Customer Hated My Cake, And A Topsy Toppled. (Long)

Decorating By JCE62108 Updated 20 Nov 2009 , 2:38am by paulstonia

JCE62108 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 1:58am
post #1 of 28

Hey guys, Ive been gone for awhile. My interet connection was disconnected for about a month.

A few things have happened that I would like your feedback on. Ive had a little bit of bad luck. Im a little bummed.

A lady called me last minute wanting a wedding cakefor this past saturday as a surprise for her daughter when she got home from her out-of-the-country wedding. So I agreed to take the order. She wanted a square 2 tier, dark chocolate cake with fresh strawberry filling, buttercream frosting. Cool. Easy. So I took the order and she paid right away.

Come the day of the delivery, I plug the address in my GPS and upon arriving I see that the address is for appartments. She did not give me an appartment number and stupid me, I didnt ask for one.

I tried calling her but she didnt have her phone. I waiting outside the building for about 35 minutes calling her 3 times and leaving 2 messages. I stopped every person I saw to ask if they knew the customer, I even knocked on a few doors, no luck. I even considered knocking on every door, but then counted and realized there were 42 appartments in that building. Yeah, not gonna happen. I started to panic. I knew it would be bad news if I had to leave with this cake. I was about to stay as long as I could. I knew if I left this lady was gonna think I was some scam artist stealing $135 and not even showing up. I was really getting worried.

So finally I hear a lady on the second floor balcony yelling at a young man saying "where the hell is she!" I was like, oh thank god. I knew it was her. So I asked if she knew the customer. She was like, "finally! what the h*** happened to you!" and she went on yelling at me until she took a breath and I was able to tell her that I didnt realize the address was for appartments. This spurred more yelling "I TOLD YOU THE APPARTMENT NUMBER!....blah, blah, blah....." So I told her sorry for the miscommunication and I brought her cake upstairs. She was going on and on about how I inconvenienced her until I set the cake down in her fridge. I told her once again I was sorry that this happened, but it was just a miscommunication and it is unfortunate, but at least we found each other. She decided to let me have it again and just stood there, and I couldnt help it but tears came to my eyes. Im normally very professional but unortunatly I have a bit of a thin skin sometimes. When she saw I was upset she stopped yelling at me and I left.

So, fast forward to yesterday, I get a lovely email stating that this cake was disgusting, flavorless and dry, and the strawberries smelled like rotten fruit.

I use WASC for all my recipes. And as most of you know, that recipe is so freaking moist I swear if you squeeze it you could probably juice it. Dry?? I dont think so. Besides I do quality control on all my batches. When I shave the tops and bottoms off it gives me a chance to check the texture, moistness, and flavor of the cake. Of course I always follow my recipes so its always the same, but I feel like I need to double check myself all the time. Flavorless....omg, my chocolate cake gets the best reviews out of any of my flavors. Everyone wants my chocolate cake. My MIL is addicted to it and says its the moistest chocolate cake she's ever had. So anyway, I knew it was good. The strawberries were just purchased and I began working at 6am the day of the delivery so that I could assemble the cake so that the strawberries would be as fresh as possible. It remained refridgerated until delivery,and was maybe in my car for 40 minutes while I wa trying to find that lady. Not long enough for the berries to go bad.

So she demanded a complete refund. I was so upsett over this I barely ate all day yesterday. Im just so bummed by this.

I learned a few things from this experience though.

1. Be wary of last minute orders and cranky, picky customers.
2. Always, always, always ask for an appartment number when writing down a delivery address....always.
3. Require a contract be read and signed. Be sure customers understand refund policy before placing thier order.

Learning through experience sucks sometimes....but Im new at this. Ive been a decorator for 2 years, but only in business for myself for about 7 months. Its rough sometimes.

I was wondering what you guys do for customers that arent happy? Do you give 100% refunds? My policy is up to 75% based on circumstance. I told her that I couldnt offer her more than that and she said she'd disput the charge, so I just gave her the full amount.

Argh. I have another vent. I gotta rest my fingers for a sec though. Sorry so long. icon_sad.gif

27 replies
dailey Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:06am
post #2 of 28

i am one who *never* blows off a customers concerns, etc. i cringe when i read stories of people on here who blame the customer for everything as opposed to taking blame for when they are at fault. HOWEVER, this one smells fishy to me! from what you just said, i would have to say NO REFUND and no more cake for this lady, lol!

edit: ugh, i just saw where you gave her back all of her money! darn, darn, darn........

motherofgrace Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:15am
post #3 of 28

im sorry this happened.

