It's Why We Have Contracts

Business By indydebi Updated 24 Jun 2009 , 10:17am by cakemaker30

indydebi Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 4:58pm
post #1 of 27

Just another story to share to illustrate the value of a contract.

Wedding was schedule for October. Bride emails me last December and tells me the wedding is "off" .... they are going to Florida in May and will have a small ceremony then. Would I be willing to do a cake for an open house later? Sure! Just let me know when.

She calls me in May and tells me the wedding is totally off. They were suppose to get married the following weekend and he called it off. Ok.

She emails me later looking for her deposit back. I reply that deposits are non-refundable on canceled events, see Item #1 on the contract, and I include a cut-n-paste from that portion of the contract that says that.

She replies that she paid more than the minimum deposit so shouldn't she get some of it back, and that she is "....going to get some help on this!!" I reply that under the "Pricing" section, Item #3, it states that all payments are non-refundable, and I include a cut-n-paste with the wording.

She replies that she told me in December the wedding was canceled. My first reaction is "Yeah.....so?" and my 2nd reaction is "no she didn't. she told me it was rescheduled in Fla in May and then actually canceled it a week before the wedding."

Knew you'd all enjoy the story.

26 replies
cylstrial Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 5:24pm
post #2 of 27

It's a good thing that you have everything in a contract! She's not getting anything back!

newmansmom2004 Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 5:33pm
post #3 of 27

She's toast. She signed the contract and legally agreed to the terms so she's got no legal leg to stand on.

playingwithsugar Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 5:38pm
post #4 of 27

ATTA GIRL! (yes, I'm shouting).

Theresa icon_smile.gif

in2cakes2 Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 5:43pm
post #5 of 27

Oh this is gonna be good, this bride has nooo idea of what she is in for if she thinks she can rattle Indydebi with threats and tantrums icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif . I'm gonna grab a big chunk of cake and sit back and watch the show lol. icon_twisted.gif

indydebi Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 5:53pm
post #6 of 27

I honestly don't think I'm gonna hear from her after sending her the two cut-n-pastes. I pulled her contract and it's hanging on my office wall where I wont' lose it!!! It's too valuable right now, ya know?? My contract was written by my attorney and I've no problem giving him a call if I have to.

But I don't think I'm going to have to.

And I share this story because I will confess I'm not diligent about getting a contract for "just a cake", so it's been hit-n-miss that I actually have one on file. For caterings, oh heck yeah baby I have one on those!

But this is a great lesson for me, too. I was very lucky on this one. You can bet that I'm getting one signed from everyone from this point forward!!!!

So again .... that's why I shared the story. Don't rely on luck. Get it signed.

I know I'm going to be very adament from now on! thumbs_up.gif

poshcakedesigns Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 7:08pm
post #7 of 27

I had a similiar problem like this last year. Bride contacts me 3 weeks before her wedding to make her cake (yes she waited until 3 weeks before the wedding to book a baker). Pays in full - signs the contract. The next day she finds a cheaper baker - has the hubby call me and tell me to 'return' everything but my $50 deposit which was all that was due at the time of signing my contract. I say NO I'm not returning any cash to you- you need to read your contract again - all payments and deposits are NON refundable regardless of how much you paid at the time you signed the contract but there is a clause in the contract that states if you cancel 14 days prior to your event that I will apply any money paid towards a future cake purchase and NOT a cash refund. We went round and round and they finally realized they didn't have a leg to stand on because they signed the contract and they knew my policy.

Of course I got all the threats of taking me to court, contacting the BBB and what not. I told him go ahead, I have a signed contract that clearly states my policy.

Very important to have a contract!!! You have to protect your business.

newmansmom2004 Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 7:31pm
post #8 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by poshcakedesigns


Of course I got all the threats of taking me to court, contacting the BBB and what not.




There should be a BBB to report people who try to smear your good name when THEY are totally in the wrong and, because they have no other recourse since they signed a contract, do the next best thing and start badmouthing you! Kind of like a general PITA customer list - go here and look up your potential new customer's name to see if he/she has bad customer practices. thumbs_up.gif

poshcakedesigns Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 7:39pm
post #9 of 27

Kind of like a general PITA customer list - go here and look up your potential new customer's name to see if he/she has bad customer practices. thumbs_up.gif[/quote]

I love it!!! oh they did bad mouth me to 2 popular wedding cake sites. 'Quote' my contract is written to protect ME and not the buyer. LOL last time I checked my contract was suppose to protect 'me'...

