My delivery policy also states that delivery is based on Mapquest's time and directions with a starting zip code of xxxxx. Again, with the thought of "they don't know anything about a wedding cake", someone MIGHT be able to drive it in 30 minutes .... but with a wedding cake in the back?
(I drive WAY different when there's no cake in there with me!)
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.
I love the cake but I didnt like the color of the icing. But for my second wedding cake I LOVE IT!
If it was just a border and it was corrected, I still dont know if that justifies a refund or really considered damaged.
Oh I agree completely. If the damage was fixed, there's no issue. I repair all sorts of mistakes on my cakes before the customer sees them.
I have a clause as well about conditions that may affect the cake once I've delivered it, but to me, it's my problem to handle until I've delivered the cake. If it's 110 outside, I'm responsible for making sure that cake stays cool until it gets where it's going.
I don't think I'd get any customer to agree that if their cake melts in the heat before it's delivered, it's their problem.
I don't know about you guys but I'm thinking that if I didn't like a cake that I paid good money for - especially if it didn't meet my expectations - I would have taken a picture - good or bad - just to present to the decorator as part of my complaint.
I don't really have an opinion on refunding money because I don't have a backbone yet. I rarely charge more than supplies for my cakes (if that) - LOL. I'm hoping all things will work out and both parties can reach an agreement. Please keep us informed.
I have sent a copy of the letter to the customer. I have learn alot from this site. As of now I would have a contract and I will put the tiers together at the place of the event. Thanks for all of your help. P.S. I think she would ask for some of her money back.
Oh I agree completely. If the damage was fixed, there's no issue. I repair all sorts of mistakes on my cakes before the customer sees them.
Heck, I had one where the container of stainless steel dinner knives fell onto the cake during delivery! Fortunately, the dowels in the the tier supported the container so the worst that happened was one of the corners was mashed a little (well, more than a little but less than "OH MY GOD!"). Put that corner in the back and covered it with flowers when I got there ... the groom was there when I was setting it up and he saw it.
Mistakes get fixed all the time.
I say you may need to give her a partial refund but not the entire amount. If you are new to this, then you have started with the hardest thing to do...wedding cakes. I've been decorating cakes for about 2 years now and I've only done 2 wedding cakes and those were for family. I would still be scared to take on a job for someone I didn't know.
This is her reply
I'm not asking for a full refund as I realize even if it was not
satisfactory you did furnish a product. I am at a complete lose as to
my wedding cake did not look anything like the picture and our
And I'm not sure what your talking regarding the air conditioning as
entire establishment was comfortably air conditioned the entire time;
matter of fact we quickly moved the cake tables directly over air vents
prevent further melting of both cakes. If the cake layers had been
transported individually damage may have been lessened.
I strongly feel a refund of half of my monies is a fair compromise
Ladies, what do you think?
When the bride said "no cake-cutting picture was taken" did she mean NOT ONE single picture was taken of the cake at all at the reception?
I believe it would be helpful if she would send you a picture of the "melted" cake to verify her complaint.
It would also give us a better idea of what she is talking about - the cake you made being so different from the pictured cake she wanted - if we could see the picture of the cake she wanted, side by side with the cake she says she got, we could you give a better opinion.
At the moment, we only have her word to go on, and no other proof.
if I have to I will give her half of her money for the wedding cake. The wedding cake was $220.00.
Without photos (of what is was supposed to look like and what it did look like) it's tough to accurately determine exactly how valid her complaint may be.
That said I am firmly in the camp of "if the bride isn't happy, they pay nothing" so I would refund 100% of her money.
Best of luck with whatever you end up doing!
I agree with the others who say that without pictures it's impossible to know.
If you delivered a cake that looked very close to what she ordered, that wasn't obviously damaged in any way, you owe her nothing. If you didn't you owe her a refund. How much of a refund depends on how much damage and how different the cake was than she ordered.
But in this case, you don't have pictures to prove your cake was what it should have been so I'd say satisfy the customer and give her the refund she asked for. Consider it a lesson learned. Next time take pictures of the cake the minute you get it delivered.
The lady sounds like she's being reasonable...she even said that she doesnt want a refund in full because she did get a cake, but that her cake was not what she wanted.
At least refund her half. It is hard to give advice without seeing the cake, but it sounds like there were a few problems.
Please let us know what happens.
We learn a lot of things when situations like this happen... So, this experience will only make you stronger and will help you in the future on what thinigs to look out for...
So all this is basically your word against hers since there was no photo taken of the cake.
The only real proff we have is things you've said for example,
1)you said in your first post it was a 2 hour drive w/ 90 degree weather so obvioulsy the cakes were melted like she said. Melted icing would also make repairing damaged areas hard.(though she told you it was 30 minutes even 30 minutes in 90 weather will be hard on an iced cake.-Really it is your responsabilty as the decorator to check weather, make your vehcile super cold and to verify that air condition was at the place which she is saying there was.)
2)you said in one of your replies that the color was off...you didn't like that outcome so that makes it understandabale that the bride would be upset. WE all know wedding days are important and the cake is the center of everything at the reception.
