Returned Check--Wedding Is Tomorrow!!!

Business By Jessica1817 Updated 17 Nov 2008 , 3:24am by ladyonzlake

Jessica1817 Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 2:34am
post #1 of 31

I received a returned check (insufficient funds) late this afternoon for a wedding tomorrow afternoon! Immediately I called and left a message with the couple, as well as sent an email. What is the best way to handle this situation? It would be different if it wasn't the night before the wedding--what are the chances they will even check their messages/email tonight? I do have a friend of the bride's number as an alternate, would it be appropriate to call her in the morning?

30 replies
melodyscakes Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 2:47am
post #2 of 31

I'd call the friend and let her know, and hope to get ahold of someone. do not take them their cake until they pay you in cash....been there done that with the bounced. Do Not Deliver Cake until you get cash, understand?

I'd call the friend and ask her to get a message or give you a phone number, ect.

good luck


melody

CakeForte Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 3:06am
post #3 of 31

Yup....no cash no cake. I think I'd call the venue as well and ask them for a contact person and let them no, but that's just because I'd want to try to cover my bases. Don't feel bad for the client either and take it anyway because if you give in and take the cake and "hope" to collect payment after, it wont happen.

-K8memphis Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 3:44am
post #4 of 31

But when you call around do not reveal the status of the check--that is a big nono. Do not mention money. You could use the word emergency but don't mention payment to anyone but them.

You can call the bank first thing in the morning and see if the check is good --if it is high tail it down there and get your money. They probably will charge you a fee, $5 or $10 maybe. Then you can charge bride and groom for that plus your own fee for bouncing it--no doubt your bank charged you a fee.

Me, I would still deliver the cake. The contract works both ways. It binds both parties to fulfill the agreement. You certainly can get paid later however tomorrow is the only day you can deliver their cake. But you could also get sued later if you're not careful with this.

Lots of people say, well the caterer will not take payment later. I know caterers that take payment later.

You still have a signed contract and a bounced check with which to extract payment--not plan A by any means but...

If the check said 'account closed' you are screwed and while I'd advise different I would not automatically cancel the cake in that case either.

DesignerCakes Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 5:09am
post #5 of 31

I would definitely call the friend of the bride ASAP but not reveal what the issue is. Also, I would require cash for the remainder of the balance.

I require 50% up front and the remaining balance is due 30 days prior to the event date. That way you give yourself enough time to make sure you've been paid and there are no last minute surprises. I've never had a client complain and only once did a check bounce. I had plenty of time to contact the bride and she overnighted me cash right away, two weeks before the wedding. Also, my contract specifically states that if monies are not paid according to the terms outlined in the contract, the order is subject to cancellation and the deposit forfeited.

I hope everything works out for you.

Kitagrl Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 5:44am
post #6 of 31

I sometimes will go to the person's own bank and cash a payment check. By doing that you have cash in hand, and if the check bounces, then the bank and the person can deal with it but you have your money.

Its more trouble and I don't always do it, but if its a good chunk of change, I do try to cash it at THEIR bank.

Sweet_Guys Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 12:01pm
post #7 of 31

The only problem with going to their bank is that some banks nowadays will not cash a check written on their bank unless you have a checking account with them. Why? I still think it's a silly policy. I wrote a check to a friend who did some work for us at the house and my bank refused to cash the check for him because he didn't bank with them.

Paul (& Peter)

Kitagrl Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 1:41pm
post #8 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet_Guys

The only problem with going to their bank is that some banks nowadays will not cash a check written on their bank unless you have a checking account with them. Why? I still think it's a silly policy. I wrote a check to a friend who did some work for us at the house and my bank refused to cash the check for him because he didn't bank with them.

Paul (& Peter)




Oh really? I thought if you have your drivers license they have to cash it. Well I guess it doesn't hurt to try if you are dealing with a large check, anyways....

indydebi Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 1:47pm
post #9 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Oh really? I thought if you have your drivers license they have to cash it.




