How Non Refundable Is Non Refundable

Business By momma28 Updated 6 Nov 2009 , 4:48pm by newmansmom2004

momma28 Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 6:38pm
post #1 of 27

Ok I had a sad email this morning from a brides mother who came with her for a tasting last Monday. After the tasting they said they were going to call me this week with a final decision on whether they needed a sheetcake to go along with th wedding cake for extra servings. I said that I would collect the deposit then and they agreed. My deposits are non refundable, says it in my contract.

So back to the email, the mother of the bride emails me this morning that the wedding has been cancelled and that her daughter is distraught. She asked that I hold all her information in case they reconcile because they were set on using me. I write back and say how sorry I am and that I will be praying for her daughter in this difficult season.

They did not sign or give deposit so its not really relevant to this case but it made me think. What if I had let them go ahead with the deposit last week (and settle the sheet cake issue later). I would feel terrible not refunding that deposit after only a week when the bride is greiving. My dh said that if it had gone any longer it could have cost me another wedding on that day so the deposit is compensation for holding the day.

Any thoughts? Have any of you experienced a cancelled wedding and how did you handle it?

Thank You

26 replies
jodibug0975 Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 6:48pm
post #2 of 27

How about telling them that if you fill that date with another booking you will refund the deposit?

leah_s Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 6:54pm
post #3 of 27

I typically have between 2 and 6 cancel in a year's time. Non-refundable means just that. Once you sign on the bottom line, you don't get your deposit back. For any reason. Says so right in my contract, right by that line you initialed acknowledging you heard me say "The 25% deposit you are putting down is non-refundable for any reason. If your wedding is cancelled, talk among yourselves, but you will not be getting this money back."

xkfayex Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 7:02pm
post #4 of 27

most contractual statements are made to a large audience or clientelle (sp?). you dont write out a new contract every time you meet with a client or customer.

not every customer is the same and every order is not the same. so sometimes you have to be tough and keep your foot down when it comes to things in a contract. but in your heart of hearts if you truly feel right refunding them, then feel confident in your decision.

you set prices and guide-lines so you dont get taken advantage of. changing YOUR rules is up to YOU. so i hope this helps and helps you keep an open mind about it.

icon_smile.gif

KHalstead Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 7:02pm
post #5 of 27

so this is a what if? You didn't actually collect any money right??


I would be inclined to return the deposit after only a week, but I guess it really depends on how close the wedding is.

I have in my contract that

3.  _______ Cancellation Policy : If you cancel your wedding cake order with less than 3 months notice, you will not be refunded any of the money already paid, if you cancel with more than 3 months notice you will be refunded any money that has already been paid minus your initial deposit. The deposit amount will be considered restitution for other cake orders that may/may not have been turned down in order to accommodate your cake/s. In the event that Tinas Sugar Shack should need to cancel this agreement for any reason ,all money paid including initial deposit, will be refunded within 14 business days.

contractually I wouldn't HAVE to give them the deposit but if I hadn't turned down any orders I'd probably do it anyhow, because I'm nice like that Lol

Mike1394 Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 7:10pm
post #6 of 27

As long as you don't lose any monetary value, why not refund. Now that being said, if you spent hours with the bride, and then they cancelled, Oh yeah they would be charged a fee for it. If you lost a booking, or spent, time, and money on supplies of course they lose.

Mike

chefjulie Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 7:21pm
post #7 of 27

For me, non-refundable is non-refundable. HOWEVER, in the even of a cancellation more than 2 weeks before the event, the deposit can be used on a future cake order.

cakesdivine Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 7:26pm
post #8 of 27

I had a bride tell me their wedding had cancelled when their final balance was due...come to find out one of her guests was also a friend of mine, the wedding wasn't cancelled at all, they had a family friend offer to do the cake as a gift, I stupidly refunded the money before finding out the wedding was still on. So now I don't care what your excuse is...NO REFUNDS means NO REFUNDS!

momma28 Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 7:30pm
post #9 of 27

no i didnt collect the deposit at the tasting, my choice, because they had not decided on the total number of servings. they had decided on the main cake but were undecided about a sheet for extra servings.
It just got me thinking what would be the right thing to do if I had collected the deposit one week ago instead of saying "Let's wait until you have the number of servings needed set"

If memory serves, pretty much everything related to a wedding has a non refundable deposit. I guess for this very reason, weddings do get canceled and then you are out the time you spent desinging the cake, the tasting (I actually bake the flavors of the couples choice fresh for each tasting, I know im nuts)

momma28 Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 7:33pm
post #10 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

I had a bride tell me their wedding had cancelled when their final balance was due...come to find out one of her guests was also a friend of mine, the wedding wasn't cancelled at all, they had a family friend offer to do the cake as a gift, I stupidly refunded the money before finding out the wedding was still on. So now I don't care what your excuse is...NO REFUNDS means NO REFUNDS!




