melodyscakes Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 7:38am
post #1 of

5 months ago I did a wedding cake, I think I posted a question about a refund on here...anyway here is what happened: It was a 5 tiered cake. the 8" tier was to hang over the edge of the 10" cake. it was awesome, but I didn't think it through, I dowl rodded the heck out of it BEFORE delivering it. (don't ever do this! I should have known better!) anyway, the 8" tier split in half. I left cake in the back kitchen of the reception site an rushed back to the bakery and got supplies...I re-applied the fondant on the 8" cake but it was to unstable to put the 6" and the 4" tiers on top. so I put the cake back together with out the 8" tier and put the 8" tier on the back of the cake table, in a corner with flowers on top. it looked very nice.

I contacted the bride that night via email and told her that I was sorry that the cake wasn't exactly the way she wanted and I was sorry, and offered her a $100.00 gift card to use towards any cake in the future. she was pissed. she wanted 100% of her money back. me being me, told her that I couldn't give her a 100% refund....they served the cake, they ate the cake and I was very sorry but offered her half her money back. I sent her a check. she cashed the check.
5 months go by. Today I get a letter from the BBB saying she is complaining about my company and I need to resolve this. she told them she wouldn't be happy with anything less then 100% of her money back.
she wants her other $225.54 back.
She said I was rude and unprofessional. and that my company was a scam, and we scammed people...ect. ect. she said she ordered a 5 tier wedding cake and got a 3 tiered crumbely cake.

she got a 5 tiered cake....it just wasn't stacked exactly the way she wanted.....and the 8" cake was the only one with a problem....which is why she got a refund.

I am floored.

this bride wanted fondant people on the top of her cake, a bride and a groom. I made these.....for FREE (don't hurt me) she sent me a picture of her and the groom. I made these. she then sends me an email and says she likes them, but groom shaved his beard off, so can I make them again w/o the beard.....being stupid me, I do it again...w/o the beard, and for FREE. then she changed her mind and went with a different topper.
Do I sound like a scammer? good grief.

so, I will respond to the BBB but feel like I am being blackmailed into paying this bridezilla.
I had the understanding that if there was a conflict in any business matter, and one party gives any refund back to the other party and the other party accepts the refund...then that is the end of it. am I missing something?
I am not too worried about the BBB saying something bad about me...apparentely they have to write a report about the incident.
what worries me is that this nut is going to go all over the internet and tell prospective customers that I am a "scammer" ect. and bad mouth me. I've worked very hard to build my business up. at the same time....as a new business I really don't want her to cost me business.
If I make a mistake, I learn from it, and always make my customers happy. Even if that means a refund, even a refund for a misunderstanding on their part. (I'm getting better though)

what the heck would you guys do?

I already hear Chuzpahs answer in my head now.

I do not want to give her a dime. so what I am asking I guess, is has anyone ever been in a situation like this? what does the BBB do?
if there is something written neg. about me, do clients get to read the details and decide for themselves? does any one even read the BBB reports before deciding on a cake, a car dealer, grocery store, ect?

is there any thing I can do if she goes all over the internet and leaves neg. reports if the BBB sides with me? (which I am sure they will. come on....)

thank you for your help.

42 replies
-K8memphis Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 12:02pm
post #2 of

I have been complained on to the BBB in a different line of work--which ironically was because I adhered to my company's established credit guidelines and the big deal bale out currently going on in the government right now is because credit was not extended properly anyway I digress--yes I've been personally complained on and all you have to do is respond--respond everytime and you'll be golden with the BBB. My company's marketing division did all the paperwork but just copy & paste & send to them most of what you wrote up there and you'll be fine.

Sorry about the issues with the cake and the bride who refuses to understand.

mcdonald Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 12:46pm
post #3 of

if you still have the emails, I would provide those to the BBB along with your explanation. Just because she complained to them doesn't mean she is right. If you have a picture, I would also provide them with that to show that you provided her with what she requested and explain what happened and how you tried to resolve the issue, along with the credit you gave the bride. Then see what happens and where it goes from there

loriemoms Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 12:55pm
post #4 of

I agree, send all your emails and photos to the BBB...they are also on your side, and know a nut case when they see one. I beleive they just put that an issue was raised and was or was not resolved, they don't really put details on their web site, I don't think. I am so sorry this happened to you! I know it happens to everyone eventually...Brides are just so emotional!!

