Help... Unhappy Buyer!

Decorating By becca_224 Updated 26 Apr 2010 , 2:02pm by SpecialtyCakesbyKelli

becca_224 Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 6:58pm
post #1 of 24

I am just starting in this world of decorating. I have been doing cakes for ~9mo and have only been selling to family, friends, and co-workers.

This was my first cake sold to anyone that I don't personally know and it was through a mutual friend. She called one week ahead of the due date to order a 2 tier (8", 10") 50th wedding anniversary cake with tons of big fondant flowers decorating. I gave her a quote of $60 (too low, considering the time I put into the flowers in 1 week), and she picked up the cake this morning at 9:30am. She left happy with the cake and left me a check.

I received a call at 10:30 (she had an hour drive to get the cake to her party) saying the cake was 'sinking'. I have pictures of the cake before it left my house looking fine. I placed dowel support rods between the layers with a cardboard separator. I have made cakes previously the same way and they have traveled fine (30 min was the longest trip).

Most businesses have a policy that once it leaves, it's not their problem, so what do I do?

I know she is upset because she thinks it will look terrible in the pictures. I don't have a picture from her of the 'sinking' cake, so I don't know exactly what she means.

This is the first problem I've encountered and I don't want to have someone upset with me, but I don't want to be out my time and money either. Help!
LL

23 replies
cata29 Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 7:08pm
post #2 of 24

First your cake looks beautiful!!
Second she needs to send you a picture of the sinking cake, doesn't she have a cell phone with camera, how will you know until you see it.
And yes $60 is real low for a cake like that.

Chiara Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 7:09pm
post #3 of 24

Is she is unhappy with the cake then by all means have her send you photos. The photo you posted here looks fine. It is level and that is how it left.
If she did not place it in a flat location in her car and possibly left it in the heat then maybe she started having problems.
Just tell her that you would be willing to work with her but that she would have to provide you with photos of the cake that is damaged.
Also, if she eats the cake and or has nothing to show for the so called problems she is having then I would just simply state that there is nothing you can do. You did not deliver the cake to its location she did.
You can offer a discount on the next cake if ever she orders again but she might just be thinking that she paid too much and wants a discount.
Your photo looks great.
Don't worry about problems people. There are so many of them in the world that you will pull all your hair out if you take it personally. One never knows what the motives are behind actions.
Keep up the good work. Don't get discouraged because of this one person.

apetricek Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 7:25pm
post #4 of 24

First off nice job .....second you charged waaaaayyyyy tooo little. I have a policy in my contract, that says once the cake is picked up and leaves the premiss that I am in no way/no longer responsible for the cake...who knows the cake could have been in the sun, airconditioning not on...who I know you mentioned the construction of the cake, but if it IS really "sinking" then there are issues that could have helped that to occur. I would say that you need to see a picture...actually from different angles,....if it is still bothering you and you are worried about her for future orders, maybe offer her a discount, or money toward another order....tooo many shady people that try to get something for nothing...I agree the cake looks completely fine in this picture. This is why I also ALWAYS take a picture of the cake before it leaves, or before I leave a venue...not only for my site, but to cover my butt too! Hope this helps!

JohnnyCakes1966 Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 7:42pm
post #5 of 24

When I first started out, I baked an 8" cake (4 layers) and it looked beautiful in the kitchen. I sat it in the passenger seat of my car and left to deliver. I knew cakes needed to be level, but the seat only angled back a little bit and I didn't think anything would happen to such a small cake. Wrong! When my client opened the box, the top 2 layers had shifted some, putting more weight on one side and causing the 3rd layer to sink a bit on that side. I was mortified! Luckily, my client said, "Oh, we'll just push these top layers back where they belong and it will be fine." I offered the cake at no charge, but she insisted on paying me. (I know...I was lucky!!) I was still so upset because I'm a perfectionist and the frosting wasn't as smooth as I wanted it to be, but I did a little patching and it looked OK.

SO...I say all that to say, I'll bet she sat your beautiful cake in the passenger seat and caused the problem herself. Is there a way you can ask her where she placed the cake in her car without her catching on and lying about it?

ttehan4 Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 8:08pm
post #6 of 24

I would definitely have to have pictures. Your cake is great, but you need to increase your price by about 4x. That cake only cost her .98 cents a serving!

terrig007 Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 8:09pm
post #7 of 24

Have to also add that the cake is beautiful. Wish my parents had something so lovely for their 50th.
Ding, Ding, Ding-we have a winner! I believe Johnny Cakes is exactly correct with the assumption it was on the seat of the passenger or even the back seat. I had a similar thing happen to me as well when I was first starting out as I didn't really understand that even though the slant doesn't seem that much, it is. I'm willing to bet that is what happened here.
Have her send a picture and try to find out where the cake was actually placed. I remember though one time someone on here was telling us about a crazy lady that put a cake in the trunk and then was upset that it was wrecked. People just don't sometimes understand that it's a cake, not a block of cement. I've even had hot pizzas I've picked up lose their cheese because it sat on the seat and not on the floor.

becca_224 Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 9:17pm
post #8 of 24

Thank you for all of your responses! My husband was gracious enough to carry the cake out to her car for her. She had him place it in the back of her mini van. I offered her a piece of no-skid shelf paper to place under it and she declined. I imagine it got too hot/humid sitting in the back of the van. I haven't heard back from her since the initial phone call. Guess I'll wait and see and make certain the next time that I have them sign a contract with a 'no fault' clause. Lesson learned. icon_sad.gif

JenniferMI Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 10:09pm
post #9 of 24

The cake was beautiful!!!!! Are you sure you had enough support in it? If you are, then it could have been something she did.

