Unhappy Bride, Very Long

Business By shorty56 Updated 8 Jun 2009 , 3:33am by melodyscakes

shorty56 Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 3:30pm
post #1 of 45

aghhh, is june over yet?

i delivered this cake yesterday and a couple hours later got a call from a bridesmaid saying the bride was unhappy that it looked awful, there were dents, and the border was coming off and the flowers were the wrong color. oh ya and the border was the wrong color.

the border was the right color, i used white gumpaste on an ivory BC. it was most definitely a white border and an ivory icing. the lighting at the venue washed it out, and it did look a bit uniform at the venue, but what am i supposed to do about that?

the flowers were white as in the photo she gave me. she insists the flowers in the photo were pink. looking closer at the photo i realize that one of the flowers has a light pink tint, but the others are most definitely white. i go back to the venue to see what was wrong. there was one smudge where one of the flowers slid down a little after i had left. i fixed that.

the border was not coming off as she said. i had trouble with this border in the beginning, it was a press that was recommended to me by another CC'er adn it would not cut all those stupid little diamonds out. i tried for so long, and finally just started punching the diamonds out by hand. that led to a longer work time and i had to work in short segments to keep it from drying out. so her border had seams, yes, as i had to piece each segment together. i don't think it looked awful though. and in fact when i walked into the venue for the second time to "fix" it the groom walked in behind me and said "wow the cake looks great".

so i write this email to the bride:

I'm so sorry you were unhappy with the wedding cake. I truly do strive
to make all of my brides happy. I made the flowers white as in the
photo since I wasn't told you wanted them to be pink. I would be happy
to refund you the cost of the flowers.

The smudge on the middle tier was simply where one of the flowers slid
down a little. It wasn't there when I left and I smoothed it again
when I arrived later.

The fondant press/cutter to make the border was giving me problems. It
wasn't cutting out the diamonds in the ribbon, so I had to go back and
punch each little diamond out by hand. As you may know fondant and
gumpaste dry as they are exposed to air and they begin to crack when
they dry. Due to the time it was taking to punch out each individual
diamond from the ribbon I had to work in short segments to keep it
from drying out and cracking. I made each piece as long as I could to
minimize the number of seams. I'm sorry it was visible to the eye, but
I did get some very nice photos of the cake, I will attach one if
you'd like to see.

Please accept my apology and let me know what address I can mail the
$35 refund check to.

whe write this back to me:

The cake was very tasty but I am very unhappy with the appearance. The flowers in the pictures were pink, and I obviously wanted the flowers to look like the pictures. The cake looked white on white on white which is not what I wanted.

As a professional, if something isn't working (like the fondant) you should have the know how to possibly call me and say, hey this isn't working we'll have to use real lace to which I would have said fine. I'd rather have known the difficulties before hand then walk in to see my cake smudged, cracked and lopsided.

My sister who booked a cake with you for her wedding in october will probably be canceling her order. She was very shocked at the appearance and seeing me unhappy made her think twice.

My mother who bought the cake wants me to be reimbursed more. That was NOT a $400 cake. I'm sorry it took you so much time to do but you are the expert.

i certainly don't think the cake was "cracked smudged and lopsided" and i certainly think its a nice cake. i'll attach a pic. i'm willing to refund her a little more, the extra charge for a fondant border. $30 plus $35 for the flowers for a total refund of $65. do you think that is fair? i have a feeling the bride won't think its enough...

44 replies
shorty56 Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 3:33pm
post #2 of 45

i don't think the pic attached, let me try again
LL

costumeczar Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 3:36pm
post #3 of 45

She probably won't think anything is enough, so don't let her threaten you. If her sister is going to cancel her order she'll do it regardless of how much you refund her, so don't sweat that too much. Also, they ate it, apparently, and the groom said how great it looked, so what were you supposed to think?

By the way, if the sister cancels her order, don't give her the entire deposit back if that's not in the contract, just give her back whatever it says.

How many people was this supposed to serve? I haven't seen the picture yet.

costumeczar Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 3:39pm
post #4 of 45

Now I've seen the picture and the cake looks off-white against the white flowers (which don't look pink.) I can't tell about the fondant band at the base of the tiers, as far as seams go. It's a nice cake.

edited to add: The light at the venue is obviously dark, and with that spotlight shining on the cake it would be washed out, but the cake definitely looks darker than the flowers.

