Bride Complained - I'm Frustrated

Business By pastrychef101 Updated 17 May 2010 , 5:32pm by Toptier

pastrychef101 Posted 16 May 2010 , 2:36pm
post #1 of 26

I've been doing cakes professionally for six years, have my own storefront, and have never had a complaint. Anyway, I had a beach-themed wedding on April 24, a couple of days ago I received an email from the bride:

"I JUST WANTED TO SEND YOU AN EMAIL TO LET YOU KNOW THAT I WAS VERY UPSET WITH THE COLOR OF MY CAKE WHEN WE WENT OVER THE COLOR I TOLD YOU CLOVER YOU SAID DAVIDS BRIDAL CLOVER I SAID YES.......THAT WAS NOT CLOVER IT WAS A HUNTER GREEN ALSO THE GROOMS CAKE WAS MISSING THE STRAWBERRIES...I WILL BE SURE TO LET MY FRIENDS KNOW THAT I WAS GOING TO SEND TO JUST TO STICK WITH PUBLIX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

I was sooooo taken aback. First of all, let me explain that she requested a white cake with DB's clover colored ribbon. Secondly, we discussed putting straweberries on the cake board of the groom's cake. I provided her with the information and price. However, she never responded that she wanted them. She said she was signing and sending the contract. Therefore, I didn't provide the strawberries because it was not included in the contract.

As for the ribbon color, my contract specifically states that wedding colors will be matched as closely as possible, but that it is impossible to get an exact in most cases due to variations in dyes. In my response to the bride, I quoted that particular paragraph from my contract.

I really don't like David Bridal colors. They are such odd colors and impossible to match. I had a color swatch of the clover color from David's Bridal and matched it as closely as possible. There isn't a ribbon out there that is an exact match unless purchased from DB's. I scoured the entire city and could not find one. The color I found was slightly darker than swatch, but there wasn't a significant difference. It definitely was not hunter green. I was actually happy that I was able to find a ribbon that matched so close.

I delivered the cake to the venue as contracted, and the bride's linen toppers were an extremely light sage green. It wasn't even close to the color swatch, and a completly different color. I actually had the swatch with me, and the two colors clashed! It was so light that it almost looked grey.

So apparently I ruined the bride's wedding day because she decided to go with a color completely different than the color swatch provided to me. I responded to the bride and apologized. I explained that we matched the ribbon as close as possible. I informed her that the ribbon we found was the closest available other than purchasing ribbon from DB at $10/yd. However, that was not part of her contract. I also let her know that her mother and bridesmaids raved about the cakes. If there was a problem, it should have been addressed prior to the cake being released to her mom. Of course, her response was "I'm the bride, and it doesn't matter what they think". I also let her know that I had been provided a swatch of the color she used at her reception, I would have been happy to match that particular color rather than the color swatch provided to me. I can only do so much with what I am provided. In my email response, I indicated that I would have been happy to change the ribbon at the venue had someone requested it. It was an easy fix. I can't fix something if I'm not aware of it. Her response to that was she had other important issues to deal with.

Anyway, after my apology I offered her a free cake as compensation for her unahppiness. She declined and said it would not be necessary. But she keeps emailing me complaining and threatening to badmouth my business. I fully expect her to start leaving negative reviews on some of the wedding websites in retaliation.

So what do I do in this case? I tried to provide fair compensation, and I don't believe a refund is due in this situation. I feel I did the best I could with the color swatch that was provided to me. I'm not a psychic or a mind reader and had no idea she went with a completely different color. Any advice would be appreciated!

25 replies
minicuppie Posted 16 May 2010 , 2:46pm
post #2 of 26

This is why I have the bride provide ribbon and all other "color critical" non edibles. Move on and ignore all of her other negative posts and emails. Don't try to defend or explain yourself on wedding sites. The people who matter know better.

leah_s Posted 16 May 2010 , 2:57pm
post #3 of 26

Have you considered using fondant ribbon dyed to match? I get a lot of requests for DB's clover green. It's not hard to get in fondant.

kilikina_24 Posted 16 May 2010 , 3:09pm
post #4 of 26

Good grief!! Isn't the bride supposed to be in a place of happy newlywed bliss by now?? Instead she's pouting that the ribbon on her cake wasn't the EXACT color she wanted! Sounds like she's fishing for a refund or something else has her upset and she's taking it out on you. I think you handled it well! Not to mention, if those are the reasons she gives her friends, they may just roll their eyes and tell her to get over it...especially if all the bridesmaids and MOB were raving about the cake....others probably were too! icon_rolleyes.gif

CNCS Posted 16 May 2010 , 3:14pm
post #5 of 26

If the bride keeps on she can set herself up for slander.

