What Should I Do?? Refund??

Decorating By tarheelgirl Updated 23 Feb 2009 , 11:15pm by Chiara

tarheelgirl Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 1:54pm
post #1 of 28

I have never had issues with anyone! Everyone always raves about my cakes. Heck I have had people email me after getting a cake thanking me. Long story short.. I have this customer that has been getting cakes from me for about a year now. She never has had any issues. In fact she has sent so many of her co-workers who order large cakes and don't mind paying premium prices. So, a couple weeks ago she orders a baby shower cake for her boss. My internet was down so she apparently could not CALL me she emails me. Her boss goes into labor.. Honestly, not my problem. I made the cake.. she ordered it.. I delivered it to her mother. I know that sounds harsh but.. Later I checked my email and responded back and explained my internet was down. She was really short and said it did not even look EXACTLY like the picture she sent me! I don't COPY other peoples cakes.. she knows that! I made a onesie out of fondant and booties to match!! I thought the cake looked great! Her mother even gave me several compliments when I delivered it.

So, she orders a cake for her son this week. I go out of my way to take it to her mothers work again at 8 AM in the morning yesterday. Well.. she writes last night and says the was NOT like the one I showed you.. Her son WHO IS 8 by the way.. said it looked like a Halloween cake???? The original picture was an orange cake with red/orange border. Guitar Hero.. I even made a little guitar. I charged her VERY LITTLE for this cake. Seriously, it was like giving it to her for free!! She complains about it!!! I don't even know how to respond to her. Should I give her money back to her? I mean seriously.. I don't know what she is wanting. OH but she did say the cake tasted very good though.. WHAT?? icon_mad.gif I seriously am thinking about completing the orders I have already booked and not take anymore for awhile!

Sorry this is sooo long! icon_redface.gif

27 replies
peg818 Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 2:06pm
post #2 of 28

She ate the cake, i wouldn't give a refund.

But if you decide to give her, her money back, be busy for the next cake she wants. Sounds like she has some buyers remorse. People are tightening their belts all over the place and maybe she decided she really shouldn't have spent the extra $ on a cake.

tarheelgirl Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 2:11pm
post #3 of 28

Well, funny you should say that! She originally wanted 25 cupcakes plus a larger cake. When I gave her the price she told me the next day that they decided on just getting a smaller version.

I agree.. she did eat the cake! I guess I should apologize that she was not happy but I don't copy cakes.

pastryjen Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 2:30pm
post #4 of 28

Next time she places an order - before accepting - remind her you do not copy cakes. Are you sure you would still like me to make the cake? This way, she knows for sure you do not copy cakes so she can't come back at you for it.

I guess there are just some people in this world that need to be told something many times before it sinks in! I know I had to use a really irritated voice this past time on another matter and I think she actually gets it now - after 3 reminders!

Oh yeah...don't refund any money. If she keeps coming back, she truly doesn't have an issue with your cakes.

Twopeasinapod Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 2:34pm
post #5 of 28

I just looked at your cakes and I think they all look great! If her cakes were half as great as these, it would have looked good. She already said if tasted good so that is half of it. Most decorators do not copy other peoples work but will do their interpertation of it. I feel like if the cake you made resembled the original without copying it, then you should not refund any money. The cake did not fall apart and it tasted good so that is a lot. Do not let this hinder you from continuing making and decorating cakes. You do good work and if you enjoy it keep it up. She may think that since she has bought others from you and sent you customers she is entitled to more. Not! Keep your chin up, your cakes look great!

KHalstead Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 2:40pm
post #6 of 28

I wouldn't give her a refund either, I'd tell her that maybe since the 2 of you have seemed to have a problem "connecting" on what the cake should/will look like, that maybe she'd be interested in having a "consultation" where you could sketch out the cake to make sure you're in agreement at a cost of $20.00 or whatever you'd charge?? Then you'd have a sketch to go by and know that you were thinking along the same lines...I mean if it's THAT important to her that your interpretation be EXACTLLY what hers is...then she needs to pay you to sketch. Make sure you have an hourly rate too...you don't want her having you sketch and re-sketch all night!

tx_cupcake Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 2:47pm
post #7 of 28

I agree with the above posters that you should NOT refund her money, however you may want to add an addendum to your contract saying that you do not copy cakes under any circumstances. That way you will have definitive proof in the future that the customer acknowledges this.

