When Do You Offer A Refund, Discount, Etc.?

Decorating By bethasd Updated 4 Jun 2010 , 11:53am by Karen421

bethasd Posted 25 May 2010 , 9:26pm
post #1 of 29

I made these bicycles for this cake but they didn't survive the trip to the party. Plus the fondant on the cake cracked. What do I do? Do I offer some type of refund? I'm charging low prices - $135 for 10" round, 4-layer cake plus one 11"x15" cake including the bicycles. I'm just starting up and would rather take a loss & keep customers happy at this point. Any advice would be great!

28 replies
bethasd Posted 25 May 2010 , 9:28pm
post #2 of 29

here's the photo

foxymomma521 Posted 25 May 2010 , 9:28pm
post #3 of 29

is there a pic? Sorry this happened to you... I peeked at your pics, and you do great work!

bethasd Posted 25 May 2010 , 9:30pm
post #4 of 29

another view

foxymomma521 Posted 25 May 2010 , 9:34pm
post #5 of 29

sorry! I didn't see the pic before... In my opinion, from a customer's point of view... I would want a partial refund. Just because you think your prices are low doesn't change the fact that the customer paid full price. If I ordered something and it arrived damaged I would expect some kind of compensation.
Again, just my opinion, and your work is really great!

bethasd Posted 25 May 2010 , 9:37pm
post #6 of 29

Thanks foxymomma, I totally agree. How much would you recommend?

myslady Posted 25 May 2010 , 9:55pm
post #7 of 29

who delivered the cake to the party, you or the customer?

foxymomma521 Posted 25 May 2010 , 10:06pm
post #8 of 29

I have no idea? Maybe 15%? Offer 15 or 20 pct, or give the option of a future use gift cert at a higher number... I really don't know...

bethasd Posted 25 May 2010 , 10:07pm
post #9 of 29

A friend of the client picked them up & delivered to the party. That friend is also a friend & neighbor of mine so I'd like to keep everyone happy.

muddpuppy Posted 25 May 2010 , 10:11pm
post #10 of 29

If you didn't deliver it and it left your kitchen perfect, then I say no refund... It's not your fault if it was damaged durring transport...

foxymomma521 Posted 25 May 2010 , 10:12pm
post #11 of 29

oh... that does change things...

bethasd Posted 25 May 2010 , 10:21pm
post #12 of 29

I feel responsible for the bikes since I think they broke based on my construction. The 11"x15" cake took a beating too but that looked like someone dropped the box. I think I'm going to offer $35 off which is about 26%. The cakes did get eaten.

dalis4joe Posted 25 May 2010 , 10:33pm
post #13 of 29

I wouldn't offer too much of a discount because you have no idea what could have happened during travel for the bikes to fall apart and for the cake to look like it did.. I know you want to keep your new clients happy but keep in mind for the future that if you are not delivering the cake... you MUST advise them that you are not responsible for anything that might happen during travel... I think your bikes looked awesome!

rainbow_kisses Posted 25 May 2010 , 10:35pm
post #14 of 29

did you take those pictures before the cake left your posession? and have you got any of after they were delivered?
I would not take any responsability if the cake was not delivered by myself, regardles of how fragile the details were.

Karen421 Posted 25 May 2010 , 10:35pm
post #15 of 29

How about something like 20% off their next order, since you did not deliver them.

malene541 Posted 25 May 2010 , 10:39pm
post #16 of 29

I think the $35 off is fair. It shows that you cared what happened. I also think that if you didn't give any discount then you would be partially ok too. Because you didn't deliver it you don't really know how the cake was handled. Since the delivery person was a friend/neighbor the $35 makes more sense.
I know a lot of people keep to a "standard" rule and don't budge from it. I like that your thinking outside of that and willing to take everything into consideration. What goes around, comes around is one of my favorite sayings.

mariana7842731 Posted 25 May 2010 , 10:40pm
post #17 of 29

the pictuers look like they were taken at a party, no?cake looks fnie to me. so what was she taking it to a DIFFERENT party? I don't get this at all.

prterrell Posted 25 May 2010 , 11:24pm
post #18 of 29

You didn't deliver the cakes. If they were damaged after leaving your possession (which is the case), then it's not your fault. No refund.

Minstrelmiss Posted 25 May 2010 , 11:51pm
post #19 of 29

I think I would give a gift cert for next order rather than money back since it was out of your hands....and only like $20 tops.

joaaaann Posted 26 May 2010 , 1:01am
post #20 of 29

I had the same sorta scenario about a month ago. I made a 3 tier wedding cake 14, 12, 8 and each tier was 3 layers with ganache filling also. The lady who ordered it was also paying for it...for her friend, the bride. I offered to discount 50.00 off the price if they picked it up (optionally) and they accepted..

I had already went down on the price of 300.00 that I initially quoted because they are a 'friend of a friend' but they still wanted a better deal. So that's what I offered. I charged 200.00, I had it ready when they showed up and I boxed it while they were here. We took it out to their SUV and they were on their way to the church.

I got a call that evening saying that they had gotten all the way there and at the last turn, the top tier (stacked) had jolted over to the side and caused marring and for whatever reason she was unable to get it back the way it was. She then said they just took the top tier and put it on display and cut up the rest in 'the back' so no one got to see the cake as it was intended.

