sew4children Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 7:12pm
post #1 of

Okay, I have a wedding booked for Sept. 19th. The bride brought me her deposit. She was all paid and simply awaiting the final payment, no problems. Yesterday she called and said that she couldn't afford the cake she ordered. Her sisters in law bought her a wedding cake for $280 (God knows where) and she wants to take a tier out of hers, change a few things and make it the grooms cake. I worked with her for about 20 minutes and got the price where she wanted it. It went from $312 to $214. Now she called me today and wants to know if she can change it again to the point that she won't owe me any money beyond the deposit already paid. Now mind you, she had a tasting, which she was so late for that I had to get a neighbor to get my daughter off the bus, was late with the deposit and has been a bit of a pain. Since I work from a rented space by myself, I turned down other business for that week to make sure her cake would be perfect.

Obviously I can't make her pay more money (although I do have a signed contract, I don't want to fight her), I don't want to drop to where I owe her any money back because of what I have given up. If I take another tier off of the cake, it will dip below the deposit amount.

What do I do, do I tell her I can take it off, but she will receive no money back, should I give her the difference back, what would you seasoned pros do?

Thanks so much!

57 replies
ShayShay Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 7:16pm
post #2 of

I would take the tier out if that's what she wants, but no money back. Only make a cake equal to or lesser than the deposit price.

Texas_Rose Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 7:17pm
post #3 of

Do you have a date in your contract after which no changes can be made? If you do, it's time to send the bride a copy of the signed contract with that part highlighted.

Mom23Angels Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 7:40pm
post #4 of

Am I missing something? Her story doesn't sound right.

She can't afford your cake which is $312. Her sisters in law got her a different cake for $280. If they wanted to help her, why didn't they just pay the balance for the cake she had selected (yours)?

Also, how could a "few" changes turn a wedding cake into a grooms cake? It sounds like she is trying to make more than a "few" changes.

I understand why you would want to help her and do the smaller cake worth the deposit amount...you want to be helpful. If her story made more sense I'd be more sympathetic. Bottom line is that she signed a contract and is trying to back out. She is irresponsible (changing order, fishy story, late for tasting). She has cost you time and money.

I know it's easier said than done, but I think you should put your foot down and hold her to the contract (she pays balance and gets original design, or she forfeits deposit and you do not do the cake).

Of course, I'd probably cave and do the smaller cake (I will not open my business until I grow a spine) icon_biggrin.gif

sew4children Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 7:40pm
post #5 of

I have a signed contract and she is within her time to change, I can handle that. But should I give her money back if she simplifies her cake to the point that it is below the price of the deposit she gave me?

I don't feel like I should give her money back. The contract says that the deposit is non refundable PLUS what if she decreases it again and then suddenly cancels. When do I draw the line?

Never had a bride that was a problem. I used to chuckle when other recounted their woes and think how great I have it! Guess it's my turn!

erinalicia Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 7:46pm
post #6 of

I'd tell her she can make all the changes she wants until the date set in your contract, but the deposit has been paid and it is non-refundable, so her new cake can be equal to the amount of the deposit or less than, but no money back because of the time you have invested in working with her and the loss of business for holding the date for her. Tough love.

sew4children Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 7:48pm
post #7 of

Mom23, great points about the them buying her a cake rather than paying her deposit.

I forgot to also mention that I have already ordered my fondant for her cake so I am technically out money not just on the tasting all of the time dealing with her, but on product, too.

I think I just talked myself into NO DEPOSIT BACK!

__Jamie__ Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 7:51pm
post #8 of

Only because I am this damn proud, I would give her all of her money back and say, "I"m sorry, I can longer accomodate any of your requests. Good luck with your search for a decorator who can accomodate all of these last minute changes."

__Jamie__ Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 7:57pm
post #9 of

Ahhhhh, ok, maybe I wouldn't do that. BUT, I wouldn't allow her to dictate what she was getting any further than she has!

ccr03 Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 8:12pm

Well, technically speaking, if she is within the timeframe of the contract, she has the right to make all the changes she wants. Unless you have it written in your contract that only a certain number or type of changes can be made, she is within her rights. Remember a contract is supposed to protect you AND the CLIENT.

