Do I Give Her Back The Deposit?

Business By jenmat Updated 30 Sep 2010 , 1:07pm by Robertbakewell

jenmat Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 5:51pm
post #1 of 49

What's your vote?
met with a gal 2 months ago, booked the wedding cake 2 weeks later for next October 7.

I have turned a few people down since then for that date (its a Fri, and I only take one wedding per Friday.)

Fast forward, get this somewhat mean message from MOB saying they are canceling the cake, and to mail back the $50 down payment, because, and I quote "You have a whole year to book another cake, so sending the deposit shouldn't be a problem." icon_confused.gif
They are not canceling the wedding, just the cake, no reason why.
They signed my 7 page contract, and it CLEARLY states that the $$ is non-refundable. But, I have a feeling this is going to start something I'm not necessarily feeling like dealing with right now.
My other idea was to tell her I'd send her $$ when another cake booked her date. I still think that would start something.
(can you tell there's some esteem problems going on with me right now?! icon_lol.gif I was burned a few weeks ago with a review about being a hard-a$$ about on-time payment, I don't want another bad review!)

48 replies
Mommy2ThreeBoys Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:04pm
post #2 of 49

If they signed a contract that states the refund is non-refundable I would NOT send them a dime back. I'd remind them that they signed the contract that clearly states so and leave it at that.

malene541 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:06pm
post #3 of 49

I agree, don't become the cake person that doesn't follow their contract!! This is exactly why there is a contract!

EllieA Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:10pm
post #4 of 49

My note would simply say: Please refer to paragraph ... of the contract you signed on .....

And on to other things: you are wonderful, you are hard-working and you deserve to be paid for your time and your talent. They can go to heck! Play Helen Reddy's song in your head when you answer whatever else is coming (it usually works wonders for me): I am Woman, hear ME ROAR ....

Another pep talk I give myself always is: Would Donald Trump allow these people to do this to him? I don't like the guy but he has such a wonderful opinion of himself, he doesn't let anybody step on him! He is my model for my behavior when people try to do that to me! So there!

mayo2222 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:12pm
post #5 of 49

Keep the deposit, theres no reason send it back and to be honest they should be lucky that your down payment is only $50 and not 50% of the cake price.

ccordes Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:13pm
post #6 of 49

I'm not in the business and the final decision is up to you, but I wouldn't send the deposit back. Yes, there's probably a good chance that you'll be able to book again since the wedding is a year away, but, on the flip side, they also that same amount of time to shop around and find the cake that they really wanted (which I don't understand why it wouldn't be you...your cakes are gorgeous!). If they weren't sure they wanted you to make their cake, they didn't need to sign the contract and pay the deposit right then. Their loss.

On a side note...I wouldn't let a bad review about you being a stickler for on-time payment bother me. Seriously, if I was shopping around for a cake and saw that in a review, it definitely wouldn't make a difference to me. In fact, it would probably make me like you more because it means you're a professional and will take this contract seriously.

moralna Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:16pm
post #7 of 49

I understand your not wanting problems, but if you don't adhere to your own contracts then you cannot expect anyone else to either. Also, her approach to you was not exactly very pleasant; she is trying to bully you - don't let her. I agree with EllieA and how to respond.

mireillea Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:17pm
post #8 of 49

Why in the world would you return the deposit? They cancel the cake just a couple of days before the wedding! KEEP the money! It is yours!

Mexx Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:20pm
post #9 of 49

You have also invested some significant time in this person already....met with her; prepared a contract; probably went over what kind of cake she wanted; perhaps offered her sample tastings. Your time is worth something and $50 is cheap for all of that. Refer her to her contract and wish her luck with whoever she chooses to do her cake.

mayo2222 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:21pm
post #10 of 49
Originally Posted by mireillea

Why in the world would you return the deposit? They cancel the cake just a couple of days before the wedding! KEEP the money! It is yours!