Jen icon_smile.gif

Kitagrl Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 10:17pm
post #10 of 24

Its a gorgeous cake!!!!! And they got a GREAT deal on it!

I usually chill my cakes and instruct the customer to keep their car cool as well...that helps transport SO much because the cake remains firm and cannot shift or get melty or anything.

CakeFaerieK Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 10:29pm
post #11 of 24

I bet this person just wants something for nothing and it was her fault. I agree with that assumption.
Keep the money. You were out time and money making it.

I, like you, charge way too little for my cakes. I also sell to family and friends, ect.

And so what if she ain't happy? As my cousin is fond of saying, 'GET A LADDER AND GET OVER IT !' .

Love2BakeCakes Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 11:29pm
post #12 of 24

Blessings Becca


Your cake is beautiful and it is a good thing you took a pic of it. I do that as well for my portfolio and to cover myself. It seems impossible for your client not to have had a problem if she picked that cake up on her own ... meaning no one travelling with her. She had it sitting on the seat, of course there is going to be some movement of the box with nothing stabilizing it and because of the slant in the seat. I don't feel you did anything wrong. I too am new to decorating so the only advice I can offer is pretty much what the other decorators have said. I dont feel she deserves a refund ... she was drastically undercharged as it is.

I hope you feel better about this soon. Please dont let her ruin your day.

TonyaBakes Posted 24 Apr 2010 , 11:53pm
post #13 of 24

Beautiful flowers! I'm with the others, no telling what happened once it left you. I have started making cards to hand out with the cakes - just little tips about heat, sitting in the car too long - direct sun, cutting and serving tips. If they follow the advice or not is up to them. Once it leaves me- it's their responsibility.

spring Posted 25 Apr 2010 , 1:38am
post #14 of 24

Beautiful cake. It's always disappointing to have a customer call about a problem they have with your cake. So many variables could have caused the problem as others have mentioned.

Mind if I ask what you used for dowels?

Minette

becca_224 Posted 25 Apr 2010 , 2:23am
post #15 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by spring

Beautiful cake. It's always disappointing to have a customer call about a problem they have with your cake. So many variables could have caused the problem as others have mentioned.

Mind if I ask what you used for dowels?

Minette


Thanks again for all the support and complements. To answer the question posed: I used three 1/2 inch wood dowel rods, placed in a triangle under the 8" top. I should have gone with my first instinct and used the plastic circles of strength, but since I don't know her well, I didn't want to have to ask for a deposit and hassle her with returning the plastic pieces on such short notice.

It's just really hard to work that much on something and think that they are disappointed in any way. I know I'm not the only one to go through it and my skin will get tougher as I go.

Thanks again to the CC community for the support!

JaimeAnn Posted 25 Apr 2010 , 7:53am
post #16 of 24

I usually deliver all my cakes, so there is no way the customer can say it was messed up. But on the few occasions they were picked up I told them once it leaves its yours! I am not responsible for thier transporting!

I would say you have already given her enough of a discount selling it to her for $60. icon_eek.gif

That cake would cost $248 from me! icon_biggrin.gif

And you did a beautiful job on it. thumbs_up.gif

If she calls you back tell her that what you charged barely covered the cost of supplies, that you had already given her a discount and that would have cost her over $200. icon_rolleyes.gif

If she gives you any more crap about it tell her to contact me and I will explain cake pricing to her . icon_evil.gif


If I had Given someone a cake like that for $60 and they transported it for an hour and had the Balls to call me and complain . I would graciously tell them to come back and pick up a heaping slice of "SHUT THE %$#@ UP "cake!

maybe I'm just in a crabby mood tonight... hahahhahah

HowCoolGomo1 Posted 25 Apr 2010 , 8:37am
post #17 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by JaimeAnn

I usually deliver all my cakes, so there is no way the customer can say it was messed up. But on the few occasions they were picked up I told them once it leaves its yours! I am not responsible for thier transporting!

I would say you have already given her enough of a discount selling it to her for $60. icon_eek.gif

That cake would cost $248 from me! icon_biggrin.gif

And you did a beautiful job on it. thumbs_up.gif

If she calls you back tell her that what you charged barely covered the cost of supplies, that you had already given her a discount and that would have cost her over $200. icon_rolleyes.gif

If she gives you any more crap about it tell her to contact me and I will explain cake pricing to her . icon_evil.gif


If I had Given someone a cake like that for $60 and they transported it for an hour and had the Balls to call me and complain . I would graciously tell them to come back and pick up a heaping slice of "SHUT THE %$#@ UP "cake!

maybe I'm just in a crabby mood tonight... hahahhahah




What she said!