Deb_ Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 1:10pm
post #5 of

Funny, I just filed a complaint with the BBB yesterday about a survey company that keeps stalking me for an interview. (yes, they park outside my home and wait for me to get home). Beware, they are SOOOOO ignorant and aggressive!

Anyway, I would make a copy of the cashed refund check and send this along with your explanation. Tell them as far as you're concerned this matter was closed months ago. No, they cannot make you pay her......and you can post a response to her complaint on their site stating that she "ACCEPTED" partial refund as restitution.......and they consumed the cake.

Sorry this is happening. I'm sure most brides don't go on the BBB to read about cake decorators, they usually are referred by one of our prior clients.

Good luck........let us know how it turns out.

-K8memphis Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 1:25pm
post #6 of

Y'know how to word this though? Say yes Ms. Bride was correct and that you agree with her that she unfortunately lost a significant component of her wedding cake ambiance because of the 'accident' and that you valiantly did your best to keep it as close as humanly possible to the original plans. The cake otherwise performed to the utmost in serving her guests. Which is why you refunded half the price and she accepted. Then say the stuff DKelly said.

Keep it real simple. As few words as possible.

Mike1394 Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 3:10pm
post #7 of

Sorry shoot me, but you didn't give her what she paid for. It doesn't matter all of the free stuff. She wanted/payed for five tiers, and didn't get it.

Mike

peg818 Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 3:20pm
post #8 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

Sorry shoot me, but you didn't give her what she paid for. It doesn't matter all of the free stuff. She wanted/payed for five tiers, and didn't get it.

Mike




Normally i would agree with you Mike, but she did except the refund check and cashed it. Had she not done that, i would say she might have a leg to stand on. JMHO

Denise Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 3:38pm
post #9 of

I agree with the others. I have been told by lawyers, arbitrators, etc ( in another line of work ) that once the refund was accepted and cashed all bets are now off. I would present the cashed check record/emails etc to the BBB and that is it. NO more refund.

bettinashoe Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 3:47pm

I have to deal with the BBB regularly in my other line of business. Don't let them throw you off. You have good facts to present to the BBB and they will forward your response onto the other party. Just state the facts, have your evidence to submit to support your position and you'll be fine.

adonisthegreek1 Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 4:18pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394

Sorry shoot me, but you didn't give her what she paid for. It doesn't matter all of the free stuff. She wanted/payed for five tiers, and didn't get it.

Mike




As I mentioned in another thread about a cake refund, there was a similar case on Judge Judy. She said that although the bride did not get the cake that she paid for, she was not entitled to a 100% refund. Judge Judy said that the guest consumed the cake and the only way she would have been entitled to a complete refund was if they were so devastated that they did not cut and serve the cake.

Given that, I think you've been fair. Also, she cashed the check that you refunded to her. I'd say case closed.

dragonflydreams Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 4:39pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by adonisthegreek1

As I mentioned in another thread about a cake refund, there was a similar case on Judge Judy. She said that although the bride did not get the cake that she paid for, she was not entitled to a 100% refund. Judge Judy said that the guest consumed the cake and the only way she would have been entitled to a complete refund was if they were so devastated that they did not cut and serve the cake.

Given that, I think you've been fair. Also, she cashed the check that you refunded to her. I'd say case closed.




. . . . ditto . . . . judge.gif

Ruth0209 Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 4:55pm

Although it's tough to think about refunding all of the money for a cake that was consumed, I have to agree with Mike. The bride ordered a five tiered cake, and that's not what she got. I think the fact that they ate the cake is irrelevant. After all, what else were they going to eat? It's not as if they had time to get a replacement.

However, once she accepted the check you offered to make it right, it seems like that closed the issue. If she wasn't happy with your settlement offer, she should have returned the check and told you or gone immediately to the BBB.

This is such an unfortunate thing. I'm sure you feel terrible about not giving her the cake she wanted, and it sounds like you worked really hard on it. However, I do think it's unrealistic for strangers to care about the extra efforts we may choose to put into the product. If she asked you to change a feature you'd already completed, you had the power at that time to say, "Sure I can do that, but there will be an extra charge." If you are going to resent doing things for free, don't do them.

She'll probably bad mouth you no matter what, so at this point giving her the balance probably won't help you. It will come down to what you're comfortable with from an ethical and business standpoint.

mommakristin Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 4:56pm

I agree with the others.

