Tips for submitting effective complaints

If you feel that you were not treated properly and decide to submit a complaint to the municipality, please take the following points into account:

  • Do not wait too long before submitting a complaint. The probability of success is greater if the event about which you are complaining is still fresh in everyone’s memory.
  • If possible, use the complaint form that is available on the websites of most organisations.
  • Only add copies of possible correspondence to your complaint, not originals.
  • If you call an authority about a complaint, always note down the date on which the conversation took place, the name of the person with whom you spoke and what was agreed.
  • Always confirm important promises in writing.
  • Check whether your letter has arrived. If you have not received an acknowledgement of receipt within around ten days, check by telephone or by email whether the item sent has been received.
  • Send important letters by registered post or deliver them personally and ask for an acknowledgement of receipt.
  • If you wish to be certain that your letter has been received, send it by means of receipted or recorded delivery.
    This method of delivery is also referred to as recorded signed for. The receiving party must then sign on receipt of the letter. You will subsequently receive the delivery receipt from the postal company as proof that your letter was actually received. Please be aware that this method of delivery entails additional costs.
  • Always retain a copy of the letter that you send. Doing so will make it possible for you to show what you sent. Tips for keeping copies of your letters and documents are provided on the Legal Services Counter website (only available in Dutch).
  • You can only count on cooperation if the person with whom you are discussing your problem actually understands it. Make sure that he or she becomes interested in your problem. Issuing threats, hurling insults or walking away in anger almost never works.

These practical examples (only available in Dutch) may provide ideas of ways in which you can present your complaint most effectively.

If you are having problems drawing up a letter of complaint, click here for a checklist.