cerobs Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 12:52pm
post #1 of

I done a wedding cake and groom cakes 3 weeks ago. The first problem was the heat and the drive to the area. Customer told me that it would be a 30 min. drive so I already had the 3tier cake done. The first problem was the heat and the drive was 2 hours and the weather was 90 degree and I only charge her 25.00 for delivery. Second was she said the cake didnt look like the picture she show me and at the time of cutting the cut it had melt. When I went to delivery the cake to the center it didnt have a air condition or refrigertate and I had to go up a mountain and dirt road for about 45 min. Well she want her money back. The cost for the wedding cake was 230.00 and groom cake 75.00 Please help me.

49 replies
cerobs Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 1:45pm
post #2 of

And Yes she want a refund. What should I do

MnSnow Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 2:31pm
post #3 of

If it wasn't what she wanted I would offer either a partial refund or a gift certificate for an anniversary cake.

If the cake was eaten, then the order was fullfilled so no full refund!

It sounds like she has a case of "buyers remorse". Chances are she has had a chance to review her expenses and is realizing how expensive everything is and sees a way of recouping some of it.

You could explain to her, that although it wasn't exactly how she pictured it, (perhaps she hadn't been clear on her expectations), it had still been eaten. Tell her your normal delivery charge and how much further the destination was than what she had told you, so she saved money there.

I guess if it were me, I would offer a free anniversary cake or a percentage off her next order. Good Luck

SugarBakers05 Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 5:05pm
post #4 of

Hi Cerobs, can you clarify these lines, "and at the time of cutting the cut it had melt" icon_confused.gif and "center it didnt have a air condition or refrigertate and I had to go up a mountain and dirt road for about 45 min."
you kind of lost me there.

heather1 Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 5:16pm
post #5 of

I dont think so!!! She should have said something to you immediately if there was a problem. And I agree, if they ate the cake definately no refund. You should be charging her for the trip you made. It's like the saying goes: "Everyone wants something for nothing". Well not everyone, but you know what I mean. Bottom line, NO REFUND!!! PERIOD!

Beckalita Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 7:14pm
post #6 of

I tend to agree with the above posters; if the cake was eaten ~ then they do not get a full refund. The lack of air conditioning at the center is not your fault, and was likely the reason your cake didn't look like the picture. Unless she points out something specifically wrong that had nothing to do with the heat, I'd say she doesn't have a legitimate complaint.... That said, acknowledge that she was unhappy.... and offer a small partial refund or discount off a future order.
If I can offer you some tips for the future......Try to make sure your cakes are well chilled before delivery and drive with the car's air conditioning on full blast to avoid any mishaps in-transit. Also ~ take a photo once the cake is set up, and you may want to add a clause to your cake contract that you are not responsible for any damage to the cake after you leave, especially if it is set up outdoors. To avoid undercharging for delivery in the future, do an online search to determine exactly how many miles round trip to deliver and figure your delivery charge accordingly. Hope this helps!

justme50 Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 7:23pm
post #7 of

I'm a little confused...

Did you have an address and directions to deliver the cake? Wouldn't you have known how far away it was and that it was going to take 2 hours instead of 30 minutes? Just asking, because I don't understand not knowing in advance how far away the venue was from you.

If the cake wasn't what she ordered or if it was damaged before you left it at the venue, you owe her a refund of some kind. Really, I'm not a fan of "if they eat the cake, you don't owe them anything". For me, it always depends on the situation.

I don't think it's fair to expect a client not to serve the cake at all when the problem is the design or damage to the cake. It's not as though they can serve another cake at the last moment and the fact that they made do with an unsatisfactory cake doesn't lessen their rights to a refund.

So it really depends. If the cake was what she ordered and the only damage done to it was due to the venue not being air conditioned or happened after you left, you owe her nothing. Otherwise, I think you owe her a refund, minus any extra she owes you for the extra distance delivery charges.

KittyPTerror Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 7:24pm
post #8 of

Was there a problem with the groom's cake, too? I wouldn't give her anything on the groom's cake, and I would talk to her about the travel issues- why did it take 2 hours to get there? Was it because of traffic or did she just lie to you about how far it really was? If she told you it was only 30 minutes and it was really 2 hours, I think that she needs to know about that! Also- do you think the cake you made looked like what she wanted? Cake is art- it's subject to interpretation and no two cakes will EVER look exactly the same. If you're not worried about having her as a customer again, or that she'll badmouth you to other potential customers, I'd probably just tell her to take a leap. If you are worried about bad press, I'd figure out what she'd be satisfied with. Maybe a $50 refund? A free anniversary tier? No way does she get all that money back, though!

