Customer tossed my cake??!

Business By melhoneybee Updated 30 Sep 2009 , 10:20pm by JanH

mommyle Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 3:31pm
post #31 of 97

I think it's a good email. you sound pleasant, but firm. go ahead.

blessedist Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 3:32pm
post #32 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

If you can't afford something or you think you are not getting your monies worth (6" and cupcakes, which by the way average $3.00 WITHOUT the monster faces) for $130, then just don't order. Don't order it & then come up with ways to get you money back.




Many people want to portray that they got something done that was custom (and we all know that will cost more) but then want their $ back. It is bull and they are full of it! I don't do cakes much, but more of cutesy favor type things and I tell people the cost (which I make sure isn't cheap) to weed out the "cheapies" and the dramaqueens/kings. People that enjoy life and buy/indulge in great products know the quality of great work and don't have problems with spending the $ to get something special and memorable.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

I would NOT throw it out on account of a hair! Or an eggshell (which grosses me out worse than hair)...or anything else. I"d throw the one piece away and keep the rest!




There can be plenty of other things floating in food that you DON'T see, at least you can pull the "hair" off and throw that piece away.
She (amongst others who do this) is just silly. And I'm sure her child threw a fit and tantrum after he saw his cake and you threw it in the trash, yeah right!!! I def. don't believe that would happen!


My 2 Cents icon_rolleyes.gif

melhoneybee Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 3:36pm
post #33 of 97

That was my thought too! It is bizarre that they would have just tossed the whole thing! I was feeling too that they needed to show me the cake to get a refund. It does state on my website that in order to get a partial or full refund that the cake must be returned to me (I just never have had to deal with anything like this yet!). I think it really makes common sense! You can't go into a store (or even a restaurant) and say something was unsatisfactory and want your money back without returning at least SOME of the product!

I have a feeling even that she felt she HAD to say that the hair was on the bottom of the cake (I don't feel she meant border because the border is waves, she would have said "in the waves') She KNEW that it would have been very obvious if a hair had been anywhere visable and so had to say the 'bottom'. Yea, this is bogus, I really, really have the gut feeling it is, BUT, just because it is, doesn't mean that she wouldn't go spread lies to ruin my business! So I am still going to be tactful and nice. I think I will go ahead and send what I typed and shee what comes of it!

melhoneybee Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 3:40pm
post #34 of 97

SENT! Will be interesting to see what happens now! lol

sweetflowers Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 3:50pm
post #35 of 97

I'm sorry I saw this too late. I would have stated only that my hair wasn't brown, and not mention what color it actually was. That way she couldn't come back saying, 'oh, maybe it was red after all'. Hope it works out.

step0nmi Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 3:52pm
post #36 of 97

ack! I wish I would have gotten to this thread sooner.

I would have never sent an email like that to a customer. icon_redface.gifthis would've totally made you the good guy. I know she seems like she was in buyers remorse but you don't want to put what she says she found back on her and her family.

I really really really hope she sees the good in your email. the cake looked great and some people just don't understand how much time and effort go into hand painted cakes.

Carolynlovescake Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:08pm
post #37 of 97

Dear Customer,

Thank you for letting me know about the hair that you stated you found on the bottom of the cake.

All baking and decorating done in my environment is done to the health departments standards and regulations.

This is a great reminder that I need to remain diligent in these safety practices as well as be on the look out for things like this with cake supplies such as boxes and boards that I purchase and bring into my home where things like a human hair could have been easily come from as well.

I appreciate you letting me know so I can continue to to always be on the look out for ways to grow and improve my business.

Have a great day!

Sincerely,

Your cake lady

_____

You are not taking claim for it being yours, you are not denying the fact it is either. You point out that it could very easily have come from another source.

They didn't ask for a refund so don't offer one. My golden rule is if they don't ask for it, don't offer it unless you absolutely need to. I don't feel you need to... yet.


My two cents worth on the matter in relation to this lady is this...


She should have called you immediately to at least leave a message for you but in the heat of a party you always don't think of doing it. If it would have been some of my customers they would have thought "I'll call Monday because they know Sunday I'm busy with church, and getting laundry done for the kids, and backpacks packed etc. and it's my only real day off of work and I spend it with my husband and kids no matter what so they don't want to bug me. We all know how Monday's are... icky and back to the work week and usually hectic. It's not unusual for me to get a Monday night or Tuesday morning response to a cake issue/question for a Saturday cake.