Unlimited Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 10:01pm
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by poshcakedesigns

Pays in full - signs the contract. The next day she finds a cheaper baker - has the hubby call me and tell me to 'return' everything but my $50 deposit which was all that was due at the time of signing my contract. I say NO...




In this case, you may want to check with your attorney. The Federal law gives you the right to cancel (cooling-off rule) regardless of reason, and depending on your state laws they may have the right to change their mind within 3-30 days depending on the services or product purchased.

Unless you also required of them to sign away that they are waiving their right to cancel, the FTC laws will protect them during the cooling-off period.

It isn't illegal to just refund their money the next day if you don't want to risk a lawsuit especially since you probably aren't out anything and haven't blocked out that date for another bride interested. (I'd give the bride a break and wouldn't care if she found a cheaper baker.)

poshcakedesigns Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 10:11pm
post #11 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by poshcakedesigns

Pays in full - signs the contract. The next day she finds a cheaper baker - has the hubby call me and tell me to 'return' everything but my $50 deposit which was all that was due at the time of signing my contract. I say NO...



In this case, you may want to check with your attorney. The Federal law gives you the right to cancel (cooling-off rule) regardless of reason, and depending on your state laws they may have the right to change their mind within 3-30 days depending on the services or product purchased.

Unless you also required of them to sign away that they are waiving their right to cancel, the FTC laws will protect them during the cooling-off period.

It isn't illegal to just refund their money the next day if you don't want to risk a lawsuit especially since you probably aren't out anything and haven't blocked out that date for another bride interested. (I'd give the bride a break and wouldn't care if she found a cheaper baker.)





I had already ordered supplies for her order that very morning so I was already out money on non returnable items- . I worked with her for over a week nailing down her details and I did turn down another order for her weekend. so I'm just suppose to give all her money back when she cost my copmany to lose business?

Eisskween Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 10:22pm
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by poshcakedesigns

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by poshcakedesigns

Pays in full - signs the contract. The next day she finds a cheaper baker - has the hubby call me and tell me to 'return' everything but my $50 deposit which was all that was due at the time of signing my contract. I say NO...



In this case, you may want to check with your attorney. The Federal law gives you the right to cancel (cooling-off rule) regardless of reason, and depending on your state laws they may have the right to change their mind within 3-30 days depending on the services or product purchased.

Unless you also required of them to sign away that they are waiving their right to cancel, the FTC laws will protect them during the cooling-off period.

It isn't illegal to just refund their money the next day if you don't want to risk a lawsuit especially since you probably aren't out anything and haven't blocked out that date for another bride interested. (I'd give the bride a break and wouldn't care if she found a cheaper baker.)




I had already ordered supplies for her order that very morning so I was already out money on non returnable items- . I worked with her for over a week nailing down her details and I did turn down another order for her weekend. so I'm just suppose to give all her money back when she cost my copmany to lose business?




You did the right thing. Businesses have policies in place for a reason. It's up to the individual what they would like to do. It's easy for someone to say what they would do with someone else's money. icon_wink.gif

Cheyanne25 Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 10:30pm
post #13 of 27

poshcakedesigns I've got to ask, did she still go with the other baker? Wouldn't make any sense to me if she did, she had already given you the deposit so there's no way the other baker would still be cheaper lol. If not, did they use the deposit to get another cake from you? lol maybe I'm too practical but it only makes sense to me.

Unlimited Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 10:46pm
post #14 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by poshcakedesigns

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by poshcakedesigns

Pays in full - signs the contract. The next day she finds a cheaper baker - has the hubby call me and tell me to 'return' everything but my $50 deposit which was all that was due at the time of signing my contract. I say NO...



In this case, you may want to check with your attorney. The Federal law gives you the right to cancel (cooling-off rule) regardless of reason, and depending on your state laws they may have the right to change their mind within 3-30 days depending on the services or product purchased.

Unless you also required of them to sign away that they are waiving their right to cancel, the FTC laws will protect them during the cooling-off period.

