Ruth52 Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 2:17pm
post #1 of

I recently decorated a wedding cake for a customer who wanted black and white. We chose to do a stencil printed on the edible paper. I am attaching a copy for you to see. The problem is when it got on the cake it looks blue and the edging and topper are black. When I delivered the cake I tried to explain that the colors of ink in the printer did not print the same color black as the frosting. I apologized over and over. Even the photographer wanted me to go around the cake with black frosting to make it black - I explained this is a print - a small tedious one at that and I didn't have the steady hand for that. What was I to do? At this point the customer has sent me an email (after 2 months) with a picture of her frown when cutting the cake and very upset that she didn't have a "black and white" cake; her day and her pictures are a complete loss because of me. Was I to show up without the cake? What can I do to compensate her at this point? I need some good sound suggestions so I won't loose her as a future customer and she won't bad mouth me to others.
I hope the attachment comes through - wasn't seeing it in the preview.
Appreciate your help!
Ruth52

17 replies
Ruth52 Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 2:29pm
post #2 of

For some reason CC is not letting me upload my pic. I have resized so it should work - ????

Ruth52 Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 2:36pm
post #3 of

For some reason CC is not letting me upload my pic. I have resized so it should work - ????

flamingobaker Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 2:59pm
post #4 of

Just post the cake picture into your photos and we can go look at it there. You can always take it back out later

Ruth52 Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 3:18pm
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Here is a link to the cake. Thanks for that suggestion!

http://www.cakecentral.com/cake-photo_1808610.html

Herekittykitty Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 3:36pm
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How much time did you have between reciept of the image and putting it on the cake? Was it black when you recieved it?

I can understand the customer being upset, she didn't get a black and white cake, she recieved a black, white and blue cake. You probably should have offered her a partial refund immediately when it became obvious you weren't able to deliver what was requested.

HOWEVER, the customer waited 2 months to express her displeasure. Do you have a contract that states a time limit for refund requests, or complaints? If not, you should have it added.

I'd give her at least a partial refund - 50%. You did deliver a cake with her requested design but not in the correct colors.

Maybe you should invest in a damask stencil so this doesn't happen to you again? Sorry it did. Good luck and let us know what you decide.

mrscunningham Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 3:37pm
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I think she should be refunded. She asked for black and it clearly wasn't.

icer101 Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 3:49pm
post #8 of

I personally , would refund whole amount. While this is pretty, it is not a black and white cake. You will benefit in the end, by making this right. hth

flamingobaker Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 3:57pm
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It's a very pretty design, but unfortunately it definitely is not black.
It is a good lesson for any of us to try out something first.

But seriously, "her day and her pictures are a complete loss"!!! She needs to buck up a little if this is what she considers a disaster, or she will have a very short marriage!

I would consider 50% refund appropriate.

matthewkyrankelly Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 4:18pm

I am ambivalent about these things. Clearly the cake is not B&W. However, regardless of the color, she got cake and was able to use it as a cake and it wasn't a cakewreck.

I would ask what the customer thinks is reasonable and start there. If she asks for a full refund and compensation for photos and emotional distress you'll know where you stand. If she asks for some money back, well that seems like a reasonable thing. How much? 25%, 50%, 75% - see what she says - but I'd be in that range.

KSMill Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 4:29pm

I love the design, but the customer did not get what she wanted...a black and white design. I do think you should send her a refund...prefaced with a personal call that 50% of the cost is being sent to her. Personal service is so important and you were aware of the difference when you set up the cake. Sorry for being so blunt. The cake is beautiful, but not as ordered.

Joyfull4444 Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 4:44pm

I'm just taking a stab here but, did your icing contain an acid such as lemon juice? Maybe thats why the black stencil turned blue/

This is from an article by Christina Blais titled; Food colorings, its a colorful world.

"Some colourings wont produce the desired colour when added to an acidic preparation, such as icing that contains lemon juice or cream of tartar. Brown can turn greenish, while purple may turn blue. Omit the acidic ingredient if you can."

