Just Curious- Laws About Returning Baked Goods

Business By costumeczar Updated 5 Oct 2008 , 12:57am by CakesByJen2

costumeczar Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 3:02pm
post #1 of 15

I've seen so many posts here about customers trying to complain about cakes and people replying that they won't give a refund unless they bring the cake back. I agree that I wouldn't give anyone anything back if they tried to pull this, but isn't there a law about returning food that's been eaten or partially eaten? I know that once they hand the food out the window at the fast food drive-through they're not supposed to take it back in if they messed up the order (or maybe that's just one chain's policy, I don't know). If there's a rule about returning food then wouldn't that apply to cakes that have been cut too?

Of course, it probably is a different issue than if someone is returning food that they say is full of dog hair or something, but if they just don't like it, could you say that it's a health department issue and you can't take it back? Customer service aside, you can't resell a half-eaten cake...

Anyone know if there's something about this that could apply, or if I'm just hallucinating? icon_wink.gif

14 replies
Mike1394 Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 3:07pm
post #2 of 15

There isn't anything in the food code, that I've seen.


costumeczar Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 4:50pm
post #3 of 15

What about stores that require the item to be returned in original shape and in the original unopened packaging? That seems reasonable to me, but then again I wouldn't return a cake because I didn't like the flavor. If I did that kind of thing I'd go to a chocolate shop and take one bite of each truffle, then say that I didn't like it and I wanted my money back. icon_razz.gif

I guess if you have a shop you can just post your own return policy. I was just thinking that maybe people could blame it on the health department and get out of arguments with idiots that think the sugar is too sweet.

redpanda Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 5:21pm
post #4 of 15

I think if you plan to do something like this, you need to have a very clearly worded explanation in your contract that you will not give a refund, except in the case of X, Y, or Z. If you will only give refunds in the case of health hazards, say so. If you won't refund if you provided the incorrect size, flavor, or design, say so.

My experience is that grocery stores will take back opened things if there is cause, such as the time I bought a box of ginger snaps and discovered that they hadn't risen at all. Hockey pucks, anyone? They were technically edible, but I returned them anyway.

Did you know that Nabisco Ginger Snaps aren't actually crinkled--the design is pressed in?

You walk a fine line between loss of profits due to dishonest people and poor customer service, due to overly rigid policies.

Just my 2 cents.

Juds2323 Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 5:40pm
post #5 of 15

My mom works for wal-mart and they take food back but it cannot be resold. For example even if you bring a case of soda back unopened it will go in the trash and be a "loss". I believe many want their cakes back so they can assess the cake (i.e. too dry, etc), not to resell. PLUS then the customer doesn't get to keep their money and the cake.



chutzpah Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 5:50pm
post #6 of 15

Exactly. I need to assess the cake and see if the complaint was valid. I would NEVER attempt to resell the cake or any part of the cake. yuck.

terrig007 Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 5:53pm
post #7 of 15

Funny that I just saw this. I came home from Harris Teeter a bit ago and at the bakery department there was a lady returning a cake that she said was dry. It was a quarter sheet cake that had been decorated for a birthday party. She said no one would eat it but it was half gone. They gave her a form to take to customer service for the refund. I then asked the lady behind the counter if that often happened and she said that often it did with the $50 cakes where people will bring back 1/4 of it and say it's dry, even though they didn't feel it was the problem just that they bought more cake than they could afford and know they can get a refund. Their policy is they have to give the refund regardless of the reasons but they have to bring back the cake or call right away-first 24 hours.

Kitagrl Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 5:57pm
post #8 of 15

When I worked at McD's years ago we took the food back and immediately threw it away. I assume you'd do that with a returned cake, after investigating to see if the charge was true.

poshcakedesigns Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 6:03pm
post #9 of 15

I have a 24 hour clause in my contract. You have to return the cake in full for me to see or taste the problem. It also reads if you EAT the cake then no consideration will be given. Haha don't you DARE bring me 1/2 of a cake back and expect a refund.

Kitagrl Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 6:07pm
post #10 of 15
Originally Posted by poshcakedesigns

I have a 24 hour clause in my contract. You have to return the cake in full for me to see or taste the problem. It also reads if you EAT the cake then no consideration will be given. Haha don't you DARE bring me 1/2 of a cake back and expect a refund.

Yeah.... "oops half the guests didn't show up, lets see if she'll take the cake back..."

redpanda Posted 4 Oct 2008 , 11:45pm
post #11 of 15

I have a question for those of you who expect to get back the WHOLE cake in order to consider a refund. Does that mean that the customer is expected to piece the cake back together, since they likey started serving the cake out onto plates, if it is a taste/texture issue.

I also wonder how truly awful a cake would have to be that somebody would be willing to just forgo having a cake at their event. I know I'd be pretty ticked off if I paid a lot of money for a premium cake (as opposed to, say chocolate with buttercream filling), and discovered upon cutting that I got the cheaper cake. Would I really have to decide between telling my guests "sorry, no cake" and getting no compensation for the cake baker's goof? Please tell me it ain't so.

poshcakedesigns Posted 5 Oct 2008 , 12:12am
post #12 of 15

You don't have to piece back together but you have to return it. I can't just take a persons word because now days people can be shady and have buyers remorse. If it does taste bad then I wouldn't want them to feed it to their guest. We live in a world where people will try and get away with anything they can - I use to work in retail and 'some' people want stuff for free. It's sad that we can't just trust everyone but now days you just can't. I couldn't go to a local store and ask for a refund without the product in question and I have the same policy. My clients have to read and inital that clause in my contract before they buy from me, so they are well aware of my policy ahead of time.

And sure enough as soon as you let one person just return it without having a policy in place, they will tell their friends and they will tell their friends and so on. And then you are just giving refunds. You have to protect your business by having some sort of policy. JMO

all4cake Posted 5 Oct 2008 , 12:13am
post #13 of 15

You can take it back, refund monies on it, assess it, log description into books as a loss, then toss it. It can't be resold. This does not hold true for the case of sodas....or any other unopened, prepackaged items....crackers, Little Debbie cakes, potato chips which can be ressold...the items that are normally kept in the freezer/cooler section normally are because it can't be verified that the item remained at its' proper temperature the entire time. Items, returned from the "fresh" departments should be handled as described above...assessed and tossed.

summernoelle Posted 5 Oct 2008 , 12:13am
post #14 of 15

I think the point is to verify that there was actually a problem with the cake. And to make sure that they didn't eat every bit of it and THEN say there was an issue. (Yes, I have had this happen and it sucks!)
Not that the baker is necessarily going to taste it or anything, but that they are verifying that the customer didn't consume the entire cake before giving a refund...because if they eat the entire cake, how bad could it have been?
Does that make sense?

CakesByJen2 Posted 5 Oct 2008 , 12:57am
post #15 of 15

I don't think it's that they can take food back per se, but they can't take it back and re-sell it, and they aren't supposed to take food that has been partially eaten back into a food prep area, but I don't think that means they couldn't take it to another area to assess the problem. If food has been served to the customer, they have to assume it has been partially eaten and therefore contaminated, so it can't go back to the kitchen area. Some places may not take it back at all just to avoid any question or suspicion that they are re-selling.

I wouldn't neceaarily expect the whole cake to be returned, because as was said you may not realize the problem untill after it has been served, but I would expect enough of it back, and in a timely manner, so I could evaluate whether the really was a problem or not.

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