It isn't illegal to just refund their money the next day if you don't want to risk a lawsuit especially since you probably aren't out anything and haven't blocked out that date for another bride interested. (I'd give the bride a break and wouldn't care if she found a cheaper baker.)




I had already ordered supplies for her order that very morning so I was already out money on non returnable items- . I worked with her for over a week nailing down her details and I did turn down another order for her weekend. so I'm just suppose to give all her money back when she cost my copmany to lose business?




Yes, if the law says so you do. The law is in place to protect people... yourself included. You have the same right to change your mind about the supplies that you ordered that morning (even if they claim the items are non-returnable)! The law says otherwise under certain circumstances, that's why I suggest you check with your attorney, read the FTC laws, or don't waste time or money over it and move on. I'm not being nasty or rude, don't read that into the text please. I just wouldn't want that bride to think I was trying to cheat her out of her money for the small investment of my time with her... are we all so desperate for money that we can't be kind and compassionate to others (who may have a budget in this economy)? I hope not. You don't need to lower your price for anyone, but why not make it easier for her to move ahead with the other baker and be done with it, and feel good about yourself? Just my opinion, pay it forward, or it may come back to you.

poshcakedesigns Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 11:31pm
post #15 of 27

I'm going to research this futher. Because it doesn't make sense to me that when say for instance 'you go to a store and see a sign that all sales are final, no refunds, no exchanges. How can that be any different than a signed contract that states all sales are final and you don't offer cash refunds?

BTW the client is getting a cake from me with their 'store credit' in October. I didn't 'take' anything from them - in the end they are getting something for the money they paid.

Doug Posted 21 Jun 2009 , 11:54pm
post #16 of 27

I just went to the FTC web site...nosed around, looked at rule on rule, various judgements, etc.

the gist -- the FTC Cooling Off Rule is for DOOR-TO-DOOR/In-home (or similar as in mall show, trade show, convention center type sales venues) where the sale is made NOT in the business' main office.

so--- caker meeting customer in a mall, coffee shop, etc, it applies.

caker meeting customer in their established place of business it does NOT apply.


and fyi -- when it does apply, the customer has until midnight of the third day to cancel.

after that -- it depends upon STATE and possibly local law -- which of course varies considerably locale to locale.

so once again the best advice is

consult YOUR LOCAL attorney to find out the applicable laws where you live.

Deb_ Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 12:29am
post #17 of 27

My contract which was drawn up by my attorney clearly states that the parties have 3 business days (from date contract is signed) to back out of the contract with no loss of money. Request must be made in writing by midnight on the 3rd day.......after that they're out of luck.

CakeMakar Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 12:48am
post #18 of 27

I've also seen it where companies have "No Returns/No Refunds" policies and judges have told them it's not legal to not give their customers recourse if their products or services were faulty and given the refund.

I'm sure this is state by state as well, but just because it says so on a sign or even that you signed that you agree to it, doesn't make it so.

artscallion Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 1:17am
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMakar

I've also seen it where companies have "No Returns/No Refunds" policies and judges have told them it's not legal to not give their customers recourse if their products or services were faulty and given the refund.

I'm sure this is state by state as well, but just because it says so on a sign or even that you signed that you agree to it, doesn't make it so.




That's true. Don't always believe a sign. I know that from managing a restaurant years ago. You can hang a sign by your coat hooks saying you are not responsible for anything hung there. But if you provide a place for coats, you, as a business ARE responsible for taking reasonable care to protect them. Same thing with parking lots. No matter how many signs they put up to the contrary, they ARE responsible for your car while it is in their care.

Sorry, back to the discussion... icon_rolleyes.gif

Unlimited Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 1:34am
post #20 of 27

[quote="poshcakedesigns"]I'm going to research this futher.quote]quote]

Good idea so you'll know the state-by-state regulation/requirement for the next time this may occur within your state's rule policy.

[quote="poshcakedesigns"]Because it doesn't make sense to me that when say for instance 'you go to a store and see a sign that all sales are final, no refunds, no exchanges. How can that be any different than a signed contract that states all sales are final and you don't offer cash refunds?quote]

No difference, all parties just need to know the law and the time frame that they do have rights to change their mind within.

I'm so happy that this was resolved for all parties involved! Just remember that you can't count your "eggs in the basket" until the correct number of days have passed for your state laws.