Personally, I think her SIL probably got into her head saying I only paid $280 and got all this - you're paying $312 and are only getting that!?

Stick with your contract and let her make whatever changes she wants ONLY until the deadline - she has that right under contract. HOWEVER, make her aware of the fact that even if the changes result in a price lower than the deposit NO MONIES will be returned. Point to the nonrefundable deposit part of the contract.

Oh, also make sure you tell her that if she cuts more the cake, her servings number will go down. You don't want her to come back and say she didn't have enough cake.

mommyle Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 8:14pm

Really she has until the date of the "end of changes" and she can make it look like whatever the heck she wants it to, but get her changes in writing and signed so that she can't go back on you. And like you said, no return on the deposit. Good thing that the fondant won't go bad, and you can use it on another cake!

cakemaker30 Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 8:18pm

I just had a bride do almost the exact same thing to me for a Sept. 19 wedding. She originally ordered cake for 250 people and called me a few weeks ago and changed it to 300. Then when I told her how much was left on the cake all of a sudden she changed it to 130 people! That would have been almost the exact amount of her non-refundable deposit that was already paid. Her Dad was paying for the cake and I think he thought that the deposit was the total and he didn't want to pay anymore. When I told her she couldn't have the design that she picked to only feed 130 people because it was impossible for me to make a 3 tier cake over a fountain with 2 tier satellite cakes all around it to only feed 130 she changed her mind and asked me to make the smallest cake I could and still use the design she wanted. So she still got a smaller cake, but I certainly wasn't giving her any money back from what she already gave me. I'm not exactly sure how you go from cake for 300 people down to cake for 130 people. I don't if that many people RSVP'd they weren't coming or she was going to decide who wasn't getting served cakeicon_smile.gif Sorry to hijack your thread, but I just wanted to let you know you aren't alone in thisicon_smile.gif I did get pretty fed up though and I almost told her that I had a signed contract for 250 people and she was legally bound to that. I wasn't going to stir up trouble if I didn't have to thoughicon_smile.gif I'm glad she came to her senses a little biticon_smile.gif

LaBellaFlor Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 8:28pm

No refunds on deposits ever! I have in my contract a cut off date as well for changes, but it also says time permitting. For example: You decide to have 1000 gumpaste roses on your cake instead of just the ribbon, but you gave me two weeks and I got other cake orders. That is a change I can not accomodate. I also have a cancellation policy that gives them a refund minus, the deposit and any other cost incurred. That would cover the fondant you all ready ordered.

CakeForte Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 9:03pm

Tell her no more changes, you have already purchased the supplies for her cake.

THEN IMMEDIATELY (as in it goes into effect for your next new client) update you contract!

-No changes after "one month prior" mark
-You are locked in at the contracted rate, no reductions.
-no cakes from outside sources - liability and whatnot.

dldbrou Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 9:28pm

I have a question. If you have a contract, does it state that no other cakes from other sources be served at the same event?

The reason I ask is, what if the other cake taste terrible and the guest think the other bad tasting cake is yours. Word of mouth especially at an event spreads fast and can destroy your business.

I would stick to your contract and not give back a non-refundable deposit no matter how small the cake.

__Jamie__ Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 9:31pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by dldbrou

I have a question. If you have a contract, does it state that no other cakes from other sources be served at the same event?

The reason I ask is, what if the other cake taste terrible and the guest think the other bad tasting cake is yours. Word of mouth especially at an event spreads fast and can destroy your business.

I would stick to your contract and not give back a non-refundable deposit no matter how small the cake.




Absolutely. And do you think anyone there would go to the trouble to reassure folks that "the bad" cake wasn't from the designer? Yeah...right!

I've always wondered though.....what if this situation was reversed. What if the budget store sheet cake tasted better than the frou frou designer's cakes? tapedshut.gificon_lol.gif

CoutureCake Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 9:35pm

I agree with the PP ... If it's not already in your contract you NEED to have the clause "No cakes from outside sources without prior written approval!"...

