Bride is so angry.. asking for a full refund.. LONG story :(

Decorating By mandice Updated 19 Sep 2009 , 10:56pm by SugarFrosted

costumeczar Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 12:56pm
post #31 of 112

I actually kind of like the oringinal apology letter as you wrote it, I don't think that it was too apologetic. In this kind of situation you don't want to come off as too "sterile" professional, if you know what I mean. Putting a more personal apology to it tends to make people understand and empathise with you a little more than just "I'm sorry it didn't work out, here's your money."

I don't think you should get MORE personal than you did in the letter you wrote, but I think it's okay as it is.

-K8memphis Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 1:06pm
post #32 of 112

I'm still on the first page but so far I think you gave the big discount in advance. If she served it, she got what she paid for. Not that everything you said didn't happen and that you feel awful and that the cake did not meet expectations but literally if she served it, she got what she paid for. Why should you be out all the time, all the money all the ingredients if she indeed served it.

It was not the focal point, I understand that, but at about a dollar a serving she got what she paid for.

You barely got covered for cost. You donated your labor.
I think you don't have to go in the hole beyond that.

-K8memphis Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 1:21pm
post #33 of 112

I finished reading the thread and I know my opinion does not jive with those posting but I honestly don't see why you should cough up the pittance she paid unless she did not serve it.

If it was unserveable then that's a different matter.

If it was just a visual matter then of course no one expected the cake to come out like that but to me, prostrating yourself thusly is too much to me.

Everybody wanted and expected more. Very unfortunately, it comes down to the fact that she was vastly discounted in advance. This is a business transaction yes? They ate the cake that was purchased yes? They did not get the bang for thier buck...ah what buck? Refund the visual part of the purchase price, zero.

I can see refunding maybe to feel better. But not in a business sense. You've already donated your time and energy. It all went wrong and I'm sorry about that. But it's not your responsibility to provide cake for free just because you ran into tragic difficulties.

The price she negotiated with you leaves no wiggle room for issues like these ~ it was all done in advance as far as I'm concerned.

So since you already told her you would refund, maybe comfort your self a little with these thoughts. If it was unserve-able then your refund is legit. But if they served it you have totally gone beyond the extra mile again and you rest easy, CakeBuddy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mandice

...She had told me her budget was only $250 and feed 200 and initially I didn't want to do it because it's not worth it, but i figured, whatever, I'll take the loss because it's for a good friend of my friend and it'll give me another cake for my portfolio...




By your own estimation in the first place you are taking a loss.
I think you don't have to compound it.

Just my opinion.

Kerry_Kake Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 1:46pm
post #34 of 112

Wow, what a story! Ok, first of all....I totally understand about the humidity last week!!!! I also had a wedding last weekend and last week was the worst for caking! Nothing dried for sure. I'm sorry but I can't image how glycerine would hold pieces on without sliding because glycerine wouldn't ever dry. I think water would have done a better job. Or do you have tylose powder? You can mix that with water for glue rather than the royal icing.
Now, I kinda agree with everyone, even K8memphis! If it were me I don't think I would of given a "whole" refund! Although like K8 mentioned you don't have much wiggle room because you already gave her a cut. But I would have taken off $100. At least the rest should pay for the ingredients but not your time of course.
K8 will probably disagree with this and I understand her point. If she served it then she pays.

But to keep your sanity maybe go half way like I said.
Good luck!

wakeandbake Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 1:51pm
post #35 of 112

i agree with K8...if her complaints were about the appearance of the cake and they actually served and ate it, it mustn't have been too bad. if i were the bride i probably would have been upset if the cake didn't look how i wanted it to but i would've been even more upset if it was inedible. the bottom line is that ingredients cost money. your money. i think that at the very least you need to keep whatever you spent on your supplies. i really hope that you can put this behind you soon and that your friendship with R remains intact.

christinapp Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 1:53pm
post #36 of 112

I agree with K8memphis.
You went the extra mile, providing a cake for 200 @ a budget of $250,in the attempt to please your friend R, who seem to be trying to please her freind "Bride".
I understand how refunding may bring you peace about the situation, since you agreed to do the cake and felt that it was not your best standard.
But I would also let "R" know that I was also affected by this situation too.