She needs threapy.

tonedna Posted 16 May 2010 , 3:22pm
post #6 of 26

I think you need a sign contract before you do a cake. That way things are in paper and you can show her exactly what you and her agreed upon.
Obviously she is being malicious about the whole thing because she didnt accept a compensation and all she wants is too damage your name.

One thing about ribbons. When you know you wont be able to match a ribbon and the person doesnt want to pay the extra for a fondant ribbon, you can show them a selection of ribbons and if they cant find a color they want tell them that they need to provide the ribbon. That way if the color aint right, you can say "OH BUT YOU BROUGH IT".

I can say that your work is your best defense..Keep doing a good job and people will know she
is just trying to damage your reputation..
Edna icon_smile.gif

tcakes65 Posted 16 May 2010 , 3:55pm
post #7 of 26

It sounds like there was no pleasing this bride. Maybe she watched one too many "Bridezilla" shows. icon_lol.gif Leah, great suggestion doing the fondant ribbon to get a more accurate color match. What icing color do you use to achieve the clover green?

Some of David's Bridal colors appear a different color depending on how the light hits it. Even when I have a swatch from the bride, I always ask which color the bride is using. With the clover, I've had brides use anything from sage to a dark green. Bakeacakea, your bride should have realized that you couldn't match it perfectly when it sounds like she couldn't do it herself.

You could always have the bride provide the ribbon as suggested to take the responsibility off your shoulders. However, I prefer to do it myself. It can be just as much of a hassle when the bride provides the ribbon. I tell them I need 5 yards, and they give me 1 or 2 yards. Then I waste more time trying to get additional ribbon from the bride when it would have been much easier just getting it myself.

cakesdivine Posted 16 May 2010 , 4:20pm
post #8 of 26

Tonedna, she did say she had a contract, and her signed contract did not have the strawberries included and the customer did not pay the extra fee for them either, so the brides gripe about the nonexistant strawberries is definitely unfounded. As far as the color, she clearly had it stated in the contract that color may not match exactly and will be as close as possible. The OP did everything contracted, the bride has no axe to grind, other than it sounds as though she had buyers remorse and wanted to try to get some money back by bullying the OP.

OP, if the bride continues these abrasive tactics,simply let her know you did as contracted, she signed it and paid for the contracted amount and you have no other obligations to her, further let her know that if she continues slandering your business you will take legal action.

catlharper Posted 16 May 2010 , 4:27pm
post #9 of 26

You apologized, even tho you followed the terms of your contract exactly and did the best match dye job you could, you offered a free cake, more than enough. Print out, highlight the part of the contract that shows she didn't order or pay for strawberries and that you will match as closely as possible and mail off with a gift certificate for the free cake. Keep a copy of everything for your own records.

And this is why I make the bride provide any non edibles...so that way she's responsible if she messes up, not me.

Kitagrl Posted 16 May 2010 , 4:37pm
post #10 of 26

The David's Bridal clover does look kinda sage on the online pictures...but whatever swatch she sent you is what she obviously expected....If she wanted DB clover she should have sent you a sample of it, or even the whole ribbon.

I don't require brides to provide ribbon because when I worked at the caterers, the brides would not provide enough, or they'd provide it way too wide (or too narrow), or something dumb like that...one time we had to cut the entire ribbon lengthwise to get it to look right, and another time to have enough. But yeah if they want DB ribbon they'd have to buy it or pay for it!

Make sure you have everything in writing to prove your side and then yeah I'd be starting to mention your lawyer....

tonedna Posted 16 May 2010 , 4:54pm
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesdivine

Tonedna, she did say she had a contract, and her signed contract did not have the strawberries included and the customer did not pay the extra fee for them either, so the brides gripe about the nonexistant strawberries is definitely unfounded. As far as the color, she clearly had it stated in the contract that color may not match exactly and will be as close as possible. The OP did everything contracted, the bride has no axe to grind, other than it sounds as though she had buyers remorse and wanted to try to get some money back by bullying the OP.

OP, if the bride continues these abrasive tactics,simply let her know you did as contracted, she signed it and paid for the contracted amount and you have no other obligations to her, further let her know that if she continues slandering your business you will take legal action.




I didnt see that part.. icon_redface.gif She does have a good slander case against the costumer
Edna thumbs_up.gif

dalis4joe Posted 16 May 2010 , 5:11pm
post #12 of 26

Hi... so sorry you are going through this....

I agree with kilikina_24.... IF she decides to slander you... they might just look at her and roll their eyes... you did your work AS PER YOUR SIGNED CONTRACT, that's what she signed for and that's what she got.... don't bother defending yoruself... your work speaks for itself and like u said... ur first complaint is 6 yrs... that AINT BAD!!!!