As for that $12. It's not the customer's fault you don't carry change so I do think it needs to be returned. He didn't say "keep the extra for your tip", he looked at you strange and probably was expecting $12 back. I would drop a check into the mail to him with a note of "overpayment refund" on the memo line with a letter stating "sorry I didn't have the correct change on me when you paid the amount due on Saturday September 26, 2009. Here is a check in the amount of overpayment." and send it certified. Keep a copy of the letter with your certified mail info attached, as well as a copy of that check. Certified lets you know they got it and lets them know that you know they got it. There is no wiggle room for a claim of "they never tried to return that $12 overpayment.

Don't drop off cash, they can say you never returned it. From this point on leave a paper trail of what you do with her. A check is proof you returned it.

A hair in the food happens, anyone with common sense knows that but the money issue is what would leave me with a raw nerve and you can bet that if anyone asked me about business where that happened to me I'd say "I'm more peeved over the $12, that's the cost of a box of diapers for us!" I wouldn't remember the hair in 2 or 3 years but I would remember being left feeling ripped off for $12.00 and I'd let it be known.

Money is a very sensitive issue with people, and taking more than you are owed is going to set them off even if they don't show it to you and they will remember it for a very long time. Not making it right is something they will never forget.

Look at it this way, if you went to buy banana for $3 and all you had was a $20 and the grocery clerk said "we don't have the change here to give you the difference so thank you for your $20 here is your $3 worth of bananas have a nice day." how would you react? How would you remember that grocery store? Would you return to shop there?


I wish you the best with this customer. Stuff like this is awkward and never easy to deal with. It's the not fun side of owning a cake business.

Kay_NL Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:12pm
post #38 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

I wear my hair back but I also try to lint roller my clothes before baking because I tend to shed on my clothes while brushing my hair or whatever and eventually the hair finds its way into something. I have had a few close calls. Ugh.




I wear all black (my hair is blonde so easier to see on black), tie my hair in a tight french braid then put it all within a baseball cap, I also lint roll every time I begin baking or decorating, then every time I leave the kitchen and return... So far so good! lol!

Kay_NL Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:19pm
post #39 of 97

I am sorry that you are going through this. icon_sad.gif
I'm curious about why you don't carry change... I always assume that my customer will not have the correct change, as the bank machine's here only give out $20s... So I always go prepared to give them change for a multiple of 20 higher than the cost. Very occassionally I am told to "keep the change" but most often they take it, which is fine. I don't expect tips since I charge for my services to make my money...

__Jamie__ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:25pm
post #40 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

I have a $150 price minimum...with a delivery fee. I think she got a good price. There is another decorator on here who sells a lot of 6" cakes for $75. THAT'S her minimum. If you can't afford something or you think you are not getting your monies worth (6" and cupcakes, which by the way average $3.00 WITHOUT the monster faces) for $130, then just don't order. Don't order it & then come up with ways to get you money back.





icon_biggrin.gif

Kitagrl Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:27pm
post #41 of 97

I never keep change either.

My customers usually either bring correct change, or they tell me to keep the change. Only one time did I get a funny look but they were very happy with the cake and everything was fine. A few times my hub had gotten extra during a delivery and went back to check and they said it was a tip.

I figure they know the balance weeks to months in advance, that's plenty of time to bring the correct amount. haha. Its not like its a spur of the moment purchase.

If they really need change, I will take a lesser amount and ask them to pay the remainder via Paypal when they get home. I think I've only had to do that once (very risky of course...it was a repeat customer though)...that, or I'll accept a local check and then cash it at their bank.

__Jamie__ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:28pm
post #42 of 97

Change, tips, bah! Payment in full before delivery! This ain't Domino's Pizza guys!

LaBellaFlor Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:34pm
post #43 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by __Jamie__

Change, tips, bah! Payment in full before delivery! This ain't Domino's Pizza guys!




icon_lol.gif

Carolynlovescake Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:49pm
post #44 of 97

The thing to remember for this post/story is that SHE DELIVERED TO THEIR HOUSE.

Yes the lady knew how much was owed but hubby didn't. Hubby handed over what he had on him expecting change.

To take it a step further with what __Jamie__ said, When we deliver like Domino's we are going to be treated like Domino's. By making this statement I mean we are delivering a food item and are owed money for it and who ever answer the door is paying. They are going to expect you to have the ability to make basic change.