loulou2 Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 2:04pm
post #37 of 112

It's been said before & I'll say it again "doing favors for freinds are often more trouble than they are worth".
I feel for you in your situation-better luck next time icon_smile.gif

neelycharmed Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 2:07pm
post #38 of 112

I'm sorry that happened to you...
It must have been humid all over Canada that weekend...
I live NL, and I also had a time trying to get items to dry, but they did... icon_smile.gif
I would give her the full refund if that what makes you feel better, I hope it doesn't cause any friction between you and your friend.
icon_smile.gifJodi

michellesArt Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 2:09pm
post #39 of 112

this really puts you in a tough spot because it was already at a HUGE discount. i live in collingwood and the weather was horrible!! i had a cake i was going to cover in fondant but it was SO humid out that i knew it wasn't going to work-i appolagized but it's also out of my control and just wouldn't have worked. after i explained she completely understood. as a bride i wouldn't have wanted a call saying my cake is a disaster what would you like me to do. i agree to meet her in person (she says she's an understanding person), explain that due to circumstances beyond your control (freaking tornado weather) the cake did not come together as you both wanted. under the assumssion that the cake was served you will refund a portion of the cost ( i also agree that if you could bring a small sample to show that you are quite capable of making that cake it might help). i too would be quaking in my boots but get it done and over. i also agree not to get into the gorey details (she doesn't care) but you could with your friend R.

sadsmile Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 2:10pm
post #40 of 112

I would leave out the stuff about R in the letter to the Bride so it takes out the personal relationships and keeps it more professional. Other then that you wrote a great appology and I felt it.

dailey Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 2:17pm
post #41 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by christinapp

I agree with K8memphis.
You went the extra mile, providing a cake for 200 @ a budget of $250,in the attempt to please your friend R, who seem to be trying to please her freind "Bride".
I understand how refunding may bring you peace about the situation, since you agreed to do the cake and felt that it was not your best standard.
But I would also let "R" know that I was also affected by this situation too.




*but* its not the brides fault that she only charged her $250?? the OP *agreed* to make the cake for that amount and also to replicate the original design. sooo, the OP is defintely doing the right thing by refunding all of the money. i don't agree with others though about talking to her face-to-face. i would personally send her a handwritten note explaining my sincere reget over the situation and a check...period.

that really stinks about the humidity though! i've had my share of troubles with it myself : (

-K8memphis Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 2:42pm
post #42 of 112

I totally get your point Dailey. We all have different opinions and that's fine.

But by that same token the bride agreed to accept a tremendously cut rate cake too. And it's what the bride negotiated--our op did not think up this deal.

But I'm not disputing anybody (especially our poor self battered op) thinking the refund should proceed--I'm just saying I think the responsibility goes both ways on that particular point.

Everybody thought they were gonna get what they wanted.

But now when push comes to shove it does appear that she got what she paid for but if some of us think it should be refunded I get that. And I know the other view is also understandable even though we all have our valued and different opinions.

And I think the face to face is completly unnecessary especially since op is so devastated. Just my thoughts.

OhMyGanache Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 2:51pm
post #43 of 112

There's no way the ingredients/etc. came anywhere even CLOSE to $250. I agree that a full refund is in order. I would not only offer her a refund, I would offer her a small discount (say 10%) on a future order.

She wants her money back, you think she deserves her money back... I don't know why we are even discussing this.

Sharaine Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:00pm
post #44 of 112

I am new to cake decorating and have no experience at all..But I went this past weekend to a local Ices meeting and it was mentioned that using a food dehydrator works well for drying flowers etc... I really have no Idea but am wondering if you guys with experience might know better if this might have helped at all. It gets humid in Georgia so I might invest in one if ya'll agree.
I'm really sorry this happened to you..

leah_s Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:06pm
post #45 of 112

I think that prterrel has the PERFECT response. Shoort, to the point, professional, doesn't admit too much fault, just in case this goes any further. And yes, absolutely, positively a full refund. Call it "PR".

-K8memphis Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:10pm
post #46 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I think that prterrel has the PERFECT response. Shoort, to the point, professional, doesn't admit too much fault, just in case this goes any further. And yes, absolutely, positively a full refund. Call it "PR".