Im not in buisness yet, but a few things popped out at me.

1. If her cake was so late, why wasnt she calling you, or NEAR her phone? (seems weird to me?)

2. Theres never really any reason to yell at someone like that! People are ignorant.

3. Should have let her disput the charge. You have more proof that your cake recipe is good?

Again im not in buisness, but thats my opinion

chasebrad Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:16am
post #4 of 28

I agree last minute orders....especially wedding....are suspect in my book. Makes me think that maybe she bailed on another plan at the last minute due to dispute and was looking for a replacement. However even if it was just a last minute decision to have a party.....I think based on her attitude at delivery, there is no surprise that she is complaining. In this economy and with questionable circumstances.....I think it is an unfortunate "chalk it up to experience". It does leave you feeling frustrated and a bit deflated, but pick yourself up and don't let the 'meanies' change you!

Pacific Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:16am
post #5 of 28

Take a breath and move on from it. You know you did well you have your check lists - tasting your cake and using fresh ingredients. I come from a long line of customer service reps and NO, the customer is not always right!
I am sorry that you gave her 100% refund. You lost your money for the ingredients and that should never happen. You are right to make sure you have a contract and insure that the customer knows your refund policy.

Do not listen to threats, and if anyone ever yells or speaks to you disrespectfully in the future, tell them you are a professional and that you expect to be spoken to in a professional manner. If it doesn't stop them then tell them you can not speak to them now and that you will contact them at a later time/date when they can speak in a more civil manner.

People - customers just think that they can bully people when they don't get what they THINK they should be getting.

So we all learn from these lessons. Thank you for sharing with us. Now go out there and show the world your stuff! thumbs_up.gif

Jopalis Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:16am
post #6 of 28

Sounds like a biatch and just looking for a free cake....... You poor thing. I agree no refund and no more cake...

Rosa2745 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:16am
post #7 of 28

Sorry to hear this happened to you. Some people are just mean and don't care who they hurt as long as they get their way. I don't think there was anything wrong with your cake she probably just noticed that you were nice and could get her money back. You should not have given her a dime back. You went out of your way to do her a favor and she didn't even consider that. Want to send you lots of hugs because I can totally relate to how you feel. Cheer up, you'll have better days!

cookie_fun Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:27am
post #8 of 28

I don't sell cakes for money, but I don't think you should refund any money. If they ate the cake, then they don't get a refund. Even if she disputes the charge on her credit card, I can't imagine how they would be able to verify any of her claims.
You know you did a great job on the cake, so she is just looking for a free handout.

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I have read many threads where this type of thing has happened, so I know it's not just you. I hope some others with more experience chime in with some excellent advice.

JCE62108 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:34am
post #9 of 28

Ok second disaster. My first topsy turvy for a customer collapses. It was very small. I did a 6 and 7 inch on the bottom, and a 4 and 5 inch on the top. I carved a space for the tier to sit. Everything was great, until delivery. The thin rim on the bottom tier that was carved out, it broke. It made te fondant tear and fall off. I noticed this as I go to the hotel to drop it off. I immediatly shut my trunk and heading for the nearest walmart for gumpaste, dye, and lollipop sticks to try to attach it back together. I ran back to my car where my hubby was waiting outside for me, pacing and smoking a ciggarette. "You're gonna need a smoke too when you see your cake." The whole side fell off. It was beyond saving. I had to call the customer and tell her I didnt have a cake for her. I offered to buy her a sheet cake. She was upsett, obviously. Just then hubby tells me my grandma cancelled her b-day party because she wasnt feeling well. Yes, I actually now had an extra cake! omg talk about crazy. I offered it to her along with a full refund. She was ok with it, but dissapointed. So was I. I litterally didnt sleep for two days straight. I kept thinking about how dissapointed I was and how bad I felt for letting this customer down. She came from out of state for her dauhters sweet 16 at Universal. This was a big deal, and I felt like I screwed up, even though I dont know what I did.

Thats another thing I wanted to ask, how can I prevent this again? Why would it have broke? Were the layers just too small? Do I need more space between the tiers? Like maybe, should I have done a 8/7 and 5/4 instead? Anyone else have a problem with topsys?

Have any of you ever delivered a cake only to find it was damaged beyond repair? What did you do?

JCE62108 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:47am
post #10 of 28

Oh thanks guys. In response to one comment, I always take the customer's concerns into consideration. Always. However I know my cake was not dry and the fruit was most certainly not rotten. I understand everyone has their own personal taste preferances, but these comments just werent accurate. To me this was just an attempt for this customer to take another stab at me to get her money back.

