Help! Wedding Cake Hedoublehockysticks... Refund?!?!???

Decorating By soygurl Updated 29 Jun 2006 , 11:56pm by Lisa

candyladyhelen Posted 12 Jun 2006 , 3:52pm
post #31 of 110

This is an unfortunete happening for both you and the bride. However, when you are in business, you must take responsibility for your product. This won't help you now, but in my consultations, I always tell them what I cannot do. If they want something that sends a red flag up to me, I tell them.
As for the cake, you really do need to refund her the money. I know you will loose on the deal, but your reputation is more important.

angelas2babies Posted 12 Jun 2006 , 4:33pm
post #32 of 110

I just wanted to offer a big 'I'm soooo sorry this happened to you'.

Try not to let a big, bad experience get you down. I agree that your best course of action right now is to personally apopogize and refund the bride. But the good news is that you will never have to make another cake for her again. icon_smile.gif

You are not alone!!!

Good luck.
Angie

mbalis Posted 12 Jun 2006 , 5:10pm
post #33 of 110

I just notice...this post originated almost a month ago, and author hasn't posted since. I hope she didn't quit decorating because of this cake. icon_sad.gif

wendysue Posted 12 Jun 2006 , 5:30pm
post #34 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by mbalis

I just notice...this post originated almost a month ago, and author hasn't posted since. I hope she didn't quit decorating because of this cake. icon_sad.gif




Me too! icon_sad.gif

angelas2babies Posted 12 Jun 2006 , 5:34pm
post #35 of 110

I PMed her as well, so maybe she will reply. I hope she didn't let this bad experience discourage her!!

Angie

carrielynnfields Posted 12 Jun 2006 , 7:38pm
post #36 of 110

me too that would be so sad

itsloops Posted 12 Jun 2006 , 11:27pm
post #37 of 110

I really like how caring and supportive everyone is.

CC is my safe haven. icon_smile.gif

I'll never leave, Nope! You can't make me.

soygurl Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 6:17am
post #38 of 110

Wow. icon_surprised.gif Just... wow. First of all, thanks to angelas2babies for PMing me because I never got an email that anyone had responded to my post (and I've always gotten those notification emails). And when I originaly posted this there were technical diffeculties and I didn't think it was even posted at all!
Soooo.... a few clarifications and an update:
First of all, I do NOT have a baking business. I am a college student who put an add on craigslist.org saying I can make cakes and want experience. I was upfront from the begining with the bride that I am NOT a professional and I do not have a bakery or anything like that. Because of this (and the fact that this took place in a large city of which the bride doesn't even live in and I now live out of state) I am not worried about my "reputation."
Also, with regards to the mixes, yes, the bride knew they were not vegan but they were "close enough" in her words (some flavors only have whey and it's at the end of the ingredients list). And supprizingly, the pillsberry cream cheese frosting IS vegan... wierd I know!
Now for the update... I have emailed her repetedly. I have not refunded any of her money. All of the emails were VERY nasty on her part, and while I considered refunding part of her money, the more she b*ched and complained and made false accuizations (the cake was the wrong shape, the cake was underdone, etc.) the less I wanted to make her happy. Now, I know how horrible that makes me sound... and after reading all of your posts I'm reconsidering. But because I don't have a business refunding her money isn't nearly as easy as it sounds. I would have to work extra shifts (in adddition to being in college full time, and having a chronic illness) and eat beans and rice for the next month at least. Literaly. And after she has shown me NO sympathy at ALL for what I went through to get ANY cake to her wedding, AND calling me many nasty names, I just don't know if it is worth it. I don't have a reputation to save. I would just end up miserable for the next month or more. But I have a concience, and the part of me that put myself in HER shoes really wants to make thing right. I just don't know if a refund would do that at this point. I don't think ANYTHING would help at this point (and thost sugestions of descounts on future cakes, etc. are not possible because I have moved).
So, thank you for the support! I have not stoped decortating cakes (though I haven't had the time or money to do any since then), and I haven't left the wonderful land of CC... I've just hand computur and internet issues so I haven't been on much lately. Thanks again for all the advice. I certainly have learned a LOT from this.

~Kelsie

HollyPJ Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 6:27am
post #39 of 110

Thanks for giving us an update, Kelsie.
I'm sorry the bride is being so unkind. There is no need for her to be ridiculously rude no matter how disappointed she was.
I hope you can figure out a solution that will leave you satisfied, make her back off, and keep you from financial ruin!
Good luck,

Holly

carrielynnfields Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 11:37am
post #40 of 110

I am glad to hear you haven't given up and I do understand where you are coming from. I would just say let this roll of your back now and enjoy college and learning new cake things and just don't worry. Take care.

