Complain From A BridePlease Give Me Your Advice

Business By ShopGrl1128 Updated 4 Jun 2009 , 8:20pm by ShopGrl1128

ShopGrl1128 Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 1:48pm
post #1 of 27

Dear friends:

The moment I thought will never come, came.

I made a wedding cake a couple of weeks ago and I received a call from the bride this morning wanting a refund.

The design we discussed was a three tier green-bluish cake with stars, sorry not pictures yet.

I mixed blue and green on my airbrush and the color came out darker that I was expecting, Im not going to deny that, but unfortunately I made the wrong decision of leaving it like that instead of peeling all the fondant and doing it again; I cannot deny it was darker; but I thought it was prettytrust meI learned my lesson, it will NEVER happen again.

The bride not only complained about the color but she tells me the cake was UNCOOKED!!!
NO WAY!!! I was speechlessthere is no way on this world that cake was uncooked, it was only 11 diameter, I used heating plugs and each layer was torted, theres not way the cake would be uncooked and I wouldnt noticedI dont even know what to think.

I brushed the layers with simple syrup.but I dont think I poured THAT much that made the cake looked uncooked.

I explained the bride all this and I told her I would get back to her; the total for the cake was $281.25.

Im so upset and disappointed, I feel like crying.

Please give me your advice, what should I do???

TIA

26 replies
koppeskreations Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:03pm
post #2 of 27

First off don't offer her anything until you do a little more research. Talk to the venue where her reception was. Ask if they cut the cake and served it. Find out if alot of the cake was thrown away or ate. If it was served and ate, she can't really say that it wasn't servable. I had a similar complaint once, MOB called, after doing a little research I found out they served the cake and approximately 30 servings were ruined (fell apart on them, cause the tier was really tall) I offered the bride a couple of Gift Certificates and she was happy. This was after the MOB asking for a full return. So just wait and find out more info before talking with her again, sometimes it is not as bad as you think.

Hope this helps!
Nikki

AZCakeGirl Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:05pm
post #3 of 27

I know this is probably not what you want to hear & some people may say otherwise, but wedding cakes usually serve 2 main purposes:

#1 Looks
- If you already knew the color was wrong but didn't feel like re-doing the cake. Even if it was pretty, it was not what she ordered.

#2 Taste & Serving - If you think there is even a small possibility that you could have put too much syrup on it so it appeared unbaked (although of course it wasn't!) that only adds to her disappointment. Although you probably could have gotten out of it if it was only this issue by itself.


I would just give her the refund and try to keep any good customer relations that you can. I understand you went through a lot of work & we all know that it was the syrup & not an unbaked cake. But the fact that you already know the cake didn't pass in the looks department, I would just "eat it" on the other determining factor.

AZCakeGirl Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:08pm
post #4 of 27

Oh yeah...sorry, I was going to mention that too - if she actually served the cake at the reception and people ate it, then that is a whole different story & I would just give her a partial refund for the colors being wrong.

cas17 Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:08pm
post #5 of 27

so sorry that this happened to you!!!! i'm not sure what i would do in the same situation but just from reading other's responses to a similar situations here on CC maybe a partial refund due to the incorrect color although i tell my customer's that i will get it as close as i can but a perfect match is almost impossible. as for the uncooked cake part i would try to get more info from the reception site before you talk to the bride. talk to the manager there to see if there was anything wrong with the cake when they served it. also, why did she wait 2 whole weeks to complain? just try to stay calm and don't make any quick decisions until you have more info. {{{hugs}}}

CakeForte Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:10pm
post #6 of 27

First...get your emotions out and then collect your thoughts.

Just because people complain, it does not automatically mean they get money back. I only offer refunds if the cake is a disaster....meaning it falls down, or is damaged b/c of something that I did or to where I can't fix it right when I get on site.

Do your research, ask her some more questions. Was the color completely wrong? or just a little off? It's hard to get colors exact, so a "perfect" color match is unrealistic. Did it still go with the color theme of her wedding? Our work is just like that of an artists...so interpretation varies. Was the cake eaten?? An uncooked caked would have probably ended in a collapse, and no one would have eaten it. Verify with the venue if you have to. Could it have been soaked too much?? If it was uncooked, why didn't she call right away? Honeymoon or not...if something was REALLY wrong at the wedding...you find out about it pretty quickly!

