-K8memphis Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 2:28pm
post #1 of

Of allll the cakes you've ever done, just estimate--

1.) How many incidents of a complaint that generated a legitimate refund?

2.) How many times were you sued or for really threatened with a lawsuit?

3.) How many cakes have you done give or take a few.

I'm just wildly curious.

Mine are:

1.) one

2.) zero

3.) jillions, got both the shoes off & still can't count that high like 35 years ish worth off & on.

35 replies
OhMyGanache Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 2:42pm
post #2 of

1. 0
2. 0
3. Thousands (no way to properly estimate)

I've had one cake disaster (3 top tiers slid off the bottom tier during transport - but it was served from the kitchen instead and the rest of the cake was fine), but they didn't ask for any money back and I was more upset than they were. I offered a refund, they declined.

Bluehue Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:10pm
post #3 of

Will get back to you in 2 weeks on this one - i have a bride who still can't *decide* on final numbers - final colours - final theme -
Fortunately i can - *insert evil laugh here*

four consultations -
four phone calls this week - so far -
A groom to be who apparently knows more about *caking* than me - icon_confused.gif
He works in a hardware store - so of course he does - icon_confused.gif
The future BIL who lives in England - lets not forget his imput - icon_eek.gif
And the future MIL who said - *if it was up to me i would go with .............*

In the key of E - let us all sing along now.........

HAPPY DAYS ARE HERE AGAIN,
THE BRIGHT SKIES ARE CLEAR AGAIN .....TRA LA LA LAAAAAAAAAAAA

icon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gificon_rolleyes.gificon_wink.gif

Bh. icon_smile.gif

newmansmom2004 Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:11pm
post #4 of

1. 0
2. 0
3. probably 200 - I just started doing this a couple years ago

costumeczar Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 3:27pm
post #5 of

1. one, but I gave them the refund before they asked for it ( I put the wrong filling in one tier of their cake)
2. none
3. over a thousand.

If you're trying to prove that nobody gets sued for cakes, though, I do know a couple of bakers in my area who did get sued about their cakes for one reason or another. I saw one of the cakes and they defintiely needed to be sued for it! icon_lol.gif It can happen...

-K8memphis Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 4:55pm
post #6 of

No I'm not saying never. I'm just trying to say chill out on the, 'Omg I'm gonna get sued let me add another page to my contract' thing. Sure people do get sued but I'm just wanting to establish frequency.

I think we hit the 'gotta refund & make nice' button first and it works for the most part--I mean not too many circumstancs warrant more than that unless it's a health issue huh.

__Jamie__ Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 5:05pm
post #7 of

1. 0
2. 0
3. a few icon_wink.gif

Ya know, a good sound contract and real skills to make it able to walk the talk are invaluable. Real honest to goodness disasters aside, that can happen to anyone. And the backbone to tell someone their design ideas are impossible with the medium they desire (ex. using BC when fondant is clearly the only way to do it justice).

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 5:25pm
post #8 of

1. Refund - I discounted the cost just recently, because the picture didn't come out (EI printer wouldn't work).

2. Sued - None. Just starting out - family mostly.

3. Made - About 30 (no wedding cakes, thou) - like I said, just starting out.

Jamie, I totally agree. Don't promise what you can't deliver - either thru your ability or just because it can't be done (as requested, in some cases). I may be new to caking, but I've been around long enough to know that it's better to be straightforward, than have a disappointed client, and a bad rep.

LaBellaFlor Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 5:45pm
post #9 of

1. 0 Thankgoodness.

2. Never been sued or threatened

3. How many cakes?!?!? I don't even know! Theres no way I could count. I've been doing this on & off for 19 years.

Costumeczar I would love to know who got busted for their cakes in this area. I'm not surprise and can only imagine icon_lol.gif I know, I'm just being nosy!

__Jamie__ Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 5:46pm

Oh shoot...I just lied. I did give a woman some money back once. She thought I was crazy, but I dismissed her protests withs "I know what I am delivering today is not up to my standards, and I feel I must discount some money" Something to that effect.

costumeczar Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 5:59pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

No I'm not saying never. I'm just trying to say chill out on the, 'Omg I'm gonna get sued let me add another page to my contract' thing. Sure people do get sued but I'm just wanting to establish frequency.