Keep your head high and keep this in mind... KILL'EM WITH A SMILE!

good luck 2ya sweetie...

costumeczar Posted 16 May 2010 , 5:28pm
post #13 of 26

If she keeps emailing you, just write back that you're sorry that she doesn't want to accept your offer of a free cake, you've already addressed the complaints that she brought to you, she didn't pay for the strawberries, and any further communication will need to be through your attorney. Then print out every email she's sent you and start keeping an eye on online wedding review sites. If she posts negative reviews you can usually email the sites directly and explain the situation, they will likely take the review down.

You didn't ruin her wedding day, you ruined her post-wedding refund scheme.

Edited to add: Be glad if she really does tell her friends not to come to you, they're probably like she is. Big PITAs.

iamcakin Posted 16 May 2010 , 5:35pm
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar

If she keeps emailing you, just write back that you're sorry that she doesn't want to accept your offer of a free cake, you've already addressed the complaints that she brought to you, she didn't pay for the strawberries, and any further communication will need to be through your attorney. Then print out every email she's sent you and start keeping an eye on online wedding review sites. If she posts negative reviews you can usually email the sites directly and explain the situation, they will likely take the review down.

You didn't ruin her wedding day, you ruined her post-wedding refund scheme.

Edited to add: Be glad if she really does tell her friends not to come to you, they're probably like she is. Big PITAs.




Ditto!! (especially the edited post icon_twisted.gif )

sberryp Posted 16 May 2010 , 7:53pm
post #15 of 26

I hate to say this, but we can not make everybody happy and the fact that it bothers you shows that you really care and that you tried to resolve the issue. Don't worry about it.

kellikrause Posted 16 May 2010 , 8:13pm
post #16 of 26

I need DB clover green ribbon....and you guessed it, can't find anything to match well. What colors should I mix to get that color in fondant? Thanks!!

Eisskween Posted 16 May 2010 , 8:46pm
post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by CNCS

If the bride keeps on she can set herself up for slander.

She needs threapy.




My thoughts exactly. It was only a ribbon that was slightly off color. You made the closest possible match, which it says that right in your contract. You were kind enough to offer her a cake to compensate for her unhappiness, which I think is MORE than fair. The cake was edible, obviously, and the mother liked it.

She sounds like a bitter little spoiled brat who may even have a touch of buyer's remorse. Who knows, maybe a friend got a refund for complaining and egged her on to try and do the same.

Do yourself a favor, please save all the emails, records of phone calls, voicemail, etc. Especially if you get any threatening ones. You may need them in the future if she does decide to damage your reputation over a stupid ribbon. You will need all the proof you can muster, and you would be entitled to compensation and/or punitive damages if you win the case.

Thank goodness I haven't run into one of these types. I lose patience very easily with jerks.

EDIT: I didn't even mention the strawberries because THEY WEREN'T IN THE ORIGINAL CONTRACT.

indydebi Posted 16 May 2010 , 9:16pm
post #18 of 26

I had a simple rule: If they want a certains specific color of ribbon, then THEY had to provide it to me 2 weeks prior to the wedding. If they said, "Green. Just green. Don't care what green. Just green." then I would pick some up at walmart. I had a huge box of leftover ribbon that they could browse thru to "give me an idea" of the color/shade.

But if they wanted David's Bridal anything, then THEY had to provide it. I am not a personal shopper. I am a baker. That means my time is spent in the kitchen, not in the mall.

I would help them out with how much they needed (10" square cake requires 40" plus extra for fudging, so at least 5ft (60") just for one tier). I found out early on that if you don't do the math, they have NO idea just how much ribbon it takes. I swear to god, they'd think "10" cake .... 2 feet should do it!" icon_eek.gif

johnson6ofus Posted 16 May 2010 , 9:46pm
post #19 of 26

Sounds like the bridezilla belongs to the "I'm gonna complain to see what I can get free" club. DON'T DO IT! You fulfilled the contract... that's it... period.

You can point out that it IS slander to publish things that are not true, and you will hold her liable.

She will calm down some day- if not, it's her hubby's problem. Hold your head high. It takes more than one crazy bride to derail a six year reputation. thumbs_up.gif

Butterpatty Posted 16 May 2010 , 10:24pm
post #20 of 26

Good grief- what is wrong with people today??? Are we all "I'm entitled, it's all about me" brats? So the ribbon wasn't an exact match- she needs to get over it. It is a ribbon for pete's sake.
If that is all it took to ruin her wedding day, then she has led a very charmed life and I think at this point I would tell her so gently and say, "I have apologized, offered free cake and done everything I can to make you feel better. There is nothing else I can do for you at this point. If you choose not to refer people to me, that is your business. But if you make false accusations against me, then that is MY business and will be dealt with accordingly."
I know that everybody worries about the person being angry and badmouthing the business, but there comes a point that you have to draw a line. At my work we are taught to bend over backwards to fix a problem/complaint, but when the boss steps in and it still continues, there is a breaking point where she says "I am sorry, nothing else I can do to make you feel better about this so let's agree to disagree."