Apologize to her that she didn't like the cake and explain that you do your best with each and every client, so her feedback is helpful. Compare your pictures w/ her pictures. At most offer a credit towards another purchase, but a refund....probably not.

That's just me tho.

neelycharmed Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:17pm
post #7 of 27

don't rush and give her the refund.
I had a Bride wanting a cake for pretty much nothing, 3 tier white chocolate fondant with edible leaves and piping with lemon cake (diabetic)
for $200.. I said I can do it for $300, then it became $320.00 because she only decided last minute with the leaves and I had to express ship them in.
And she was wondering why it went up $20.00 and refused to pay it.
then she said the cake wasn't cooked(which I cut and filled-it was cooked)
then she said there were pieces of foil in it(which I didn't even use- come to find out her sister cut the cake on foil cover).
Hope it all works out!

liha21 Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 2:36pm
post #8 of 27

If they had the cake and ate the cake, then no refund. Do people think we are all stupid. It's not like a hamburger that you don't actually see the inside of until you eat it. We all see the inside of our cakes and I think we know if it is cooked or runny. Seriously. I would offer some kind of free cake in the future, but no refund.

Deb_ Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 3:21pm
post #9 of 27

OK this is a tough one because you yourself felt that the color wasn't right from the beginning.

I too wonder why she waited so long to call you with this complaint about the cake being undercooked. icon_rolleyes.gif

May I ask what recipe or what kind of cake did you use? Reason being, when I first joined this site and saw all the rave reviews about WASC I decided to try it even though I'm a scratch baker. I just had to see for myself what the big hoopla was.

Well, everyone in my household including myself felt that the cake was so dense and moist that it tasted undercooked and gummy to us. We're use to a different texture and I think this is why we felt it was undercooked. I just don't like it and I've never made it again.

I'm wondering if this is the case with your bride. If it was WASC along with the addition of a simple syrup that could be the reason for her description of it being "undercooked".

Definitely call the place where her wedding was and ask if they noticed anything about the cake when they cut it to serve.

If they say the cake was fine and there weren't any complaints then you need to tell the bride that.

As far as the color being wrong, well you admitted it was so I do feel some compensation is in order. I just don't know how much or what yet, so I'll need a little while to think about that one.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this, it seems to be happening a LOT lately around here.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do, and keep us updated if you get any information from the venue.

Sorry this was so long, Wow! I'm long winded today..... icon_smile.gif

ShopGrl1128 Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 4:03pm
post #10 of 27

Thank you guys.
I really appreciate your thoughts.

To answer some of your questions, the reception was held at a firehall, it was very low key,very very simple, 75 guests.

When I went to deliver the cake the caterer was setting up at the same time, I asked the lady if she was cutting the cake so I could give her cutting instructions and my business card, she said no, she wasnt they are doing it themselves so I assume family members cut the cake; I left a cutting instruction sheet and my business card on the table, so I cant call the person who cut the cake.

I did apologize to the bride and said I would look into it and get back to her.

I use a version of WASC, not pudding in the mix, and one stick of butter per box mix that I cream for about 30mins, and then I add the sugar and cream for about 5 extra mins.
My cakes are very light, not dense at all.

Ive been trying to remember everything about the cake that I could pin point as something that would make me believe the cake was SOOO undercooked like she told me, but I cant think of anything.
If it so was undercooked, I would have noticed when I torted it!
I did use simple syrup, but I use one of those plastic squeeze bottles and I went over the cake on a zigzag patternas I do with all my cakes.

Yes, I admit the shade of blue/green was darker, but her biggest argument was the cake being undonethat I cannot accept.

I am trying to be fair and honest, but I cant have somebody trying to convince me the cake was so wrong when I know deep in my heart it was OK.
This is so draining; I know you understand how I feel.

So, based on the admitted fact the color was darker, what should I offer to amend that?

Thanks for listening.

edit~ to correct grammar...

