How Would You Handle This - Should I Give A Complete Refund?

Decorating By howsweet Updated 8 Sep 2010 , 7:28pm by neelycharmed

howsweet Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 6:34pm
post #1 of 47

I think the customer wants her money back. The order was for 18 very detailed fondant cupcakes and 15 cookies highly decorated, cellophane wrapped with ribbon ties. About $230. Somehow I gave her vanilla cupcakes instead of chocolate. It didn't effect the presentation of the order because they were in black cups, fwiw.

I have no experience with this - should I give her the cupcakes for free? That seems like too much because most of value was in the detailed decoration. I don't know what to do.

46 replies
awatterson Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 6:50pm
post #2 of 47

What did the customer say to you? Did she want all of her money back?

Jenniferkay Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 6:52pm
post #3 of 47

I do think a refund is in order. Her order was wrong. I break it down to three parts: cake, decor and timeliness. The first two weigh more heavily than the last..well unless the order was way overdue or never made it. It's like you went to restaraunt and you ordered steak and they gave you chicken. Are you happy? Yes your plate looks pretty, but does it taste the same?

ETA: not a FULL refund! partial

JP Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 6:53pm
post #4 of 47

This is definitely a tough call. You are correct that the value is in the decorating on this order. The presentation was exactly what the customer ordered, so it seems that a full refund would be excessive. You might offer her a 25% refund and a percentage discount on a future order. By doing both, you are acknowledging the error in the present order and also showing the customer that you value her business and want to show her that the mistake is not your normal way of conducting business. Good luck and remember the value of your work! icon_biggrin.gif

MJoycake Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 6:53pm
post #5 of 47

I hate to say it, because I know it must have been a ton of work, but yes, you should probably refund the whole amount for the cupcakes (not the sugar cookies, if they were correct). I liken it to going to a restaurant and ordering steak....they bring me a plate of shrimp that have been cooked perfectly and they've spent a lot of time making the plate look wonderful with garnishes, but I still ordered steak and would expect my money back.

What you might do is ask the customer "how can I make this right for you?" and see what she wants....she may only ask for 50% back, which would be a great surprise... and if she asks for a full refund on the cupcakes you'll already be prepared for it.

So sorry. It's one of those moments that will make you never forget to double check the order slip before baking - not a mistake you'll make again!

LisaPeps Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 6:57pm
post #6 of 47

She didn't get what she ordered. If it were me, I would expect a full refund for the cupcakes.

It's a pretty big mistake to get vanilla cupcakes instead of chocolate cupcakes.

crazyladybaker Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 7:12pm
post #7 of 47

What you might do is ask the customer "how can I make this right for you?" and see what she wants....she may only ask for 50% back, which would be a great surprise... and if she asks for a full refund on the cupcakes you'll already be prepared for it.

Quote:
Quote:




I think the above quote is spot on. Yes, she deserves a refund for the cupcakes because they aren't what she ordered. I feel your pain in this but it's only right.
I try to put myself in the other person's position and if it were me I would expect an offer of a full refund for the cupcake portion. I probably wouldn't ask her to refund the full portion but rightfully the buyer is due that.
hugs

NatD Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 7:13pm
post #8 of 47

I agree as well.....I look at it as if I were the customer....I LOVE chocolate and if I was given vanilla instead i'd be pretty disappointed...I think a full refund is in order for the cupcakes....it's a bummer because I know how much time goes into decorating....

Tellis12 Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 7:16pm
post #9 of 47

Gosh, this is tough. I'm so sorry you're in this spot. I like what crazyladybaker said. Acknowledge the mistake and ask the customer what she wants. That way she'll feel like you're taking responsibility. Unless I didn't really like chocolate cake, I wouldn't be really upset.