Carrie

TastersDelight Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 11:57am
post #41 of 110

After reading this topic, I REALLY need a wedding cake contract. My first wedding cake is the end of this month, but the bride already paid in full, so I can't exactly ask her to sign one now. But I do have a couple of consultations coming up.
Anyone have one they would like to share?
Thanks Joanne


*Moderator Edited to remove e-mail address*

gmcakes Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 12:33pm
post #42 of 110

Kelsie-
I'm glad you haven't given up decorating all together over the one bridezilla. And, I understand dissapointment in her cake, but that is no reason to be nasty. I am one of the ones who suggested a refund (by thinking from the bride's point of view), but...If she has been so rude, I think sh already has decided she probably won't get one! Since you have moved, I would simply "lose" her #, email, any contact information you have and forget about her. I would consider what she paid you, her fee for "her right to b**ch"! And she has, obviously, got her money's worth out of THAT fee!

[Previous posts have made me decide to draw up a contract....and posts like these show me how I need to refine it. I don't usually do wedding cakes very often, but as my name gets passed around, I find myself doing more and more of them.]

Jenn123 Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 12:49pm
post #43 of 110

You guys say you need a contract... but this hasn't protected anyone in this situation! By the contract, she owes the bride.

I think it is wrong to avoid this bride. If you have to pay her $10 a month, I think you should. I understand what it is like to be in college and poor. That is no excuse to keep money that you don't deserve. She's probably being nasty because you disappeared and she doesn't have any way to contact you other than e-mail! It is so rude to ignore her and for you guys to suggest that it is alright to keep her money. Bad advice! This is what makes people afraid to order cakes from home bakers.

Just my opinion!

jmt1714 Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 1:40pm
post #44 of 110

she isn't being a bridezilla . . . she paid for a cake and she didn't get one (you yourself said it was pretty bad). if that happened to me and I didn't get a refund, I'd likely get a little nasty too.

she doesn't need to care about what you went through to "get her any cake at all." It was your job to get the cake she ordered there and on time. That's what she paid you to do.

You've admitted you screwed up - you should take responsibility for it. It happens - it isn't the end of the world. If you have to work extra to pay her back, then so be it. You accepted her money willingly enough.

I know you will think this is harsh, but business is business. If you can't see that side of it, then likely you shouldn't be selling cakes to people. It makes all home bakers look bad.

traci Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 2:02pm
post #45 of 110

I am glad that you gave us an update! I think there is no reason for someone to be nasty and start calling people names. I can understand her frustration but there is a better way to resolve a problem. I think you may feel better if you do refund her money. You may want to call her or send her a nice email saying that you would like to come up with something that will work for both of you. I think the bride would be receptive even if you paid her in 3 or 4 payments.

After reading your post I got a call from a bride's mother that I did a wedding cake for on Saturday. It is the square cake with red roses in my photos. They were happy with it when I dropped it off. The bride's mother called to tell me that her daughter was unhappy with the cake because I did not put enough filling between the layers. I explained to her that on a heavy stacked cake that I did not go overboard on the filling because I did not want the layers to buldge. I told her I was sorry and offered to make the couple a cake when they arrived home from their honeymoon. The bride's mother said that she probably would not want anything. I also offered to make something for their first anniversary. I kept it on a nice note and was not sure if she was wanting me to refund some of the money. One thing to keep in mind is that I was able to get the fresh roses from a friend of mine that owns a floral shop...I did not charge the family extra for the roses. I know that any other decorator would have charged something extra especially since they were fresh roses. I felt that I gave her a good deal and the cake was not damaged. If there was any damage to the cake...I would have refunded the money to them. I felt bad all day because I have never had anyone call me and tell me that they were unhappy with a wedding cake because of the filling. Sorry but this was really bothering me!

Best of luck to waterfallsoygul with your situation. I hope there will be a happy compromise for you and the bride. icon_smile.gif

wendysue Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 2:42pm
post #46 of 110

Traci,
If this is the first time anyone ever complained, it's more likely a reflection of the bride's mother and not of you. I've known women that do what I suspect she's doing... trying to find a problem and looking for some money to come back to them. They may have spent a bundle and are now wanting to recover some of it. Maybe I shouldn't try and figure this lady out, probably not fair to her, but it just reminds me soooo much of the mother of one of my friends. Thing is that these days if you go to a business and complain they'll usually give you something to make it all better... whether it's a refund or some sort of credit. I think that people sometimes take advantage of businesses who aim to keep their customers happy. She may be the type to routinely make phone calls like this all over town see what she can get in return. Like I said, if I'm wrong about this then shame on me, but I have to wonder.