I think we hit the 'gotta refund & make nice' button first and it works for the most part--I mean not too many circumstancs warrant more than that unless it's a health issue huh.




Nah, I don't worry too much about getting sued, but I'm also willing to be reasonable and refund money if the case does warrant it (I've also been unwilling to refund if the situation didn't warrant it!)

I just rewrote my contract because I had a REALLY weird June, and I realized that a lot of things that happened weren't specifically covered, so I just rewrote it to make everything clear. As much to cover my expectations of my clients as to clarify what I would be expected to do for them.

I think that most people won't sue you if you're reasonable on how you respond to complaints, but there's always a nut out there who could turn around and bite you in the butt. I have insurance and contracts for the same reason that I have car insurance...I don't expect to get into an accident, but I want to be covered if I do. The people I know who were sued were definitely on the "not reasonable" side of it, so they let the situations escalate to that point.

I also think that if we pay attention to our inner "psycho radar" we could probably avoid a lot of problems in the first place. If someone strikes you as odd from the get-go, it might be a good idea to be booked on their date! icon_wink.gif

-K8memphis Posted 27 Aug 2009 , 11:49pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar



I also think that if we pay attention to our inner "psycho radar" we could probably avoid a lot of problems in the first place. If someone strikes you as odd from the get-go, it might be a good idea to be booked on their date! icon_wink.gif




True that-- the the inner psycho radar is very important

icon_lol.gif

DDiva Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 12:00am

0
0
after 12 years, I have no earthly idea

I did a partial refund for a one year anniversary cake that was supposed to be square and I made round. She didn't ask for it, but I felt it was the right thing to do.

tanyascakes Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 12:08am

1. 0
2. 0
3. A lot. I couldn't keep track of it if I tried!

I usually fall prey to the honesty thing. I will tell someone in a minute if I have NEVER done something before. I am usually the one to criticize my own work, while others will love it. But I can always see every flaw, even if it turns out just the way the asked for it. And I have done some cakes I thought were too ugly for words, too! LOL

playingwithsugar Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 12:10am

In today's litigious society, a thorough and clearly written, possibly multi-page contract, is becoming more and more necessary.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

sleepy33 Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 2:35am
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

I think we hit the 'gotta refund & make nice' button first and it works for the most part--I mean not too many circumstancs warrant more than that unless it's a health issue huh.




I think more than the fear of being sued, people refund to preserve their good name. So much of this business is word of mouth, it can be devestating to have dissatisfied customers out there telling everyone about their bad experience. I think most decorators know the difference between when they've done a less-than-great job (for whatever reason) and when someone's just a PITA, fishing for a discount. I do agree with you though, I think that there is a slim chance of actually being sued, barring a true catastrophe that any reasonable decorator would probably 'make right' before it got to the lawsuit stage. It would be very cost prohibitive to sue over the price of your typical cake.

cfao Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 3:26pm

1: refund = 0
2: sued = once
3: 19 years worth

The bride that sued me said the wedding was cancelled & I returned all but the deposit because I felt bad for her. (I had her put it in writing that the wedding was cancelled and that's why she was getting a refund at all). She turned around and sued me for the deposit. I found out in the mean time the wedding had happened, she had found someone cheaper to do the cake the month prior. I brought the wedding announcement with me to court and the judge told her she was lucky I wasn't counter-suing her for the entire amount of the contract since it was clear she was caught in a huge lie. That marriage didn't last and she actually came to me a few years ago for the cake for her 2nd wedding. I wouldn't have had the nerve to walk back into my place if I were her, but she did.

indydebi Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 3:40pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

In today's litigious society, a thorough and clearly written, possibly multi-page contract, is becoming more and more necessary.

Theresa icon_smile.gif




And it's necessary because people are idiots. See my blog article on contracts: http://cateritsimple.blogspot.com/search/label/contract

cfao, I think I remember hearing that story from you before. It was funny then and funny now (although I'm sure it was not funny to you at the time). Amazing how ballsy people can get, isn't it?