Being married to a guy who was in banking for 25 years, banks don't "have" to do a lot of things. Since de-regulation of the 80's, banking has changed incredibly and a lot of the advice given by the Kitchen Table Legal Team is probably not accurate.

cakesbycathy Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 1:52pm
post #10 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet_Guys

The only problem with going to their bank is that some banks nowadays will not cash a check written on their bank unless you have a checking account with them. Why? I still think it's a silly policy. I wrote a check to a friend who did some work for us at the house and my bank refused to cash the check for him because he didn't bank with them.

Paul (& Peter)



Oh really? I thought if you have your drivers license they have to cash it. Well I guess it doesn't hurt to try if you are dealing with a large check, anyways....




You need a driver's licensce and another form of id, like a credit card. I do this all the time and never have a problem.

I would call around to every number you have and tell everyone who is not the bride and groom that it is an emergency and they need to contact you ASAP. Tell bride and groom that unless you receive cash plus extra to cover your NSF fees that they will not have a cake at their reception.

-K8memphis Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 2:00pm
post #11 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sweet_Guys

The only problem with going to their bank is that some banks nowadays will not cash a check written on their bank unless you have a checking account with them. Why? I still think it's a silly policy. I wrote a check to a friend who did some work for us at the house and my bank refused to cash the check for him because he didn't bank with them.

Paul (& Peter)




Once the check does not clear the account, it goes into a sudden death playoff type of thing. Whichever creditor gets their first gets it. I've done this many times--you get a real rush when it works. icon_biggrin.gif

The scenario you describe seems like a communication thing. Maybe your friend, asked, "Can I cash a check" without presenting the check? The first reply would be "Do you have an account here" Maybe your friend did not have their id's or something? Maybe the bank suspected the check? Maybe your friend is soft spoken or a little timid?

I don't know how a bank could not cash checks for it's own depositors but stranger things have happened. I mean I'm not doubting you, that's just weird. Dude I would call them and get me a manager on the phone. You proabably already did. Next, I'd get me a new bank.

johnson6ofus Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 2:14pm
post #12 of 31

Sorry k8, I agree with indydebi. Had it happen. The bank does NOT "have to" cash the check for you. Had a tenant who bounced every other month or so. I actually ended up opening a free checking account at that bank, put in $10, just to be a "customer" and be able to cash their own checks there. I bet 75% of the banks here will cash their own check without a fee for you, but NO, they don't "have" to.

Cash is the solution this late in the game. Hope it works out!

IcedTea4Me2 Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 2:25pm
post #13 of 31

I've had banks charge me for cashing their own check. This happens a lot as I'm self-employed (not cake) and I routinely take the checks to the bank that it's drawn on. Some banks cash them for nothing and some charge ME a fee to cash it which I think is utterly ridiculous. It also depends on who the teller is. I've heard some mutter under their breath as they're looking at the compter screen, "Oh, we can waive that," and with the click of a keystroke they do.

Lisa

Jessica1817 Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 3:02pm
post #14 of 31

Update:
The bride emailed me last night saying she'd meet me today, so I made the cake late last night. Well, it was late and I totally forgot to add her strawberry filling, had just put in buttercream. I call her this morning and arranged to meet her where she was having her hair done (thought it would be nice). I also mentioned I had forgotten the filling, and deducted it from her balance. Well, 3 minutes later the Matron of Honor called saying the bride was in tears because it was raining and now she wasn't getting the cake she ordered and what can I do to remedy the situation. WHAT!!!! icon_eek.gif I told her I deducted the filling from the total, and she asked if that really was enough and did not sound like a good business decision. Okay, I then had to explain how I was going out of my way to pick up payment that was convenient for the bride, on an order I could have canceled by contract. Also, if I had payment I would not have been doing the cake at midnight and would not have forgotten the filling. Finally I am not charging her a returned check fee as stated in the contract (my bank is not charging me, but I didn't pass that on). I got a short, "okay, fine." Seriously, I know I need to get a thicker business skin, but even I thought this situation was crazy.