__Jamie__ Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 3:39pm
post #5 of 45

Oh please...that makes me want to spit! That cake is dang gorgeous!! I can't see enough detail from here to see the "errors" Good job on the extra tall tier!!!

shorty56 Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 3:42pm
post #6 of 45

the cake serves 120, its a 5"/7"/7"/9"/11. teh sister paid a $50.00 deposit none of which is refundable per the contract, and i'm not refunding any. i've already turned down several people for the sisters date.

i had a feeling this bride would be unhappy, it started about 2 months ago. she became difficult to communicate with, wouldn't answer emails and then out of no where asked about my cancellation policy just a month or so before the event.

i also figured the sister would cancel her order after i got the complaint from this bride. its frustrating because i've already had 4 cancellations or so all citing the economy and lost jobs.

costumeczar Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 3:47pm
post #7 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by shorty56

the cake serves 120, its a 5"/7"/7"/9"/11. teh sister paid a $50.00 deposit none of which is refundable per the contract, and i'm not refunding any. i've already turned down several people for the sisters date.

i had a feeling this bride would be unhappy, it started about 2 months ago. she became difficult to communicate with, wouldn't answer emails and then out of no where asked about my cancellation policy just a month or so before the event.

i also figured the sister would cancel her order after i got the complaint from this bride. its frustrating because i've already had 4 cancellations or so all citing the economy and lost jobs.





Love, love, love this, so typical! icon_mad.gif You can just tell when someone is going to give you a hard time...I wouldn't give her anything back, but I'd send the check for $35 since you offered that, and tell her the cake was eaten, the groom told you it looked great so you took that as design approval, you came out to fix it when there was a complaint, and you have no control over lighting at the venue.

I've also had a lot of cancellations this year, more than others, so you're not alone!

jillmakescakes Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 3:52pm
post #8 of 45

Ok, LOVE the cake- I see nothing wrong with it.

Now, if you want to give her the money back for the flowers, I can support you on that, but not on anything else.

These brides are just nuts. So many are wonderful, but these nutjobs just make it so dang difficult.

I;ve also got a bride complaining, so we're in this together!!!!

costumeczar Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 3:56pm
post #9 of 45

I had a bride complain that one tier on her cake looked taller than the others, and they were "very disappointed" with the appearance. I wrote back that the tier they were complaining about had vertical stripes on it, and the tier directly above it had a horizontal band going around the base, so visually that made it look shorter and the "tall" one look taller. I also reminded her that she was the one insisting on that design combination icon_twisted.gif No refund for her!

Is there some kind of underground bridal movement that has people giving each other tips on how to recoup their costs by complaining after the weddings??? Annoying...

Misdawn Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 3:57pm
post #10 of 45

I totally agree with costumeczar. You should do exactly as Costume posted and forget about it.

CanadianChick Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 5:52pm
post #11 of 45

OK, first - NEVER say "oh, I had trouble with such and such". That just opens the doors for more complaints and legitimizes their belief that you are incompetent.

if it was cracked, however, that is a problem.

Deb_ Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 5:59pm
post #12 of 45

Honestly I didn't think the e-mail from the bride was nasty at all. Lately I've seen and heard much worse right here on CC.

I think your e-mail was a little bit too "honest" LOL!! As professionals we can't EVER admit that we had a "problem" or "difficulty" completing the cake. It just gives the client more "ammunition" to use against us.

Having said that.............if she wanted the flowers to be pink she should have told you that from the beginning.

If you delivered to her what the contract states then really you owe her nothing.

I guess it all depends on how detailed your contract is and if you have certain stipulations about not being able to guarantee exact color matches, etc.

I think the cake is really pretty, that tall tier is incredible. You'd probably be better off if her sister cancels...........sounds like another headache to me.

Good luck with this one, and don't let her bully you into a larger refund.

cakesbycathy Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 6:05pm
post #13 of 45

I'm sorry this did not go well for you. The cake is very pretty.

If this had been me:
I would not have sent the bride an email. I would have waited and let the bride contact me first.
NEVER admit you had a problem. Unless she brings it up, in which case then you can address the issues.
Under most circumstances, I would not offer a refund right off the bat.

If the sister cancels do not refund her money. Do not get into any kind of conversation about this cake (it could come back to bite you later). I would just say "I sorry you have decided to go with someone else. Good luck with your event."

shorty56 Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 6:38pm
post #14 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

I'm sorry this did not go well for you. The cake is very pretty.

If this had been me:
I would not have sent the bride an email. I would have waited and let the bride contact me first.
NEVER admit you had a problem. Unless she brings it up, in which case then you can address the issues.
Under most circumstances, I would not offer a refund right off the bat.




she did contact me first to complain. she had her bridesmaid call me and i went back to the venue, spoke with the brides maid on her behalf and told the bridesmaid to tell teh bride i would discuss it with her later. i didn't initiate teh conversation. but when she complained i felt i had to offer her the explanation for why the border had been done in segments instead of one long strand.

the cake was not cracked, i'm quite baffled as to why she would call it cracked, lopsided and smudged the way she did. i'm attaching a second pic, this one taken without my flash. just to illustrate the huge difference lighting can make on teh appearance of a cakes color. she's saying the color wasn't right, but it was definitely ivory icing with a white border. the light at the venue made them seem to blend together.
LL

Deb_ Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 7:09pm
post #15 of 45

Ok I can see how the border is "pieced" now, it shows up much better in this photo. I think that's what she's calling "cracked". It's not bad, but I can see why she's not happy with that look, she was expecting a "ribbon" look (one continuous piece).

