I made a wedding cake for a couple who wanted a fountain under the cake, just like one I had made a few years ago. I fit everything at home, and color the water for the fountain and test it out at home. No problems whatsoever.
I deliver the cake, and set up the fountain, place the stacked cake on top of the stand, then fill the fountain with water. I turn it on - the pump is running, but it's not pulling water up the fountain. AGGHH!
I take it apart, put it back together - nothing. I spend about 1 hour trying to get the fountain to work, but to no avail. I apologize to the bride and groom, telling them that I don't understand why it is not working, but I am unable to find a solution.
I received a call from the groom telling me that the cake was delicious, and everyone loved it, but would I refund them some of their money since the fountain didn't work. I was dumbstruck, and didn't know how to answer him. He didn't request an exact amount, but I'm not sure how to proceed. I understand the disappointment that the fountain didn't work, but a partial refund? What do you think?
I could offer him the $7.00 that I figured in for the rental of the fountain, but i get the distinct impression that he's looking for more.
I'm looking forward to your insight.
You might get better results posting this in the business forum. I would talk to the place where you rented the fountain and let them know your business suffered from their faulty equipment and ask them to resolve the problem.
You might want to speak with him and see what kind of refund they may be looking for first of all. Is the fountain yours or did you rent it? I thought by the way you explained that it was yours and if so then you might want to give some decent money as a refund. The fountain was for ambiance and finished the whole look of the cake and if you have a fountain just sitting there doing nothing then it does not look too nice. In my opinion of course. Maybe you can think of a good price to refund or give them money (making the dollar amount less) and a free cake, being sure to write the total of the cake on the "gift certificate". I think by doing so you make a customer that will be sure to sing your praises.
I turn it on - the pump is running, but it's not pulling water up the fountain. AGGHH!
I can't offer advice on how to run your business or give refunds, but I can help to diagnose the fountain problem for the next time...
you need to fill it up with more water. If the pump was running, it just needed more water to run correctly. Wilton fountains have a floater in the bowl, and it won't pump to the top unless it's full.
How did you compensate on site for the fountain not running? Did you take it out from under the cake and fill the void with flowers or something else?? Or did you leave the fountain there, just filled with water? I think how you handled the situation would determine what kind of refund is called for.
I agree with CWR41 -- if you were using a Wilton fountain, there's a float switch in the bottom bowl of water -- if you don't fill it up enough it won't rise to turn on the fountain. If you did have enough water in it, it could just have been stuck down and it that case you could could have just lifted it up and the water flow would start.
Do you still have the fountain to double check this? If so, and that was the issue, then I would offer them some sort of compensation as it would be an error on your part. Maybe a small monetary refund and a coupon for a small 1st anniversary cake??
Things happen that are out of our control and most people understand that and are gracious about it (which these people seem to be) but you have to also look at it from their side. What might you expect if you were in their shoes?
Also agree with the "it needed more water" comments. this happened to me when I first got started. If you "fill" the fountain THEN turn it on, the fill level drops as the water is pulled up into the upper tiers of the fountain. The "fill line" on the fountain means "fill it to here when the fountain is running".
The fountain is mine, and I've used it on at least 3 other occasions with no problems. It is the Wilton Fanci Fountain, and I believe I filled it with an ample amount of water. We could see the impeller rotate briefly, but then it would stop. That's why I was confused as to what was causing the problem. I should be getting it back tomorrow night, so I will be checking it out on Wednesday.
In hindsight, I should have disassembled the cake and taken the fountain away, but I was so flustered at that point, that the thought really didn't occur to me. There were silk flowers surrounding the fountain, but yes, I guess it did look a bit odd that there was no running water.
Thanks for the responses. I'll look into it some more and figure something out.
I'm still stuck on a $7 fountain rental. That had to be a typo, right?
Hmm, something tells me he's going to need more than $7 for basically a bowl of colored water that was supposed to be a fountain. Those type or wedding cakes(fountains) aren't really my thing, but I know that to a lot of people they are a definitive wedding cake and the thing that puts the zing into the whole look is, of course, the fountain. Some might say "did they like the rest of the cake? eat the cake, etc, etc" if so case closed, no refund, but in my opinion if the couple requested a "fountain cake" and what they got was a "dish of colored water cake" they need more than $7 back.