Not sure what to advice on amount of refund to the bride. I'm not getting why she waited 2 months to tell you how dissapointed she was? If it was me in her place and I was not happy with the cake, I would have said something right away..

hsmomma Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 4:59pm

My guess is that she just got her pictures back from the photographer and was again reminded that it was indeed blue instead of the black discussed. Hence the reason that you are now, 2 mos. later, hearing from her.
While the cake is pretty...it isn't what she wanted. So, I would ask her "how can I make it right for you?" Be very accomodating and understanding...that will make her feel like you totally understand and will give her less reason to be upset.
Weigh what she says with what you think is right.

Ruth52 Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 8:22pm

I want to thank all of you for your comments. I will try and answer all the questions raised here.

The images were printed 2 days before decorating the cake. I have an edible image printer and I printed them myself.

I used vanilla buttercream for the frosting so there was no lemon juice.

Yes, she got her photographs back and she sent me one where they were cutting the cake and she had a big frown on her face. However, I don't feel I should be responsible for the photographer taking such a picture. She should have at least encouraged her to smile and enjoin the moment in spite of the cake.

I too feel that she did not get the cake in the colors she wanted and I felt really terrible about it. I explained when I delivered it that the ink color was different that the frosting and perhaps it was because they were different materials being used, I don't know. I believe the moisture from the buttercream could have had something to do with it. It was left at that and hadn't heard from her until yesterday. She did receive a very usable cake and it was used and eaten. I feel that I should at least be compensated for my time and supplies -perhaps 50%.

I will make sure she get compensated because I don't want to loose her business or other business because of this mistake.

Thanks everyone!

what_a_cake Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 9:19pm

Ruth52, I sympathize with your feelings but sorry to tell you that at the moment there's nothing else to do but give a full refund. Yes, indeed you delivered a great cake... but was not what was contracted and utterly expected. I believe you didn't add a quote to your contract saying: "due to the nature of edible printing color of actual cake could differ from original designed"

You know, wedding cakes cost more because of the strong commitment to quality, which in your case was seriously compromised icon_sad.gif

I feel bad for you.

missmersh Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 10:08pm

Ruth,
I am sorry this happened...but like most of the others, I would say this bride deserves a 100% refund. As hard as that is to swallow...that is what she deserves. If it were just a birthday cake....I might say differently, but this is the MOST special day of a woman's life and the cake for my wedding was the MOST important part (other than the 'getting married' part). I would have been distraught if I asked for black and white and got a blue and white cake.
I imagine you would feel the same. I KNOW how tough it is to put so much time into a cake and not get compensated for even that...but if you TRULY value her as a potential future customer...you will refund her the whole amount.

Just consider this a lesson learned. We ALL have them....unfortunately it was a bigger lesson on your end. I am HORRIBLE at waiting until the night before to do something....but since this was a wedding cake, maybe you should have practiced the image before? Did the image fade to blue? I usually don't print my images until just before putting them on the cake because I am afraid they will fade...and this has also been a nightmare for me cause my ink goes out or my printer won't print...but you should have done something to make sure she got what she requested and paid for.

Sorry...I hope I don't sound mean or harsh...I am not typing that way...but wedding cakes are a BIG DEAL. You should happily refund her money to her. I wouldn't ask her how much she would like..... I think you should be the one to initiate the 100% refund.

I DON'T THINK, however, that you are responsible for her pictures. She is a grown up and could have faked a smile for the photo.

Sorry this happened...just make sure it doesn't happen again so you won't have to deal with this kind of dilemma.

Regards...
Leslie

caymancake Posted 20 Sep 2010 , 10:38pm

I'm so sorry this happened Ruth! The cake was very beautiful, even though it came out blue. I'm sure the bride's guests enjoyed the cake - regardless of it being blue instead of black. I would offer the bride the cake at the cost of your supplies (minus the edible image cost) only - and refund the rest ora 50% refund. Whichever the bride feels is more fair. She still had cake to serve her guests, which I'm sure they all enjoyed. Additionally, I would offer to provide a small anniversary cake for free.

I hope that helps!

khoudek Posted 21 Sep 2010 , 3:33am

I'm in agreement with the others who think the customer needs a full refund. If you're customer orders a black and white cake and you deliver a blue, black and white cake then essentially you've delivered the wrong cake and didn't uphold your end of the contract. While you can reason that she still got a cake so you need to be compensated for it, she can reason that she had no alternative but to use the cake you delivered as no other cake was available. I have to ask if your printer ink was low and that was why the stencil ended up blue.

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