AmberC2 Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:07am
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Hey everyone!

I need some advice on what to do. I did a wedding and grooms cake a couple of weeks ago. Both of the cakes looked great when i brought them to set them up. The grooms cake was fine it wasnt my taste but it wasnt a problem. The wedding cake was a 4 tier round white with scrolls and dots on it with those new pearl ball pillars between them. So when I started to set it up it was fine but by the time I got all of the tiers on it the bottom tier was slightly leaning so I fixed it to where the front looked good so it would still look good in pictures. When I left I took a picture and told the caterer, which is the only one that was there, that the bottom layer was leaning a little but it would be fine. I am adding the picture to my photos it has the orange and pink flowers on it. This is what it looked like when I left.

So on Monday after the wedding I get a call from the mother of the bride who is screaming at me telling me the cake was falling and that it was "pathetic" and if she didnt get her money back she was suing me. I dont think I should give her her money back because she did eat the cake and I did put all of the work into it. When I left the reception hall I thought man this isnt what I would consider my best work I am going to send her some money back just because I felt bad but when she started threatening me everything changed.

Anyone know what I should do and has this ever happened to anyone?? Any help anyone can give me would be greatly appreciated!!

Amber

78 replies
Brendansmum Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:18am
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I think the cakes looks great and she's probably just upset at the fact it fell. I don't think the design was the problem. You maybe should have had someone sign off that the cake was delivered and set up when you left. If the cake had fallen after you left I don't see how you could have been accountable for that. It could have been bumped for all you know. Sorry I don't have any advice on the refund. I know I wouldn't want to return the money, maybe you could work something out.

kakabekabunny Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:22am
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Amber, from what I can see from your pictures, the cake looks lovely to me. Your workmanship is beautiful. I'm confused though.... did the cake actually fall? or was the bottom just leaning a bit like it was when you left the hall? And what does the bride have to say about this? Personally I don't think you should pay her back anything, unless you carry through with your original idea when you were leaving the hall. Good luck & sorry you are going through this.

LukeRubyJoy Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:23am
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I'm sorry to hear that happened after all your hard work. I think this cake looks pretty. I think it could have used a few more flowers to fill in, did they leave you the flowers you were supposed to use? But the cake itself looks really good.

If someone is immediately threatening to you, of course you are going to be defensive. You may want to try and have another conversation with her next week after her blood has cooled. Make a list of questions to ask, like, did it taste good?

Also, I don't know if I would refund money to people if you alone are unhappy with your work, because you don't know if they will be. And it doesn't show confidence either. Like say she didn't have a problem at all but then received money from you.....how would the referral to other people be...."I thought she did a good job but she didn't so she gave me money back, use her!!" Have more confidence in yourself, it's a fine cake!

Anyway, hope this helps a little. Keep up the good work. What was the groom cake anyway?

rhondie Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:31am
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I checked out your cakes...they are crazy-cool...I like your style. Now to the dilemma at hand. Brendansmom said the cake fell..did it or did it look like it was going to fall? BIG difference! The cake looked ok to me as far as the lean factor..hardly noticeable. So This lady want's to sue you? That's ridiculous! It would probably cost her more to sue you than what she paid for the cake! However I hate to see a dissatisfied customer and just because she is nasty doesn't mean you should be too. Try working with her on a compromise as to a little compensation. Now if the cake full on fell due to lack of supports or incorrect supports then yeah I'd give her her money back! By the way...I like that cake and think you did a nice job.

cakes-r-us Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:32am
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you do have your pictures...i wouldn't refund her any money. if she had a problem i think they should have contacted you right then. i did a baby shower cake, when i delivered it no one was there. i waited, no show 15 mins later, i set it up-no table cloth on table. mom to be called as said it was leaning. i showed her the picture that i had taken, told her they were extremely late, and when they moved the cake they caused the problem. to compensate, i told her i would make a first birthday cake for the baby and she was ok with that. she since has called as wanted it for a graduation cake. told her i was going to do six inch she would have to pay xtra for larger cake. so she got 1/2 sheet for $20. still less than my cost but she was happy. talk to the bride.

