Please Help Me - First Cake Disaster

Business By cjcmitch Updated 27 Oct 2009 , 3:19pm by cjcmitch

cjcmitch Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 1:45pm
post #1 of 10

I'm new to this forum and need to post about the terrible weekend I've had. I live in the UK and have been running my cake business for 3 years. I've done around 300 cakes in that time, maybe slightly more. I've never, ever had anyone complain, and all my testimonials have been fab. However, there's always one customers, isn't there!

Back in April time, I had a call from a Lady. She seemed OK on the phone, but I had a nagging doubt at the back of my mind. I should have listened to my instincts, but no, I took her on and said I would make her cake. I spent about 15 hours in total - 5 visits from her, since July going through her 4 tier wedding cake. I made samples for her and spent a lot of time preparing her cake.

Her Wedding was last Saturday. She came to view the cake, but turned up 2 hours late, and 5 minutes before i was due to pick my children up from school. I had given her the price, but she argued over it and said it was £20 cheaper. I gave in, and sold it to her for the lower amount. She then didn't have any more to pay me with. Anyway, we sorted that out. She also complained that the Groom's hair was the wrong colour! I changed it for her.

Anyway, I delivered the cake. She then rang me on Sunday to say that the fruit cake wasn't cooked through the middle properly. I was absolutely mortified. I had checked and double checked the cake. I wouldn't have sold her anything that wasn't right.

I ended up having to give her a full refund, even though she ate all but a 4" circle from the middle which my husband described as "a bit moist". I had to send my husband to deal with her as I was so distraught. My husband said that she was making a mountain out of a molehill and tthat she was just out to rip me off.

Anyway, I am now so distraught, I am on the verge of giving up completely. I can't stand the pressure of these demanding customers who seem to want blood. I worked so hard on it for her and it looked beautiful, even if I do say so myself. I am a perfectionist. What should I do???

9 replies
JGMB Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 1:52pm
post #2 of 10

I'm so sorry that this happened to you!!!

I'm not in business, but I would say that you should always have a written contract with the price clearly stated. That way, she couldn't have claimed that it was less than you had quoted.

Brush it off and move onward and upward. Like you said, there's always going to be one of "those" customers.

cjcmitch Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 1:59pm
post #3 of 10
Originally Posted by JGMB

I'm so sorry that this happened to you!!!

I'm not in business, but I would say that you should always have a written contract with the price clearly stated. That way, she couldn't have claimed that it was less than you had quoted.

Brush it off and move onward and upward. Like you said, there's always going to be one of "those" customers.

Yes, I know.... I had done previously, but she kept changing her mind about the size of the cakes. I'd been through all the correspondence and paperwork between us and found that I was right, but because it was (only) £20 and I was in a rush as she was so late in turning up to view it, I couldn't be bothered to go through all the ins and outs and so didn't argue. Doesn't make much difference now anyway, as she's got it all back!!!!

I've just lost faith in my ability -

Barb1959 Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 2:08pm
post #4 of 10

I know this can rattle you, but you did say that with over 300 cakes done this B***H was the first to do this to you. Just brush her off as the B****H she is, cut your losses and learn from it.

I know that is easy for me to say because I am not the one that it happened to. Just look back at all your testimonials from the HAPPY customers. Maybe that might help. Also, keep affirming to yourself that you are A GREAT BAKER.

JGMB Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 2:10pm
post #5 of 10

Oh, don't let one customer do that to you -- you have magnificent ability!!! When I clicked and your homepage came up, just the pumpkin carriage cake alone literally took my breath away!! I'm going to enjoy looking at the rest of your creations when I have more time. icon_smile.gif

luddroth Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 2:12pm
post #6 of 10

Oh, my dear. You've had over 300 successes and lots of testimonials. Your skills are not in question. Your confidence must not be shaken by one rude and manipulative bride. Rather, it's astonishing that she is your first troublesome customer -- maybe they are more common in the US. It's not right that she got a beautiful wedding cake for nothing, but she is the one to blame, not you. Shake it off and enjoy your next project.

CutiePieCakes-Ontario Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 2:18pm
post #7 of 10

Don't let this 'one bad apple' spoil your 300+ excellent cakes. She's a cow ... plain and simple. Like your DH said, she was most likely just out to get all her money back (buyer's remorse?) and made sure she found something (anything) to complain about.

It's too late now to do anything about it, but for next time (and there WILL be a next time), you need (1) a contract will all the information on it (including a 'no changes after this date' clause), (2) if any complaints, demand proof (ie return all the cake (if it was 'completely inedible'), if only a portion is left, then only return a portion of the money) - ' we threw it out because it was so bad' = No Proof (you can't drink all the milk, then claim it was sour), and (3) STICK TO YOUR GUNS! Don't take that crap from anyone. The customer is NOT always right!

prterrell Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 2:27pm
post #8 of 10

Nu-uh. No refunds for bogus reasons. If you KNOW the cake wasn't undercooked, it doesn't matter what they claim. There are way too many people out there who are just scamming to get free cake. Sorry you got hit with a scamming beeyatch. Next time, any time a change is made, you and customer sign and date written copy of the change and you both keep a copy. Have a cut-off date for changes and have final payment due earlier (anywhere from 3-6 weeks prior to cake's due date). As for the viewing. If the customer is late, they might not get to view cake. Too bad, too sad. Having the final payment due prior to the viewing helps with that, too.

grandmom Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 3:04pm
post #9 of 10


Your cakes are divine!!! You are scary good at this, so stop doubting!!

cjcmitch Posted 27 Oct 2009 , 3:19pm
post #10 of 10

Hi Guys

Thank you for all your reassuring comments. You really have made me feel better. I've bearly slept since this happened and have now come out with a horrendous bout of sinusitis. Great!

I definitely need to add the clause in about changing orders at the last minute. She actually asked only 5 days before, for a different order of the flavours of her sponge tiers and I willingly obliged. I just don't think I'm tough enough! She knew that too and so she took advantage of my better nature!

Other than that all my insurances, health certificates, nut allergy insurances and forms to complete are all in place. Like I said, if she was arguing about £20 (not sure what that is in USD) on a 4 tier cake I was selling for £300, then she's obviously out for all she can get.

That's another thing....I always find that as I work from home, people have the gall to turn up late to pick up cakes etc...Sometimes I have been waiting in for 3 or 4 hours for them to collect. How do you put it politely that if they don't make the agreed time, they may not get it???

I think I must be lucky that I've survived this long without complaint! I guess it had to happen one day eh? I'm just very lucky to have such a wonderful husband to support me. I don't know what I'd do without him.

Thanks again guys...


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