The color issue................
The perception of color is in the eye of the beholder and if you don't already have a clause in your contract you should definitely add one.

"Icing is a food product and we deal with food dyes, while I will try my best to match colors I cannot guarantee an exact color match to fabric swatches". "Venue lighting can also alter the color of the cake". or Something like this.

Everyone has a different opinion about refunds, the purpose of a contract is to cover some of the things that this bride is complaining about.....i.e. flower colors, icing color, border color etc. If you followed the contract to a "T" then no refund for the color issue in my opinion.

I think the border is a problem and I would refund something for that since it is one of the main design elements of the cake.

CanadianChick Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 7:18pm
post #16 of 45

I agree with dkelly - I do think that border is a problem...I'd not be happy with that on my wedding cake either.

Not what you want to hear, but honestly, if I can see problems from a photo, I can imagine what the bride would have thought.

I'm not a professional at all, but I think if I had been having the problems you described with the border, I would have sent it without the border or with a ribbon or something, and discounted the cake.

Doug Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 7:24pm
post #17 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly

Ok I can see how the border is "pieced" now, it shows up much better in this photo. I think that's what she's calling "cracked". It's not bad, but I can see why she's not happy with that look, she was expecting a "ribbon" look (one continuous piece).

The color issue................
The perception of color is in the eye of the beholder and if you don't already have a clause in your contract you should definitely add one.

"Icing is a food product and we deal with food dyes, while I will try my best to match colors I cannot guarantee an exact color match to fabric swatches". "Venue lighting can also alter the color of the cake". or Something like this.

Everyone has a different opinion about refunds, the purpose of a contract is to cover some of the things that this bride is complaining about.....i.e. flower colors, icing color, border color etc. If you followed the contract to a "T" then no refund for the color issue in my opinion.

I think the border is a problem and I would refund something for that since it is one of the main design elements of the cake.




oh great....another clause to add to that monster contract I created.

as for lighting -- OH boy is it true that it can spoil or make anythings appearance. beginning to think that every one of us should get those "gels" used in theater to take to a venue so we can color correct the lighting.

---

I would only refund for the ribbon as...

on flowers you went by pic she sent. If she was so insistent on Pink - then A) she should have sent a better picture & B) she should have attached a note to say the flowers are a light pink. HER mistake, not yours.

Deb_ Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 7:28pm
post #18 of 45

[quote="Doug"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly


The color issue................
The perception of color is in the eye of the beholder and if you don't already have a clause in your contract you should definitely add one.

"Icing is a food product and we deal with food dyes, while I will try my best to match colors I cannot guarantee an exact color match to fabric swatches". "Venue lighting can also alter the color of the cake". or Something like this.




oh great....another clause to add to that monster contract I created.[/quote]



hehehehehehe icon_lol.gif sorry!! Didn't you have something about color in there already?

It's only one more intsy bintsy little sentence icon_razz.gif

aligotmatt Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 7:30pm
post #19 of 45

Yeah, I can see the ribbon issue.

Okay. did you make those gumpaste flowers and charge her $35 for them?! they are gorgeous, and under priced in my opinion.

IF IF IF you feel you must refund, no more than the border and the flowers. The cake was/is beautiful. So, if you give her $65 and her sister cancels and loses her $50, then you're only down $15 and hopefully you'll re-book that other date.

Misdawn Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 7:49pm
post #20 of 45

Yup...gonna' have to add that to my contract too!

OfficerMorgan Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 8:12pm
post #21 of 45

There are flaws with the cake. I'm sorry, I know that is not what you want to hear, and most people prbly won't tell you that, but in all honesty there are flaws with the border and the smoothness of your buttercream.
The flowers are beautiful!
And, I think you handled yourself professionally. I also think the Bride was calm and handled herself well. And they also let you know right away they were unhappy, so a small refund is in order. $35 isn't quite enough. but your $65 sounds reasonable, and up to $100.

summernoelle Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 8:31pm
post #22 of 45

The second photograph does show more problems than the first...and I would have been unhappy if that had been my $400 wedding cake. The ribbon was uneven and the piecing it together looked a little messy. She does deserve the refund-Sorry! I think when someone pays $400 for a cake is should be darn near perfect. icon_sad.gif

Chin up, though. We all have tough cakes and things that go wrong. Don't give up!