Deb_ Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 4:18pm
post #11 of 27

Believe me we all know exactly how you feel. We take such pride and care in our cakes and to have a customer tell us something so absurd like it was uncooked, really bothers us.

Did she say that they couldn't eat the cake and didn't serve it?

Is she asking for a specific dollar amount to be refunded? I would simply say..........

I really appreciate your feedback on the cake. I'm a little perplexed about the "uncooked" comment.
While assembling your cake, I torted the layers which means I sliced them in half, so that I could add the fillings.
If the cake layers were in fact uncooked, I would have noticed that immediately and they probably would have fallen apart.
My cakes are very moist and dense and perhaps this is why you feel that it was uncooked.



I would not offer any refund unless she specifically asks you for one. Then I would have to tell her that at this point it's hard to refund when she doesn't have any cake left to show you. I'd offer her a discount off of a future order.

Edit to add- about the color thing. If she pushes that issue then I guess you'd have to offer her something back. 25% maybe. I don't know, I'm bad at this kind of thing, hopefully someone else will chime in.

Good luck!

cakesbycathy Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 4:19pm
post #12 of 27

Reiterate to her that she will not be getting a refund since you know for a fact - since you torted and filled the cake - that the cake was not underdone.

If you have already admitted to her that the color was off then I would offer maybe a $25 refund. It's not like the cake was the wrong color completely.

BTW - I'm glad you told her you would get back to her and didn't just give her an automatic refund icon_smile.gif Good luck!

cakes22 Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 4:33pm
post #13 of 27

I think some people may be confused on the undercooked term. To me undercooked (for cake anyway) is uncooked batter, or very doughy. If your applying a simple syrup or any kind of filling the moisture from that is going to seep into the cake and change the texture, making it really moist. I think that since you know that the cake was cooked properly and thoroughly I wouldn't offer a refund.
As for the colour, if it was off and you know it was off, then I would have to say a discount on a future order or a minimal refund may be the way to go.

good luck

DenaB Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 4:33pm
post #14 of 27

DO NOT PUT ANYTHING IN WRITING...otherwise she will have proof that you offered her something for nothing.

I would not give her a refund unless I was dissapointed with how her cake came out myself. she is just looking for a freebie if you say that the cake was pretty...girl...you are your own worst critic. If you liked it...it was fine. If you did not like it give a refund for THAT amount only. I refunded a delivery fee and 100.00 toward a 600.00 wedding cake and groom's order...because I was setting up the cake in front of some of the guests...bride did not arrive yet but the mom complained...circumstances were that the other wedding that day was not picked up in time for me to get there...and the mom gave me the time for the wedding as the time for the reception...so I didn't have as much time as I thought. NO way I was going to refund all of her money for a beautiful delicious cake...she raised heck but when I went to get the plateau from her husband he told me that just between me and him...the cakes were beautiful and delicious and he said thank you. So don't just jump to give her her money back!

sweetsbystacy Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 4:53pm
post #15 of 27

Just a clarification.....did the BRIDE say the color was wrong? Or is she complaining about it being undercooked?

First off, there is NO WAY it was undercooked if you torted it.

This bride, LIKE SO MANY OTHERS.....is figuring out she overspent her wedding and is now looking to figure out how to get money back. If the whole cake was served, I am thinking it was fine. If she has no evidence other than her word, I am thinking NO REFUND.

There will be other customers.

crazielady38 Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 5:10pm
post #16 of 27

I may be a newbie. You say the cake was made two weeks ago. And the bride just now asking for a refund. I would do some reseach like someone else said. Sounds kind of shady. I have been asked several times to do wedding cakes and have said no now this makes me even more afraid to do one. I will stick to birthday,wedding shower ect cakes for now. Brides are crazy,LOL. They scare me. icon_biggrin.gif

Sweetcakes23 Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 5:11pm
post #17 of 27

I agree that a "partial" refund might be in order, if nothing else to keep her happy and to keep her from bad mouthing you to potential future customers! AND I would state (verbally) that "It is for the color being off a bit which she was not pleased with."