Btw, the cake is gorgeous! I wish I had your talent.

dalis4joe Posted 25 Apr 2010 , 11:10am
post #18 of 24

I think 3 dowels are not enough.... I follow what Edna stated in her stacking video... I use either dowels or bubble tea straws but I place them almost like a clock... at 12-3-6-9 and then in between also....

Another thing... if my client wants to pick up a tiered cake (which I try to discourage) I explain to them everything carefully... about how to handle/carry them, keep the car cool... make sure cake is level, etc...

Don't always think it's someone trying to get one over on us... give the benefit of the doubt.... she should have pics....

IF she does send u the pics, if you see the cake is sinking... but they still ate the cake... I would offer a discount... not a refund... (after all, they ate the cake)

Keep in mind, you should have given clear instructions, got her to sign a contract, she underpaid, because you under-quoted, so don't blame that on her...

Use this as a learning experience and nect time, all this can be avoided...
So to re-cap:
My 3 cents:

1. If you see the pics of a sinking cake, offer a discount (specially if the cake was consumed).
2. Use more dowels on tiered cakes
3. SIGN A CONTRACT icon_smile.gif
4. Give clear explanations on how to travel with a tiered cake...

Good Luck,

online_annie Posted 25 Apr 2010 , 11:27am
post #19 of 24

I'm with dalis4joe on this one. Beautiful cake, lovely floral work. I don't allow anyone to pick up and transport a tiered cake unless a waiver is signed that states they have been inform how to transport it properly and that they sign off on it's current condition prior to leaving. Photos are taken and off they go. Most just have it delivered though, they don't want the hassle and I don't charge extra for it. I would request photos of the cake sinking and offer a discount only towards next cake purchase of $100 or more.

Paigeness Posted 25 Apr 2010 , 1:35pm
post #20 of 24

only 3 dowels for a cake that size? I wouldn't totally discredit what the purchaser is saying because that is WAY to few.

So you charged basically about a dollar or less per serving for that cake? That means you actually paid the client to take that pretty cake off your hands.

momma28 Posted 25 Apr 2010 , 2:02pm
post #21 of 24

I too try to discourage people from picking up their cakes because I am a wreck about what will happen to it. If they insist.......

I make my clients sign a release if they pick up their cake. I take a pic before they leave and once it is in their hands it is their responsibility. That doesnt only include the drive either....that means the walk to your car too (if they are carrying it of course, if I carry it and something were to happen it would be on me) . Once you sign its over for me. I have had people rethink saving the delivery fee when they realize how unnerved they are about transporting.

BlakesCakes Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 4:00am
post #22 of 24

If you used wooden dowels under the 8", I think 3 is too few, too. Generally, it's 1 wooden dowel for every inch supported, so that would be 8 (or at least 6).
If you used the plastic tube dowels or bubble tea straws, then you can get away with 1 for every 2 inches supported, so 4 would have done it.

That said, she got the cake, she refused the no-skid, and it may have been too warm in the back of her van--ALL HER PROBLEMS.

Please, please--be at the door of HER bank when it opens in the AM and get them to cash that check!!!! Even if there's a small fee, walk out of there with CASH money. If you do it at your bank on your account, she can still stop payment and you get hurt. If you get is cashed at her bank, she's on the hook.

Good Luck!
Rae

mamawrobin Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 4:13am
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

If you used wooden dowels under the 8", I think 3 is too few, too. Generally, it's 1 wooden dowel for every inch supported, so that would be 8 (or at least 6).
If you used the plastic tube dowels or bubble tea straws, then you can get away with 1 for every 2 inches supported, so 4 would have done it.

That said, she got the cake, she refused the no-skid, and it may have been too warm in the back of her van--ALL HER PROBLEMS.

Please, please--be at the door of HER bank when it opens in the AM and get them to cash that check!!!! Even if there's a small fee, walk out of there with CASH money. If you do it at your bank on your account, she can still stop payment and you get hurt. If you get is cashed at her bank, she's on the hook.

I agree. Be at HER bank in the am and cash your check. You've already lost money on this cake, you can't afford not to get the $60.00. I also agree that you probably didn't use enough support. I also use straws and for that size cake would have used at least 6, maybe 8. I never use wooden dowels because they just aren't as reliable.

Good Luck!
Rae


SpecialtyCakesbyKelli Posted 26 Apr 2010 , 2:02pm
post #24 of 24

Tell her that Kelli said those flowers alone would cost more than $60 if she bought it from me. She got a deal.... basically she stole that cake from you LOL. Tell her to send pics of what she is talking about. Otherwise, if there is no proof of any problems, I would just say "I'm sorry you weren't pleased with your cake, I hope you can find someone who will make you happy with the results and the price".....then stick her in the "do not do business with" folder icon_biggrin.gif

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