sugartopped Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:33am
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did the cake actually fall over?? I think that if it actually fell over b/c the cake wasn't properly supported, they may be due some type of refund ...but not a full refund if they ate it. do they have pics of what it looked like at the recpetion?? maybe when the bride and groom cut it??

the cake was beautiful!!

tonyas_jewels Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:38am
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I just commented on how great i thought your cake was!! If they ate the cake,why would anyone think they could get a refund? people amaze me sometimes with their thinking!! I wouldn't refund anything,it looks beautiful and it was standing when you left,like someone said befor who know's what happened when you left the hall..HTH

AmberC2 Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:42am
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Thanks to everyone for your posts.

No the cake didnt fall, when the mother called she said that it looked like it was about to fall off the table now when she called again tonight she said it fell apart so i dont kow what is true. I talked to the bride earlier today also and she said that it was leaning when they got to the hall and they had to cut the cake first thing.

I take that as they cut and ate the cake. The mom says it fell apart and they threw it away. She has lied constantly since this all started. She said I told the caterer heres the cake deal with it I am leaving. I stayed there over an hour working on the cake because I am a perfectionist and I want the best and wouldnt expect anyone to take less than the best which is why I thought in the beginning I will give some of her money back.

The flowers were suppose to be left for me and they only left 6. I went around and found the bigger ones so there would be some more to add to it.

I think i have answered everyones questions, if I didnt please ask again.

Thanks for all of your advice and opinions!

Amber

AmberC2 Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:47am

That is what i thought also pinkbunny & tonyas_jewels, if they ate it why should they get their money back.

She said that she called a lawyer and that he said that she could get all of her money back plus I would have to pay attorney fees and court costs and that she would have my wages garnished. Do you think she is trying to scare me into giving her money back or she sould really do this?

rhondie Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:49am

Sounds like mommy's lying! If the cake did fall over I bet someones got a picture of it...ask to see it. But we know she will not be able to come up with one because IT DIDN"T FALL OVER!

chocomama Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:50am

Have you spoken with the caterer? I would think he would have an unbiased observation of what happened. So sorry about all of this. Oh, and they can't have your wages garnished over a cake. If that were the case, anyone who was owed money could do that and it doesn't work that way. Wage garnishment is reserved for student loans, IRS, etc. (I used to work for a collections attorney.) She's trying to scare you. icon_sad.gif

AmberC2 Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:51am

I guess my thought is that I didnt knock it over and i didnt go there with the intention to half way do the cake and to make sure it fell over which is what she is saying. I think she just wants her money back and nothing would have been good enough for her.

AmberC2 Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:54am

The caterer was a personal friend of hers so that is out. When I left the hall I talked to one of the ladies there and she said it looked great. Now the mom is telling me that the same lady told her that she told me the cake was crap and I should fix it and that is when I told her I am leaving you deal with it.

They are all just lying. I did have a friend of mine with me that helped me set it up and she knows what was said, Thank God!

AmberC2 Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:56am

Thank you so much chocomama! That makes me feel a lot better!

sugartopped Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 4:57am

if the cake didn't fall over AND they ate it......then they should get nothing back!! the bride said it was leaning....but did also threaten to sue or demand a refund?? it was the bride's cake....NOT the mother's!!

maybe offer to do the bride & groom's first anniversary tier for free..but I would discuss w/the bride...NOT the mother!!

bonniesido Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 5:04am

Hi, Do you have a license and a legal kitchen? If you don't I think I would be more concerned with her going to the health department. When you are dealing with strangers threes no telling what they will do. I think your cake looks nice and hope things go well for you.

TPDC Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 5:08am

Here is a very important question? Do you need to work in a licensed kitchen where you live and do you? If by law you need to work in a licensed kitchen and you do not, I would suggest giving her all the money. You do not need any attention drawn to yourself that you are not licensed. If you are licensed, fight.... Where is your contract? What does that say? Just a couple of questions and things to think about.

Good luck and I hope it all works out for you.....

