Refund..how Much?

Business By loriemoms Updated 10 Aug 2010 , 2:39am by JulieMN

loriemoms Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 4:24pm
post #1 of 38

It has been very hot and nasty here! I did a cake yesterday that was four large tiers, two of them being 6 inches high, covered with fondant overlays, and dragees..very heavy and very dramatic. I used SPS to support the cake, but the middle tier was red velvet and I think settled a little more then usual. I am begnning to wonder also if for the first time ever, one of the SPS pillars failed on me.

Anyway, the bride contacted me this AM stated that the cake was beautiful and delicious but it was leaning so much, it was "embarrasing" and she wanted to know what my policy was for refunds, etc. I don't have a policy since I have never had this problem before, so I basically told her that I can do whatever will make her happy. I feel awful as I take great pride in my work, and I hate the fact I ruined someone's wedding day. (she was VERY upset and I dont blame her) The cake was over 700 dollars which quite honestly I don't have to refund, as I just opened a new space and have a huge pile of bills. So I am waiting to hear back from her...any advise on what to expect? I offered to make her a dummy to retake her photos, but she didnt really go for that...I have attached a photo I took. Any advise or even word of encourgment to get my confidence back! I am a mess...
LL

37 replies
Ellie1985 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 4:41pm
post #2 of 38

It look like the table was not level too me.

Ellie1985 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 4:43pm
post #3 of 38

I just looked at the picture again and definitely the table is not level. Look at the brick wall and the plant compared to the table.

btaylor76 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 4:43pm
post #4 of 38

To be totally honest with you...the table looks crooked...not the cake. If you use the corner of the wall behind the cake as a guide..it looks like the table is cock-eyed.

dm321 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 4:58pm
post #5 of 38

Look at the bottom of the table compared to the bottom of the picture... They should be parallel. Do you have any other pics? Does she have any pics?

The cake is beautiful & they admitted it was delicious. If shes embarrassed, maybe a refund of some kind is in order, but not much

Sorry for all the stress - hang in there!

mamawrobin Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 4:59pm
post #6 of 38

Gotta say I agree with the pp's. Looks to me like the table isn't level.

vagostino Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 4:59pm
post #7 of 38

did it look crooked when you deliver it? Do you know if the back of the cake was damaged or with folds or creases? IT looks like the whole cake/plateau/table everything is leaning at the same angle, thus I think that the table was not leveled, and if a cake that heavy was sitting in a table not leveled that can make the cake start leaning even if it was perfect to begin with.
I know you asked about the refund and not if the cake was leaning or not, so to answer your question what I would do is tell her:
I'm sorry you feel disappointed, but since the whole cake was eaten and when I left the cake it was in perfect condition, I can offer you $100 refund just because I care about my customers. You can go ahead and explain that other circumstances that escape your control could've made the cake start leaning after you left. A $100 refund will settle your conscience, show that you are trying to make amends, but is not going to break the bank for you. Plus, if she is unhappy refund or not is unlikely she'll be back.

Sorry that happened to you, the cake looks beautiful!!

Jennifer1970 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 5:02pm
post #8 of 38

That table is definitely not level. I would point this out to her and tell her you apologize for not noticing it when you delivered/set up the cake, but you didn't provide the table, the venue did. She should contact them for some type of refund. I delivered a cake tower last month and had specifically asked the bride in advance if the cake table would be large enough for all four tiers of the tower (which was square). We arrived to set up and I had a standard, small, round cake table. As I looked around the room, I noticed that the head table had overturned dinner plates under the legs to make it level with the table next to it! Your cake is beautiful and perfect in my opinion!

SweetArt Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 5:05pm
post #9 of 38

It is definitely the table. In the first pic, the table is not parallel to the brick wall. In the second pic I tilted it to level the table and the cake is perfectly perpendicular to the table, but then the wall is crooked.
LL
LL

momma28 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 5:10pm
post #10 of 38

Ok I hope this is not out of line but I captured the photo and put it in my photo software. I straightened it to the level of the table (meaning if the table was level, which it is obviously not) I did not retouch the photo in ANY other way I just "twisted" it so that you could see what the cake itself looked like (or would have looked like) on a level table (matched the level line of the straightening tool to the line of the table). It is NOT your cake it is HER table. I would say that after reviewing the photo and taking into consideration the obvious leaning of the table I am unable to give a refund on the cake as it was level and I am not responsible for any perceived leaning caused by and unlevel table.