I think anyone who does very many cakes will run into people who have everything to the very valid complaints to those who come up with things that are just ridiculous. We just have to be prepared for that I guess. I think you did the right thing though. Don't give her any money back. You were more than generous with what you offered to make peace with the bride. Funny thing though, you don't really know that the bride is the one that had the problem, could be just the bride's mom.

Take care!

gmcakes Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 2:57pm
post #47 of 110

I can tell my comments were not taken very well!

Yes, I fell like the bride does deserve the refund. But, the comment was made in light of the fact that she does NOT have the right to behave so rudely!

We have all been telling Kelsie to smother her with kindness...hasn't ANYONE ever told this bride that if you want something from someone you have to be kind as well! Yes, it was her wedding day...but it was Kelsie's cake. I'm sure they both shared the same frustrations and disappoints from the situation. My point was "The bride is also in the wrong for harassing her about the problems." I wouldn't be too anxious to speak with someone who couldn't even address my in an email without calling me nasty names.

Ladivacrj Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 3:10pm
post #48 of 110

The point is, that is was a mess and she knows this woman's address and info.

She should just send her the money back in a money order so that she has a receipt and have it over with.

Practice time is not on someone's wedding cake, even though we are all practicing to some degree with every job we take, but this was not the time to get in perfusely over your head. Especially without tried a true recipes.

It is a case were, you can pay me now, or you can pay me later. People have a way of finding you when they want to sue.

HollyPJ Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 3:21pm
post #49 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenn123

By the contract, she owes the bride.
I think it is wrong to avoid this bride. If you have to pay her $10 a month, I think you should.




Jenn123 makes a good point. Can you work out a payment plan that will eventually get the bride her money back and keep you out of the poorhouse?
I would be worried that she could decide to take you to small claims court or something like that.

Monica0271 Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 3:29pm
post #50 of 110

You would not believe what I have learned from this post. I posted a day or two ago that I would not refund any money, Now I have to agree that I would give 100% refund.

Thank you all for this great learning forum.

moydear77 Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 3:38pm
post #51 of 110

I am so sorry you had to go through this all. I once watched a show on Tv that had a cake dispute. Now being in TVland it was a made for Tv Court show. I know someone who actually went on one and they do receive money in case of judgment. Anyway a woman complained that the cake was not what she wanted and it did not look good at all. The judge threw out the case because the bride said they ate the cake anyway. There was photo of a little girl sticking her finger in the cake and others posing by the cake. The judge said if the cake was so aweful why did you feel the need to serve it?
Ok to get back on track here partial refund most likely-Full refund not so much. I have had one complaint ever and she said to me' It was just not what I wanted but It's so yummy I am having some later" Go figure not what she wanted but was still having some later. Did offer partial refund but just said discount my next cake-Never heard from her again! I see her at the grocery store and she does not remember who I am. Always do a trial run and never make change to what you know will work. Clients want you to tell them what they want. I do not do white cake with chocolate filling.Why because it looks aweful and does not go well in my opinion. You are the designer and to some point you are there to please them. The reality is that you are there to advise them on potential disaster. It will get better! Best of luck!

SweetThistleCakes Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 3:59pm
post #52 of 110

Only my opinion:
Don't give her back a cent. You and the bride are both at shame here.

Frankly, you need to be a bit more organized and more detailed as far as what you will allow with changes before the date. Have you ever made a "vegan" DH cake before? Honestly, I would have practiced beforehand with the mix and the egg sub. That is at no fault but your own. Perhaps if you knew beforehand, you could have told the Bridezilla that hey, it's not going to work out this way, you're not giving me much notice for changing the ENTIRE STRUCTURE OF YOUR CAKE, this is what I can offer you in the short time that we have before your wedding day...

I have done vegan cakes before. They are completely different than a cake that uses traditional ingredients. The texture as well as the structure are different to work with. You should have done your homework.

The bride on the other hand, doesnt need to be rude, crude, and plain out abusive. You get more with sugar than you do with lemons. (Isnt that how it goes?) She changed her mind last minute. Frankly, making a bold change like that it didnt seem like she was too worried about the cake. You told her you were not a professional. She took a gamble. It's her fault just a much as it is yours.