I'm sorry this happened. But, you are good, and I've been there, we just have to "Let it go..." and keep positive. You will never please everyone.

varika Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 5:12pm
post #18 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by DenaB

I refunded a delivery fee and 100.00 toward a 600.00 wedding cake and groom's order...because I was setting up the cake in front of some of the guests...bride did not arrive yet but the mom complained...




Get bent, MOB! The days of "servants" being "invisible" are so far gone--and why were you so early, anyway? Srsly, get over yourself, woman. icon_mad.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeGrlPA

I mixed blue and green on my airbrush and the color came out darker that I was expecting, Im not going to deny that, but unfortunately I made the wrong decision of leaving it like that instead of peeling all the fondant and doing it again; I cannot deny it was darker; but I thought it was prettytrust meI learned my lesson, it will NEVER happen again.




Darker than you expected and unacceptable are two different things, so unless you said "will match fabric swatch," I would not give this woman a refund.

marmalade1687 Posted 3 Jun 2009 , 5:27pm
post #19 of 27

To play devil's advocate, perhaps the bride is just back from her honeymoon, and just calling about the cake now, but I do agree with previous posters that without proof of uncooked cake, no refund should be given.

I do have a clause in my contract to cover myself in cases of "color conflict" icon_rolleyes.gif !

Every effort will be made to provide as close of duplication to your colors. Icing color may have a tendency to change with time, humidity and heat. Darker colors may stain teeth and will have residual flavor. However, we reserve the right to determine the quality of the color match.

It basically means that I have final say with creative license, and they agree.

CoutureCake Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 6:29pm
post #20 of 27

In a lot of these threads lately the biggest thing I'm noticing is that people aren't taking the time to include situations like this in their contracts. My contract is a legal sheet long with an attached page for design and information (aka: rider contract). Included in the contract are things that relate to the what happens if... I include things like color matching is not guaranteed (ever tried to keep purple purple, and it's all dependent on the camera used), and most of all that *I* have sole discretion over any refunds or reimbursements pertaining to the cake and that the decorating is an art and I've got artistic license if a problem arises. I also include about problems with a delivery, etc. The thing is, you're better to have a detailed contract than a "You agree to pay, I agree to bake for $ amount." contract. If all of the details are spelled out it cuts down considerably on the complaints from people who overspent on the wedding and are grasping at straws. It's not going to solve the current situation, but it is something to take into consideration for the future because I never had any problems because brides knew what was expected of me and what was expected of them and that I'm contracted to not be a pushover...

You've got to follow your instincts here, the cutting problem could easily be explained by buildup "gunk" from not keeping the knife clean as they cut so it sort of looks like an ultra-soft wadded mass after a while (think the half-cut cake at a grad party what the knife looks like when it's about half way through) and looks like the cake isn't cooked when in reality it's just the rookie cutter making "cake balls" out of it (mixing the cake and icing so it's sort of a messy greasy goop)... The cake wasn't raw as others have mentioned because you torted it and would have DEFINITELY found it then (another argument for torting tiers!)... It sounds like it's possibly a cutter problem with not knowing to keep that knife clean than it does a problem with the cake.

As for the color, again, could be easily solved in the future with a change to your contract, for this situation offer a decent discount on a future cake order over $50 (not cash refund) and call it a day...

OfficerMorgan Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 6:37pm
post #21 of 27

You know, the color was wrong, and that deserves a partial refund. And you knew you were delivering something that was incorrect and just hoping it would be OK or that she wouldn't notice.

Now, if she ate the cake, then that does cut down the amount of the refund. But yes, she does deserve something. Brides are extremely particular about colors to the point they even bring in fabric or color swatches. So...I do feel she deserves a partial refund for the color.

Sorry. icon_smile.gif And good luck to you.