HTH

vagostino Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 5:10pm
post #11 of 38

OH my gosh! those pictures are the proof! Send them to her and tell her to shut it!
No seriously, send them to her and tell her to contact the venue....

momma28 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 5:11pm
post #12 of 38

Sorry forgot pic
LL

momma28 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 5:13pm
post #13 of 38

sweet art gmta LOL

tcakes65 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 5:24pm
post #14 of 38

Let me start out with saying your cake is absolutely gorgeous! I think the bride being "embarrassed" is a complete overreaction. Lean or no lean, the cake is beautiful!

It's difficult to tell what is causing the problem with the angle of the picture. With that being said, it looks like the main problem is an uneven table. From looking at SweetArt's and momma28's turning of the picture, the cake may have a slight lean, but nothing that would have been noticeable to an untrained eye. Do you recall if the table was uneven or unstable? Did you see a lean in the cake when you delivered the cake? If not, I suggest talking to the venue before offering or determing a refund.

Personally, I would have been ecstatic with the cake. icon_biggrin.gif

loriemoms Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 5:42pm
post #15 of 38

The cake was leaning a little when we left and we thought maybe it was the table as well ..(we didnt have our level with us, as it wasn't an old building or anything) Sometimes the plateaus bow a little and make it look crooked. But not as much as it would be like omg, the cake is going to fall over or something...

I went through the photos again and I agree, most of them look like the table was not level..but I found this one where the top looks a little crooked. I have attached one. I will ask her for photos of the cake from the photographer so we can see if it had settleed more after we left. I do have in my contract that we aren't responsible for if someone knocks into the cake or something but not sure if that covers leaning..
LL

bakerybud Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 5:54pm
post #16 of 38

In this economy, sorry to say, this is an all too common occurrence. Some brides (or families) are trying to trim their budgets to an extreme and will use any excuse to receive a refund. UGH!

That said, even with the table straightened, the cake is leaning a bit. I would show her the pictures unaltered, and altered (straightened) and explain that you are willing to admit that the cake may have been leaning just slightly. However, the cake was eaten and enjoyed, no one at the venue was disappointed with flavors or consistency. You will be willing to refund her $100.00 and only $100.00 because you are not responsible for the venue furniture levels.

Also, to save you, and other decorator/deliverers out there the grief this kind of thing brings, take digital camera with you to every delivery and take a photo of the cake as is after set-up. You should also have a copy of the contract with you for sign-off that the cake was delivered as promised. If there are any concerns after that, make sure you also note the temperature and exact location of cake at the venue.

You have to protect yourself in order to avoid these kinds of problems, wedding cakes are an expense that no one wants to refund. Make sure your contract spells out how refunds will be handled and this helps to keep a lot of problems at bay.

Motta Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 6:00pm
post #17 of 38

That last pic you posted is not going to help your case! It does look like it's leaning quite a bit in the top 2 tiers...sorry to say that.

My two cents - give her a refund of $100-150 dollars (start low and leave some room for negotiaton). The cake was leaning and you mentioned you saw that when you placed it. The table was crooked too but your good name would best be saved by giving her some money back and she'll be satisfied. Tell her that the table was crooked as per the photo examination you've done but that you will speak to the venue about that yourself.

The cake itself was gorgeous! Please let us know how things turn out....

Ellie1985 Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 6:13pm
post #18 of 38

I just bake for my family so I have never delivered a cake to a venue. When you deliver is it your responsibility to make sure the table is level? On the show Amazing Wedding Cakes I have seen them checking to make sure the table is level.

costumeczar Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 8:05pm
post #19 of 38

Which was the red velvet tier? The 2nd form top or the 2nd from bottom? I'd agree with giving her a small refund, but pointing out that the table was part of the issue, and is making it look like it was leaning more than it was.

SweetArt Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 8:45pm
post #20 of 38

That pic does show the lean. When you adjust the pic to compensate for the table, the lean is not that bad. The bad part is, it is leaning toward the slope, which probably exagerated it in person. I too would point it out to her but still offer her $100 back.
LL

SugarBoy Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 8:58pm
post #21 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakerybud

Also, to save you, and other decorator/deliverers out there the grief this kind of thing brings, take digital camera with you to every delivery and take a photo of the cake as is after set-up. You should also have a copy of the contract with you for sign-off that the cake was delivered as promised. If there are any concerns after that, make sure you also note the temperature and exact location of cake at the venue.




I love the idea of bringing along a camera.

And I think a small level and temperature gauge would be good additions to the "bag of tricks".

Kitagrl Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 9:00pm
post #22 of 38

I dunno...if the cake arrived perfectly but the venue's table was leaning, that can also cause the cake to gradually lean...but it would not be your fault or worthy of refund....