I also like KHalstead's suggestion of having future consultations complete with sketches. Heck! I'm make her sign the sketch for even more proof of design approval.

adonisthegreek1 Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 2:51pm
post #8 of 28

I wouldn't consider giving her any money back unless she specifically asked for a refund. If they ate the cake, then generally you don't give a refund. It sound like this woman has brought a lot of business to you by referring others, so I would think twice before I was harsh. If you didn't charge what your cakes were worth, that's not her fault.

IcedTea4Me2 Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 2:57pm
post #9 of 28

Ditto what everyone else said. Also, sometimes people just jerk you around trying to see how far they can take you. She keeps ordering your cakes which means she likes them. She wants it, but she wants it for less. She originally wanted the cake and cupcakes and then changed her order to something less expensive. Smart move for her, but I think she's just being nitpicky about the copying issue to have something to whine about.

That's life. If you can't afford it, you can't afford it.

Lisa

tarheelgirl Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 3:17pm
post #10 of 28

I definitely will add that into my contract about copying cakes! I don't feel this should be refunded because they did like the cake just the fact that it was not exactly like the picture she showed me. Maybe she was expecting something more since she has sent customers my way. Who knows.. And I agree with the sketching. Maybe that is the best way to deal with her from now on!

-K8memphis Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 3:26pm
post #11 of 28

Part of cake decorating is that subjective personal and often 'from the heart' perspective. We know who these people are we know what they are celebrating. Our joy to be a part of this is their joy to be having an occasion. When we get a complaint specific to the decor it goes deep.

All that to say--she's nursing some sour grapes huh.

I would say only once and kind of slowly with emphasis,
"<say her name>, I'm sorry you and your son did not like the decor."
Because that's the famous I'm apologizing but not for anything I did type apology.

I would also be booked the next time she needs a cake if there is a next time. We need a breather here huh.

In fact I would encourage you to write her an email now that you never send just to get it all off your chest.

If she places yet another order say something like, "You understand that you are ordering my interpretation of your theme. Are you sure you are ok with that?" If she is ok and then proceeds to complain on that one cut her loose. It's not a good match.

~~~~~~~~~Then in general about quiting:

The only difference between success and failure is
that success tries one more time.

Never quit in the weeds. If we need to 'retire'
we need to do it on the mountain top.

~~~~~~~~~!!!Go Tarheel, Go Tarheel!!!~~~~~~~~~~
<picture both little hands going 'round in a circular motion>
~~~~~~~~~!!!Go Tarheel, Go Tarheel!!!~~~~~~~~~~

yellobutterfly Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 3:33pm
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by k8memphis

Part of cake decorating is that subjective personal and often 'from the heart' perspective. We know who these people are we know what they are celebrating. Our joy to be a part of this is their joy to be having an occasion. When we get a complaint specific to the decor it goes deep.

All that to say--she's nursing some sour grapes huh.

I would say only once and kind of slowly with emphasis,
"<say her name>, I'm sorry you and your son did not like the decor."
Because that's the famous I'm apologizing but not for anything I did type apology.

I would also be booked the next time she needs a cake if there is a next time. We need a breather here huh.

In fact I would encourage you to write her an email now that you never send just to get it all off your chest.

If she places yet another order say something like, "You understand that you are ordering my interpretation of your theme. Are you sure you are ok with that?" If she is ok and then proceeds to complain on that one cut her loose. It's not a good match.

~~~~~~~~~Then in general about quiting:

The only difference between success and failure is
that success tries one more time.

Never quit in the weeds. If we need to 'retire'
we need to do it on the mountain top.

~~~~~~~~~!!!Go Tarheel, Go Tarheel!!!~~~~~~~~~~
<picture both little hands going 'round in a circular motion>
~~~~~~~~~!!!Go Tarheel, Go Tarheel!!!~~~~~~~~~~




K8 - love the mountain top quote, I've never heard that one!!