The bride might not have accepted your answers to her but she did CASH the refund and by doing that she accepted your "refund". Obviously the cake tasted good because they ate it. you accomodated her with the cake topper which I think was WAY generous (esp with her changing the design and THEN didn't use it). Most designers would not have changed a "free" topper like that. It's not your fault the groom shaved!

The BBB is actually on your side and like everyone else suggests. Send them a picture of the cake (hopefully you have a picture of the cake at the venue where you left it). Along with that I would send every email you received as well as your order sheet if you have one. Accept and admit that you did have an issue with one of the layers but that you went over and above to try and fix the mistake.

But most of all be prepared.. She will slam your name every time she hears someone ask about a cake within her ear shot. Whether you give her a complete refund or it stay like it is- she won't be happy and she will tell everyone she knows. BUT most people probably already know that she is a bridezilla and that she can't be pleased. I bet if you did some digging she probably griped about everything that day...

Good luck
Don't back down- you are right here not the bride.

mommakristin

Momkiksbutt Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 5:09pm

I feel sorry for the groom....he is doomed.....


I totally disagree with Mike here....as a former civil administrator, here is my opinion:

She cashed the check....she lied about the cake, and she was a bridezilla to boot. AND, if you have a signed contract with standard language, you are good to go. Always have a contract.....always...

If you have pictures of your work, copies of the e-mails between you and the client, then that is all you need to set the record straight.

If you provide the BBB with all that documentation there is no way that they can do anything but call a "Duck a duck" and send that ladies complaint to the rubbish pile where it belongs.

No refund for her beyond what you already did, in fact after all the free work...and what nerve that girl had for that...you really didn't need to even do that!!! And it sounds like she got a very large and very expensive cake anyways for very little money. Don't give it a second thought. Send the documents to the BBB and your own letter of explaination if you like, and leave it at that.

We are all going to run into this type of a client from time to time, we just have to make sure we are keeping our records in order and that our work will speak for us and then whoever is the "Whiny hiney" after that, can just blow it out their ears.

Never give your work away for free, and don't let the "bad apples" get you down. And this bride is definately a very "Bad Apple"....I feel sorry for her new husband...he is in for a long sad life if this is how his bride acts....

mellormom Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 5:23pm

Sorry this is off topic but... Not all survey companies are like that. In fact most are not. I have never heard of a Survey company sitting outside someones house! icon_eek.gif I know if they did that in MA they would not be in business long!
Jen...

moxey2000 Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 5:30pm

5 months have gone by! She's in debt and short of money and looking for it anywhere she can find it. Do exactly as most of the others have told you, present to the BBB all of your supporting evidence and a professional, well-written, lucid summary of the events as they occurred. No emotion, just facts. You will be fine. She may complain, but I doubt she'll go to great links to 'destroy' you.

I was surprised to see that she was whining over a balance of $254 icon_confused.gif . That's what leads me to believe that she's desperately looking for money. I would be far more understanding of her position if (A) so much time had not already passed, (B) she hadn't already cashed the refund check, and (C) if her complaint was worth a lot more money. This is trivial. Address it and move on. You have much bigger and better things to devote your time and emotions to thumbs_up.gif . IMHO.

Kitagrl Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 5:32pm

Sorry about this!

There are so many ways of going about pleasing and refunding customers, and I'm sure everyone here could have "done it differently" in some way, because everybody's personality and situation are different.

However I agree...this woman, FIVE MONTHS ago, accepted the half refund without a complaint and cashed it. And NOW she decides, what, she can't make her rent, and figures she'll try to get it out of the baker? No, the dishonest one is this woman.

I had a problem with an online company and I went to the BBB...but I went immediately. Not five months....NOW. From beginning to end the process was a month or less.

Sounds like this lady needed some extra cash. I hate that for you...

mamacc Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 6:16pm

That's what I was thinking too...she needs money and is trying to hustle it out of you.

I hope you can get everything resolved soon!

Deb_ Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 7:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by mellormom

Sorry this is off topic but... Not all survey companies are like that. In fact most are not. I have never heard of a Survey company sitting outside someones house! icon_eek.gif I know if they did that in MA they would not be in business long!
Jen...




Don't mean to hi-jack thread but........Jen, I am in MA. The company in question is located in PA.
The car that was parked across the street from my house when I got home from work on Friday had NJ plates. That in itself is odd..........I live in a very country setting...narrow street, woods, very few houses, so when I saw the car parked there with a woman inside I thought "who the heck is this?"
My husband works from home sometimes but he was on a conference call when he said he heard someone knocking on the door about 1 1/2 hrs. earlier. Not 2 min. after I got in the house she was knocking. I asked her if she had left the pamphlets that were in between my door and she said she did. She than went on to say that this interview needed to be completed and that's why she waited in hopes of someone coming home.