LNW Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 7:28pm
post #10 of 47

So sorry this happend to you. I would just go ahead and refund the full amount for the cupcakes.

howsweet Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 7:30pm
post #11 of 47

Thanks for the good suggestions! I already told her I'd give her a partial refund - from her email reply she sounded happy enough that I'm afraid she missed the word partial -lol icon_smile.gif

I just don't know what's fair.

The going out to eat analogy isn't helping me very much. When you order steak you don't say you'd like to pay 4 times the normal price for having it decorated a certain way.

cakesbycathy Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 8:01pm
post #12 of 47

I would refund 1/2 the amount of the cupcakes to make up for the wrong flavor.

Bskinne Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 8:20pm
post #13 of 47

Did they get eaten? Then no full refund. I would personally offer her half back.

cakesbycathy Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 8:26pm
post #14 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bskinne

Did they get eaten? Then no full refund. I would personally offer her half back.




Whether they got eaten is really not the point. She ordered CHOCOLATE. She got VANILLA. She didn't get what she ordered. She is definitely due some kind of refund!

redpanda Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 8:32pm
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bskinne

Did they get eaten? Then no full refund. I would personally offer her half back.




So, her guests were supposed to have no cake, so she could get a refund? That doesn't make sense at all. The reality of a party or other event is that once the problem with the cake is obvious, it is often too late to do anything other then serve.

In this case, with the black cupcake liners, it wouldn't be obvious until the cupcakes were unwrapped for eating. Should the person hosting the party ask everyone to hand back their cupcakes?

I think that a pretty sizeable refund should be given on the cupcakes, but none for the cookies.

jason_kraft Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 8:39pm
post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet

The going out to eat analogy isn't helping me very much. When you order steak you don't say you'd like to pay 4 times the normal price for having it decorated a certain way.



The restaurant analogy is not entirely apt, as it's usually pretty easy for the restaurant to replace your meal at short notice. For example, if you ordered an expensive filet mignon medium rare and it was served well done, you would expect a new filet at no charge.

If for some reason the restaurant was out of filet and you decided to leave instead of ordering something else, you would get a full refund for the steak. The amount of well done filet that was eaten has no bearing on whether or not you deserve a full refund or replacement.

Since you can't replace the order on the spot, you should provide a full refund for the part of the order that was incorrect.

Bskinne Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 9:06pm
post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bskinne

Did they get eaten? Then no full refund. I would personally offer her half back.



Whether they got eaten is really not the point. She ordered CHOCOLATE. She got VANILLA. She didn't get what she ordered. She is definitely due some kind of refund!




Uhhhh, I said half. The decorations were done correctly. I'm sure the guest enjoyed. So a whole refund isn't necessary, but I don't care to answer if someone is going to jump all over my case. Do whatever.

thesweetlifestore Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 9:08pm
post #18 of 47

good customer service is lacking and I think what I am about to say may sound harsh but you need to write this one off as a very expensive lesson and hopefully you will check twice on the next order . you should refund all the cupcakes but not the cookies PERIOD! you should of acknowledged your mistake to the cutomer and told her by the time you realized what you had down there wasnt enough time to redo and decorate the cupcakes and that you went ahead with the order because you wanted to make sure she at least had cupcakes at her special event but you would still charge for the cookies......

I guarante you she would of felt bad for your MISTAKE and probaly would pay you a portion of the cupcakes on her own plus she would of bragged to all her friends on that not only are your cupcakes good but you have great customer service. THE WORD OF MOUTH TRAVELS FAST BUT SADLY THE BAD WORD OF MOUTH TRAVELS FASTER remember that in business. She didnt get what she asked for it makes no difference how many hours went into it!

sari66 Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 9:55pm
post #19 of 47

You should refund the cost of the cuppies which you should have when they were delivered or picked up.

kansaslaura Posted 6 Sep 2010 , 10:31pm
post #20 of 47

The way I always ALWAYS look at these kind of situations is how would you expect to be treated if you were on the other side of the $230. bill?? When you're paying a premium price like that there is no wiggle room for oops or shouda-couldas.