etr2002 Posted 16 May 2010 , 10:28pm
post #21 of 26

I'm a hobbiest baker by night and a lawyer by day. As another poster stated, keep everything from e-mails to voicemails as you don't know when or if you will need them. More than likely, if you continue to stand your ground, she will move on to something else. I remember when I was planning my wedding, it was so consuming but after it was over with, I didn't look at The Knot or any other wedding site or magazine again. If she continues to hassle you and you are concerned about any damage that she may cause, I would consider going to an attorney and paying them to draft a very straightforward letter that addreses her concerns and the stipulations within the contract and a paragraph stating that if she does not cease the badmouthing and harrassment immediately then further legal action will be taken. Do NOT let her bait you into writing or verbalizing anything derogatory to her so this doesn't get any messier. I've occassionally drafted these type of letters and in all situations it was all that was necessary to stop the behavior. Good luck!

indydebi Posted 16 May 2010 , 10:45pm
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by etr2002

I've occassionally drafted these type of letters and in all situations it was all that was necessary to stop the behavior. Good luck!


Yep! Handled an "ex" sister-in-law this way once (ex-husband's sister). Only had to do it ONCE. icon_twisted.gif

pinky73 Posted 17 May 2010 , 2:33pm
post #23 of 26

The bride is off her rocker to not only claim that you ruined her wedding by the color of the ribbon but to continually keep the issue alive by her neverending emails. Let me say that you and all of us here know you did everything by the book and that her claims are completely unfounded. I am sure you are concerned about the nasty things she has threatened to say to the public and that would upset me too, I don't blame you. This bride is a bully and turning the other cheek won't always work, a letter from an attorney might be necessary.
I run into people like this daily as part of my job. I have learned that there are functionally crazy people out there that will take time and energy out of their day to fabricate a crisis and try to argue their point to whoever they happen to set their sights upon. It frustrates me to no end when people like this bride want to complain about not getting strawberries when in fact she never paid for them to begin with...and if you point that out to her, she will come back with some ridiculous excuse as to why that's not her fault and she still should have had them or she will ignore your point all together and go off on some other rant...the sense of entitlement and lack of personal responsibility is astounding.
You did nothing wrong, have a letter ready to go in case she continues this vindictive harrassment.

Karen421 Posted 17 May 2010 , 2:54pm
post #24 of 26

No matter how many precautions you take, sometimes; there will always be that one person that will never be happy, and you will never please. I agree, keep all the emails you have from her, but move on and don't let her upset you any more!

Denise Posted 17 May 2010 , 3:24pm
post #25 of 26

Sorry you are having a PITA bridezilla. I do not put ribbon on cakes - it has to be fondant and I have in my contract that a color swatch MUST be provided. A 4" square color swatch at that! Solid color - not sheer fabric. (had an issue once with sheer!) I also have in the contract that I will NOT guarantee that the colors will match perfectly. I do put ribbon on the side of the boards and will try to color match that with their stuff but if I can't find something at WalMart/HL or Michaels they are getting ivory/white ribbon on the board. I have requested before that they get ribbon for the board if it is way off the charts of color. As Indy said, I am not their personal shopper. I will go the extra mile, bend over backwards to give them what they want but I am their cake decorator, not the room decorator.

The strawberries she obviously backed off on since she knew she hadn't paid for them. She is fishing for $$$ back. Rhett Butler told Scarlett O'Hara that "the dogs may bark but her caravan will keep rolling" and let this dog bark. If she gets too loud or posting ugly get the attorney out!

My grandma always said "fair understanding brings no falling out". I would suggest no longer putting fabric ribbon on the cakes unless it is white or ivory, black, red. Simple colors - not the "pool blue" or whatever colors from DB. Too much can go wrong! If and that is a big IF they want that specific color from DB let them get it and tell them how much you will need and it must be delivered to you one week prior to the wedding or they will have white/ivory on their cakes. Have it in the contract. Be specific and persnickety. That way no one can fuss, sue, slander or in other ways be a PITA.

Toptier Posted 17 May 2010 , 5:32pm
post #26 of 26

Ha ha, I once had a birthday girl and her mom get into an argument over colors - daughter wanted bright, mom wanted pastels, so we decided on somewhere in between. B/c it was such a hot issue I offered to let them come down and do a "color-check" a week before when I mixed the fondant. Guess what, they never took me up on it...but they can't come back and complain later cause they never did. Since then I've offered that a few times where color was an issue and guess what, no one has ever come down to check colors - they realize how RIDICULOUS it is to be so fussy. But, I have Covered My A$$.

Look some people are looking for fault anywhere they can, I guess you should be grateful that it is something as silly as ribbon color, it's not an indictment of how is tastes or really, how it looked. You just hope that there is karma for these people, they obviously have never been in a position of customer service themselves (which should be mandatory, btw)

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