AmberC2 Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 5:08am

The bride was nice about it. She didnt ask for a refund she just said her mom was the one who paid for it and the mom wouldnt let it go until I gave her money back but to try and call her and work something out. I apologized but I told her I wasnt giving her any money back. When we got off the phone she was fine. (the bride)

PGray315 Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 5:11am

Lawyer fees??? Court costs???Garnish wages???? icon_rolleyes.gif That threat is almost laughable! I think she's been watching too much courtroom drama on TV! I don't know about your state...but in mine the court dockets are so backed up you would have to get the nurses at the nursing home to take you to your trial!
Seriously, if court enters into it at all, I imagine it would be a small claims court ...and it would appear the strength of her case is compromised by the "eating the evidence". They must have thought it tasted fine, or they wouldn't have served/eaten it! I think she's trying to intimidate you.

LukeRubyJoy Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 5:13am

If no one at the wedding got a picture of it, in its DIRE STRAITS then how is she going to sue you if she doesn't have any proof? This woman sounds like she needs something to do, like a hobby!

since you have cleared the air with the bride, and she is happy I would do nothing. If the mom calls again, then speak with her, and tell her you want proof of her claims.

AmberC2 Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 5:14am

I do the cakes out of my home. I dont really know what the laws are about me doing them from my home. She has threatened that also. I guess my defense will be I didnt know and I will pay the fines.

PGray315 Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 5:23am

Check into what you have to do to have a licensed kitchen. I have mine through the Dept of Agriculture and then I also have to have a victualer's license from the town I live in.
I also have (my choice, not required by any agency) extra insurance added to my homeowner's insurance to cover my cake business. I have never had to use it, but it is nice to know if I do run into a legal problem, it should cover it.
I thought I'd add this in case it would be of any help.

ceshell Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 5:24am

I don't know a single thing about wedding cake protocol but one thing that I think you should be very careful with is any suggestion that just because they ate the cake, they aren't due any refund. I AM NOT SAYING THEY *ARE* DUE A DARNED THING! I am just saying, I respectfully disagree with the idea that you should use that as the basis of how you handle the issue. I'm trying to look at it from the customer's standpoint, and let's say for the sake of argument the thing was about 4 secs from falling over so before they even started the reception they cut the cake FAST and then served it after dinner. Well, that's a huge disappointment for a bride, since their cake shouldn't have been falling over. But if it was your wedding cake, wouldn't you eat it anyway? I mean what else do you do, order in twinkies?

That said, I strongly believe the burden of proof is on them to demonstrate that there was a problem with the cake. The cake looks GORGEOUS and it's true, what happens to it after you leave can't be entirely your fault. Unless you think it is your fault, if you think the globe supports didn't do their job and the cake was about to become the leaning tower of Pisa. There have to be 10000000 photos of that cake, before during and after the cutting ceremony. They need to pony up.

As for suing you - it sounds like she's just trying to be a *****, thinking if she threatens you she'll "win". I truly hate these types of people. They have no respect for others, and no concept of reality. She should absolutely positively be showing you photos of this "fallen apart" cake if she thinks she should get a penny more than what you feel is a fair "customer satisfaction" refund (should you choose to offer one). But I think what you yourself said kinda answers some of your own question: you already wanted to give them a refund because you felt the cake was a little leany. Don't reneg on that just because Mom's a jerk, but do not under any circumstances imply that you think anyone is "entitled" to a penny; any concession you offer should be a goodwill gesture. And a lawyer-OMG yeah right, she ALREADY talked to an attorney about a CAKE?? What a joke! I can totally see WHY you would prefer to offer nothing, just out of spite, because clearly the lady is trying to rip you off.

Totally agree with LukeRubyJoy that you should never imply that any cake is any less than perfect unless it is blatantly a disaster, so now you could just say "Listen, the cake was fine, I made sure of it when I left, but in the interest of customer satisfaction I will offer you an $x refund" or some future deal like cakes-r-us suggested. The lady sounds like a real *ahem* but that shouldn't change your initial instinct about the right thing to do. Forget about what a jerk she is: just offer what you know is right. But still insist on photos first, that is insanity to take her on her word, esp. since she has proven to be a total liar.