smoore Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 7:33pm
post #9 of

What was the condition of the cake when it was set up? Had the drive/heat effected it to the point where you already thought it was a disaster, or did it just look hotter than you wanted it to? If you delivered and it was not damaged from the drive, I don't see why you would need to refund her anything (especially if you've got a picture of the condition of the cake after delivery). Tell her what you would have charged for delivery knowing exactly where it is now and that she saved there. If Iwere happy with a cake before putting it in my car, but disappointed in it after I delivered it because of damage in delivery, I would consider a refund. As far as it not looking like the picture she sent you - what's your take on it? Is it similar, but not exact? I couldn't do the same thing twice no matter how I tried, not to mention copying someone elses work! Is she not being realistic?

cerobs Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 7:41pm

This was my second wedding cake,so Im learning. She told me that it was 30 min. but I did mapquest the drive direction ,so since I quote her 25.00 I loss out of that. But she never told me that I had to go up a mountain and a gravel road. She said that she couldnt take picture well cutting because of the condition of the cake .

cerobs Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 7:47pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoore

What was the condition of the cake when it was set up? Had the drive/heat effected it to the point where you already thought it was a disaster, or did it just look hotter than you wanted it to? If you delivered and it was not damaged from the drive, I don't see why you would need to refund her anything (especially if you've got a picture of the condition of the cake after delivery). Tell her what you would have charged for delivery knowing exactly where it is now and that she saved there. If Iwere happy with a cake before putting it in my car, but disappointed in it after I delivered it because of damage in delivery, I would consider a refund. As far as it not looking like the picture she sent you - what's your take on it? Is it similar, but not exact? I couldn't do the same thing twice no matter how I tried, not to mention copying someone elses work! Is she not being realistic?




When I drop off the cake the second tier border had pull apart so I had to correct the border. The icing wasn't the exact color of the picture but she had three tier and each other was a different flavor,french vanilla,lemon,chocalate and she just said that the groom cake start melting.

justme50 Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 7:49pm

So, are you saying the cake was damaged before you delivered it? If it was, I'm afraid you owe her a refund of at least a portion of the price depending on how bad the damage was.

cerobs Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 7:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckalita

I tend to agree with the above posters; if the cake was eaten ~ then they do not get a full refund. The lack of air conditioning at the center is not your fault, and was likely the reason your cake didn't look like the picture. Unless she points out something specifically wrong that had nothing to do with the heat, I'd say she doesn't have a legitimate complaint.... That said, acknowledge that she was unhappy.... and offer a small partial refund or discount off a future order.
If I can offer you some tips for the future......Try to make sure your cakes are well chilled before delivery and drive with the car's air conditioning on full blast to avoid any mishaps in-transit. Also ~ take a photo once the cake is set up, and you may want to add a clause to your cake contract that you are not responsible for any damage to the cake after you leave, especially if it is set up outdoors. To avoid undercharging for delivery in the future, do an online search to determine exactly how many miles round trip to deliver and figure your delivery charge accordingly. Hope this helps!




Thank you very much but how much do you suppose to charge to delivery a cake.

beccakelly Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 7:53pm

do YOU have a picture of what it looked like before you left hte venue? posting it might help us give you better advice. if it was in good condition when you left it, then you don't owe a refund. she said that by the time they cut it, it was melted? well thats the venues fault for not having air conditioning, and she should ask them for a refund! if the design didn't look reasonably close to the picture she gave you, then you may want to consider a partial refund, something like 20-40% depending on how off the mark you were. but if you think the cake was very close to the picture she gave you, and you left it in good condition, then there is no reason to give a refund. post pics of the cake photo she gave you and the cake she got at her reception.

cakeconfections Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:03pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by justme50

So, are you saying the cake was damaged before you delivered it? If it was, I'm afraid you owe her a refund of at least a portion of the price depending on how bad the damage was.




If it was just a border and it was corrected, I still dont know if that justifies a refund or really considered damaged. It would really depend on how it looked. I have a weahter/temp clause in my contract stating that I am not resposible to what it will do to a cake and make that very clear in the consult. If i know it is going to be warm I even add it again and have them initial it.

As far as not looking exactly like the picture, did you tell them it would or did you tell them your cake will be modeled after the picture. I never tell someone I can reproduce something exactly. Even if it is my own cake I am replicating.

BrandisBaked Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:13pm

Dear Unhappy Bride,

I am so sorry that you were unhappy with the cake you purchased for your wedding. I would be happy to discuss a possible remedy to this situation.

I realize my mistake in taking your word that the reception site was only 30 minutes away. I should have checked for myself so that I could more accurately have guaged the driving time and calculated the correct delivery fee. However, as it was your representation regarding the drive time that helped contribute to the state the cake was in, I'm afraid we both must share in the blame. I was also unaware that the reception site had no air conditioning. If you had provided me this information, I could have made necessary adjustments (freezing the cake, etc.).