Quote:
Originally Posted by prterrell

Honestly, I think you come off a little too apologetic. I know you feel horrible, but you honestly don't have to tell her that repeatedly. icon_biggrin.gif
Taking an editorial eye to it:

Dear Bride:

Please accept my heartfelt apologies. This cake was not up to my standards and I am truly sorry that it did not meet your expectations.

I will be issuing a full refund. If you would like me to transfer the money, I can do so, or, if you prefer, I can send a cheque by xpresspost. Please let me know which refund method you prefer, along with the transfer information or mailing address, and I will issue the refund immediately.

I hope that this does not affect your relationship with R. She wouldn't have made the referral if she didn't believe that I could do the work.

My sincerest apologies,
mandice




Here it is, Leah.^^^ I thought you meant the de-humidifier one.

Musings9 Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:19pm
post #47 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

I'm still on the first page but so far I think you gave the big discount in advance. If she served it, she got what she paid for. Not that everything you said didn't happen and that you feel awful and that the cake did not meet expectations but literally if she served it, she got what she paid for. Why should you be out all the time, all the money all the ingredients if she indeed served it.

It was not the focal point, I understand that, but at about a dollar a serving she got what she paid for.

You barely got covered for cost. You donated your labor.
I think you don't have to go in the hole beyond that.




I'm going to have to agree with K8memphis on this one. It would be a totally different situation had the cake not been edible.

costumeczar Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:23pm
post #48 of 112

I agree with Leah, though, this is less about the edible issue than about PR at this point.

CreativeFingers Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:29pm
post #49 of 112

what a pity! but well every disaster is a learning experience, i had my fondant melting the other day on an engament cake! i was able to quickly remove and replace just before delivery but i learnt a lesson which i think you can also learn - ice cakes at least 2 days to event! That gives the grace of 1 day in case there is need to correct any errors or pending disasters.

Meanwhile for sake of maintaining good human relationships you can apologise and refund her money.

LaBellaFlor Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:30pm
post #50 of 112

I agree with K8. Like I said earlier, refund it, get it over with, BUT she did get what she paid for. For a cake that size, ingredients and equipment, would cost me around $200.

LaBellaFlor Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:30pm
post #51 of 112

I agree with K8. Like I said earlier, refund it, get it over with, BUT she did get what she paid for. For a cake that size, ingredients and equipment, would cost me around $200.

LaBellaFlor Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:30pm
post #52 of 112

I agree with K8. Like I said earlier, refund it, get it over with, BUT she did get what she paid for. For a cake that size, ingredients and equipment, would cost me around $200.

CeeTee Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:40pm
post #53 of 112

Giving a full refund was the right call and I think you handled the situation well.


I totally disagree with the idea that a refund wasn't needed. It doesn't matter if the cake was served. Just because they served it doesn't make it acceptable to give them a wrecked cake to start with, cause really, what ELSE are you gonna do with a cake, ugly or not? It also does not matter that the decorator was working on a loss to start with or that the weather was ruining things. Things happen, life isn't fair, and sometimes you have to suck up the loss to save face even if it's due to events beyond your control.

I agree with Jaime in that the "you kept it/ate it so I get to keep my money" attitude is not always the right policy. I also agree with Indydebi that good customer service is critically important. This was one of those times.

EDIT: And as for those saying the bride got what she deserved....um, no, she did not! The bride deserved to get what was agreed upon. The bride stated her price, size, and design choice, and the decorator agreed to do it. End of story. The decorator had the choice to not accept doing the cake knowing it would be on a loss, but when she chose to do it, she had to honor her part of the deal.

DLo912 Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:56pm
post #54 of 112

I would really like to see a picture of this cake and whether or not it was as bad as it is coming off. I mean, this bride (like so so so many other brides we hear about in these forums) wanted a large wedding with an itsy bitsy budget. She gets down to the wire and realizes that the biggest cuts in her budget leave her with pennies to pay for a cake that should be quite costly even just based on the sheer number of people it has to feed. The bride wanted a severly discounted cake and got just that; the fact that the decorations weren't perfect and it wasn't exactly what she wanted is her own fault. I think that maybe, give $100 back and say you're sorry, but in the end, you were doing this girl (who you didn't even know) a huge favor. In my opinion, beggars can't be choosers.