This is all my extremely humble opinion, again with 0 experience as a baker...I'm trying to look at it from the customer's point of view (i.e. the BRIDE) and think: what is my job as the customer in resolving this problem, and what is my cake designer's job? Oh while i was typing this some more posts came in, including from you, including that the bride said it was fine. I got news for you, she just completely wiped out her psycho-mom's ability to "file a lawsuit". What a surprise that would be when the bride was called in to court as a witness against her own mother LOL!!

TPDC Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 5:28am

The fines could be in the thousands of dollars, for being "turned in" by someone. Does that outweigh the money back? Personally, if I was in your shoes, I would not have any idea what to do. So, once again, best of luck!

Momof3boys Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 5:36am

I'm so sorry this is happening to you I think your cake is beautiful! That said, from what I've learned here on CC, doing cakes without a license can result in some very heavy fines. I would hate for that to happen to you. Sounds like the MOB is a total loon and you might be better off just giving her her money back and be done with her.
Good Luck to you!

JoanneK Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 5:47am

Wow! Good thing you took a photo. I would tell the mom that as soon as you are provided with proof the cake was ready to fall over at any moment you will refund her money.

You left there knowing it was tilting some and maybe over time with the weight of the cake it was really tilted when the bride got there.

Why was it leaning? Was it the cake or the stand or the table?

I know it's hard to give the money back but I feel it is in your best interest to do so. One because it will keep the customer happy and shut up. No more bad mouthing you. But mainly because it is not worth dealing with her threats and having to worry everytime someone comes to the door about serving you with papers to show up in court.

You have a lot more to lose by not being licensed and being caught then you do by giving the money back.

However, if the bride signed the contract that is who I would pay. If the mother signed it then I would pay her.

The cake is a very important part of a wedding and is something everyone remembers so I'm sure if anything she said was true then I can see her being mad. One pays a lot of money for a wedding cake. You want it to be the center of attention.........after the bride of course.

If they had to cut it before everyone got there and couldn't take photos cutting the cake or feeding each other that is a memory that was stolen from them and they have a right to be mad.

To me it's just not worth it to have someone yelling at me and calling me over and over again.

Take it as a lesson learned to never leave a cake you feel is leaning a bit. If it happens again, be sure to wait for the bride to show and give the ok before you leave.

Good luck
Joanne

ge978 Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 1:18pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmberC2

That is what i thought also pinkbunny & tonyas_jewels, if they ate it why should they get their money back.

She said that she called a lawyer and that he said that she could get all of her money back plus I would have to pay attorney fees and court costs and that she would have my wages garnished. Do you think she is trying to scare me into giving her money back or she sould really do this?




Actually yes she can sue and win. I'm not saying she will for sure, but she can. There is a decorator down the street from me who makes wedding cakes & runs a hall. The bride picked a cake supported by wine glasses....everything was fine until a kid knocked the cake over. You would think...ok a kid from their wedding...its not his fault. Wrong! They sued him and won. He had to refund the cake , pay court costs & I'm not sure what else. She said it ruined her wedding day.

I'm not going to give an opinion either way on refunding the money...i don't know all the details, but if the mom is persistant enough, it might not be worth the hassle to go to court

darcat Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 1:30pm

Well I'm curious to know who actually contracted with you for the cake? The bride or the mother? If it's the bride then the mother cannot sue you I believe.

Mac Posted 20 Aug 2006 , 1:43pm

Pictures are your best friend with wedding cakes. I set-up a small wedding cake with pillars. Took pictures of a perfect cake. Bride told me the top fell off the pillars. Asked her how, she stated that someone told her the top part was leaning. Asked her if anyone attempted to straighten it up, she said no.

Showed her pictures of the cake when I left, it was fine. She was even there when I set it up. I told her someone could have hit the table (there were several children running around while I was setting up) and caused the top to lean but could have easily been straigthened up.

I asked if they were able to have pictures made before it fell, she said yes. I asked to see pictures, she wouldn't show me. She said they were able to put the top back on and the backside was "smooched" abit. I offered to make the top cake again so they would have a perfect cake for the 1st year, she declined. Thank goodness that was the end of that.

So, please ask to see the proof before refunding.

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