As far as "the customer is always right", well, honestly.....yes they are. If only to their face. Like my hubby says, The customer may be wrong, but the customer is always right. lol. But, I also decide how to choose my battles. I decided to let this one go. She seemed like a fighter and honestly I dont want to drag out the drama.


OH OH! I have a happy story too! How 'bout it? Ill make it short.

I got my first happy cry!!!

Also on Sat I had a baby shower cake to deliver...which actually turned into a welcome home baby party unexpectadly. So I get to the home with the cake, get to see a beautiful 3 day old baby girl, and as Im setting up the cake I hear... "sniffle, sniffle, aahhh, sniffle, eeeeehhh, eeh, sniffle". I look up and she is bawling. Her hubby ran to her and asked what was wrong and she just said, "*eeehhh* its so pretty *sniff sniffle*" LOL awesome. My first happy cry! Ok it makes me feel better to think of that now.

OOO OOO Ill post photos! Hold on a sec...

JCE62108 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:51am
post #11 of 28

:/
LL
LL
LL

dailey Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:54am
post #12 of 28

[quote="JCE62108"]Oh thanks guys. In response to one comment, I always take the customer's concerns into consideration. Always. However I know my cake was not dry and the fruit was most certainly not rotten. I understand everyone has their own personal taste preferances, but these comments just werent accurate. To me this was just an attempt for this customer to take another stab at me to get her money back.
asked what was wrong and she just said, "*eeehhh* its so pretty *sniff sniffle*" LOL awesome. My first happy cry! Ok it makes me feel better to think of that now.


oh, i wasn't suggesting that you don't take your customers concerns into consideration, i think you did...*too* much actually, lol! (i was referring other thread that i have read) again, i would not have given her a full refund, she sounds like she was looking for a freebie.

JCE62108 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 2:59am
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by cookie_fun

I don't sell cakes for money, but I don't think you should refund any money. If they ate the cake, then they don't get a refund. Even if she disputes the charge on her credit card, I can't imagine how they would be able to verify any of her claims.
You know you did a great job on the cake, so she is just looking for a free handout.

I'm so sorry this happened to you. I have read many threads where this type of thing has happened, so I know it's not just you. I hope some others with more experience chime in with some excellent advice.




You know what, I have read a lot of this kind of stuff too. And actually it is comforting to know its not just me. Especially being new to the business, reinforcement from my peers is really helpful. Thank you guys. I only hope that my mistakes can be a learning experience for others too. I have actually learned a lot from the mistakes of others on this site, so I value these types of posts and I appreciate others sharing their experiences.

JCE62108 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 3:03am
post #14 of 28

[quote="dailey"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by JCE62108


oh, i wasn't suggesting that you don't take your customers concerns into consideration, i think you did...*too* much actually, lol! (i was referring other thread that i have read) again, i would not have given her a full refund, she sounds like she was looking for a freebie.




LOL ah ok Im not up to date on my threads. This is the first time Ive been on here in a month or so.

sari66 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 3:13am
post #15 of 28

I'm sorry to hear about the cake issues; as for the wedding cake I would not have given this woman a refund unless she produced the cake I actually have this in my contract and tell brides if there is a problem with the cake they need to keep all the uneaten portion and return it to me for evaluation within 24hrs.

As for the topsy I've never made one so hopefully someone who has can help.

Keep caking

jenmat Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 3:17am
post #16 of 28

if this ever happens to you again- first, ALWAYS get a contract, but you know that. Then, NO ONE has a right to talk to you like that. The fact that you took it clued her into the fact that you would also give her a refund. Take the cake, tell her you will contact her about reimbursement, and DO NOT TAKE THAT CR%$!!!
I'm sorry this happened to you, but the only one who can demand respect for you is YOU. And I would have told her to go ahead and dispute the charges. You have pictures of the cake, and she has no evidence to support the bad cake (I bet she didn't save a piece to prove it.
If she had been super nice, or only slightly perturbed at the lateness, then called later to voice a concern that the cake seemed a little "off", that is a valid complaint. But someone who goes off on you like that obviously had issues.
All that said, it does sound like you really learned some valuable lessons!
Glad you got a good cry from the other lady too!

cylstrial Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 3:18am
post #17 of 28

First - I'm really glad that the baby cake went well! That's a nice pick me up!

I'm sorry all that happened to you. I really don't think that you should have given a full refund to the first lady. She's an idiot.

The second lady did deserve the full refund. And you did all that you could do to make it better. So just let it go.