Honestly, this is a double-bind here, I'd say your best bet is to suggest that the groom's cake be made by the same baker as her main cake is going to be made and refund 100% just to get rid of her if she's this much of a PITA... The value of your time isn't worth the headache she's charging you already. Cut your losses and don't have to deal with her ever again..."Bu Bye, don't let the door hit ya in the ... NEXT!!!!!" I also agree, if they're giving her a gift of a $280 wedding cake, let her pay for the grooms cake from the same bakery. That way if it's freezer burn cake from a big box then no one confuses it with the level of product you're providing.

What I'd likely do... if I didn't have the exclusivity clause (Which did I mention, MAKE SURE IS IN YOUR CONTRACT from here on out?!?!?!)... I'd let her make the changes she wants to keep the cake the same amount she's already paid and just say "no changes until the final confirmation" and just be done with it.

HowCoolGomo1 Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 9:44pm

You obviously didn't put in the ' if you change your mind the fee goes up clause'. This has been my personal favorite.

I'm the housezilla! My contractors finally had enough of me and invoked the if you change it one more time you stinking %itch, you will pay!

Make it big enough, she will think about it.

idgalpal Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 9:54pm

How do you go from a cake for 300 to a cake for 130? You go to Walmart or somehwere else and get sheet cakes to make up the difference cuz I'm sure they didn't "uninvite" 170 people.

As a gift I offered to do a friend's wedding cake. I'm in Idaho and she's in California. The reception ended up being at a restaurant. I told the bride she would need permission from the restaurant for me to do the cake. It was a no go because I am not licensed in California. We settled on a dummy cake for display with only the top tier real, which the bride and groom would keep for their first anniversary, so no cake was being served to the guests. The bride then planned to have a local bakery make cake to serve the guests. I told her she would also have to get permission from that bakery to have my dummy cake on display. For the simple reason if my cake looked like crap, the local bakery wouldnt want any of the guests to assume they had made it. The bakery okayed it and everyone was happy!

indydebi Posted 8 Sep 2009 , 11:26pm

I have in my Terms that headcount must be confirmed by a certain date and that this is a firm count, NOT SUBJECT TO REDUCTION. Now, I usually waive this part and it's entirely at my discretion, but I keep in there as a "just in case" thing. Like "just in case" I get a bride like you've got. This clause is pretty standard in most caterer contracts, so I would think it would be standard in any food service contract, i.e. bakers contracts.

She booked you for 300 servings? Under the "not subject to reduction" clause, she's obligated to buy 300 servings.

blessedist Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 1:17am
Quote:
Originally Posted by sew4children

Okay, I have a wedding booked for Sept. 19th. The bride brought me her deposit. She was all paid and simply awaiting the final payment, no problems. Yesterday she called and said that she couldn't afford the cake she ordered. Her sisters in law bought her a wedding cake for $280 (God knows where) and she wants to take a tier out of hers, change a few things and make it the grooms cake. I worked with her for about 20 minutes and got the price where she wanted it. It went from $312 to $214. Now she called me today and wants to know if she can change it again to the point that she won't owe me any money beyond the deposit already paid. Now mind you, she had a tasting, which she was so late for that I had to get a neighbor to get my daughter off the bus, was late with the deposit and has been a bit of a pain. Since I work from a rented space by myself, I turned down other business for that week to make sure her cake would be perfect.

Obviously I can't make her pay more money (although I do have a signed contract, I don't want to fight her), I don't want to drop to where I owe her any money back because of what I have given up. If I take another tier off of the cake, it will dip below the deposit amount.

What do I do, do I tell her I can take it off, but she will receive no money back, should I give her the difference back, what would you seasoned pros do?

Thanks so much!





Yeah, it seems to me that she is going to go to Wal-Mart or somewhere cheap and get sheet cakes to go with the smaller cake she wants you to make! No $ back!!!! And her story is 1 of the dumbest stories I've ever heard. The cake the "SIL" found or whatever was only a few $ cheaper. Not like we're talking hundreds, she's full of it! But like everyone else said, she can get any style she wants for equal or lesser value. So....if she just wants a cupcake, that would be 1 $200 cuppy! icon_biggrin.gif

HowCoolGomo1 Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 2:36am

Honest to God, tell this chick, she can find it cheaper at Wally World, Sam's. Costco, or her local grocery store. Then God bless her!