THAT IS HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

KHalstead Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 7:36pm
post #11 of 27

I bake fresh for each tasting too and what I do now is charge $20.00 for the tasting and then apply that amount to their final balance of their cake if they order, if they don't order then at least I've covered my expenses and time spent making samples.

momma28 Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 7:41pm
post #12 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by KHalstead

I bake fresh for each tasting too and what I do now is charge $20.00 for the tasting and then apply that amount to their final balance of their cake if they order, if they don't order then at least I've covered my expenses and time spent making samples.




I just started charging $25 for the tasting with that amount taken off the cake order if they order. I usually have to travel for the tastings and I live rurally, it was the gas cost that made me start charging.

KHalstead Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 8:27pm
post #13 of 27

I charge $1.00/mile one way if I come to them (which normally I do) if they're not in my town, that amount doesn't get applied to the cake costs and they always understand. So far my booking rate has been 100%, but I got a call once that sounded like a bunch of giggling teenagers and on the spot I told her it would be $20.00 for 4 servings of up to 4 flavors of cake and filling (4 flavors total) and she said, well couldn't I buy a small cake for less than that? I said, yeah, but it won't have 4 flavors OR filling for $20.00!
She said she'd call back and never did, I had a sneaking suspicion it was a sleepover or something and they wanted free cake......from that day on I thought "hey, not a bad idea to charge anyhow then if they still order, then I'll make it free"
So far it has worked great! Not one bride has complained (I guess everyone else charges $40.00 or more for their tastings and it's all done as a group thing so they don't get one on one time with the cake decorator all the time either.
'

cakesbycathy Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 10:40pm
post #14 of 27

For me, non-refundable means NON-refundable. I would make an exception in the case of the death of either the bride or groom, but honestly, if they called back the week after they made the deposit there is a very good chance that the money has already been spent icon_biggrin.gif

indydebi Posted 4 Nov 2009 , 11:26pm
post #15 of 27

non-refundable is non-refundable. I'm not a savings account where they can deposit money and then change their mind and withdraw the funds when they choose.

Here is my blog on why deposits/retainers are non-refundable. Pay particular attention to the large paragraph in which I address the "potential" argument of "but you haven't incurred any costs yet!" http://cateritsimple.blogspot.com/search/label/deposits

Oh yes I have darlin'! The minute I answered your phone call, I had a phone bill to pay. The second I replied to your email, I had a monthly email/website maintenance fee to pay. During either of these transactions, I had the lights on and a bill that goes with it.

Read the blog.

And I've had a bride cancel her wedding and wanted her money back. I emailed her the section of her contract that said "deposits are nonrefundable". She came back and said she paid MORE than the regular deposit, so shouldn't she get at least that much back? I emailed her the section of the contract that said ALL paymetns are non-refundable.

I never heard from her again.

Mensch Posted 5 Nov 2009 , 5:59am
post #16 of 27

I say non-refundable, but it is at my discretion. I have refunded retainers on several occasions.

I had an e-mail last spring from a bride who cancelled their cake three months before the wedding. Her groom had been killed in a car accident. She never asked for the money back, but I returned it anyway and she was really grateful. I filled that empty slot in no time.

people who call or e-mail and say they cancelled their wedding, or found someone cheaper... no way.

CakeForte Posted 5 Nov 2009 , 6:29am
post #17 of 27

When I worked in hotel catering...people canceled all of time. The refund policy was based on a percentage from how far out you were from the event date. So less than 6 weeks, 10% refund if even that much.... more than 6 months 80% refund. Not the exact numbers, but was along those lines.

Now if it was a bride/groom death, like mentioned above, not really something to lie about since it can be easily verified, so I would personally refund. That's just asking for bad karma.

catlharper Posted 5 Nov 2009 , 6:30am
post #18 of 27

I use to have such a kind heart and would have thought, sure, refund..but after reading stories on this site and others, as well as watching a bride lie outright on tv during a Bridezillas (still wondering if she got sued for it) saying she was SO distraught that the wedding was cancelled when it was not...well, non-refundable means non-refundable.

As an event planner the first thing I recommend is wedding insurance in case of cancellation...it covers all fees for them so they are not out their deposits. But as a baker, if a deposit has been put down then they can consider that the money has been spent to purchase ingrediants for their cake and is no longer available. Period.

Ruth0209 Posted 5 Nov 2009 , 6:53am
post #19 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by momma28

Ok I had a sad email this morning from a brides mother who came with her for a tasting last Monday. After the tasting they said they were going to call me this week with a final decision on whether they needed a sheetcake to go along with th wedding cake for extra servings. I said that I would collect the deposit then and they agreed. My deposits are non refundable, says it in my contract.