-K8memphis Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 3:07pm
post #15 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson6ofus

Sorry k8, I agree with indydebi. Had it happen. The bank does NOT "have to" cash the check for you. Had a tenant who bounced every other month or so. I actually ended up opening a free checking account at that bank, put in $10, just to be a "customer" and be able to cash their own checks there. I bet 75% of the banks here will cash their own check without a fee for you, but NO, they don't "have" to.

Cash is the solution this late in the game. Hope it works out!




That really sucks that your tenant's bad checks had you to open an account.

There's two different scenarios here. One is where the op is tryng to collect on a bad check fast. The other is where a guy tries to cash a check where it was drawn from and the bank refused.

Did I say banks "have to" somewhere? I did say I was surprised about that and I'd switch banks over it. When this was part of my job description I did have 100% compliance from the banks.

Each state has their own rules and regulations. In Tennessee at that time, only the state's attorney could prosecute someone for a bad check which really frustrated our collection efforts. We could not bring suit.

Did Indy and I disagree on something?

-K8memphis Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 3:24pm
post #16 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Quote:
Originally Posted by johnson6ofus

Sorry k8, I agree with indydebi. Had it happen. The bank does NOT "have to" cash the check for you. Had a tenant who bounced every other month or so. I actually ended up opening a free checking account at that bank, put in $10, just to be a "customer" and be able to cash their own checks there. I bet 75% of the banks here will cash their own check without a fee for you, but NO, they don't "have" to.

Cash is the solution this late in the game. Hope it works out!



That really sucks that your tenant's bad checks had you to open an account.

There's two different scenarios here. One is where the op is tryng to collect on a bad check fast. The other is where a guy tries to cash a check where it was drawn from and the bank refused.

Did I say banks "have to" somewhere? I did say I was surprised about that and I'd switch banks over it. When this was part of my job description I did have 100% compliance from the banks.

Each state has their own rules and regulations. In Tennessee at that time, only the state's attorney could prosecute someone for a bad check which really frustrated our collection efforts. We could not bring suit.

Did Indy and I disagree on something?




'K, wait, I think I got it--did you mean Kitagirl and not K8t?? icon_biggrin.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

Oh really? I thought if you have your drivers license they have to cash it.



Being married to a guy who was in banking for 25 years, banks don't "have" to do a lot of things. Since de-regulation of the 80's, banking has changed incredibly and a lot of the advice given by the Kitchen Table Legal Team is probably not accurate.




Don't hate me 'cause I'm beautiful. Hey, as a bona fide member of the Kitchen Table Legal Team specializing in pro bono* work I try hard to be opinionated enough to be fun and vague enough to not get nailed. icon_biggrin.gif

* Hey, I'd even do pro Cher work too!! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

snowboarder Posted 15 Nov 2008 , 4:48pm
post #17 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessica1817

Well, 3 minutes later the Matron of Honor called saying the bride was in tears because it was raining and now she wasn't getting the cake she ordered and what can I do to remedy the situation.




icon_confused.gif I wish you could have punted the wedding cake across the rainy parking lot in front of the salon while the bride & matron of honor looked on in horror.

indydebi Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 1:26am
post #18 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

I try hard to be opinionated enough to be fun and vague enough to not get nailed. icon_biggrin.gif




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif I LUV it!! I used to work for a guy who's mantra in life was "When in doubt, be vague." icon_lol.gif

cylstrial Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 2:57am
post #19 of 31

To be honest with you, it's going to depend on your contract. If your contract says that if the customer doesn't pay, by such and such a date, there won't be a cake.. then I don't think they could sue you. It's their fault and they are bound by the contract -- that's why we have them.

The best scenerio would be to get ahold of them and tell them cash only. I hope this works out for you. It has to be very stressful!

Or you could take the cake and then sue them if they don't pay.

Sending good, happy thoughts your way that it will work out.. "Cash", "cash", etc.

cylstrial Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 3:02am
post #20 of 31

Ok -- two things. My husband, (3rd year law student) said that you would have to give them an opportunity to pay repay the money before not giving them the cake. Which of course is exactly what you are trying to do.