I agree w/ K8!!

tarheelgirl Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 3:35pm
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Quote:

~~~~~~~~~Then in general about quiting:

The only difference between success and failure is
that success tries one more time.

Never quit in the weeds. If we need to 'retire'
we need to do it on the mountain top.

~~~~~~~~~!!!Go Tarheel, Go Tarheel!!!~~~~~~~~~~
<picture both little hands going 'round in a circular motion>
~~~~~~~~~!!!Go Tarheel, Go Tarheel!!!~~~~~~~~~~




Oh my gosh.. you just made me feel so much better! icon_biggrin.gif Thank you! I am seriously going to put this on my fridge!! icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

kelleym Posted 20 Feb 2009 , 4:41pm
post #14 of 28

No refund, but I sure wouldn't take another order from her. Life is too short for [email protected] like this, geez.

BlakesCakes Posted 21 Feb 2009 , 3:41am
post #15 of 28

I agree--NO REFUND!

Who knows why she's become such a Jekyll & Hyde about niggling little details..............trouble at home, trouble at job, PMS, etc.

I would be sure to talk to her nicely about these recent issues regarding "exact copies". I'd let her know that you WON'T make an exact copy, not that you CAN'T--that's what I tell people who send me photos or who choose from "inspiration" cakes that I send to them.

If someone sucks the fun out of decorating for me, then I'm booked the next time they want a cake.

Rae

Deb_ Posted 21 Feb 2009 , 4:01am
post #16 of 28

Remember the infamous "Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld, well you need to become the "Cake Nazi", the next time she calls you say "NO CAKE FOR YOU"..........then release the mute button and say "hello darling, what can I do for you today?" icon_lol.gif


Absolutely no refund. judge.gif

tarheelgirl Posted 21 Feb 2009 , 11:01am
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Quote:

Remember the infamous "Soup Nazi" from Seinfeld, well you need to become the "Cake Nazi", the next time she calls you say "NO CAKE FOR YOU"..........then release the mute button and say "hello darling, what can I do for you today?"




Yes! icon_biggrin.gifthumbs_up.gif I am always thinking what I should say or do and can't remember it until the situation is over! This is a great one liner.. thumbs_up.gif

bizatchgirl Posted 21 Feb 2009 , 12:17pm
post #18 of 28

When I was reading through, and I had just gotten through the first part of the story, I was thinking hmmmm, long time customer, you've gotten lots of referrals, should have been her responsibility to call and make sure she actually SPOKE with you about the cancelation, but maybe you should just refund for the customer goodwill. You should more than make up that money on future orders and referrals.

After reading through the whole story about the experience with the second cake...I wonder if she's still bitter about the boss's cake and is just being pissy with you in general because of that. You know how you're angry with someone, and you can't come out and say it, but you just get [email protected] about every little thing?

I'm kind of a passive person, so I don't know if I could even do this, but I would suggest you just ask outright what the issue is. "You know Mrs. Customer, we've always had such a great working relationship and you've always been awestruck by my fabulous creations, I'm wondering why we haven't been able to make a happy little cake connection on these last two orders. If you are upset over something, please please please let me know. I appreciate all of the business I've received from you, your family and friends and I would like to make sure we continue with our happy little business relationship".

SweetieHunny Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 8:31am
post #19 of 28

I agree with peg818. Remember the scene from Emit Otter's Jug Band Christmas where the pompous "rich" lady refused to pay full price for "damaged" laundry she received the week before?

This kind of stuff goes on in every business and to all service professionals. Just smile and stand your ground. If you continue to kiss her a** she'll think she deserves it! icon_wink.gif

Melnick Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 9:28am
post #20 of 28

I like what bizarchgirl said. She possibly is a bit stroppy still. You can't help it if the girl went into labour - you had already outlaid all the ingredients and time. And it's possible things are really tight in her household and she's taking it out on you? I like the idea of just talking to her straight and seeing what has changed since she has been great in referring business to you. If you feel that it is in your best interest to give some kind of refund, maybe tell her you'll meet her halfway and refund half so that you can at least recoup your material costs? If you refund half and are able to re-establish a happy relationship and she sends you a heap more referrals, it may be worth it? I don't think that in good conscience she coud expect a full refund from you if she ate the cake and thought it tasted great.