Kitagrl Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 3:43am
post #18 of 28

I've tried that "carving out a place" for a topsy turvy and I think it really compromises the stability, and makes it difficult to stack. I hate that method.

I just angle the cakes (not too sharply, if you need them sharper, then angle the bottom AND the top of each tier) and then straw the layers and stack them with royal icing...and dowel it all the way through. I have a recent topsy turvy in my photos that was done this way, just stacking, no cutting out a hole.

Hope things get better!

obabassa Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 4:06am
post #19 of 28

If it was sooo terrrible and you returned her money she should have had plenty of cake left over to return to you. Right?
Sounds like she was trying to get over on you. Sorry that happened to you. That kind of business isn't worth any amount of money.

JCE62108 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 5:42am
post #20 of 28

I feel a little better about it now. I may be new to being on my own, but during my short time I have had so much good feedback on my cakes....really, thanks to you guys. I learned the basics from my job at a grocery store bakery, but everything else I learned from this site. The WASC recipe is thanks to this site. I will never use anything else. I cant imagine finding a better or more versatile recipe.

Honestly, I really need to grow a thicker skin. I let this stuff get to me way too much. I keep trying to remind myself that professional is almost the exact opposite as emotional. Ack.

Oh man, I just realized I need to do some research. Off I go. Thanks again guys.

Bluehue Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 6:33am
post #21 of 28

Oh my word - how discraceful that the women speak - no, YELL at you like that. icon_surprised.gificon_surprised.giftapedshut.gif

If ever anybody start to yell at you again just interupt them and say...

Excuse meeeee, You paid to have a cake made - You DID NOT pay me so as you could yell, scream and abuse me - thankyou very much -

Then turn and walk away.....with your head held high.


Bluehue.

mvucic Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 7:47am
post #22 of 28

I'm not in business, but after reading so many threads like this, with all these customers wanting full refunds, I think you all need to start adding a new stipulation to your contracts...

"refunds will be determined once uneaten portions of cake are returned for evaluation"...

If they've eaten the whole darn thing, then pay for it! Sheesh!

If you ask me, I always like proof if I'm going to dispute something... I actually would return a cake that I thought wasn't what it should be....

You're baby shower cake turned out gorgeous... actually, all three of them did... sorry for the topsy turvy disaster... that one looked fabulous!

Mirjana

madgeowens Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 8:32am
post #23 of 28

Some people just really need to have cake smashed in their faces I am sorry but seriously what a biyotch.............your cakes are really nice looking...the shower cake was awesome...........forget about the crank.............she must look into the mirror and say mirror mirror on the wall whose the fairest of them all.....and the mirror says back to her............you..........................NOT hahaha

mim1106 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 12:18pm
post #24 of 28

Sorry you had to deal with that. Your cakes are beautiful!

Bonnie151 Posted 19 Nov 2009 , 7:58pm
post #25 of 28

The only time I have *ever* had a topsy turvy collapse is when I carved out the hole to have the upper tier sit in it. That was the last time I used that method. Now I just slice a bit off at an angle, flip it round, buttercream on, stick cake on thin cake board, cover with fondant and glue to tier below with royal icing.

JCE62108 Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 1:47am
post #26 of 28

Do you guys have a link to a tutorial like that? Ive only seen tutorials on the other method. Is it possible to do 3 and 4 tiered topsys this way? Seems like it would slide. Id be nervous...

costumeczar Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 2:04am
post #27 of 28

I do the method with the flat cake and the extra piece, but it's less like carving out a hole and more like putting an extra slanted piece on the flat cake. The trick is to make sure there's enough of a difference between the bottom tier and the one on top of it so that the slanted piece had enough to sit on to keep it from falling off. If you make the tiers too close in size there isn't enough of a ledge for the extra piece to sit on, if that makes sense.

If you do the bottom tier 7-8-9" layers, do the next tier 5-6-7", so that the 5" is sitting on the 9". I don't know if that makes sense or if it's the same as the tutorial that's on here, but that's how I do them.

paulstonia Posted 20 Nov 2009 , 2:38am
post #28 of 28

Sorry all this happened to you(except for the happy dry). I make my topsy turvy by torting at an angle to get the slant but I do carve out the flat surface to set the tier on. I would say yes, it was probably to small of a difference between the top and bottom tier. When you carve it out you need that outside part a little thicker to keep it from breaking. The last one I made,the turkey cake in my pics, I carved out the whole, of course before either layer was covered. Well once the fondant was on the whole was a little tight and it did put a little pressure on the cake when I put that top layer in there. It survived, but I was a little worried. But your cake was very pretty.

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