Regardless, I do feel badly that your cake was not the cake of your dreams on your special day. Because of this, I would like to offer you 40% off your next purchase from me, up to a total discount of $100. In addition, I will gladly reproduce a 6" anniversary tier for you on your anniversary (with 1 week notice). I take pride in my work, and I do appreciate your business.

Sincerely,

"Cerobs"

************

Personally, I'd rather give her an even larger discount (since you share in the blame) than have her badmouth me all over town. If this had happened to me, I'd probably do at least 50-60% off. But my prices are probably higher than a lot of people and that would still more than cover my expenses.

Beckalita Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:16pm

cerobs, every decorator charges differently for delivery....but this is what I do: Wedding or tiered cakes must be delivered by me (no pick-ups!) since I don't want to fix the cake the customer shoved into his trunk and damaged because he drove crazy. Wedding/tiered cake delivery is figured per mile (based on round-trip) and I charge 45 cents a mile. Hope this helps you!

aobodessa Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:18pm

I am sorry this has happened to you, but I, too, am a little confused.

Did you explain to her that this was only your 2nd wedding cake? Was she aware that you may not yet have the skills to provide her with something rather difficult for a beginner?

Whe she told you were the venue was, were you familiar with roughly how far away it is from your home? If you relied on her for directions ("it's only 30 minutes away"), you are stuck with the tiny delivery fee in my opinion.

As for the colors not being close to the photo she provided at order, did you explain to her that you could not guarantee those exact colors? Did she provide you with a fabric swatch or piece of ribbon so you could try to match the color closely?

There are an awful lot of variables here to deal with. I'm not convinced she is owed a full refund (she did get a cake, after all). Did she tell you that there was no air conditioning or refrigeration available at the location? If not, she cannot expect you to be aware of the situation ahead of time. However, you should anticipate ANY problem beforehand to avoid such a situation.

How far in advance did she place the order? Unless it was a week or so before the wedding date, I would have driven the route just to be on the safe side of knowing how long it would take me to get there.

Despite all of this, write her a very polite letter, explain that you are sorry to hear she is not happy with what she received on the day of her wedding. Offer to sit down with her and calmly discuss the differences between what your order sheet says, what was actually delivered, and what the Bride thought she was getting. If, after hearing her side calmly articulated, you feel you owe her a partial refund, you may feel it wise to offer her a 20% cash refund on her order. I wouldn't go any higher unless it was such a disaster that it could not have been served at all. (By the way, you were paid $305 according to what you say, so that would equal a $61 refund). I would not offer any more than that.

After you have made peace with this woman, sit down and calmly go over what you did (again), and realistically figure out what you can do better next time, because if you are at all talented, there will be another wedding cake to do in the future. Use this as an opportunity to refine what you do and how you deal with the public. This may have become a problem at this point in time, but you can make it help you become a better decorator and a better customer service person.

Sorry this is so long, but I know you will be able to turn this one around to help you in the future. After all, if you didn't care what she thinks, you wouldn't be asking us for help, would you?

Keep smiling,

Odessa

cerobs Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:21pm

This is the email from cp

I'm writing you regarding the wedding cake and groom's cake you
delivered
for my wedding on September 22, 2007. I was very upset with the
condition
and the design of the cakes. I have never known a multi layer cake to
be
delivered already put together layered; they have always been put
together
once the cake had reached it's destination. I don't even know how to
address
the fact that they were both so melted...the weather conditions were
no
surprise event. Adding insult to injury is the fact the wedding cake
clearly did not look anything like the picture! The wedding cake was
so
disappointing there was no cake cutting/picture taking done and I feel
the
only satisfactory way of attempting to compensate the situation is to
refund my monies.

DEBBIE157 Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:27pm

Do you have a picture of what the cake looked like when you set it up at the site?

SugarFrosted Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:28pm

Can you post a picture to show us what the cake looked like after you delivered and set it up?
While she said she had no cake-cutting picture taken, do you know which photographer she used so you can ask to see a picture of the cake if s/he has one?

indydebi Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:37pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cerobs

I have never known a multi layer cake to be delivered already put together layered; they have always been put together once the cake had reached it's destination.




icon_confused.gificon_confused.gif ?? Uh.....so? Just because SHE doesn't know anything about wedding cake delivery, doesn't make it a fact.

I recently had a bride who switched her top tier flowers to a heavy topper, then complained because the topper was crooked. I pointed out that HAD I KNOWN she was switching out the tops to a heavy one, I could have done the required engineering needed to support such a weight. She came back apologetically, saying she was not aware it would make a difference, since she doens't know anything about cakes.

My reaction? "EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!"


Quote:
Originally Posted by cerobs

I don't even know how to address the fact that they were both so melted...the weather conditions were no
surprise event.