I'm truly so sorry you have been subjected to nasty-grams from the bride.

HollyPJ Posted 13 Jun 2006 , 4:27pm
post #53 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by puppyloveconfections

Only my opinion:
It's her fault just a much as it is yours.




Well, not really (IMO). The bride was told that the changes could be made. She's not a cake expert and couldn't be expected to know what would happen. She paid for a product and didn't get it. Yes, she got something, but it wasn't what she was expecting.

When thinking of this, trying to decide what was the right thing to do, I tried to think of it in terms other than cake. Because I make cakes, it's difficult for me to be objective. So I thought, what if there was a similar situation involving the wedding dress instead of the cake?
Let's say you're a bride and you hired a seamstress to make you a wedding dress. You and she agree on a design and a price. You make some last minute changes to the gown, but the seamstress tells you she can do them and agrees to the changes so you don't think anything of it. You trust her. On your wedding day, the dress doesn't arrive on time. When the seamstress brings it, you find that the skirt is knee length instead of full length. The seamstress says she had all kinds of problems with her sewing machine and her personal life and it just didn't work out for her to make the skirt the length you agreed upon. She is upset and distraught and hopes you'll understand. Also, she didn't put the beading on the bodice like she said she would. It also doesn't fit quite right. You have to use the dress anyway--it's the only wedding dress you have. The seamstress apologizes, but won't give you a refund, because you did have some kind of dress to wear after all, and she put a lot of effort and money into it even though it wasn't what you wanted. You wore the dress, so it must be good enough.

After thinking this scenerio through, I couldn't imagine not expecting a full refund.



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lastingmoments Posted 14 Jun 2006 , 1:34am
post #54 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by HollyPJ

Quote:
Originally Posted by puppyloveconfections

Only my opinion:
It's her fault just a much as it is yours.



Well, not really (IMO). The bride was told that the changes could be made. She's not a cake expert and couldn't be expected to know what would happen. She paid for a product and didn't get it. Yes, she got something, but it wasn't what she was expecting.

When thinking of this, trying to decide what was the right thing to do, I tried to think of it in terms other than cake. Because I make cakes, it's difficult for me to be objective. So I thought, what if there was a similar situation involving the wedding dress instead of the cake?
Let's say you're a bride and you hired a seamstress to make you a wedding dress. You and she agree on a design and a price. You make some last minute changes to the gown, but the seamstress tells you she can do them and agrees to the changes so you don't think anything of it. You trust her. On your wedding day, the dress doesn't arrive on time. When the seamstress brings it, you find that the skirt is knee length instead of full length. The seamstress says she had all kinds of problems with her sewing machine and her personal life and it just didn't work out for her to make the skirt the length you agreed upon. She is upset and distraught and hopes you'll understand. Also, she didn't put the beading on the bodice like she said she would. It also doesn't fit quite right. You have to use the dress anyway--it's the only wedding dress you have. The seamstress apologizes, but won't give you a refund, because you did have some kind of dress to wear after all, and she put a lot of effort and money into it even though it wasn't what you wanted. You wore the dress, so it must be good enough.

After thinking this scenerio through, I couldn't imagine not expecting a full refund.



[/url]


wow........................i was trying to think of another example and I came up with pictures but my end came out differently.....Im a photographer for weddings and have had only one bride complain.......and she wanted money back plus the negatives.....I TOLD HER NO! refund only if she gave me all her pictures back. If she keeps them then she accepts the substitute.....I dont know about this.....I think that the cake deserved a refund but then No it doesnt....the bride knew she was "practicing" .......also did anyone tell you at the reception it wasnt good enough. Maybe you could have came to an understanding then......

I dont know ...Im soo confused!!!!!!!!! I agree with everyone HERE!

keonicakes Posted 14 Jun 2006 , 1:35am
post #55 of 110

I'VE just read a few of the post of this absolutely nightmareish situation. I have a question though. To all the cake decorators that are drawing up contracts between you and the brides, do you have a lisense to sell these cakes? I'm wandering because I'm not and I have done contracts before when in doubt. It sounds as if this particular decorator isn't lisensed and by not giving in to bridezilla can definately bite her in the butt. Major fines etc. So how are you all bypassing the legalities of selling food products and not getting busted?

moydear77 Posted 14 Jun 2006 , 1:42am
post #56 of 110

keonicakes

Here we can use an exclusion
persons not regularly engaged in the business of manufacturing and selling food and who prepare food only on order of and for sale directly to the ultimate consumer

You cannot advertise so it is not that great. Also the money cakes are at the venues that require a license.