I told her that we had another "field director" visit us not long ago and that I told that person we were not interested in participating. The entire time I was speaking to her she was trying to speak louder than me over my voice with her sales pitch. I couldn't believe the aggressiveness. This is exactly how the first woman was, which is why I wouldn't participate.

I handed the woman back the paperwork and told her to please leave, again, she would not listen, just kept on talking. Finally my husband heard the commotion and came up behind me. She than began directing her speech to him. At that point I said GOODBYE and shut the door.

She stayed on my front porch for 5 minutes looking in my Dining Room window. Finally, my husband opened the door and told her we had called the police and she should leave. Only after hearing that, she left, but she reinserted the pamphlets in our door before leaving. Handwritten on the papers it said, someone will return for an interview with you shortly.

I gave the police a copy of the pamphlets which had this woman's cell phone and name on it. Apparantly, our local police have had 6 complaints this past week about this company. Same circumstances as ours. They interview people (only 25,000) about different products, they only had 10 families in our area of Southeastern MA. I'm one of the unlucky few that were randomly picked.

We phoned the toll free number and asked to be taken off their list, and the police report was filed along with a complaint to the BBB. When I filed the complaint with the BBB, I received an e-mail saying it takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days to get a report in some cases, so this bride may very well have filed the complaint right after her wedding and it's just now coming up.

all4cake Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 8:36pm

I'm not sure what I would do in this situation...she did get 5 tiers just not set up the way it was intended. If the set-up was of vast importance to the bride(this is definitely noticed when a bride orders...some are more concerned with how it's decorated than the set-up...and still some don't give two ^%&(s what you do just as long as the flavors are right), I would've refunded more...all but the cost of supplies(and noted that on a statement with the refund).
As a PP stated, different situations call for different solutions.

I would expect this bride may go further to prove her point...small claims court which is going to mean loss of time for you whether you win or not.

MaisieBake Posted 12 Oct 2008 , 11:57pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by all4cake

I'm not sure what I would do in this situation...she did get 5 tiers just not set up the way it was intended. If the set-up was of vast importance to the bride(this is definitely noticed when a bride orders...some are more concerned with how it's decorated than the set-up...and still some don't give two ^%&(s what you do just as long as the flavors are right), I would've refunded more...all but the cost of supplies(and noted that on a statement with the refund).




This doesn't quite make sense for me. If the whole thing, looks plus taste/flavor is important, the customer isn't looking to purchase flour plus butter plus sugar, you know?

Agreed that small claims court could be a losing situation regardless of the court's decision.

all4cake Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 12:33am

hmmmm...some brides are wanting a specific look and it must be dead on...they don't seem to care what your recipe consists of, "oh, vanilla, I guess". Some, focus on the shape of it, the design of it and yet others ...try every flavor of cake until they find the "one" that suits them and then tell you what their theme/colors are and let you run with it.

If I failed to deliver the cake's details that was most important to them, their refund would be higher than if one of the lesser details was missing or didn't meet her expectations.

If set-up, taste, and decorations were equally important and I failed in one of those areas, the refund would be based on the percentage of satisfaction/dissatisfaction.

If the bride paid 600.00 for the cake....



600.00 divided by 3(taste-set up/shape-decorations)=200.00

If I failed in every way....600.00 is refunded

only taste 200.00
decorations 200.00
set up/structural 200.00

2 of the details lacking...400.00

that is just how I figure it. Each situation does present its' own circumstances that may not work with the above figuring.

I wouldn't refund any amount without explaining how I came to that amount either.

SugarFrosted Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 1:18am
Quote:
Originally Posted by moxey2000

5 months have gone by! She's in debt and short of money and looking for it anywhere she can find it. Do exactly as most of the others have told you, present to the BBB all of your supporting evidence and a professional, well-written, lucid summary of the events as they occurred. No emotion, just facts. You will be fine. She may complain, but I doubt she'll go to great links to 'destroy' you.

I was surprised to see that she was whining over a balance of $254 icon_confused.gif . That's what leads me to believe that she's desperately looking for money. I would be far more understanding of her position if (A) so much time had not already passed, (B) she hadn't already cashed the refund check, and (C) if her complaint was worth a lot more money. This is trivial. Address it and move on. You have much bigger and better things to devote your time and emotions to thumbs_up.gif . IMHO.