The only way to avoid this is to have a contract (preferably in writing) that clearly states "Payment in full before delivery or no cake".

ccr03 Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:57pm
post #45 of 97

A couple of things -

1. I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one with a problem of keeping the $12. He didn't say it was a tip and you shouldn't have assumed. I know it's hard to know how a customer will pay you upon delivery (if that your chosen way to do business), but you should try to have basic change with you.

2. I found your email to be very snarky and condescending. As a PP stated, she was not being confrontational or mean or anything about it. She didn't ask for a refund - nothing. It seems like you got defensive QUICK.

3. Refund - I don't understand when ppl. say you get money for the returned portion. Dude - they are at the party! Do you honestly expect them to toss out the cake and not serve the guests anything??

Good luck in whatever happens.

TitiaM Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 4:58pm
post #46 of 97

I would definitely say you undercharged her for that cake!

On the hair.....if they have a problem with that they would be horrified at what is allowed in our food by the FDA.....trust me! I was a food science major in college and we'll just say bug parts in butter......maybe hair isn't so bad. icon_rolleyes.gif

Auryn Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:05pm
post #47 of 97

I'm only going to comment on the $12.
I think you should shoot her and email and let her know you are putting a check in the mail today to return the $12 in overpayment.
And then follow the advice to send it certified mail and keep copies.

I agree that if you delivery you should have basic change on you. yes I know they knew ahead of time what was owed, but common sense isnt so common anymore and they might have just assumed that you would have change.

I agree that the $12 is gonna stick to her and tick her off more than the hair. It would to me, but I would have asked for my change on the spot.

Mensch Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:06pm
post #48 of 97

What a cute cake.

Your e-mail, however, was quite unprofessional.

dailey Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:20pm
post #49 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mensch

What a cute cake.

Your e-mail, however, was quite unprofessional.





i have to agree. i know you were upset but its best to keep your relationship with your customers on a professional level.

catlharper Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:22pm
post #50 of 97

As some have pointed out...to avoid this in the future make sure you are paid up front for the cake. I always have to have a deposit at the time of ordering and then full payment 2 weeks before the event date. I do charge for delivery so you may want to either start doing that or make it clear that you are giving them a discount by delivering the cake to them.

As for the hair...sigh...can't prove it either way so I'd apologize and thank her for informing me about what happened. I know I wouldn't HAVE to offer a discount for another order but I would probably tell her that I'd give a 10% discount on her next order. I'd like to keep the client in the end.

And yes, I'd refund the extra money with a check and have it signed for so I had proof they got it.

Trying to give the client the benefit of the doubt without forgetting to cover my own butt, you know?

Good luck!
Cat

maryjsgirl Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 5:42pm
post #51 of 97

I think you should have waited for more input, before sending that email out. After posting this you waited like an hour with only the advice of a couple of people to react. I think you should have taken more time on this one.

Deb_ Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:31pm
post #52 of 97

Come on guys the e-mail was sent and I see no point in making the OP feel bad about it now by telling her it was "unprofessional".

She posted it at 2 a.m. this morning and didn't send it until 11:40 a.m. so she waited more then just an hour to send it and she did have quite a few members post during that time that didn't tell her NOT to send it.


We're all different and handle things differently....there isn't just 1 right way or in this case 1 correct response.

Good luck OP I hope this works out for you.


Edit to fix spelling/grammer icon_rolleyes.gif

online_annie Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 6:36pm
post #53 of 97

Sadly I must agree with the previous posters, your e-mail was quite unprofessional and defensive. Payment being made upfront 2 weeks in advance would solve the $12 issue. I never would have assumed it was a tip. I would have stated that I did not have correct change and would send a check for the difference or post it as store credit. Let them decide if they would like to go that route or allow you to keep it as a tip. It's the gesture that counts, it shows you noticed the overpayment and that money was due.

But again, if you have a contract, which you should....then show payment required in full and upfront by a certain date. If you do not have a tight refund clause posted in your contract, I wouldn't sell another cake until it has been upated to reflect the changes requiring immediate contact...phone call, message, email regarding issues and that the remaining unedible cake to be returned within 24 hours or less for a pro-rated refund if you so choose.