SweetThistleCakes Posted 14 Jun 2006 , 4:46pm
post #57 of 110
Quote:
Originally Posted by lastingmoments

the bride knew she was "practicing" !




This is exactly my point, again only my opinion... the bride took a gamble so shame on her for not being more responsible. It was a wedding cake, and by not hiring a professional, she got what she paid for. (With all due respect to the author, not intented to be mean, just insightful.) It's your wedding, dont try to skimp on it, and if you do , be aware of the possibility of a disaster. You get what you pay for.

jewels97 Posted 14 Jun 2006 , 5:24pm
post #58 of 110

I would say there are two "schools of thought" on this particular situation.

There is what you learn in Business classes as "Buyer Beware." Basically this philosophy puts all of the responsiblity on the consumer to find the right person to sell them the product that they want. If the product does not meet the specifications it is the fault of the consumer and not the vendor.

The other side to this story is what has evolved out of years of litigation on what responsiblity lies with the vendor of a product. It gets as complicated as the tobacco companies knowing selling a product they know is harmful to the public. I think that because of this, consumers now more often demand that vendors take more responsiblity for the products they sell and the court system has enforced this demand on many, many occasions.

If I were in this situation, all conscience issues aside, it would come down to whether I wanted to take the chance of not giving the refund to my client and having them possibly decide to take legal action. There is a contract in force in this situation and without knowing the exact terms of the contract I wouldn't be able to say what the odds are of winning if this were to go to court. But I would assume that there was an agreement to a specific number of tiers and a specific design this was ultimately not delivered which is a breach of contract on the side of the decorator. Which means that the bride didn't get what she paid for.

Unless there is a provision in the contract that spells out what happens if the product is not delivered as specified, I would provide a full refund.

If you want to roll the dice and not give the refund and hope that you don't get dragged to court which will cost you much more, that is your decision. If it was me, I would rather not be holding my breath for the next few years hoping that they don't file a suit.

Katydidz Posted 14 Jun 2006 , 5:24pm
post #59 of 110

The bride may have taken a gamble, but there was breech of trust. I think as decorators we need a lot of confidence. First we need the confidence to take on something this monumental. Remember, this is someone's wedding we're talking about. An event that most women have been planning in one form or another since they were little girls. If she comes to you and says "this is what I want" you have to be confident in saying you can give it to her. As soon as you say "yes, I can do that" there is no gamble, because she assumes that you know what you're talking about. It's different if you say "I'll do my best but I can't make any promises," then she would be prepared for the possibility of disaster. But she trusts that you trust yourself.

Second, you have to have enough confidence to tell the bride no. You have to be able to say, "it is too close to the date of delivery to make that kind of change" and feel free to explain why, it's for her sake, not yours. You want to be able to give her exactly what she wants, from the beginning to the end. There is a point where reassurance becomes outright lies, I think you reached that point honey. If you don't feel confident in the kind of change she wants made you have to tell her no. Saying you can't do something and having her a little miffed two weeks before her wedding is totally different than taking a leap of faith and failing to deliver on her wedding day. It's ok to say no, if you had said no to the DH cake two weeks earlier she may have been able to find someone in that time who could have done what she wanted. Instead, again, she put her trust in you, and ended up with a less than perfect wedding day. I promise, it's ok to say no to the crazy lady in the veil.

I'm new at this too. I know how hard it is to balance work, and college, and cake, and everything else. What you need to decide is if you have the guts to go on. Can you stand up to bridezilla and say no. I promise it is easier to say no early that screw up and beg forgiveness later. I feel like I'm rambling, I just want you to know that you have to be strong, that you have to be confident in yourself, and that you have to be able to say no for your own sanities sake. You can do it.

As for the refund, I know it will be hard, but I think you better try and work something out. She may have been a beast to work with, but she deserves some restitution, and I think you need some peace of mind. Good luck honey.

LNW Posted 14 Jun 2006 , 9:58pm
post #60 of 110

I think it would be in your best interest to track her down and give her a refund. Just because youve moved away and forgotten about her doesnt mean shes going to let this go. She could easily take you to court over this and not only get her money back for the cake but more $$ for all the hell youve put her through. Dont let this go. Find that bride and pay her back or you may find yourself in court.

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