-K8memphis Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 3:42pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfao

1: refund = 0
2: sued = once
3: 19 years worth

The bride that sued me said the wedding was cancelled & I returned all but the deposit because I felt bad for her. (I had her put it in writing that the wedding was cancelled and that's why she was getting a refund at all). She turned around and sued me for the deposit. I found out in the mean time the wedding had happened, she had found someone cheaper to do the cake the month prior. I brought the wedding announcement with me to court and the judge told her she was lucky I wasn't counter-suing her for the entire amount of the contract since it was clear she was caught in a huge lie. That marriage didn't last and she actually came to me a few years ago for the cake for her 2nd wedding. I wouldn't have had the nerve to walk back into my place if I were her, but she did.




Oh I remember hearing about this before.

Just deliriously happy you prevailed.

So let me get this straight, your contract did not protect you from the process of getting sued? hmmm

And your contract did not save the day in court? hmmm

I'm not saying they ain't good to have and that they didn't give cfao the confidence to persevere--I'm just saying that listing every jot and tittle of potential difficulty is more than I can handle for myself. I do have a few boundaries drawn on mine but not too many. And it's an order blank -I don't call it a contract but it is.

indydebi Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 3:50pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by K8memphis-

And it's an order blank -I don't call it a contract but it is.



I'm always confused when I see "contracts" that are order forms. My contract is the list of legal stuff that we both have to abide by. The order form is what I use to make the cake, or the caterting/food. Last line in my Terms of Agrement states, "This Agreement, along with the applicable order forms, constitutes the contract between Cater It Simple and client."

To me .... an order form is an order form and a contract is a contract.

Bear in mind, too, that I have a separate order form for every thing I have .... a separate form for chocolate fountains, buffets, drinks buffet, apeptizers, breakfasts, lunches, cakes and any other special thing that pops up. If I tried to combine all of that in one "contract", ... well, it's just scary to think how long it would be.

-K8memphis Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 4:19pm

Yes for sure, Indy, Cake Buddy Supreme--you are a caterer and that is a world of difference. My 'order' blank looks a little contract-ish--but y'know what--

The weirdo thread is making me think of this though. I despise for example when you go to a training and someone has photocopied training materials and only used one dang side of the paper. I loathe flipping though gazillions of blank pages to find where the heck I'm at.

I will sometimes rearrange them and punch new holes and tape them back to back so I can function in the real world. aghhhhh

So a one page 'order' is my limit. I do take notes that I attach but just one main body of information for moi. And I use a carbon so I make a coupla copies--or email the excel sheet.

Let's see if I can attach it. It's got a few details. And I have a schpeil that I say too--like the cake is guaranteed up to the time I place it on the fully prepared cake table. I just take my chances on whatever happens beyond that going forward--I get good pictures for insurance and away I go.

Well I can't get it to attach.

cfao Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 4:24pm

That bride sued me back when I had been in business maybe 5 years and my cake deposit was $50. I figured since she was the one who filed with the court, I wanted to see if my contract would hold up for a judge - the worst that could happen at that point was I would have to give her the additional $50 plus court costs of about $15 back then. The judge did tell me my contract says all monies paid on account are non-refundable and I should have never given her a cent back. He said it would have held up in court. Here is the wording I have:

Terms: Balance to be receieved by C.F.A.O. no later than 30 days prior to wedding date or this contract will be considered void and will be cancelled. If C.F.A.O. agrees to accept a late payment & honor such an invoice, a $25 late fee will be added to the balance due. Any monies paid on account are non refundable. A $25 charge will apply to any returned check. Customer is responsible for all costs & fees incurred to collect payment by legal avenues. If for any reason an unexpected condition beyond our control should arise and the ordered product(s) cannot be delivered, C.F.A.O. shall only be liable for the balance which has been paid on the product(s) by the customer. This company and/or anyone acting as an agent may not be held liable for any other damages or losses. C.F.A.O. is not responsible for any product not supplied by us. We reserve the right to substitute is necessary. Heat and humidity will cause product breakdown during outside receptions.

This looks long written out here, but it is printed at the top of each of our invoices and only takes up 7 lines. The bride has to sign and date her invoice when she puts down her deposit.

cfao Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 4:33pm

K8,

I don't think there's a contract out there that can save you from being sued. People can sue anyone for anything as long as they put up the court costs. As we see on the news, people will clog up the court system to sue for anything if they think they can get a buck out of it.

pattigunter Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 4:35pm

0 Refunds (most of them are free)
0 Suits - most of them are for my kids, their kids and their friends - they know better than to sue me icon_twisted.gif

-K8memphis Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 4:46pm

My order form:

I put all the particulars, names, dates, details of cake/s, other vendors etc.