Unlimited Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 1:36am
post #21 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by CakeMakar

I've also seen it where companies have "No Returns/No Refunds" policies and judges have told them it's not legal to not give their customers recourse if their products or services were faulty and given the refund.

I'm sure this is state by state as well, but just because it says so on a sign or even that you signed that you agree to it, doesn't make it so.




Exactly. Does everyone remember the huge "to do" over the major electronics store that went out of business? Lots of lawyers involved in that one!

loriemoms Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 11:37am
post #22 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by poshcakedesigns

Pays in full - signs the contract. The next day she finds a cheaper baker - has the hubby call me and tell me to 'return' everything but my $50 deposit which was all that was due at the time of signing my contract. I say NO...



In this case, you may want to check with your attorney. The Federal law gives you the right to cancel (cooling-off rule) regardless of reason, and depending on your state laws they may have the right to change their mind within 3-30 days depending on the services or product purchased.

Unless you also required of them to sign away that they are waiving their right to cancel, the FTC laws will protect them during the cooling-off period.

It isn't illegal to just refund their money the next day if you don't want to risk a lawsuit especially since you probably aren't out anything and haven't blocked out that date for another bride interested. (I'd give the bride a break and wouldn't care if she found a cheaper baker.)




I was wondering the same thing..isn't there a 3 day law (buyers remorse) that forces you to return the money?

poshcakedesigns Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 12:33pm
post #23 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unlimited

Quote:
Originally Posted by poshcakedesigns

Pays in full - signs the contract. The next day she finds a cheaper baker - has the hubby call me and tell me to 'return' everything but my $50 deposit which was all that was due at the time of signing my contract. I say NO...



In this case, you may want to check with your attorney. The Federal law gives you the right to cancel (cooling-off rule) regardless of reason, and depending on your state laws they may have the right to change their mind within 3-30 days depending on the services or product purchased.

Unless you also required of them to sign away that they are waiving their right to cancel, the FTC laws will protect them during the cooling-off period.

It isn't illegal to just refund their money the next day if you don't want to risk a lawsuit especially since you probably aren't out anything and haven't blocked out that date for another bride interested. (I'd give the bride a break and wouldn't care if she found a cheaper baker.)



I was wondering the same thing..isn't there a 3 day law (buyers remorse) that forces you to return the money?




According to the FTC site it would not apply to my place of business. I am however going to check with an attorney for my state to make sure. Everything did work out in the end - the client did get something in return for their signed contract.

Deb_ Posted 22 Jun 2009 , 12:43pm
post #24 of 27

Personally, I'm glad that the consumer has a 3 day window to "change their mind".............after all let's not forget that "we" are sometimes the "consumer". icon_smile.gif This could protect all of us at one time or another.

mombabytiger Posted 24 Jun 2009 , 8:20am
post #25 of 27

The FTC rule was designed to protect consumers who feel intimidated by someone in their home selling something. Such as a door-to-door vaccuum cleaner salesperson who perhaps comes into your home and shows no signs of leaving no matter what you say. It is assumed that if you enter a vaccuum cleaner store, no such intimidation can exist because you chose to enter. Of course you don't have to let that person into your home either, but many people do.

Unlimited Posted 24 Jun 2009 , 8:36am
post #26 of 27

Your state laws can offer further protection than the federal... if you walk into a store and read signs that say all sales are final, it doesn't necessarily mean that it's true.

cakemaker30 Posted 24 Jun 2009 , 10:17am
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Quote:

According to the FTC site it would not apply to my place of business. I am however going to check with an attorney for my state to make sure. Everything did work out in the end - the client did get something in return for their signed contract.




You may want to check your state guidelines on this. I purchased a new car from a dealership (I went to the dealership myself) and after two days I changed my mind. The dealership told me they couldn't take the car back because it had already been titled so they would now have to sell it as used and lose money. Well needless to say they did take the car back and I got a new one from somewhere else. Just because the couple agreed to get a cake from you later on doesn't mean that they can't come back and say they tried to cancel it and you wouldn't let them so they were forced to agree to get another cake from you some other time. If that's the case you could end up still having to give them their money back and possibly pay court costs and maybe even their lawyer fees. Who knows if they would take it that far, but you may want to consult a business attorney who knows your state laws and can answer for sure what you should have done, even if it's just for future reference.

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