2nd -- What happened with the wedding couple? Did they pay up??

coffeechick Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 3:29am
post #21 of 31

Jessica, I feel for you I really do. One of my first wedding cakes was a disater like this.
I booked the girl and did get a 50% deposit. The cake was to be pink, 3 tiered with a custom monogram as topper that I hand made.
Well same thing as you bounced check two weeks before wedding, called her everyday and never heard from her well the day before her wedding she said she would drop me off another check(i was so stupid and green back then). Went ahead and delivered, it was the hottest day of year, elevator did not work, had to take steps 3floors, then the air conditioner in reception room was not working.
Well needless to say check bounced!!!! Called her up after her honeymoon to tell her and she had the nerve to tell me, that the cake was crooked, and the monogram was ugly and stupid, Took me a week to make that stupid thing. She said she was not going to pay me rest of money. I take a pic of my cakes from every angle so I have proof that the cake was not crooked.
I then asked her did she serve the cake to her guests and did they eat it , she said yes. Well that too me is half the reason you have a wedding cake, for ornamentation and for dessert. I let her go after that and ate the difference. Learned a lesson on that one, revised my contract and no money no cake, my time and expertise is an important commodity.
Funny thing is that 2 yrs later she called me up and asked me to do a cake for her second anniversary, I laughed and told her no and that her wedding cake must not have been that bad if you are calling me for a second cake. She quickly got off the phone. Some people want something for free. Sorry this happened to you, put your apron on and never look back.

Jessica1817 Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 5:36am
post #22 of 31

I did end up meeting her. Well actually she had the bridesmaid waiting for me, but she had cash in hand so it didn't make a difference to me! After all that, I delivered the cake, and the wedding items (decor, wedding topper, etc) that were supposed to be at the reception site had not been dropped off yet. Of course I didn't wait around, I'm just waiting for a phone call complaining I didn't put the topper on.

My contract states "If your check bounces, you are responsible for all fees incurred by Cake Delights and may have your order canceled. If payment is not made in full by the due date, NO cake will be made and your order will be canceled." I think this would cover me in this situation, although since the check bounced last minute I wanted to give her a chance to pay. Its ashame when people don't recognize when you go out of your way to help them, and then still have complaints.

melodyscakes Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 6:45am
post #23 of 31

that's what I hate about the cake business, is the people! good grief!

I had a customer today pick up a cake, and the grandmother of the birthday boy was with her, and said she didn't like the cake. it should have been frosted entirely of blue icing. I was like, blue? that would turn ever ones teeth blue and stain clothes, she said "the kids all have tooth brushes, they could go home and brush their teeth" but I would have made the entire cake blue.....IF YOU WOULD'VE FREAKEN TOLD ME TO MAKE THE ENTIRE CAKE BLUE! DUH.

then I had another customer call me at freaken' 12:45 p.m. needing an emergence cake for that night at 5:00 p.m. because I need the money to pay the bakery bills and happen to have time that day, I baked fresh a three tier cake, iced it, delivered it, all by 5:00 shame on me, but I negotiated the price..gave her a good deal....(don't hurt me, I needed the money)
anyway, she called me the next day and told me that she didn't like the cake, she needed some money back, because "really, it was just flour, sugar, and eggs" they paid too much for the cake. WHAT? I could've gone threw the phone to choke her.

I think in any business, you have to develop thick skin.....customers think they are always right.
I remember that was kinda the Walmart way of thinking when I was growing up. you could take any thing back w/o a receipt, no matter when you bought it, or what was wrong with it.
remember those days? well, even Walmart changed their policy because, well, people are stupid.
sorry this happened to you. I am feeling you pain.

chin up girl, you did the right thing.

melody

cylstrial Posted 16 Nov 2008 , 1:50pm
post #24 of 31

Oh I'm so glad that it worked out and she had the cash in hand! And your cake contract seems pretty good around bounced checks! But.. those are just my thoughts!