In my imagination of the situation... 5 months have gone by, she is in debt because her new husband has left her because of her bitchy behavior, she has returned all the wedding gifts, or gotten refunds for them, and now she is after a bigger refund for the cake...just a thought...

A while back there was a big situation here on CC with a supplier who gave terrible service. They had lots of BBB complaints lodged against them, and in that case, most of the reports said "no response" ...which is a bad thing. Not responding is like saying "we don't care about our reputation."

In your case, all the evidence is on your side. You gave more of a refund than was necessary, imo. Give all your info to the BBB and you'll be in the clear.

melodyscakes Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 4:25am

The refund I gave her was exactly half the amount she paid...including tax and delivery...not that that matters.
I looked at the papers today, and she filed the second of October. It got mailed to me the letter Oct. 6, received it Oct. 11. so this bride waited for all those months.
I emailed her and asked her for a picture of her wedding cake....(I do not have one) and told her that I was a bit suprised since she accepted and cashed the refund check I assumed the issue was resolved...thank you in advance for the picture of the cake in question.

she emailed me back and said that she didn't get what she paid for, wants a full refund, won't be happy with any thing less, and does not want any other bride and groom to got through this. and did not send me a picture.

I really do think this bridzella will go out of her way to hurt my business. but at same time I feel very strongly against any other refunds.

at the bottom of the report it said something about 0600 issue already resolved, refund given.
they gave me until the 17th to respond...which I will in the morning.

part of me wants to pay this bitty (putting it nicely) off but asking for some sort of agreement that she never mentions my company name again.

thank you for your thoughts, please keep them coming.


Mike, I usually agree with you, but not this time...she cashed the refund check 5 months ago. what I feel like is that this is extortion.

melody

melodyscakes Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 4:34am

and I really wouldn't oppose small claims court.
If the judge sided with her...I'd pay more. I just can not see how that would happen since she accepted and cashed the check months ago.
I feel very strongly about this...and would like to yet, am worried about future loss.

I am a very fair person. I go out of my way to make people happy...which cost me money all the time...I constantly throw in stuff and don't charge, not always a good thing, but that's how I am. Husband gets so mad at me. but I feel very strongly about taking a stand here.

thank you friends,


melody

mommakristin Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 4:59am

I too am like you and give things free and make my hubby really mad. But that's how I am.

If you don't already I would start carrying your camera with you and take a picture before you leave next time so you don't have to ask the bride for a picture. If you can't get a picture from the bride you might check with the photographer and ask them if they have the negatives and get a copy from them. The photographer should hold the rights to the pics so he shouldn't have to get permission to give you a copy. Right?

My mom is a florist and she has been burnt before by one of these "bridezillas". Since then she has taken her camera with her when she sets up flowers for a wedding and takes pictures of flowers so she has proof of what she did as well as for her albums for future clients to see.

I can't imagine a judge siding with this girl. Stranger things have happened but I really don't see how this could rule in her favor. You did your part.

Keep us posted and I wish you all the luck with this.

Kristin

melodyscakes Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 5:06am

I did/ and do always carry a camera with me. I buy disposable ones, easier for me. anyway, I lost that camera! never happened again I can assure you!
I take pictures of every wedding cake.

and I don't know which photographer she used.

alidpayne Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 12:35pm

The bottom line here is that giving her the rest of her money back WILL NOT help you in any way. She is going to continue to bad mouth you no matter what, even if she "agrees not to mention your business name" she will still do it. So I would ABSOLUTELY NOT give her another dime. If she did take you to small claim's court she would lose. She cashed the check, she waited 5 months to complain, and then she went to the BBB without ever contacting you to say the refund was not sufficient... Just respond to the BBB, tell them what you told us, and let it go.

FromScratch Posted 13 Oct 2008 , 3:39pm

I usually agree with you Mike too, but this time I don't. Had she forgotten a tier of the cake completely.. sure.. but all the tiers were present she just couldn't stack them the way she intended to due to structural issues. An executive decision needed to be made in order to prevent a real disaster from happening later on. It's cake.. it doesn't always want to do what we want it to do. I think the refund offered (and accepted) was more than reasonable. Had they not consumed the cake at all then yeah.. refund their money, but I agree with the OP.. this feels a bit like extortion.

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