The pictures in the thread have been good...maybe she could get a $50 refund from you and an additional refund from the venue for giving a lousy table???

cakeprof Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 10:01pm
post #23 of 38

Even if the table provided by the venue was not level, the OP still bears responsibility for placing it there. In one of the subsequent posts the OP mentioned that before leaving, she thought the table was not level. It was a choice to place it there--yes it was a choice.

Even if it was the space designated for the cake, you could ask for another table noting that if you did place it there it would cause the cake to become structurally unsound (as the pictures in this thread bear out). Now if the venue refused I would find the client or their representative and discuss that you did you best to ensure the cake had adequate support (the table is part of the support) and the venue refuses to provide an level table for the cake to sit on.

Simply because it was delivered does not mean all responsibility for where it sits ends. If a table is not level, and you know it is not level, and you place it there, that is a choice you make and as a result are still accountable for that choice.

PiccoloChellie Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 11:10pm
post #24 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarBoy

And I think a small level and temperature gauge would be good additions to the "bag of tricks".




Shims, too. Always bring a couple shims in the emergency kit!

loriemoms Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 11:54pm
post #25 of 38

Oh we have delivered cakes in old buildings and such, and always put a shim under the table.... This venue didnt have any other tables and if we put a shim under it, it wouldn't have made much of a difference, it was so slightly off. I think a lot of this was weather related (it was 100 degrees outside) and get this, she writes me an email stating they had to throw away cake because we didn't leave a big enough box for them to put in leftovers. I told her that all the caterers I work with always just take the drum, wrap it in saran and hand it over. (we leave a 6 inch box incase they want to save the topper or slices or something..we dont even HAVE 20 inch boxes for a base!) I offered her a 100 dollar refund.

And yes, we take lots of photos (that is why I have these photos!) and yes, if a table is very unstable, or weak, or just not big enough, we will ask to exchange it, and I agree, once you drop off the cake, your job isn't done... unfortantly, we dont have time to sit around and wait for them to cut the cake to make sure it survives the evening...

loriemoms Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 11:56pm
post #26 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarBoy

Quote:
Originally Posted by bakerybud

Also, to save you, and other decorator/deliverers out there the grief this kind of thing brings, take digital camera with you to every delivery and take a photo of the cake as is after set-up. You should also have a copy of the contract with you for sign-off that the cake was delivered as promised. If there are any concerns after that, make sure you also note the temperature and exact location of cake at the venue.



I love the idea of bringing along a camera.

And I think a small level and temperature gauge would be good additions to the "bag of tricks".




I have this really cool tool that is a flashlight, two head screwdriver and a level...man, it has come in handy sometimes! But a temp gauge? What, i the A/C isnt working right, stick it in the vent? hahaha!

Kitagrl Posted 8 Aug 2010 , 11:57pm
post #27 of 38

Boxes for leftovers? That's a new one....

cakeprof Posted 9 Aug 2010 , 12:08am
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms


we dont have time to sit around and wait for them to cut the cake to make sure it survives the evening...




I agree 100% which is why I did not state anyone is responsible for everything that can happen. Only that there were those there that seemed to state because the table was not level it was the venue's fault. That being said if they did not have another place to put it, I would say the venue is responsible--or you could have set it on the floor icon_razz.gif.

Kitagrl Posted 9 Aug 2010 , 12:23am
post #29 of 38

I had to deliver a huge, heavy cake to a winery with cobblestone floors one time. They searched everywhere (after we got there) to even find a table to set up for the cake, and finally they came up with a flimsy little square table. My husband checked the entire cobblestone room for a place level enough to set the flimsy table...finally we put it the best place we could and set the cake up. Then a kid ran by really fast (it was actually a rather small room/entryway)...and we left before something bad happened.

Never did hear back. With all the foot traffic going back and forth around the cake and the cake sitting on that wimpy table on a cobblestone floor, I'd be shocked if it made it to dessert.

To me, the bride is responsible for making SOME body in charge of setting up an appropriate cake table in prep for delivery.

cakesbyamber Posted 9 Aug 2010 , 12:44am
post #30 of 38

This is somewhat off-subject, but I can't believe that she called you about the cake today when she just got married yesterday! Shouldn't she be doing newlywed things? I don't do a lot of wedding cakes so maybe it's not out of the ordinary for the bride to call the day after?? Maybe she needs some quick cash for the honeymoon! Anyway, I agree with the others. If you feel that you had anything to do with the leaning of the cake I would offer her no more than $100 back to clear your conscience.

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