tarheelgirl Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 8:55pm
post #21 of 28

I did email her later that day and offered an apology. I did not offer any refund. They did eat the cake! She emailed back with "well it was nothing like the picture I had sent you but its ok". I did not respond! Just felt like the situation was long over with and if they were not happy then they should have brought the cake back for a full refund. I think the next time she needs something I will be booked that week. If I did make a cake for her I would be second guessing myself on the design, colors.. That to me is not worth it!

MacsMom Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 9:09pm
post #22 of 28

Did you explain again that you don't copy cakes?

Even if a customer wants one of my exact cakes, I make sure that they know every cake is a custom design so it doesn't have to be the very same cake.

I wouldn't worry. If she were to go anywhere else she'd likely be paying a lot more and she knows it.

kake4me2 Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 9:28pm
post #23 of 28

[quote="k8memphis"]
IIf she places yet another order say something like, "You understand that you are ordering my interpretation of your theme. [quote]

LOVE THIS LINE....will make a mental note for the future....

A little tip.... if you write a email for venting purposes, don't accidently send it..he he he.. icon_redface.gif .know someone who lost their job over that.... (meant to reply to 1 person but hit "Reply All" by mistake....yeah BIG mistake.)

although maybe you wouldn't mind if she "fired" you icon_biggrin.gif

tarheelgirl Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 9:42pm
post #24 of 28

I did explain that I do not copy cakes. Each person decorates and executes their cake designs differently. That is why its a one of a kind custom cake. Some people are such sticklers.. Seriously, there are more important things to worry about then what shade of color I missed on your cake. Maybe she will go back to her supermarket cakes and come back to me with a greater respect for what she has gotten!

Skirt Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 9:47pm
post #25 of 28

Uhhh, just a quick question, how do you get your cakes so GD smooth??? I thought a few of your cakes were fondant until I opened the image. GOR-geous icon_biggrin.gif
Do you use a topping or real BC?? Inquiring minds want to know ... the recipe!

tarheelgirl Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 9:51pm
post #26 of 28

Thank you! icon_biggrin.gif I use a crusting buttercream. Hi ratio shortening.. I use the viva method and then go back over it with a sheet of paper. icon_biggrin.gificon_biggrin.gif

littlecake Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 10:32pm
post #27 of 28

i'm getting old and cranky...i don't take customers who complain... if they complain once...no more cake!

theres more than enough customers to take her place.

one of the posters (i wish i could remember who it was) posted to me a couple years ago "life is too short to dance with ugly people".

if they ate the cake, they got their money's worth....no refund.

i just really (might be menopause) HATE making anything for the "extremely fussy"....i have sent more people packing than i'd like to admit....if they are fussy...or a complainer...it takes all the joy out of making their cake .......it just makes a stressful job....way to stressful.

i've told this story before...one lady complained about her cake (to get some $$$$ off)....i gave her her deposit back...she said "i still need a cake, could i have it for half price?"

i said no....and gave her cake away right in front of her to another person.

ha ha ha

Chiara Posted 23 Feb 2009 , 11:15pm
post #28 of 28

I had to laugh about the menopause comment.

To be honest, she did eat the cake. Plus, she should not be so bold as to assume that you got an email about a cake. If she did not get a quick response she should have followed up by phone. I am so anal that I would not dare expect something without having confirmed it time and again.

If you feel bad then don't make her anymore cakes. This might be a deepening problem. You might be lucky and she won't order any cakes and the issue would be moot. If she orders again then I would explain that you do not copy cakes and I would definitely place that on your contract.
If she orders again too she does not have that big of an issue and is maybe trying to either get you to lower your prices for her or possibly get a free cake out of you.
Unfortunately, you never know what people's motives really are. Sad to say.
No refund. They ate the cake. You are legitimately out not only your costs but your precious time.

Feel better. You are not the one at fault.

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