How To Determine Refund?

Business By jahnelle Updated 18 Sep 2009 , 4:29am by jenmat

jahnelle Posted 16 Sep 2009 , 11:47pm
post #1 of 17

I have a wedding cake order for the 25th. I was cheap and quoted the lady 150 for the cake 30 delivery and 50 refundable deposit on stand. Obviously I refund 30 for delivery and 50 for stand deposit but of the 150 what do i refund. I am 1 year into my business and have never had this happen and I did not make her sign a contract. She came in today to tell me her wedding has been called off and she doesnt know what i am going to charge her but whatever it is just basically do it so it would be over. What do I do?

16 replies
KHalstead Posted 16 Sep 2009 , 11:59pm
post #2 of 17

I take it she was paid in full?? I am guessing you don't have anything in your contract that says what portion of the money is non-refundable?

If it were me, I would refund the stand, delivery and maybe half if any of the cake money. I mean, for all she knows you turned down several other wedding cakes to do hers. In my contract I state that anything less than 2 weeks before the wedding, they get NO refunds if they cancel. I would probably tell this lady no deal for the cake, you turned down other orders...refund the stand and delivery.

something_sweet Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 12:09am
post #3 of 17

I have my customers pay a non-refundable deposit of $50 to book me to do their cake. If they cancel, they don't get this deposit back. Depending on how close it is to the wedding they may not get any of their other payments back either. This is how my contract reads:

"For cancellations that occur within 30 days of the scheduled event date, a refund of your total deposit less your reservation deposit ($50), supplies, and other expenses incurred by the decorator, plus a $50 cancellation fee, will returned to you. All refunds will be mailed to the address on file for the Bride, unless otherwise requested in writing at the time of cancellation. Orders cancelled within 5 days of the event will receive no refund."

When was the wedding supposed to be? I don't know that I would keep any of her money since it wasn't outlined in the beginning, and you don't have a contract. But that is just me. If you have already purchased supplies for the cake or started working on decorations for the cake (like flowers), I would charge for these and cover your expenses.

jahnelle Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 12:14am
post #4 of 17

could you provide me with one of your contracts?

indydebi Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 12:21am
post #5 of 17

You guys are way too generous. 5 days? So 6 days before the date and they get a refund? Can you book another wedding cake in 6 days to replace that business? You don't buy supplies or make fondant flowers before 6 days before the wedding?

A deposit is not to put it on the calendar. A non-refundable deposit is to compensate you for the lost opportunities that you turned down because you closed that date BASED ON THEIR COMMITMENT to you.

I get 50% down to put it on the calendar. My contract states that ALL payments are non-refundable. This is serious money, folks. I get $2000, $2500 and higher deposits pretty often. Even on cake-only orders, we're talking $300+ non-refundable dollars.

It's all non-refundable. I'm not screwing around with people who want to jerk my chain. I have a business to run, bills to pay, kids to feed. I'm not a passbook savings account where you can put money in and get it out later.

something_sweet Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 12:29am
post #6 of 17

Here is a topic on contracts that you may want to check out.
http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-24252.html

costumeczar Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 12:32am
post #7 of 17

You've got that right, Indy. 5 days before, the refund is zero. You need to get a contract together if you're going to sell cakes. It's been said before, but the contract is to protect BOTH the client and yourself.

spring Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 1:29am
post #8 of 17

Exactly what Indy Debbie said!!!



Minette
www.minetterushing.typepad.com

CakeForte Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 3:07am
post #9 of 17

Tell her no refunds. You could offer her a credit towards party cakes.

Also, my refund policy is similar to hotel policy; the closer you are to your date, the less money you get back, or no money back, if its only weeks away. Basically, you are turning down other events to do hers, so you can't realistically make that money back be rebooking a wedding on that day.

minicuppie Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 12:48pm
post #10 of 17

Depending on how hard she was to deal with...PITA or quiet, polite with a simple cake...I offer to do a small simple cake (no fondant or gumpaste anything) at another time. Maybe she will be so kind as to send others to me as well as remember me when she DOES get married. Just my opinion.

