heatherLhorton Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 4:46pm
post #1 of

Hello all! I'm hoping someone can give me some insight on what to do about this. I've been creating cakes for about 4 1/2 years now and have NEVER had a problem with an unhappy customer before. HELP!

My hubby and I delivered and setup a 4 Tier (6,8,10,12 inch) Square Cake stacked. It was a simple cake, just like the simple cake in the picture that the bride gave to me. I warned her that it would not look exactly like the picture because in the picture (from what I could tell) it looked like they used fondant and an airbrush. She did not want Fondant. So, I used white buttercream.

Anyway, the mother of the bride, the bride's aunt and another lady were all there while we were setting up the cake. When I was finished I asked where the flowers were to go on the cake. The aunt said that the florist was running late and wouldn't be there until 2 p.m. (we set the cake up at 12:30-1p.m.). We had to travel almost an hour to deliver this cake and were not going to wait around. So, I was fine with letting the florist put the flowers on the cake (i don't normally like to do that, but in this instance...I wasn't about to hang out for an hour and wait).

So, we get all done with the cake (obviously done) and I ask if the bride had left me an envelope with the remainder of the payment. The aunt doesn't know so she calls the bride. So, we set around and wait. Still obviously done setting up the cake. The bride shows up to the reception site, comes in and hands me the check. I say, go around the front and take a look. Do you like it? SHe says yes. We make small talk, I tell her how pretty she looks and that the reception looks amazing, etc. Then, I say, let me know what you think and please send me a picture of the cake after the flowers are on it. (Because I know that the cake is not finished until the topper is one, etc.).

We leave the reception site pretty happy with the way the cake turned out. Exactly 4 minutes and 4 or 5 blocks away from the site I get a phone call from the aunt telling me that the Bride is in tears and that the Wedding Cake is the worst Wedding Cake she has ever seen. I am totally shocked by this and don't know what to say to her. I said, "I am sorry that you feel that way". I didn't know what else to say or do. She threatened that the bride was going to go to the bank right then and cancel the check she had just given me. WHAT!??? So, I said, no, no, no, you do not need to do that. I am a rational person and didn't want to cause anymore problem than I had already caused (from what they tell me). So, we turned around and went back to the reception site where the aunt met us outside. Again she continued to tell me how awful the cake was, etc. etc. I explained to her just as I had explained to the bride that the color would not match the picture exactly and it would not look exactly like the picture b/c she didn't want to use fondant. (keep in mind the the aunt probably had never even seen the picture of the cake she gave me).

Anyway, to not make this any longer than it already is... What SHOULD I have done, and what should I do now? The aunt and I discussed partial refund, etc. during our conversation, but I haven't heard from her. I know I should speak directly to the Bride, but i think she is on her honey moon right now and I do not want to bother her. Even though I am the bad guy in their scenerio I DO NOT want to be and I do not to make things any worse than they already are.

Any suggestions?

71 replies
emrldsky Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 4:55pm
post #2 of

I would wait and see if the bride does call. I'd be a bit wary of second-hand information in this case.

HTH!

MaisieBake Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:01pm
post #3 of

1. If the bride is the customer, wait for her to call. (As you say, give her time to return from her honeymoon and so forth.)

2. I'm not seeing what you hoped to gain from smalltalk and fishing for compliments from the bride on her wedding day. Your product really isn't her primary focus then, you know?

darandon Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:05pm
post #4 of

I'd wait and talk to the bride. Did you have her sign off on anything when you collected the rest of your payment?

LNW Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:09pm
post #5 of

Wait and speak with the bride directly. I canât tell you how many threads Iâve read here about angry family members (mainly MOTBâs) who insist the bride wasnât happy with the cake and are lying through their teeth just to get some $$$ out of it. The bride may or may not have been unhappy with the cake; youâll not know for sure which it is until you talk with her though.

Just whatever you do don't go offering discounts and free cakes etc when you do speak with her.

lionladydi Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:10pm
post #6 of

The first thing I would do would be to cash the check before someone does decide to put a stop payment on it. I would definitely wait to hear from the bride and I would ask to see pics with the flowers on it.