You are an artist, therefore you can charge what you want

Norm, said it last night on the UCC, we are cake artists!

sew4children Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 11:06am

I called the bride yesterday and had to leave a message. I told her that we could change the cake up until next Wednesday, which is her cut off date. I also explained that due to having given her exclusivity to the date and having purchased supplies, I would not be refunding any money, no matter what size her cake is.

I didn't have anything in my contract stating no cakes from other sources. Needless to say, I do now! I guess sometimes you have to be burned in order to realize what you're lacking!

I do believe that if she calls back and has anything negative to say, I will probably give her the money back and send her on her way. Heck, I wouldn't mind having a weekend off!

Thanks everyone for your advise, it really helped!

beccal1972 Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 12:08pm

Good for you! That's what I'd do, I also have a holding date fee in my contract, and that is NOT refundable. So if a bride bales out I got paid $50 for my time invested, had no trouble yet, but I'm still a newbie, so knock on wood.

KHalstead Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 12:47pm

be careful with this one.......I just had one like this......bride ordered cake........dragged feet on paying, I threatened with the fact that the contract SHE signed stated that she owed me an additional $25/day for everyday that her final payment was late after the 2 week before the wedding date. She paid me 9 days past the 2 week cut off...that's on MONDAY for a wedding that was on SATURDAY, and she paid with a check from TEXAS, i live in OHIO...then tells me the design she has wanted for almost a year that has 60 roses on it, she says'can you do it with 3 doz?' I say i'll try, then day before wedding says she can only get a doz. as she cancelled her flower order with the florist because it was an "unnecessary expense" (my red flags were going up that she was going to have buyer's remorse)........I tell her she can have petals on the cake layers with 12 roses, that's it. She agrees, day of wedding...caterer mentions she downsized food BIG TIME less than week before wedding (caterer was friend of bride, so she allowed it) and then follows with "she said they just ran out of money" (my radar goes into overtime now).

Fast forward a week AFTER the wedding, I come home to a note on my door stating bride thought cake was crappy (white square cake w/ purple fondant ribbon in my pics) not look wise (which I thought needed some work)...but that her strawberry cake was doughy and raw, and the choc. cake was burned!

i torted and leveled those cakes, don't you think I would have noticed????????
She still owed $30.00 for delivery.......and she adds on the note........'you should inform people you use cake mixes, and are not legal to run a business" she thought I wasn't legal because she went to the address on my bus. card and it was my house and she's from Texas and they evidentally can't sell from home...but in Ohio I am perfectlly within my rights.
As far as cake mix...I used a white cake mix, with 3 batches of the "noni's white cake" (scratch) recipe and pureed strawberries and used straw. extract. They saw the specs of straw. and seeds and said "I know strawberry cake mix when i see it" grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr..........needless to say she wants her money back and I say "NO DEAL" she knows a TON of people here in town and she has a BIG MOUTH but I don't care!!! I'm not gonna let someone take advantage and then threaten me (I take the whole" you're not legal to do business" as a threat, or at the least...it's an intimidation).

I told her I would forgive the $30.00 she still owed and that was it........she served 165 pieces of cake (everyone "complained about it" according to her).....but SHE SERVED IT!!! You give me ALL the cake back or you don't get ALL of your money back!


JUST BEWARE.........THIS BRIDE MAY BE ON HER WAY TO BUYER'S REMORSE!

I would cut this one loose if I were you.....I'm going to put in my contract "Cash refunds will NOT be given for dissatisfaction of cake unless ALL portions of cake are returned and cake is deemed un-servable' Not sure if all of those words are even real words, but i'm gonna say something like that lol

-K8memphis Posted 9 Sep 2009 , 1:40pm

Here's a thought or two for you to consider:

Tell her that since she has changed her mind so much that you will make the decision to comply with her final request on x date--the date the contract says no more changes--and that it needs to be in writing. This to protect you from all the work involved in making all these changes then to have them change again and create more work.