OhMyGanache Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 4:08pm
post #55 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by DLo912

I think that maybe, give $100 back and say you're sorry, but in the end, you were doing this girl (who you didn't even know) a huge favor. In my opinion, beggars can't be choosers.




That's a great attitude to have... if you don't want a successful business.

As an aside, I used to be involved in the DJ/karaoke business. A DJ friend signed a contract to DJ a wedding and then something happened that prevented him from showing up (one of those "beyond his control" situations)... not only did he give the couple back their money, but he gave them the difference they had to pay to hire another DJ at the last minute (they had only a couple of hours to find someone). It COST him money, but it was a problem on his end that prevented him from fulfilling the contract. He could have said "oh well", but instead he did the right thing even though it was at his expense.

The couple wanting a cake was put in a situation where they had NO TIME to find an alternate cake. Due to the stress, embarrassment, etc. they felt - a free cake was the least they should get. What would the OP have done with the cake if the couple had seen it and said they didn't want it? Ate it herself? I don't think so. Yes, they got cake to serve - but it was not what they ordered, and it caused them grief on their special day.

__Jamie__ Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 4:10pm
post #56 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

I agree with K8. Like I said earlier, refund it, get it over with, BUT she did get what she paid for. For a cake that size, ingredients and equipment, would cost me around $200.




Ah yes, but LaBella, are you not as egotistical as me (ha!) that even if the cake was $10, and a wreck, you wouldn't refund it just as quickly and profusely apologize? icon_wink.gif

indydebi Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 4:16pm
post #57 of 112
Quote:
Originally Posted by OhMyGanache

The couple wanting a cake was put in a situation where they had NO TIME to find an alternate cake.



This is what bugs me about "they ate it ... they pay for it" philosophy. A bride spends over a year planning a wedding to the smallest detail. The event runs on a super tight schedule. A lot of money, time, emotion and stress is poured into this event.

And at the last second, there's a problem with the cake and we all expect the bride to turn around and tell her 200 guests, "Uh, no, you don't get any cake because I have to return the whole thing to the baker so I can get a refund.

SHe's between a rock and a hard place. To many people, the cake IS the reception. It's the ultimate symbol of "wedding" in that room.

I understand the reasoning behind the "you ate it...you pay for it". I really do. But there has to be some reasonableness from the other side, too. And I think it's unreasonable to presume a bride will throw crime scene tape around a cake that she's unhappy with.

-K8memphis Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 4:30pm
post #58 of 112

Sure ain't easy is it.

What do we think a judge would decide if it got into court since we all like to buffer ourselves from the very thought of it.

Which, Dear OP, I don't think it will at all --I'm just wanting to further debate. I love a good back & forth.

(But my opinion up above is sincere.)

So this is assuming it was 'visibly challenged' but eaten unless op chimes in & says different.

-K8memphis Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 4:32pm
post #59 of 112

And keep in mind this is for a friend rather than from a business
It makes a difference to me.

michellesArt Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 4:32pm
post #60 of 112

i think i need to back track a bit and agree with indydebi-just because they ate it doesn't make it acceptable if the cake wasn't what they wanted (and the op agrees it wasn't even close to her standards either) yes it was out of her control but what else is the bride supposed to do? anyone watch CakeBoss lately? they've been running a marathon here lately and there was one involving a bridezilla (spacey didn't really care was only there to please her mother) who showed up to see how her cake looked. well when buddy showed her she said it was ugly (it was really simple but stunning) and when he briefly left to get her order form to try to come up with ways she would be happy with it bridezilla proceeded to ruin the cake by smearing icing all over it!! totally wrecked the cake beyond all use. buddy visibly tried not to flip out (one day before the cake was due btw) and against all others advice to serve that cake (stick it to her) he made another cake with vibrant flowers, more modern and completely different from the original-mostly because it was the daughter of a long standing customer but also because he didn't want to disappoint everyone and ruin the day. he sucked it up and gave her another free cake even though he didn't have to either. thinking back just give the money back and smooth it over-that can do a lot more to get your reputation back.

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