Diane

Karema Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:10pm
post #7 of

Ok First of all I dont think you were fishing around for a compliment. I think you were asking her if she was happy with how the cake turned out and that's normal. Second of all she said she liked it and it sounds to me that her family around her may have said something about the cake or not liking it and it may have hurt her so she blamed you when she knew she is the one that asked for that. Dont give her a refund she said she was satisfied and you dont owe her an apology. Wait to see what she says if she contacts you and if you can go to her bank to cash the check. Do this before she gets back in town, she may not stop the check on her honeymoon. I wish you the best of luck. I know you feel bad but that's how it is sometimes.

ccr03 Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:14pm
post #8 of

MaisieBake, I don't think she was fishing for compliments - she was just being nice and friendly. I would hope that's something she does with everyone. Additionally, I tell all my customers "Well, I hope you like it." So they know I do care about their opinions.

Now to the question at hand.
The bride may be on her honeymoon, but I would still try to call her at home or via email and say:

"Hi Bride. I wasn't sure if you were on your honeymoon, but I just want to touch base with you on your wedding cake. I briefly spoke with your aunt, but wanted to speak with you directly to clarify any misunderstanding.
Congratulations again and I look forward to speaking with you!"

I think it's important that you contact her now so that way she at least sees that you tried to contact her shortly after the wedding. HOw many times do we see complaints on here about how customers complain 2-3 days AFTER the event?

Take the initiative and it'll be a sign of good customer service.

fondantgrl Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:16pm
post #9 of

Is there a photo of this cake here ?

Didn't you see the bride and asked her if she liked it when you delivered it ? i think that's what I read. I'm confused... they should have told you that when you were there.. i don;t understand why all these drama took place after you left when everyone was there when you delivered it. If they wanted to put a stop on the check,, then fine, take the cake back with you, that is what I would have done if it was me.. they just have to have a reception without a cake.. icon_cool.gif

adonisthegreek1 Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:21pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherLhorton

... What SHOULD I have done, and what should I do now? ...




Run, run run to her bank and cash the check, the bank from which the check was written. Don't discuss anything with the aunt, unless your contract was with the aunt.

If the bride said she liked the cake and she knew upfront that it would not be an identical match, don't worry about it. Move forward. I don't know what this bride is like, but some people are easily influenced and if someone else didn't like the cake--now she's changed her mind. That's not your problem.

I saw on Judge Judy where a lady sued over a wedding cake. She said that it was not to her specifications. Judge Judy dismissed it. She said that if they ate the cake, they couldn't turn around and sue for the same cake. She said if they did not use the cake and returned the entire wedding cake then they may have a claim for their money.

robinscakes Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:22pm

You've got to think that someone isn't being completely honest. You spoke with the bride and she seemed to like the cake and even paid you. If she didn't like it, she probably would have withheld the check. Sounds like the aunt is the one who got the bride in tears because the aunt didn't like the cake. Did the aunt realize there would be flowers on it? I think you did do the right thing in asking the bride how she liked the cake. I don't think that's fishing for compliments. I'd wait until the bride gets home and then ask her what she thinks. And do let her know about what the aunt said--she may be completely unaware of that.

maryjsgirl Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:33pm

When you asked her "do you like it?" did you ask her with confidence or with worry that she would be disappointed, because you couldn't get it to look like the fondant cake?

If you didn't have the confidence that your cake was the most awesome cake ever I think it can affect the customer. If you are second guessing yourself you will put that doubt in the customer's head too.

If you were confident then disregard, lol.


Besides saying it was "the worst wedding cake ever" I didn't hear any real valid reason to be upset with the cake. Was it leaning? Icing falling off? Misshapen? Wrong color? Dry? Etc.

If not then I say no refund. You delivered what you promised. I am sure it was ate.

Melan Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:40pm

Well, I'm sure the reason couldn't be the way it tasted or that it was dry or something -especially since they called you just minutes after leaving. Can you post a picture of what she wanted and a picture of what you set up? We all know how cakes look before the flowers go on. I'd like to see a picture of the finished product too. I hope it all works out for you.

I am with the others on "run to her bank and cash that check!" Good luck, keep us posted!

DEBBIE157 Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:52pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by adonisthegreek1


I saw on Judge Judy where a lady sued over a wedding cake. She said that it was not to her specifications. Judge Judy dismissed it. She said that if they ate the cake, they couldn't turn around and sue for the same cake. She said if they did not use the cake and returned the entire wedding cake then they may have a claim for their money.