So back to the email, the mother of the bride emails me this morning that the wedding has been cancelled and that her daughter is distraught. She asked that I hold all her information in case they reconcile because they were set on using me. I write back and say how sorry I am and that I will be praying for her daughter in this difficult season.

They did not sign or give deposit so its not really relevant to this case but it made me think. What if I had let them go ahead with the deposit last week (and settle the sheet cake issue later). I would feel terrible not refunding that deposit after only a week when the bride is greiving. My dh said that if it had gone any longer it could have cost me another wedding on that day so the deposit is compensation for holding the day.

Any thoughts? Have any of you experienced a cancelled wedding and how did you handle it?

Thank You




First, I just have to disagree that a cancelled wedding is a sad thing. It's unfortunate that the bride is unhappy, but it really is not a tragedy. If the groom isn't ready, he's doing her a favor. C'mon, life is full of disappointments. Better a cancelled wedding than a divorce.

Secondly, and I think more importantly, as a business person I don't think it's my role to be personally invested in why an order is being cancelled. It's not people you know, it's not your crisis. It's simply a cancelled business transaction for you.

I agree with those who have said they would refund a deposit for a death of the bride or groom. That is a REAL tragedy that could not be anticipated, and I would definitely refund. Otherwise, I just don't think you have any ethical obligation to refund. When a person signs a contract, they know what they are agreeing to. I wouldn't expect a business to let me out of a contract because I was having some kind of personal problem.

costumeczar Posted 5 Nov 2009 , 5:54pm
post #20 of 27

Non-refundable is just that, but I agree with the "at your discretion" part of it, too. I've given refunds if I felt that it was the right thing to do, totally at my discretion.

I don't give back the full amount, though, because if someone's booked then I've spent time with them answering emails/baking samples/writing up contracts etc.

jenmat Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 1:38am
post #21 of 27

the only time I ever gave a deposit was when the groom's fists sent the bride to the hospital all black and blue. My hubby worked with her, so he went to see her and everything. I had proof, and I figured it was a reward to her for not marrying the (insert really bad word here).
Otherwise, non-refundable is non refundable, as others have said.

Kitagrl Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 1:58am
post #22 of 27

I take small deposits ($50) so it doesn't hurt if I don't refund it. However if I felt like refunding it, I would. Usually not though.

HowCoolGomo1 Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 2:15am
post #23 of 27

Am I getting this right? They came for a tasting, that you didn't charge for and now the MOB, is saying you're going to be their cake designer? When the girl finds another fiance. Yep; and I'm going to win the lottery I never play.

How do you know that the MOB, has found someone else at beyond cheap? How do you know that she didn't want to taste your cake, so she could tell someone else that's the flavor.

All right I'm not sure about this, you are now feeling guilty? Guilty for what? You have a business to run. No one should be immune, pay, pay, pay. This includes family and friends. You didn't even get a deposit!

Your time is worth big bucks.

Don't ever sell yourself short.

FromScratch Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 2:16am
post #24 of 27

I agree... non-refundable means just that... non-refundable. I have it in my contract that all monies paid are non-refundable and date specific. It's not my problem that her groom bailed. It's unfortunate for her yes, but it's probably for the best right now.

I had a bride cancel because her groom was not "ready to commit" (to just her anyway). I kept her deposit on file for her becuase she was such a sweetheart, but she signed the contract and understood the terms. Now death of the bride or groom... yeah... that's different. A true tragedy, and I would make exceptions there. In general though... keep your feelings out of the business end of the deal. icon_smile.gif

newmansmom2004 Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 2:20am
post #25 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

I had a bride tell me their wedding had cancelled when their final balance was due...come to find out one of her guests was also a friend of mine, the wedding wasn't cancelled at all, they had a family friend offer to do the cake as a gift, I stupidly refunded the money before finding out the wedding was still on. So now I don't care what your excuse is...NO REFUNDS means NO REFUNDS!




I agree with OP's hubby - nonrefundable means nonrefundable. And the above is an excellent reason why. People will pull all kinds of shenanigans to get out of paying for something when they can get it for free. And let me tell you, there are some darned good actors out there who can cry on the spot and give you the saddest story you'll ever hear.

Even if you collect a deposit and the bride calls you three hours later to say she's cancelling, during that three hours you may have already turned down another cake order.

HowCoolGomo1 Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 5:36am
post #26 of 27

Non refundable, means non refundable!

I'll sick my bald Dad on them, he doesn't know squat!

newmansmom2004 Posted 6 Nov 2009 , 4:48pm
post #27 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by HowCoolGomo1

Non refundable, means non refundable!

I'll sick my bald Dad on them, he doesn't know squat!




I don't know why but this totally made me laugh! LOL! icon_razz.gif

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