OfficerMorgan Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 6:38pm
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazielady38

I may be a newbie. You say the cake was made two weeks ago. And the bride just now asking for a refund. I would do some reseach like someone else said. Sounds kind of shady. I have been asked several times to do wedding cakes and have said no now this makes me even more afraid to do one. I will stick to birthday,wedding shower ect cakes for now. Brides are crazy,LOL. They scare me. icon_biggrin.gif




She could have been on her honeymoon.

terrig007 Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 6:52pm
post #23 of 27

CoutureCake said" You've got to follow your instincts here, the cutting problem could easily be explained by buildup "gunk" from not keeping the knife clean as they cut so it sort of looks like an ultra-soft wadded mass after a while (think the half-cut cake at a grad party what the knife looks like when it's about half way through) and looks like the cake isn't cooked when in reality it's just the rookie cutter making "cake balls" out of it (mixing the cake and icing so it's sort of a messy greasy goop)... The cake wasn't raw as others have mentioned because you torted it and would have DEFINITELY found it then (another argument for torting tiers!)... It sounds like it's possibly a cutter problem with not knowing to keep that knife clean than it does a problem with the cake."

30 years ago when I was 15, I worked at a Country Club in the banquet section. There was a new girl cutting a wedding cake and she was not cleaning off the knife as she should. Well, the people who I was handing the cake out to in the beginning were fine but as it got further along the guests were aghast at the "raw looking" cake. The manager came out and completed the job, cleaning after everytime and it was fine. I think since you said this was something small, this may have been the case as well. Colors are hard to match and if you feel like giving her a little bit on that, fine but believe me, I made a cake that wasn't done in the middle and I sure found out when I torted it that it needed to go straight to the garbage.

ShopGrl1128 Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 7:07pm
post #24 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by terrig007

CoutureCake said" You've got to follow your instincts here, the cutting problem could easily be explained by buildup "gunk" from not keeping the knife clean as they cut so it sort of looks like an ultra-soft wadded mass after a while (think the half-cut cake at a grad party what the knife looks like when it's about half way through) and looks like the cake isn't cooked when in reality it's just the rookie cutter making "cake balls" out of it (mixing the cake and icing so it's sort of a messy greasy goop)... The cake wasn't raw as others have mentioned because you torted it and would have DEFINITELY found it then (another argument for torting tiers!)... It sounds like it's possibly a cutter problem with not knowing to keep that knife clean than it does a problem with the cake."
.




YES! I never thought of that, this seems to be the only logical explanation for the cake looking uncooked.
Thank you!
Anyways, I left a message for the bride; hopefully she will call me today, Im going to offer her a small refund for
the color issue but nothing else, as Im sure the cake was perfectly cooked.

I will keep you updated.

Luvsthedogs Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 7:08pm
post #25 of 27

Did you have a tasting for her before deciding on design/flavors/colors? If so, she should have known what your cake tasted like.

I, too have tried the WASC recipe several times only to find it a little gummy. I modified it to use half the sugar and add 1/2 tsp baking powder for a lighter, yet still moist cake. Adding syrup to the WASC recipe may give someone the impression of an undercooked cake?

CoutureCake Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 7:38pm
post #26 of 27

Just a follow-up... One other thing about the cutters is that sometimes people treat that knife like they're cutting icecream and have a pitcher of hot water next to them to "clean it off" and don't completely wipe the knife dry after a certain point...

The thing is, this may or may not be what happened, but they're things to consider for figuring out what happened when you know YOU aren't the one who caused the problem... icon_biggrin.gif

ShopGrl1128 Posted 4 Jun 2009 , 8:20pm
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by CindyD333

Did you have a tasting for her before deciding on design/flavors/colors? If so, she should have known what your cake tasted like.

I, too have tried the WASC recipe several times only to find it a little gummy. I modified it to use half the sugar and add 1/2 tsp baking powder for a lighter, yet still moist cake. Adding syrup to the WASC recipe may give someone the impression of an undercooked cake?




The bride tasted my cake at a bridal show.

I use one teaspoon of baking powder per box on my version of the WASC and I cream 1 stick of butter per box too, my cake are VERY fluffy; last night I was torting another cake, it was so pretty inside I wanted to kiss it icon_lol.gif , it was fluffy like a cloud. icon_rolleyes.gif

When I put the simple syrop before putting the filling, I go ONCE in a zigzag pattern with the squeeze bottle.

Anyways, I was trying to see if I would miss an uncooked cake, not a chance.once I cut the layer horizontally there is not way I wouldnt notice if something was wrong, unless I went temporarily blind. icon_confused.gif

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