I would also suggest waiting 24 hours till responding. It allows you to gather more points of view and allows you to cool off and gather some perspective. I know you felt you needed to respond quickly, but you could have waited and simply apologize for any delays, you have been busy filling cake orders and wanted to give your full attention to the situation. Just my 2 cents worth. I hope everything works out well for you.

cgm_cakes Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 8:15pm
post #54 of 97

Hi.

I just wanted to add my input. I've learned to "wait" to react as well. I personally would have never sent the email you did, but understand that you did based on the advice of several posters, some of whom are well respected Sr. CC members.

As for the money, I definitely would not have assumed it was a tip. That being said, I too am one who collects final payment on delivery. However, before delivery I confirm once more with my customer how much they owe and that I need exact payment as I do not carry change. This has never been a problem for me.

No matter what comes out of all this, it's a learning experience. It gives you reason to analyse and possibly revise some of your current business practises/contract amendments. Everyone of us has a bad experience that leaves us unsure of our own actions and others questioning why we did what we did. You can't change whats happened, learn from it and move forward.

Good luck to you. The cake was beautiful and you're obviously a very talented decorator.

LaBellaFlor Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 8:29pm
post #55 of 97

I know you are getting a lot of responses. And I'm with Dkelley, we all handle things differently. Here's the thing for me, if I feel like I'm about to have a remorse customer, which is what I think your getting, I don't play around with them. I just don't have the patience. I'm very accomodating, but when I think your about to B.S. me. I'm not worried about loosing that customer, cause they are not going to be a client again. I'm very tired if people going all out & paying big for a cake...that they can't afford, and then wanting to recoup their losses...at my expense. It's not happening. Do we make mistakes, of course and I have no problem honoring those. But I think after a while we can tell when it's a sincere mistake or just a way for them wanting to get their money back. I bend over backwards (believe it or not) for my clients), but I don't let them bend me over if you get my drift. icon_smile.gif

Janette Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 8:46pm
post #56 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

I would probably tell her,"Good thing my hair is red, so we both know it's not mine. I noticed your husband's hair is brown & he excepted the cake. How unfortunate you through the cake away as it was your husband's hair". Yup, play nice & sweet & dumb...since that's what she thinks you are. Trust me, she's gonna write you again. She's just waiting for you to say,"I'm so sorry. Let me give you a refund".




Very good response

DebBTX Posted 29 Sep 2009 , 10:57pm
post #57 of 97

Melhoneybee,
How did your customer react to your email?

-Debbie B.

dailey Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 1:41am
post #58 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by Janette

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

I would probably tell her,"Good thing my hair is red, so we both know it's not mine. I noticed your husband's hair is brown & he excepted the cake. How unfortunate you through the cake away as it was your husband's hair". Yup, play nice & sweet & dumb...since that's what she thinks you are. Trust me, she's gonna write you again. She's just waiting for you to say,"I'm so sorry. Let me give you a refund".





Very good response





you think?? this is an unacceptable response from a legit business...

veronica720 Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 2:17am
post #59 of 97

I have been following this since it started, but haven't commented until now after reading some recent posts.

I think your response was great, I would have sent the same thing if it was me. You did not come right out and say it was her husbands (as some have stated) you only said "perhaps". So there is nothing wrong with that. You did say you were sorry for the problem but did not take the blame. Perfect!!

I also think she might have been trying to get a refund and just hoping after her email you would automatically give it. Whatever!!! Cause I admit when I first saw the cake I thought thats's it. But after I realized "duh" how long that would have taken to paint I changed my tune. Maybe she felt the same "that's it" after seeing it and that could explain her husbands awkward look as well.

I have never carried change and never will if I expect money at delivery. Like said before they know well ahead of time how much they owe. I have been tipped $10 before but I did ask if it was right and they said yes.

Janette Posted 30 Sep 2009 , 11:51am
post #60 of 97
Quote:
Originally Posted by dailey

Quote:
Originally Posted by Janette

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaBellaFlor

I would probably tell her,"Good thing my hair is red, so we both know it's not mine. I noticed your husband's hair is brown & he excepted the cake. How unfortunate you through the cake away as it was your husband's hair". Yup, play nice & sweet & dumb...since that's what she thinks you are. Trust me, she's gonna write you again. She's just waiting for you to say,"I'm so sorry. Let me give you a refund".





Very good response




you think?? this is an unacceptable response from a legit business...




Yes, I do think - I didn't know you wrote the book on how a ligit business should respond. Maybe I should have read it - not.

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