I would advise her of a re-stocking fee for whatever you purchased in advance like the fondant.

I would take cash only. And the re-stocking fee is to be paid before cake is delivered or no delivery.

To me, the contract protects both of you--I don't know if you can cancel it can you? I think that's what she wants is for you to give her her money back by being flakey.

I mean I'm always curious--what if she does not accept her money back--I mean this chick probably would but--I don't know, that part always makes me curious.

Sorry this is getting so complicated for you.

sew4children Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 11:11am

Okay, it got really HILARIOUS yesterday. The bride called me back, I told her that I wasn't happy about having two different bakers because I didn't want my reputation on the line. I found out that the reason her sisters in law are getting her another cake instead of paying for the one she order is .......they are buying the cake from Walmart and USING THEIR FOOD STAMPS!!!!!!

OMG! I simply can't believe this! In Georgia, apparently you get a debit card to use for your food stamps. They are paying for the cake with theirs for the month. The bride and I are on the same page, but I still want to report them because that is MY tax dollars they're using. Now I'm angry, but for all different reasons!

BUYING A WEDDING CAKE WITH FOOD STAMPS! I simply don't get people!

patticakesnc Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 11:55am

There would be nothing to report. It is legal. And not trying to start anything but I can't stand when people say "with MY tax dollars". Do you honestly think that people on assistance don't or never have paid in taxes? I get assistance. I also work and pay taxes and have for my entire life. These are my tax dollars at work helping me in a time of need. This is what I paid in all my life for....the help I need when times are tough.

-K8memphis Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 12:26pm

Yes, true that Patti, but it's a new idea to a lot of us. I used to work for a big credit card processor who also handled the electronic food stamp transactions.They can purchase anything with the money side of the card--

There can be 'two sides' kinda. One for food period. And one for cash. Where they can purchase anything where they accept food stamps.

I mean this would not be the first bride that ran out out of cash huh.

My little Mother went blind after she retired, within 6 months. The state of Indiana fashioned her these incredible telescopic 'glasses', cutting edge technology at the time. No one could see out of them but her, covered most of her face--heavy. However the state of Indiana said that if she left the state she had to return the glasses.

I said, Who could even use them if she gave them back?

This obtuse person I worked for said, "Well the people of the state of Indiana paid for those glasses.

I said yeah for sure, Like My Dad, My Mom herself, my brothers, my sister, thier spouses, thier children, me, etc.

So while it is a shock to learn of food stamps being used in liquor stores, fast food places etc. it is perfectly alright legally.

And to me it's ok morally too for that matter. Just 'cause you're on hard times doesn't mean you can't enjoy life's pleasrues huh. But they can buy anything they want if they have the living expense, cash side of the benefit. and of course the store has to be signed up for the food stamp aka ebt transaction.

It's all good. Shocking to some of us just learning about it but it's good.
We take care of each other when we can't take care of ourselves yes?

lisa78332 Posted 10 Sep 2009 , 12:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by sew4children

Okay, it got really HILARIOUS yesterday. The bride called me back, I told her that I wasn't happy about having two different bakers because I didn't want my reputation on the line. I found out that the reason her sisters in law are getting her another cake instead of paying for the one she order is .......they are buying the cake from Walmart and USING THEIR FOOD STAMPS!!!!!!

OMG! I simply can't believe this! In Georgia, apparently you get a debit card to use for your food stamps. They are paying for the cake with theirs for the month. The bride and I are on the same page, but I still want to report them because that is MY tax dollars they're using. Now I'm angry, but for all different reasons!

BUYING A WEDDING CAKE WITH FOOD STAMPS! I simply don't get people!




I have to agree with you on the last line here. My side of it is that Food Stamps are to buy the HOUSEHOLD food. Not to buy a wedding cake for other people..... it goes along with those who sell their food stamps for cash. I see it all the time.

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