So the fact that she had an un-air conditioned venue on a hot day and how that affected a product made with BUTTER should be no surprise to HER! What exactly did she expect you to do about a hot room in the middle of summer with no AC? icon_confused.gif

I like Brandi's letter-response.

cerobs Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:40pm

Ladies Im new to this I just now bought a camera for picture of cake.

maeliza Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:47pm

Sorry about your problems with this bride. I am surprised that you did not Yahoo the directions from point A to point B. Even though most directions from the internet are not completely correct, it would have given you a better idea of how far your deliver was. Just a suggestion for next time. Also air conditioning in the vehicle would have helped for melting issue. I'm in Texas and normally were two shirts when deliving because the vehicle is sooo cold, blowing the air in the vehicle so high. Maybe offer a refund with a FREE cake for her next event of her choosing, (i.e. Christmas, birthday, etc.) up to a half sheet cake size, with a time limit must be used by Feb 2008. When people feel like you are going out of your way to make them happy that is what customer service means. Sometimes I think we forget that people matter. Yes, maybe her expectations were too high and she did not explain the distance correctly and the cake was eaten (no complaints on taste), but she is the customer and cannot get that day back. Do you think the cake was looking great? I haven't heard your opinion on what the cake looked like.

MariaLovesCakes Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:49pm

This customer is trying to put the whole blame on your for things you didn't know about.

So, it is important that when you contact her back that you write yourself a note or notes discussing all these factors that were NOT addressed by her and that caused problems. As nice and calm as possible under the circumstances. I know it can be difficult.

Please let us know whatever you decide.

If you want to give her a partial refund and you feel better about it, then do it. But I don't think that she deserves a FULL refund because you had no control of the weather environment the cake was going to be in.

Good luck and please let us know how it goes. icon_smile.gif

aobodessa Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 8:59pm

BrandisBaked,

I love your "letter" draft. Very nicely worded, non-judgmental, diplomatic.

Are you sure you're not an Attorney by day???

Odessa

BrandisBaked Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 9:01pm

I have to say this... unless the cake was completely inedible, or destoyed (toppled over or crushed due to delivery or set-up), I would NEVER give a refund.

Word travels. And people hear that you refunded so-and-so for their cake, and they will order one from you and complain until they get their money back (when they may have nothing to complain about).

Stand your ground. They got the cake. They ate the cake. Weather conditions are an act of God, and it was her misrepresentation of the drive time that helped contribute to the problem. I would offer a large discount (or even a free cake)... which gives you another opportunity not only to please her, but to help advertise yourself. If you turn up with a gorgeous cake to her next event, you may get more customers...

Lostinalaska Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 9:10pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandisBaked

I have to say this... unless the cake was completely inedible, or destoyed (toppled over or crushed due to delivery or set-up), I would NEVER give a refund.

Word travels. And people hear that you refunded so-and-so for their cake, and they will order one from you and complain until they get their money back (when they may have nothing to complain about).

Stand your ground. They got the cake. They ate the cake. Weather conditions are an act of God, and it was her misrepresentation of the drive time that helped contribute to the problem. I would offer a large discount (or even a free cake)... which gives you another opportunity not only to please her, but to help advertise yourself. If you turn up with a gorgeous cake to her next event, you may get more customers...




I couldn't agree with this more

nickymom Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 9:17pm

I like Brandi's letter. I think you should send a similar one to your unhappy bride.

I think lessons can be learned from this though.
1) Always check directions for yourself. Before quoting a delivery charge Yahoo the distance, map it. etc.
2) No matter how silly the questions may seem always ask specific questions that could affect your cake
Example=is the delivery site air-conditioned?
3) If the color the customer wants isn't a basic color you've done before make test batchs several weeks in advance to make sure you can come up w/ the exact color she wants. If you can't call her ASAP and be honest w/ her. Tell her you can do a similar color or she can choose a different color. Anytime you deliver a cake that isnt the color and design the customer ordered its your fault.

Additional tips to learn from reading other people's replies.
1)  if the customer changes something last minute tell her there may be a chance of it not working or complimenting the cake as the original plans did. If it's something like a topper tell her you must have the topper before you bake decorate the cake so that you can see for yourself if it will be too heavy, big etc. Don't ever agree to change a topper after design & setup because you may not have made a sturdy enough cake for that topper. Know what I mean?
2) Wedding cakes are ESPECIALLY important so if you dont think you can do whats being asked of you dont do it!

p.s. always take a picture of your cake after you get it set-up at it's location!

khoudek Posted 3 Oct 2007 , 9:22pm

I agree with BrandisBaked and I thought her letter very appropriate. Also, in addition to taking that pic prior to leaving the venue, I have an "act of God" clause in the contract.

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