The following are 'my contractual terms' at the bottom of the one page order that is written in triplicate with carbons that I bought at an Office max type place.



***A wedding cake serving is traditionally 2x1x4 or the size of a cupcake plus fillings. One 9x13   cake yields 24 cupcakes.Therefore choose your cake cutter carefully or consider more portions to accommodate more casually sized servings.

non-refundable Retainer $196.00
non-refundable March 24, 2008 payment $195.00
non-refundable April 24, 2008 payment $195.00 (no changes after this date)

* kitchen cakes in increments of 25 servings can be added after 04/24/2008 if necessary.
  
Paid in full   $586.00 (she paid a year in advance--friend of the family)
  
payment/s (in lieu of signature) confirms terms  
  
     
***CANCELATION MUST BE IN WRITING***    
  
     
~I take care of everything for you. I reserve the right to make your cake to the best of my ability. K8  
  
~the person paying and I both sign it~

catlharper Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 4:52pm

Sadly, anyone can file suit for anything. Whether it holds up in court, and it sounds like the contract held up in court just fine while the suit by the bride didnt hold up at all, is another thing entirely.

Refunds = 0
Sued= 0
Cakes....uhm....I'd estimate about 100 but I'm just starting out...

-K8memphis Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 5:04pm

Yes, cfao, anyone can sue anyone for anything--so many times our cakebuddies say put this in your contract 'so you won't get sued'--there is no insurance against that.

I also like your wording about collecting-if I was a more active caker I would add some of that.

However, I just figured that if I do not receive written cancelation I would do the cake and collect later. Because I'm thinking that the contract is as bindign on me as it is on them.

It happens but rarely that someone doesn't pay so I mean what if the check gets lost in the mail--I mean that's my dumb dang luck and then I don't do the cake and then they sue me. Nuh ugh

Because I have been in that God forsaken pit of --do I or don't I make the cake without payment. It was for a double wedding--one bride paid and one bride didn't. Oh it was a weighty time!

I felt so good, like elated even after I decided to do it anyway as planned that I would sure as shooting do it again and collect later because I am a crack, professional soft collector. Dude, I will get you.

So but anyway--here's an interesting and very unscientific observation. The caterers I have worked with have page after page ofter page of 'contract'. The bakeries I have have worked at have one page 'contract'. Mortally unscientific I'll grant you but interesting nonetheless.

LaBellaFlor Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 5:10pm

I got an order form/contract thats about 3 1/2 pages long and I only do cakes.

indydebi Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:39pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

If you're trying to prove that nobody gets sued for cakes, though, I do know a couple of bakers in my area who did get sued about their cakes for one reason or another. I saw one of the cakes and they defintiely needed to be sued for it! icon_lol.gif It can happen...




Whether you're sued or not, it's just prudent to have your ducks in a row.

I'm sure all of us know a number of people who have paid for car insurance and homeowners insurance for YEARS and never had a claim or never had an at-fault accident. Yet they would NEVER adopt the philosophy of "I've never been sued so why do I need insurance? (or a contract?)"

It's just prudent and responsible. No, having a contract doesn't prevent you from being sued .... but it covers your a$$ and sometimes prevents the lawsuit to start with.

I had a bride who canceled her wedding. I emailed her pretty much "thanks for letting me know". She asked about getting her deposit back. I emailed her that it was non -refundable. She was PI$$ED!!!!!!! Threatened me with all kinds of stuff. POinted out to me that she was "going to talk to someone about this!!" I emailed her the part of the contract that siad all deposits were non-refundable.

She then came back saying she had paid MORE than the minimum so she should get that part back. (She's arguing over $25 at this point). I emailed her the part of the contract that said ALL payments were non-refundable.

I'm sure I would have heard much more from her had I not had a signed document with these stipulations. So yes, in this case, I think the contract PREVENTED me from dealing with some 'zilla in a courtroom, and the hassle that comes with it.

Kiddiekakes Posted 28 Aug 2009 , 6:47pm

Okay..I'm boring

1.0..partial but only because they caused such a fuss.Grew B#$*@ after that one!
2.0..
3. Too many to count....

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