I believe this wedding is next year, not this coming Oct, but still there is no reason to return the deposit

psmith Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:25pm
post #11 of 49

The $50 not only covers keeping that date secure but also includes the time you spent with them discussing the plans for the cake (consult etc). As long as you have a contract and she signed it then I would not return the deposit. She isn't giving you any reasons (horrible catastrophe etc) and isn't even offering an apology so there aren't any real compelling reasons to violate your own contract. I'd just send her a return email stating you are canceling the cake per her request and I wouldn't even address the deposit (it is already addressed in the contract). If she brings it up again I'd just nicely refer her to the signed contract and leave it at that. Don't let what you think she might do lead you to do things that will bite you in the back later.

Even if you do re-book that date, it still doesn't mean that she hasn't wasted your time and effort. What if you had already bought materials or moved other events around for her? That deposit covers so much more than just a date IMO.

craise79 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:29pm
post #12 of 49

keep it. Now if she hadn't been such a B**** I might feel different about it, but since she asked SO NICELY, I'd let her know she's out of luck icon_smile.gif

Bfisher2 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:34pm
post #13 of 49

The contract is signed, the deposit paid. When the wedding would have been is of no consequence what so ever. You are running a business and the terms were very clear. No refund!!!! IMO

As for your hard A$$ review about on time payments, Im quite sure that your power company, credit card company, mortage holder etc etc etc has had the same review.... you are in esteemed company.... icon_lol.gif

ladyonzlake Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:47pm
post #14 of 49

Yes, I agree with the others and I am in the business. My deposit is $100.00 and it is also nonrefundable. I would say "as per the contract that you signed, the deposit is nonrefundable".
You have invested time in this bride so it's a small price to pay and they very clearly knew up front what the deal was.

jimmers Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:58pm
post #15 of 49

Don't be upset about your review. Personally I would never order a cake under the impression that I could delay payment. I believe that many people would feel the same on this. You couldn't go into a shop, take the goods and pay for it at a later date, so why should it be any different with you. If I read this in a review, the only thing I would think is why are people complaining about having to pay for what was obviously an awesome cake!!! I really don't think it will make any difference to the people wanting to order from you. You are a professional and running a business in a professional manner, if you did it any differently, people would probably complain about that too!!

As for the nasty MOB, she doesn't deserve her money back, particularly after the way she treated you with such little respect. I'm no professional so have no idea how difficult this is. I can only imagine how hard it must be to deal with these issues. I think you deserve your money, she signed the contract, and more importantly for all the stress she caused you in working out what to do.

Sorry if I waffled on, I felt compelled to reply cos it sounds like a horrible situation. Good luck with whatever decision you make and I hope it all works out for you.

cakesbycathy Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 6:59pm
post #16 of 49

Keep the deposit.

She's lucky it's only $50. I require a 50% non-refundable deposit and you can bet your booty I would be keeping all of it.

Auryn Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:03pm
post #17 of 49

Was your contract with the bride and groom or with the mob??
If its not with the MOB then I would email her back and tell her that since the contract for the cake is not with her than you have to wait to hear personally from the bride/groom about cancellation AND as per the signed line item in your contract there is no refund of deposit.

Don't give her any explanations,
don't apologize because you haven't done anything wrong.

Tguess3494 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 7:23pm
post #18 of 49

Contracts are done for a reason. It protects both parties. when you put a deposit down on a house and back out you don't get your money back why should this be any different. Keep the deposit!!!!!! you are very generous in only charging a $50 deposit. I require the cake be paid for 4weeks before delivery NO Exceptions. Never have had anyone question it. Tell MOB to mind her own business if her name isn't the one on the dotted line she has no say so... The contract is between you and the Bride.

jenmat Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 8:19pm
post #19 of 49

Thanks for all the votes of keeping it!
Unfortunately this bride is one of the rare ones who doesn't DO email, so I have to call the MOB back. Yuck.
As I was sitting down to check these replies, I realized my contract CLEARLY states in BOLD letters that also, the only person to make changes to said contract is the person signing the contract, and IN WRITING.
Now, I also have to tell her that, b/c if I uphold one part of the contract, I need to uphold all the contract.
In other news, the review in question was from a bride who pretty much had nothing nice to say about anything, and only one of those things was me being a stickler about payment. I had screwed up a cupcake in her order, and she felt it necessary to exaggerate every other detail as well. I got the thing pulled down, but it still stung to the point that apparently I'm not quite over it yet.

cakesbycathy Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 9:34pm
post #20 of 49

What a PITA! Even if the bride doesn't do email why can't you call her?