I gotta go along with Judge Judy on this one....if they ate it, they pay.
Also the bride said she liked it and handed you the check...end of story.

The aunt was not the customer.

Debbie

Kiddiekakes Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:55pm

I really wish that other family members would butt out when it comes to wedding issues!!The bride saw the cake...she paid you..etc..Done!! If for some strange reason she was lying through her teeth and didn't want you to know she didn't like it then TOO BAD!!! she should have been mature enough to express her dislike when you blantly asked!!! As for fishing for compliments....Come on!! I think you were just talking small talk etc...everyone does that!! Cash the check..You deserve the money!! I would not issue a refund and DO talk to the bride only and directly when she returns!!

KASCARLETT Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 5:56pm

Was the bride consulted at the reception hall when you went back? If that had have been me, I would have located the bride and talked to HER, not the aunt to find out for sure if she was unhappy with it instead of beating myself up over something that she may not have even said. Did you tell the aunt that the bride told you that she was happy with it when she paid the remainder of the money?

If I was the bride and I didn't like my wedding cake that I paid for, I would be the one to make the call. #1 the aunt had no business calling someone to complain about a cake that was not hers.

Until you hear from the bride herself, I wouldn't worry any about it.

heatherLhorton Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 9:42pm

Well, thanks to all of you! I appreciate your thoughts. Like I said before, this was my FIRST unhappy customer so I really didn't know what to do! You must have missed the part where I said that I already gave the check back =(. As it seems...I should not have done this. The thought in my head at the time was, if she is going to cancel it anyway...then I'll just give it back.

So, that is my delima now.

The more I read, the more confident I am that I did nothing wrong. She did have me second guessing myself (after we talked, not before when I was done with the cake). I left that place feeling like I had made a lovely cake that needed to be finished with flowers.

That lady made me think I had created a beast of a cake. I'm still working on my confidence level. I have had no problems up until now and I always ask and make sure that they like the cake. Now I'll probably second guess every time! The aunt said that the bride didn't want to hurt my feelings. I can take it and move on. I might not have huge confidence (because I know I am still learning) but I can take a hit and get back up, damn it.

Live and Learn...huh? Boy have I!

Thanks again!

vicmic Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 10:00pm

Cash the check. You did the work, you need to be paid in full. Besides, in some states it is illegal to stop payment on a check. If the BRIDE calls you after the honeymoon, deal with her and no one else.

grama_j Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 10:12pm

Talk to the bride, and GET THAT MONEY BACK !!! She OWES you that money.... IF you have to take her to small claims court, then so be it..... I hope you are legal........

indydebi Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 10:22pm

A cake without the flowers looks SO MUCH DIFFERENT than a cake with the flowers. I set up a cake on Sunday .... hadn't put the flowers on it yet. MOB said it looked great! I said, "Oh you haven't seen anything yet! The flowers ALWAYS make the cake!"

More than one cake I've finished and thought it was really plain and ugly ... until I put the flowers on it and then it became the most beautiful cake in the world!

So if Aunty and the bride were looking at your plain, un-flowered cake, it MAY have looked very plain ..... then. What was the reaction AFTER the flowers were added?

And yes, I would have talked to the bride, not to the aunt.

DDiva Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 10:26pm

Another issue I see is that you waited to get the remainder of your payment on the day of the event. I require that I'm paid in full three weeks before the event. If you book within a month of your wedding, then I'm paid in full at that time.

Basically, the bride paid 1/2 price or less for her cake....that I bet they ate.

Unless I know the customer very well, and have had no payment problems, EVERYONE pays in advance. It gives me operating capital and peace of mind. And it commits your customer to your services.

If you buy a computer from Dell you have to pay for it before they even start to build it. Why should we require less??

I agree with the others. Send her an invoice, with a timeline, for the balance due. It doesn't sound like you did anything wrong.

Several have asked about pictures....did you take a picture at the site?

lionladydi Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 10:32pm

OMG I didn't realize you had given the check back. Have you quit kicking yourself yet? icon_sad.gif Good luck with dealing with the bride.

Diane

kurn Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 10:33pm

If they wanted to put a stop on the check,, then fine, take the cake back with you, that is what I would have done if it was me.


