and whether you tried to return it with or without a receipt and the outcome.

In this section you may also want to add any product code numbers you find on the item including expiry dates or a UPC code (the code that is scanned by the cashier or self-scanner). Include any relevant information to help the company do their due diligence with the product in question which may include where in the store you found it and whether there were other similar products for sale.

You can also let them know what you’d like to see done with your customer complaint. This might be asking for a refund or simply wanting to let them know of a health and safety concern you have.

Include a call back number (if needed) here and that you hope they will resolve the issue in a timely manner.


Type or write your name and sign the letter



There you have it folks, a simple customer complaint letter that will hopefully yield the results you are seeking.

Discussion: Have you ever made a customer complaint about a product at the store level or higher? What was the outcome and do you have any other tips to share with our readers? Please comment below to help our community!


September 2018 Grocery Game Challenge


Join the 2018 Grocery Game Challenge (GGC) but before you do you must read The Grocery Game Challenge Rules and Print the 2018 Schedule which includes new prizes!


2018 Grocery Shop Results


Yearly grocery budget for two + 1 Toddler 2018: $3600 or $300/month (The above total does not include the stockpile budget of $300/year or $25/month.

Points Overview (add any other sections you need to show us your savings or that you would like to track on your own)

  • Total Grocery Budget for this Month: $300
  • Total Grocery Budget with any carry-overs $300-$13.63=$286.37
  • Total Gift Cards used to date: $0
  • Total Rewards Points redeemed this week: $0
  • Total Rewards Points used to date: $0
  • PC Optimum Points to Spend: 3400,000
  • Scanning Code of Practice (SCOP) to date $0

Coupon Apps (add any other apps you use to save money)

  • Zweet -$0
  • Checkout51- $1.50


Our Grocery Shop This Week


Note: All totals below already have tax factored into them.

  • Total to spend this month : $300.00-$42.74=$257.26 (includes over-spend from August)
  • Stockpile budget 2018 : $25.00/month
  • Stockpile budget used this month: $0
  • Christmas Reserve Fund : $35/month $280 Saved
  • Total coupons used this week: $0
  • Total coupons used to date: $1
  • Total in-store discounts this week: $0
  • Total in-store discounts to date: $174.94
  • Total spent this week: $0
  • Total spent so far this month: $0
  • Total over/Under spend this shop: $0
  • Total left to spend for the month: $1
  • Total Spent To Date 2018: (does not include stockpile budget) Jan $323.04+Feb $169.42+March $228.70 + April $337.84+ May $275.79 + June $271.88 +July $257.76 +August $342.74 + September $+ October $+ November $ + December $

Weekly Overview (your final thoughts)

We are taking a grocery shopping break this week as we still have lots to eat plus it’s our son’s birthday and we have a party to go to at my sister-in-laws who is supplying the food. Knowing the way she cooks we’ll be coming home with LOTS of leftovers. We will be making a cake instead of buying one. Fingers crossed it turns out looking like a cake, haha!



Free Money Saving Tools 2018


Click, Save and Print. It’s that easy!

This is the budget that brought us to debt freedom back in 2013 and now I’m offering to all of you for FREE. We still use this budget every month as it helps us to see our overall financial picture.

You can download the FREE Canadian Budget Binder Budget Spreadsheet in Excel It’s FREE! We use it to budget and in large part a reason we could pay our mortgage off in 5 years, check it out!

Free Money Saving Downloads are awesome lists created to get us on track working towards reaching our budgeting goals and now we are sharing them with you.

Get organized with a FREE freezer inventory, meal plan, shopping list, price comparison list and much more all for FREE.

CLICK HERE to download all the free lists and even our family budget spreadsheet. So many free resources at your fingertips.


Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide 2018


Everything you want to know about grocery shopping in Canada is packed into this amazing FREE grocery shopping guide that has taken 6 years to create.

The time is NOW to get started saving money on groceries so please enjoy the  many money-saving posts in the The Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide.


2018 Coupons and Coupon Apps


Here are some great places you can find Canadian Coupons! These are your latest Checkout 51 offers which you can use to help save money.

Related: Find all the latest coupon apps in Canada right here>>  Are coupon apps taking over the paper coupons

Sign up for the Nielsen Canada Home Scan Program and you can earn rewards points fast to redeem for awesome products or gift cards. I did this in the UK and loved it!!

Where can I find Canadian Coupons 2018?

Plus check out these other hidden portals online to get more coupons!!

If any of the links below don’t open properly please report them to my email address or use comment form.


Grocery Game Challenge 2018 FAQ’s


  • Grocery Game Challenge RULES: Read the rules first and if you have any questions email me or comment on this post with your question and someone will answer you as soon as possible. The rules have been updated to reflect changes for the 2018 challenge year.
  • Do I have to be Canadian to post my Grocery Shop?: No, you don’t have to be Canadian to post your shops. We have fans who post their grocery shop who live all over the world.
  • What is prize payout?- I’ve changed the prize to yearly so I’ll be tracking everyone’s shop and draw accordingly for larger prize payouts.
  • When does the Grocery Game close each month? Ideally you would want to have all your shops in by the end of the month for review in order to make improvements for the next.
  • Does your Grocery Budget include health and beauty and laundry products?: No, our Grocery Budget does not include such items as shampoo, conditioner, laundry soap, fabric softener, dish soap etc. As of 2014 we no longer included such items in our grocery budget so we could see our actual food numbers at the end of the year in order to plan accordingly.
  • Do you stockpile food? We don’t mind stockpiling items that won’t be affected by expiry dates or have long expiry dates but not so much food any longer as we found we weren’t eating it fast enough. Stockpiling is still great and just one way to help cut your budget to save money if you do find items that you can buy in bulk at a sale price.
  • Canadian Coupons: Where can I find Canadian Coupons?: Here are your latest Checkout 51 offers that you can use to help you save money in the Grocery Game Challenge. There are many great Canadian Couponing websites online that share weekly coupon match-ups so you can plan your grocery list.
  • Best Coupon Apps: Coupons are slowly fading with mobile coupon apps being the big rave these days. Just recently the popular coupon site that mailed coupons to households has gotten involved with the addition of a new mobile app joining forces with the many other coupon apps available. If you find an app that I don’t talk about please let me know as they are always being added and I’d like to review them.
  • What is the Best Flyer App- We use Flipp on our Iphone so if you wan to have all your flyers in one spot download Flipp from the Apple Store or get it on Google Play.
  • What is an FPC?: An FPC is a free product coupon which means you can get a free product as described on the coupon. Some of these coupons have an expiry date and others no expiry date so be sure to check.
  • What is GGC?– The Grocery Game Challenge of course!
  • How Do I Know what stores accept coupons?:  If you are not sure it’s always best to call the store and ask.
  • How Do I Grocery Shop?: I can tell you about grocery shopping and what we do in terms of shopping to save money and how it works for us. There are no wrong or right answers, just smart choices.

If you’ve just joined The Grocery Game Challenge 2018 get ready to look at your grocery budget by learning;

  • Where you are spending money
  • How much money you are spending
  • How much money you are saving every month

If you want to learn everything I know about grocery shopping in Canada check out my Ultimate Grocery Shopping Guide!  You’ve made a wise decision to take control of your grocery budget now show me your shops and let’s get saving!

Welcome to The Grocery Game Challenge 2018!


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