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In diesem Blogpost lernen Sie, eine Beschwerde auf Englisch zu formulieren. Deutschen, die es nicht besser gelernt habe, fällt es dabei oft schwer, höflich und nicht zu direkt zu formulieren.

Do you find it easy to complain (sich beschweren) – in a restaurant or at an online shop? Do you come to the point immediately or do you choose a more indirect approach (in other words: diplomatic)?

Making mistakes is just not acceptable in some cultures. So, did you know that in some cultures you have to make sure that the other person does not lose face?

In Germany I find it difficult sometimes to complain in a restaurant, as in my experience a lot of staff take criticism of any kind personally and feel attacked. So here are some ideas of how you can be more careful with your criticism, so that it is not personal and emotional.

DIRECT: Your service was terrible.
INDIRECT: I am sorry, but today the service was not what I had expected.

DIRECT: The food is cold.
INDIRECT: Excuse me, is it possible that this food was not served immediately? It has cooled down quite a bit already.

DIRECT: You forgot to put the event date on the invoice.
INDIRECT: I’m afraid the event date is missing on the invoice.

DIRECT: You have not paid your invoice xx yet.
INDIRECT (written): We are unable to trace payment for invoice XX.

DIRECT (spoken): I was wondering if you had received our invoice xx?
DIRECT: The truck was late. This is unacceptable.
INDIRECT (written): We are sorry to have to let you know that the truck was late. Delivery on time is essential to us and we would therefore appreciate your answer as to how you are going to avoid this problem in the future (I know this kind of sentence is very far away from what a lot of Germans would say. It is also very formal. This is not how two people that have been working together for a long time would speak to each other).

DIRECT: John, the truck was late again. This is unacceptable.
INDIRECT (spoken): John, I am calling to tell you that the truck was late again. I am really sorry to have to say this to you, but such delays are a real problem for us and therefore unacceptable. Could you tell me what are you going to do about this?

DIRECT: You are not giving us the discount that we wanted.
INDIRECT: Sorry, but we had been expecting a better price/higher discount.

Reactions to complaints (on the phone):

Oh dear!
Oh no, that shouldn’t have happened!
Oh, I can understand this is very upsetting for you.
Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.
Let me look into this.
Give me a second and I’ll check.
I’ll look into the matter and call you back immediately.

Remedying the situation:

We’ll send a replacement today.
You can return the defective device free of charge/at our expense.
We’ll send you a voucher.
I’d like to offer you a 5% discount for your inconvenience (Unannehmlichkeiten).
I’ll make sure the parcel is sent out today.

Again, I am sorry, and I will make sure this is not going to happen again.
Written: Again, please accept our sincere apologies.

Solche und andere Inhalte bauen wir in Ihren Englischunterricht ein – je nachdem, welche Aufgaben Sie im Beruf zu bewältigen haben.

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Wie beschwert man sich höflich auf Englisch