Here is the story:
I did a cake TWO weeks ago 2 tier that was to be the top of a cupcake tower. The bride met with me and told me she wanted dots and stripes, and a bow on top. Pink and brown colors. She said pretty much do whatever you want just make it pretty.
I make the cake exactly like she said, dots on bottom, stripes on top, topped with a bow. Pink and brown. When she picked it up (didn't want to pay a delivery fee) she said she loved it and loved the bow.
Yesterday I get a call from her mother in law saying she hated the cake, it was terrible, and collapsed. She said the bow broke when they cut into the cake (I figured most would know to take the breakable items off the cake before cutting into it).
I explained that I support all my cakes the same and for it to collapse there must have been a problem after it left my care, and the bride told me that she loved the cake. I would refund if she told me right then and there that she didn't like the cake or it wasn't what she was looking for, but quite the opposite. I have pics of the cake before it left my care and it wasn't tilting or anything else she claimed.
I was feeling pretty bad about it because this was my first complaint, and I know in this business it's going to happen. I ended up emailing the bride to ask if she was disappointed with the cake why she did not tell me, and I would have done all I could to fix it. She never responded to me. I didn't feel a refund was in order because I got the complaint two weeks later and all the factors such as I have no idea how they drove or what the cake went through after it left me. It's out of my hands at that point. Had they paid the delivery fee I could have taken it straight there and we wouldn't be having this issue I'm sure.
So... what would you do?
First I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. i know the feeling in the pit of the stomach that we sometimes get when someone says "your cake sux!" because we put our heart and soul into it.
Couple of things I see ......
I would tell the person, "Of COURSE the bow broke when the cake was cut. The bow isn't designed to be cut. It should have been removed."
cake "collapsed". how? Did they remove it from the top of the stand before cutting? Did they disassemble it before cutting to serve, like you're suppose to?
Mostly, I'd ignore her. She's the mother in law, not the client. When you hear from the bride, THEN it's an issue.
What would I do?
File the email in the bride's file and move on.
As usual, I agree with Indydebi. I was also wondering, do you have a clause in your contract about customers picking up the cake themselves (and you not being responsible for it once it leaves your premises?) I'm wondering if they did damage to it during the transport, especially if you are sure it was supported properly. Sorry this happened to you. We all want happy customers.
Once I had a MOB call to tell me how disappointed the bride was with the decoration of the cake. I call the venue, they said she seemed quite happy. I called the DJ who was standing next to her at the cake table during the cake cutting ceremony and he saw/heard no problems.
Found out later that the MOB complained about everything. The bride however, was happy with everything. MOB = complainer about life and everything in it.
Unless the bride complains you don't have a problem.
absolutely not I would make sure in the future that anyone refusing delivery sign off on the cake before they take it.