She raved about the cake as far as the great taste etc and everybody "ate it up" and couldn't get enough, yada-yada. But I felt as tho she was hinting that it was my fault, cuz she mentioned that the box at the bottom (where the folds are...like every box has) were probably to blame for some kind of an imbalance and so it must have finally 'gave' basically.

I didn't offer a discount, but I struggled with it ALOT cuz I just wanted them to be happy with my work. It's such a downer when you can't get that 'BEST CAKE EVER!' response from someone, you know? It's the cake in my pix (blue and black, harley-kareoke).

So anyways. I have been still been second guessing what I should have done or said. I had only explained that I have never had that problem in past and that cakes are always traveled that way basically.

I apologized and said I was happy they enjoyed the taste at least. It was "Awkward" for me.

cakesbycathy Posted 30 May 2010 , 4:39am
post #21 of 29

This is why I have anybody that comes to pick up their cake sign a waiver stating that they chose pick-up over delivery and that I am not responsible for anything that happens to the cake once it leaves my possession.

splymale Posted 30 May 2010 , 9:25pm
post #22 of 29

Do I wait for them to contact me w/ a complaint?

What if the cake was partially damaged when I arrived? (in this case, on a sheet cake, the icing started melting off the corner of the cake, realized it when I got there. very hot day). I apologized, but party was starting soon & I didn't want to keep her.
Do I contact her & offer some sort of refund or see if she contacts me.

What do you do? Wait or contact 1st, so they know you are taking responsiblity?

halfbloodprincess Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 2:51am
post #23 of 29

When people pick up a cake from me I have them sign a waiver. Basically saying that they understand that by picking up the cake, they take full responsibility for the transport of the cake. I pack it as best I can for transport, but I am released from all responsibility once the cake is in their car.

They have the option. If I deliver it, then it's my responsibility to make sure that cake is perfect. I bring extra supplies with me to fix any problems.

Additionally, especially for figurines, I pack them in paper and in a box for transport, and mark where they are to be placed. Simply because they tend not to travel well, especially if delicate.

Hope this helps for next time.

Ren715 Posted 1 Jun 2010 , 8:06am
post #24 of 29

When I ordered my 4 tier wedding cake (almost 26 years ago), I was told that delivery was extra (I can't remember, but it was something like $50). I was on a tight budget and decided to opt for picking it up until they told me that they were not going to be responsible for my beautiful cake once it left their store. I knew even then, that it was more important to spend the extra $50 then risk the chance of a ruined wedding cake.

It was as true back then as it is now. The customer's choice is simple: spend the extra money for delivery or assume 100% liability for the cake.

pursuing_perfection Posted 4 Jun 2010 , 1:07am
post #25 of 29

I agree with all those who indicated that you are only responsible for the cake until it is taken from you (whether that is at your home or business or at the venue). Make sure you take pictures of the cake at the time it changes hands and have someone sign that the cake was recieved in good condition.

Having said that, it is also up to you to do your best to make sure that the cake will survive transport. That could mean leaving the toppers off after marking placement, and/or transporting layers in seperate boxes to be stacked at the venue (with detailed instructions for whoever is doing it - assume nothing!).

A happy customer is your best advertisement.

DDiva Posted 4 Jun 2010 , 1:28am
post #26 of 29

I, too, have the person who picks up the cake sign a waiver releasing me from responsibility should damage occur after the cake leaves my possession. Delivery is always offered, and I agree, I try to make sure that the cake is secure for travelling as possible. Beyond that, I feel no responsibility. Last summer during a 95 degree day, the husband of a customer picked up a baby bootie covered in buttercream lace. Delivery was offered, which I would done using a cooler with an icepack. They refused. About an hour after he picked up the cake I get a call from the wife saying the the icing was melting. My response that the cake was fine when it left the shop (it had been refrigerated up until it was handed over). Turns out they went shopping and left the cake in the car!! Let's see...if it's 95 outside how hot is it in the closed car????? Needless to say, there was no refund. You can't be responsible for what your customers do.

pursuing_perfection Posted 4 Jun 2010 , 2:09am
post #27 of 29

Baked Buttercream - not exactly the look anyone would be after! Good for you for standing your ground.

antonia74 Posted 4 Jun 2010 , 2:51am
post #28 of 29

If YOU are paid to deliver and set the cake up and it is damaged, then yes....you are responsible for it and should make sure you leave it in as perfect a condition as possible.

If THEY choose to pick it up and deliver it to save a few bucks, it's THEIR fault how they have treated/mistreated it.

You'd be shocked at how nonchalantly people treat cakes....throwing them in the back of the car on the floor, on slanted seats, leaving them in the overheated car while they "pop into the store to grab a few last-minute items for the party". Ummm, it's cake people! It needs to be treated carefully. They didn't. YOU don't have to pay for that mistreatment.

No discounts because you feel bad. They obviously didn't feel bad when they picked it up to save a few dollars.

Karen421 Posted 4 Jun 2010 , 11:53am
post #29 of 29

DDiva- Good for you for not giving in!!

Cake is fragile. Cake is perishable. That is why we all worry about delivery or pay a lot of money for safer cake delivery products, and therefore; that is one reason we charge for delivery. Most people would not go into a store, in the 95 heat and leave a gallon of milk or pound of butter in a hot car. Why on earth would they think it would be any different with a cake? What has happen to common sense? Or I guess common sense goes out the window to save a few bucks!

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