Just going off of those 2 things alone I personally would admit my mistakes, learn a lot of lessons from this and refund her her money.
I am new to decorating, also. I would never feel at this point that I could accomplish a paid wedding cake. That said, without pictures of what the cake looked like or what she wanted, I feel that I would probably agree to refund her money, less the delivery fee. What she happy with the taste of of the cake, at least? I am quite sure SOMEONE took a picture of the cake, because as a previous poster said, if it were me--and I were really upset about the cake--I would want a picture to show how "bad" I thought the cake was. Anyway, I have to agree, that i, myslef, would refund her money and chalk it up to a learning experience. This will save your reputation, especially if you come from a small town. Also, the list of "things I learned from this experience" that another person posted was excellent. I am really sorry this happened to you...this is exactly why I am terrified to attempt something like that (although my skills are no way near that level yet).
Something I don't think you mentioned was whether your car was adequately air conditioned for the transport. The bride is saying the center was air conditioned but it sounds like the cake was melting when it arrived and they moved it closer to the cooling vents to prevent further damage. While she should have taken a picture of the damaged cake to justify her complaint I wonder if the condition was such that she just didn't want her wedding cake photos to be of a cake that was not what she wanted or wanted memories of. While I personally think I would think to get a picture of a damaged cake, I also wouldn't want this to ruin the reception for me. And a brides moods can tend to rub off on the guests. Beautiful as a bride wants it to be the cake really isn't or shouldn't be the most important thing about the reception, in my opinion.
This bride seems to be reasonable about this. If you don't have a picture of an unmelted or otherwise undamaged cake at the time of delivery and set up I think you should giver her at the least the 50% refund she's asked for. If you know in your heart that that cake was melting when you set it up then you have to assume that the damage she talks about was a direct result of it's getting too warm during transport. A melting cake can do some significant shifting before it begins to set up when transfered to a frig even. I think you should chalk this up a learning experience and do what you can to save your reputation in the making. Next time make sure you run your car long enough to cool it well before transporting a cake. It's that all important "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" thing.
I know there are plenty here who transport cakes already assembled, but personally I always transport mine with each cake in a separate box/container and put it together on site. This may change some after I start using my stress free supports but I doubt it.
Better safe than sorry.
We'll I have email her and will refund half of the money she never said the cake taste bad it that it didnt like look the picture she gave me. I have learn alot talking with this ladies on this website. First I will always take a picture before I leave the site and I will also tell customer that you can not copy another person cake. But this was a lesson learn, thanks to all for you help! Im happy I can get advised from other bakery.
I believe you should refund half. To me it sounds like your transportation was not adequately cooled to travel with someones wedding cake. I live in a tiny hot, hot,hot little west Texas town, but I still drive the route before delivery to see exactley where I need to be. If I agree to deliver someones wedding cake, then that is my responsibility to keep the cake cooled during transport, and repair any damage incured. Driving on a dirt road and "up a mountain" is going to damage a tiered wedding cake.
I didnt sound like the bride was trying to be unreasonible. If I were a bride I dont think that I would be i would be in the frame of mind to think "quick! Grap the camera and take a picture of this melting cake!" It is my responsibility to take pictures to prove the condition of the cake at time of delivery, even if I have to grab a cheapy one at the dollar store.
I feel that I should be honest and realistic about my skill level.
I was at a resturaunt not long ago, and half the way thru with my meal, I found a hair. I complained to the waitress and she said "well, you ate it didnt you?"
One more time I was eating refried beans at a mexican food resturaunt and bit a huge rock the size of a pea! My husband compained, yet we were told "Well, you ate it" I dont think it is right at all for anyone in the food service business to be able to just toss those words around, when there is a complaint. Especially when the complaint is lagitimate.
Try to let this be a learning experience. Be fair and honest about everything that happened. Practice, practice, practice. Read, read, read.
Bake lots of cakes a give them to friends & family. Improve with each one.
I just hate that this happend the way it did. I am also new to making cakes, I plunged in with wedding cakes -self taught -well, everyone from these forums and Wilton's forums have helped a great deal! Anyways. I have my first cake for a stranger coming up at the end of the month so I am pretty nervous about it. It's kind of scary reading what has happened to some of you. I was trying to think of what I would do if it were me in this situation and I was hoping to share my opinion, I'm just not sure what that is. Everyone has such great points they are making and it has helped me to learn to cover all my bases! I really hope things work out for you - it's hard to put so much work into something, knowing that it is a very big aspect of the most important day in someone's life, and then it ending in an unhappy bride. Just do what you think is best. If you truly feel at fault for any part of it then a partial refund is a way to resolve that. I hate when I hear "the customer is always right" b/c they aren't ALWAYS right but if you do work something out to make that customer happy then they will remember that.
There is a statistic on customer service that I read about once that said if a customer goes to an establishment(let's say a restaurant) and has a good experience they are likely on average to mention that good experience to 4-5 people. If a customer has a bad experience they are likely to tell around 12 people!