__Jamie__ Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 8:44pm
post #23 of 45

I had a cake a few months ago...I'm surprised I didn't hear back from them. It had bulges, my GP roses were CRAP, and I had two different styles of fondant ribbon. Totally escaped that one unscathed. It's the camera phone pic in my photos....white cake with red roses. Could be because they were from out of town too, maybe they didn't want the hassle. And really, even with my critical decorator''s eye, I am not exaggerating.

It happens. I agree, about the BC being wonky on your top tier, couldn't see it in the 1st pic. Looks like the fondant strips you were trying to punch out were pretty thick, which would be really hard to press out correctly. Totally deserve some sort of compensation.

You do great work, so I know this little "situation" isn't gonna get you down. icon_smile.gif

candynumber1 Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 8:53pm
post #24 of 45

[quote="costumeczar"] I also reminded her that she was the one insisting on that design combination icon_twisted.gif No refund for her!

Ha Ha! Good for you! thumbs_up.gif

varika Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 9:11pm
post #25 of 45

I admit that I understand why the bride was complaining about the color. That looks more like...beige on beige than white on ivory to me. Even playing with the photo in Photoshop, I can't get the contrast to come up enough to show even a color difference. That spotlight is very, VERY yellow. Even the flowers don't wind up looking white, they look yellowed! The venue maybe needs to be told that it's a problem; they might be able to replace the bulb with one of those "true color" style bulbs for future cake displays. I don't think that one's your fault, for sure; you can't control the venue and I'm not sure even if you'd MADE the flowers "pink" it would have made much difference in that lighting.

The buttercream isn't fondant-smooth, but I remember when I got my big 3-tier birthday cake a couple years ago that the bakery told me that if I didn't want fondant, they could not guarantee that the surface would be as smooth. So...that leaves the border is the big problem child here.

It kind of is. The seams aren't TERRIBLE, but they are quite visible. I suggest the next time you need to work in sections that way, you try to match the ends so that the pattern is continuous, because that makes the seams WAY more visible than they have to be.

And never again tell the bride about the problems you had with something unless you're doing it beforehand and saying, "This isn't going to work, so we need to talk about making a change." It comes off like you're making excuses and sounds less than professional. "I'm sorry, I did my best to fulfil your requests as stated" would go over much, much better.

350BakerStreet Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 9:45pm
post #26 of 45

It's terrible that you can see every little imperfection in the cake, all because of the lighting. I would state something in the contract about not using a spotlight or direct lighting. It's like those horrible dressing room lights that highlight every little roll and bump...bleh. I'm sorry about your situation. I'm sure you will do much better next time icon_biggrin.gif

summernoelle Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 10:26pm
post #27 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by 350BakerStreet

It's terrible that you can see every little imperfection in the cake, all because of the lighting. I would state something in the contract about not using a spotlight or direct lighting. It's like those horrible dressing room lights that highlight every little roll and bump...bleh. I'm sorry about your situation. I'm sure you will do much better next time icon_biggrin.gif




Oh please. Are you serious? Having something in a contract that delegates lighting to cover up flaws in a poorly done cake?!? Give me a break!

Lenette Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 10:44pm
post #28 of 45

I think we all see imperfections in cake more than most people would. I am not going to comment on your cake other than to say I think it was very pretty.

I am curious though, do all you who responded turn out perfect or near perfect cakes? Do you not have any imperfections in your bc, wrinkles in your fondant? How do you do ribbon with no seams?

These questions are not meant to be rude, I am wondering how you produce cakes with no flaws. I mean we are human not machines. I know I get bummed when things don't turn out quite right and I in no way am close to the many talented folks here.
Again, no reference to the cake in this thread and in no way am I being sarcastic or rude. I just wonder how much margin is there for human "error" in cakes?

Sometimes it seems that folks want something perfect in a very imperfect medium. If everything needs to be flawless and perfect I need a new passion, after working with this for a few years I am not sure that the truly flawless cakes is possible. I always see something that I think can be better or different.

summernoelle Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 10:49pm
post #29 of 45

Every cake has flaws, some more than others. But cakes at a certain level, for certain pricing, should not have certain flaws. While there may be a wrinkle somewhere, or something else a little off, the overall look should be pretty pristine.

__Jamie__ Posted 6 Jun 2009 , 10:52pm
post #30 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by summernoelle

Quote:
Originally Posted by 350BakerStreet

It's terrible that you can see every little imperfection in the cake, all because of the lighting. I would state something in the contract about not using a spotlight or direct lighting. It's like those horrible dressing room lights that highlight every little roll and bump...bleh. I'm sorry about your situation. I'm sure you will do much better next time icon_biggrin.gif



Oh please. Are you serious? Having something in a contract that delegates lighting to cover up flaws in a poorly done cake?!? Give me a break!




No kidding, huh! I saw a cake contract the other day in here, that I kid you not was 16 (maybe 15) pages long...holy crap! What on earth???

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