The entire amount for the cupcakes is due the customer, Period. I learned my lesson on a birthday cake years ago when I switched the flavors.

Trust me, you'll never do this again. Lesson learned.

hsmomma Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 12:17am
post #21 of 47

To get repeat business and good word of mouth from her: Refund the full cost of the cupcakes. She will be delighted that you corrected what was wrong...in a very professional "above and beyond way" and will remember that when needing further cakes/treats.

To make her content: Refund part of the cupcakes. She may or may not use your services or recommend you again but, no further damage will be done.

To make her never call you again: Do nothing... But, seems like you have been professional and decided against that option.

Either of the other two would work...which way makes you the most comfortable? Then do that.

Sounds like you are handling yourself in a professional manner and she will be happy to use you again. So...the mix up in itself didn't ruin it for her.

leah_s Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 12:54am
post #22 of 47

Definitely the full cost of the cupcakes must be refunded. the order, however pretty it might have been, was still wrong. And frankly, the check should have been in the mail three seconds after you realized the mistake.

costumeczar Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 1:51am
post #23 of 47

Full refund for the cupcakes, you didn't deliver what was ordered.

cakeville82 Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 2:51am
post #24 of 47

Full refund on the cupcakes.

To satisfy my own curiosity...
When did you know the order was wrong?
Did the customer have to tell you?

littlecake Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 3:04am
post #25 of 47

off topic...i'm so curious to see them...they must have looked awesome

Montrealconfections Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 3:17am
post #26 of 47

Your customer could surprise you, I once was off on my icing color (my error) and offered a full refund she said it wasn't necessary then she said "just give me a good deal next time".

sweettreat101 Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 3:25pm
post #27 of 47

Did the customer eat all of the cupcakes? If so then I would only give a partial refund. I would apologize, give her a partial refund and a discount for future purchases. If they ate the product then it must have been good.

Erin3085 Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 5:46pm
post #28 of 47

I don't get why anyone wouldn't think this customer should get a full refund on her cuppie order? She got something completely different than what she ordered, and shouldn't have to pay for them, regardless of whether she ate them or not. Does she just not have cake at her party as an alternative? It sucks, Im sure it took you a long time to make them and Im sure they were delicious and gorgeous but they weren't what she wanted. And not in a "I wanted Tiffany blue not sky blue" kinda way, either. A completely different flavor cake on an order is a pretty big deal, at least to the person who ordered it. If it were me, and I were paying you $230 for 1.5 dozen cuppies and some cookies I would expect to get what I wanted. Plus, it's just a good business practice...admit your mistake and make it right. Chalk it up to experience. I would be much more inclined to do business with someone who made an honest mistake and righted it generously than from someone who screwed up and was reluctant to make it right. Mistakes happen, but how you handle them says a lot. icon_smile.gif

sweettreat101 Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 8:29pm
post #29 of 47

We are all human and make mistakes. This mistake wasn't life threatening so I don't see why she should come out of pocket if the lady served her product. Yes she got the flavor wrong but in the end they were beautiful. If you purchase something from the store and you don't like it your return it you wouldn't keep it. I think a partial refund and future discount is fare. I really doubt the flavor of the cupcake ruined her party.

mactrio Posted 7 Sep 2010 , 8:43pm
post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by howsweet

Thanks for the good suggestions! I already told her I'd give her a partial refund - from her email reply she sounded happy enough that I'm afraid she missed the word partial -lol icon_smile.gif

I just don't know what's fair.

The going out to eat analogy isn't helping me very much. When you order steak you don't say you'd like to pay 4 times the normal price for having it decorated a certain way.




decorated a certain way or not; I'd expect a refund if I were the customer. Mistakes happen and I know you spent alot of time on the cupcakes; but if you don't make her happy she can ruin your name, your business etc...a few bad reviews spread faster than a few good reviews.

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