KHalstead Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 5:11pm
post #11 of 17

I wouldn't refund the cost of the cake this close....however, just be prepared to make that cake....in all honesty if she's not going to get the money back she may just opt to have the cake and eat it! Or smash it, or do whatever with it.

you can get a cake contract that you can alter to your own needs at www.cakeboss.com..it's a good basic contract, i use it as well but have added things of my own to it too.

__Jamie__ Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 5:15pm
post #12 of 17

Holy crow. Gotta get serious with contracts. My people pay half of the cake as a deposit, and it is non refundable. If they cancel for whatever reason, then that deposit is held for application to a future order.

__Jamie__ Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 5:18pm
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

You've got that right, Indy. 5 days before, the refund is zero. You need to get a contract together if you're going to sell cakes. It's been said before, but the contract is to protect BOTH the client and yourself.




Amen!. This isn't cutsey dress up cakey-makey play time. Unless it is, and in that case, get used to being ripped off now.

blessedist Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 5:32pm
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

You guys are way too generous. 5 days? So 6 days before the date and they get a refund? Can you book another wedding cake in 6 days to replace that business? You don't buy supplies or make fondant flowers before 6 days before the wedding?

A deposit is not to put it on the calendar. A non-refundable deposit is to compensate you for the lost opportunities that you turned down because you closed that date BASED ON THEIR COMMITMENT to you.

I get 50% down to put it on the calendar. My contract states that ALL payments are non-refundable. This is serious money, folks. I get $2000, $2500 and higher deposits pretty often. Even on cake-only orders, we're talking $300+ non-refundable dollars.

It's all non-refundable. I'm not screwing around with people who want to jerk my chain. I have a business to run, bills to pay, kids to feed. I'm not a passbook savings account where you can put money in and get it out later.




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ButtercupMama Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 8:51pm
post #15 of 17

Yeah, this is a tough one.
As far as the bride is concerned, I'd say the Big Picture is that she really dodged a bullet as far as getting married to someone she shouldn't; and that is what will make the difference in her life, over time, not the cake money.
But I know you need some answers, so I'll just put in my two cents. I agree with the other girls about being a business. And I've had to give the news to sad brides twice; that they signed a contract, and I would not be refunding for a cancelled wedding.
However, you didn't have a contract, and this learning experience will save you lots of money/headaches/moral dilemmas later... so maybe that's what you will "earn" this time. Just chalk it up to a good learning experience.

If it eases your conscience to do so, you could just tell her you're retaining $50 (fairly nominal, I'd say) OR you will give her a $150 credit that she must use within the next 6 months or whatever.

Then next time, you won't have to make this kind of hard decision in a hurt feelings situation; just let that contract and her signature do the talking!

Whatever you choose, it should feel right to you...good luck!
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CoutureCake Posted 17 Sep 2009 , 9:07pm
post #16 of 17

Hopeful lesson the OP will learn here: ALWAYS get a contract even if it's a simple one, it's not only to cover YOUR buns, but so your customers know what is expected of them too!

O.k. no contract ... I'd give everything less $50-$75 for this case only depending on what you've purchased already... And/Or offer a small "Emancipation Cake" (aka: cake that says "CONGRATULATIONS! You didn't have to marry THAT BEEEEEEEEP" or something to that effect... they're actually quite funny)... It also lets you know if they're really cancelling the wedding or feeding you a line because they realized a $150 cake for 50 is only $30 in cake from Sam's...

How my contract is phrased is that if they cancel at certain time periods I have a sliding scale... If it's less than a month before, then I keep the deposit (half) plus the cost of all supplies/time I have purchased to make their cake so I'm "even"...

jenmat Posted 18 Sep 2009 , 4:29am
post #17 of 17

OP- you said the bride "came in today." Does this imply that you have a shop she comes in to? If you have a shop, you need to get your contracts straight. Find a contract post on here, there are some great ones, and make it your own. You can't protect yourself if you have no contracts or policies, and as a customer, I would have a problem handing someone a big chunk of money without written proof it was received.
Sorry to be a little grrr on you, but this is something YOU NEED TO DO, even if its just to protect yourself and the things you have worked so hard for!

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