I am afraid this is how I feel too. Some people are always looking for something free. I once had a mother pick up a doll cake and complain it didn't have enough color to it. I offered to take it in the back and add more color or flowers (all the while the birthday girl was saying "but mommy I really like it). She wouldn't let me add to the cake but didn't want to pay for it either. I stuck to my guns and told her either I could add more color to the cake or she didn't have to take it. She said "but then my little girl won't have a cake." I would not offer a discount because there was nothing wrong with the cake. I guess she wanted it gaudied up. Anyway she took the cake and paid full price. When she left other customers told me how beautiful the cake was and that she was only trying to get over on me.

Sometimes a wedding cake will look bare before the flowers are on it and when they are it comes to life. I'm sure when the florist did arrive it was more of what she had expected. I bet when you do talk to the bride, everything will be alright. Sounds like her aunt was bulling you.

gottabakenow Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 10:46pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

A cake without the flowers looks SO MUCH DIFFERENT than a cake with the flowers. I set up a cake on Sunday .... hadn't put the flowers on it yet. MOB said it looked great! I said, "Oh you haven't seen anything yet! The flowers ALWAYS make the cake!"

More than one cake I've finished and thought it was really plain and ugly ... until I put the flowers on it and then it became the most beautiful cake in the world!

So if Aunty and the bride were looking at your plain, un-flowered cake, it MAY have looked very plain ..... then. What was the reaction AFTER the flowers were added?

And yes, I would have talked to the bride, not to the aunt.




that was my thought too.

JulieB Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 10:48pm

Giving the check back was definitely a mistake. The bride said she was happy with the cake. I bet if you had threatened to take the cake back, the story would have changed.

Your challenge is to get the remainder of the payment back, which is owed you. Good luck with that.

Yep, I'm with the others. Never deliver a cake that is not 100% paid for.

And if the bride says she's happy with it, well, as far as I'm concerned, end of story.

summernoelle Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 10:53pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionladydi

OMG I didn't realize you had given the check back. Have you quit kicking yourself yet? icon_sad.gif Good luck with dealing with the bride.

Diane




I didn't realize this either. Oops! There is a guy I listen to on the radio who talks about "stupid tax", and I think you might be paying that this time. The good thing about stupid tax is that you won't make the mistake again.

At this point, the money is gone, so I think there is nothing left to do. You can try to call her, but I think you won't ever see a dime of it. I'm sorry!

jennifer7777 Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 10:54pm

Awww damn...you gave the check back?!
O.K. 1st off you hit it on the nail yourself with the confidence thing. You definitely have to resolve this within yourself and quick if you're doing this calilber of orders. But let's say that you WERE confident and still didn't like the cake (after all, we are our own worst critics as it has been said before)...the bride said she did, so end of story.
So what should you have done?...let that crazy aunt know "I'm sorry, I don't know where you are getting your information, but the bride herself gave me approval AND payment for the cake and I am in no way authorized to speak to you with whom I have no contract with. But you can let the bride know that if in fact there really is a problem, she will need to call me direct...she has all my info. Enjoy the rest of the reception". (ole heffa) icon_twisted.gif

indydebi Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 11:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherLhorton

She threatened that the bride was going to go to the bank right then and cancel the check she had just given me.




I didn't catch this the first time thru, but this could have been a red flag. No bride that I've ever encountered, while dressed in her wedding gown, on her wedding day, an hour or two away from the start of her wedding, is going to hop in a cab and get to the bank "right then and there" to stop payment on a check that just walked out the door a few minutes ago.

It sounds more and more like you were dealing with an Aunt-Zilla.

(And I LUV Jennifer7777's reply!)

all4cake Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 11:08pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennifer7777

Awww damn... Enjoy the rest of the reception". (ole heffa) icon_twisted.gif





HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Beckalita Posted 17 Jun 2008 , 11:10pm

I have to agree with what the others have written.....you should have dealt with the bride, not the aunt. I really do think that part of the problem was the lack of flowers, and they may have been looking to complain in order to save themselves some money. Since you gave the check back ~ then you had every right to take the cake back. Why should they get a cake for half price just because Auntie So-and-so says the bride didn't really like the cake??? And promise us that you will NEVER AGAIN deliver a wedding cake without having been paid in advance please!

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