This past May I booked a bride for NEXT Sept (2011). Huge cake order including a groom's cake and a gluten free tier for MOB. They put down an $800 deposit (50%). Got a call from the wedding planner that they have now moved to Oregon or Washington or someplace because they both got better jobs. Wedding will now be held out there. Wedding planner said that they understood that they are not getting their deposit back since that's what's in the contract.

Trust me, if I don't feel bad not returning that much money, you definitely shouldn't feel bad about keeping the $50.

johnson6ofus Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 9:40pm
post #21 of 49

I wouldn't even do a consult and sign a contract (designs, time, drawings, etc.) for $50. ZERO guilt on keeping a $50 deposit in this case.

Don't mess with the "who contacted me", "who signed", "in writing" stuff now---- just tell her as per contract, deposits are not refundable. Period. Bringing that stuff up now only clouds the fact that DEPOSITS ARE NOT REFUNDABLE.

snowqueen93 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 9:46pm
post #22 of 49

You definately need to make sure you get the cancellation in writing if your contract requires it. If you do not you could get burned in the future if they all of a sudden want the cake and you have already re-booked. Cover yourself and create something that they sign that indicates that they contacted you to void the contract. And only speak to the person you actually have the contract with.

EllieA Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 9:51pm
post #23 of 49

You know what else just occurred to me? That the Kharma of the Universe is so funny the person who will do the cake willl do such a bad job that everybody will turn against the MOB because she cheated her daughter and everybody else out of a beautiful cake in order to (probably) save a couple of dollars! HA!

costumeczar Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 11:23pm
post #24 of 49

Call the mother of the bride and tell her that you need to talk to her daughter because the contract THAT SHE SIGNED specifies the put-it-in-writing requirement. Also offer to send her a copy of the part that says that the deposit isn't refundable. Then keep repeating yourself when the mom calls back to harass you.

And I agree that the review about you requiring payment on time was stupid, and anyone with half a brain will see that it was too.

KimmyKakes4Me Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 11:28pm
post #25 of 49
Originally Posted by cakesbycathy

Keep the deposit.

She's lucky it's only $50. I require a 50% non-refundable deposit and you can bet your booty I would be keeping all of it.


madras650 Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 11:34pm
post #26 of 49

Your cakes are amazing, and after looking at your prices, I think you should charge more. And yes, keep the deposit!

jason_kraft Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 11:45pm
post #27 of 49
Originally Posted by madras650

Your cakes are amazing, and after looking at your prices, I think you should charge more. And yes, keep the deposit!

I agree on all three points, you could probably increase your prices by at least 50%.

MJoycake Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 11:55pm
post #28 of 49

MOB should not be involved at all in the cancellation if she wasn't the one signing your contract. Call the bride, not the MOB. Also, I agree with the above poster - have the cancellation request in writing - you could write up something like:

___________(bride) has requested cancellation of her contracted wedding cake on __________(date). Non-refundable deposit of $50.00 has been forfeited and bride has officially canceled this order.

Put your signature on it and have her sign it and mail it back to you.

gatorcake Posted 27 Sep 2010 , 11:59pm
post #29 of 49

Do not have much advice on the deposit, but do see the review a bit differently. I know it is not a "good review" but when I get bad reviews from students and they say things like "prof is tough" or "has high expectations" then I know I did my job. Comments like that are looked upon favorably by colleagues as they know the student who wrote it was disgruntled or did not want to work for their grade.

In this case it will chase clients away who do not want to pay on time. Frankly anyone who pays attention to that comment and goes gee I will not order from them because they will expect payment on time is not a client you want. I know it is not a "good" review, but it says more about the reviewer than you. Shocking that you expect to be paid to time icon_razz.gif

sweetandi Posted 28 Sep 2010 , 12:02am
post #30 of 49

Isn't a deposit supposed to show "good faith"? It is supposed to help secure the order. If everyone were to be able to cancel an order at will and get their money back, what would be the sense of collecting a deposit to begin with? You have already put in time and effort, and I agree with the others on here that the $50 you collected was too small an amount as it is. I wouldn't worry about a bad review. You have a signed contract... they are in breach, not you.
Best of luck to you.

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