acookieobsession Posted 17 Nov 2008 , 1:09am
post #25 of 31

Just another bit about the banks cahing checks....here in my part of NC they won't casha check to my business at someonelses bank. So Bride bounces check...gives ma another one and I go to her bank and they say sorry no money for you. Not even with my DL and proof I am the business owner (EIN forms, sales and use) etc. What a pain. Also, she said because of patriot act she could not check the brides account to verify funds. Grrr. She was nice, but I didn;t get much done there.....Julia

indydebi Posted 17 Nov 2008 , 1:17am
post #26 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by acookieobsession

Also, she said because of patriot act she could not check the brides account to verify funds.




Checked with hubby on this one because in his current job, he calls banks to verify funds frequently. Many banks have phone verification (Press '2' to verify funds; enter account number followed by # sign; enter amount of check, etc.) but many banks are CHOOSING not to verify funds anymore. He's not confident that it has anything to do with the patriot act.

It's pretty standard that a check made out to a business cannot be "cashed". (would you want an employee to grab some checks from the to-be-deposited-pile and just be able to cash them?).

So if you want the option to be able to cash a check, they should be made out to you personally and not to your business. But I think people look at you with a little skepticism if you ask "oh make it out to me, not to the business!" It makes it sound like YOU'RE the one who's not legit.

cakesdivine Posted 17 Nov 2008 , 1:41am
post #27 of 31

This is why I only accept cash or credit cards. No checks ever! I also have a policy that if your cake order is $200 or under you have to pay for the cake when you order it, so never have a bad check issue (been there done that) This policy also deals with the no show or fake orders. If payment isn't received at time of order you don't get a cake, simple as that.

Now for cakes over $200, they have to pay half (or $200 which ever is greater) then the balance 2 weeks prior to event. Again because I only accept cash & credit cards I don't have an issue with bounced checks. If someone wants only to pay with a check they have to use Paypal to do so. Again, I have no backlash, I am paid regardless, and if their payment via electronic check bounces then Paypal deals with it, not me.

-K8memphis Posted 17 Nov 2008 , 2:28am
post #28 of 31

Well y'know nothing is without risk. Just playing devil's advocate here but someone could easily do a charge back on any credit card transaction and then you're out the cake and the moolah.

They could tell the bank or credit card company that it was an unauthorized charge and or it could really have been stolen (the card # I mean) and they suck the money back out of your account in the meantime, merchants usually loose these funds permanently.

So life is not without risk--makes it more interesting huh.

Don't worry--be happy.

indydebi Posted 17 Nov 2008 , 2:43am
post #29 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Well y'know nothing is without risk. Just playing devil's advocate here but someone could easily do a charge back on any credit card transaction and then you're out the cake and the moolah.



I found some "big time" catering/facilities here in town that don't take credit cards. For a nano-second I was confused on why not ... then I realized that once they have the final payment 2-3 weeks prior to the event, they don't have to screw around with folks deciding the bill was too high and disputing the charge on their account. So k8, you are so right.

Kitagrl Posted 17 Nov 2008 , 2:59am
post #30 of 31
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by acookieobsession

Also, she said because of patriot act she could not check the brides account to verify funds.



Checked with hubby on this one because in his current job, he calls banks to verify funds frequently. Many banks have phone verification (Press '2' to verify funds; enter account number followed by # sign; enter amount of check, etc.) but many banks are CHOOSING not to verify funds anymore. He's not confident that it has anything to do with the patriot act.

It's pretty standard that a check made out to a business cannot be "cashed". (would you want an employee to grab some checks from the to-be-deposited-pile and just be able to cash them?).

So if you want the option to be able to cash a check, they should be made out to you personally and not to your business. But I think people look at you with a little skepticism if you ask "oh make it out to me, not to the business!" It makes it sound like YOU'RE the one who's not legit.




I dunno, I have no business acct other than Paypal so I always have them make it out to me personally. But hey they know I made their cake, so they usually have no problem paying ME. Of course I work from home so its not as much of an issue I guess.

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