Kitagrl Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 2:13pm
post #1 of

So last month I had a really sweet couple (from out of town) book a wedding for next weekend. A few weeks later, met the mother...also very sweet. Not a hint of bridezilla, and I don't think they are bridezillas even today.

However the payment was due yesterday. Last week reminded the bride, and she said no problem....mom is signing contract and sending payment by the due date. (Contract late because serving amount late...long story. But wasn't a problem.)

Mom called this am...can't find the contract. Of course payment due yesterday.

I emailed her contract, requested immediate payment online.

She said online would not verify her info so she would send check.

I wrote making sure she knew how to place an online payment (does not have to join anything, just put in credit numbers) and also said she could not send a check...she will have to send me cash via registered and insured mail.....I cannot accept a check this late in the game.

Have not heard back but I'm hoping it turns out because if she goes ahead and sends a check I don't know what I'll do...the bride and groom were one of the sweetest ones I've met thus far, and I'd hate to be the bad guy and say "no cake" and return a check...so I"m hoping things resolve by later today.

I think my biggest problem is that I don't have a signed contract so technically nobody is bound to anything....I kept trying to push them for information and stuff and ...oh whatever. I have to decide what to do with these guys...so nice and sweet but so.....tardy. *sigh*

75 replies
-K8memphis Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 2:21pm
post #2 of

Sometimes I say that 'payment received confirms all the stated conditions plus revisions to date listed on the order'. Something like that. So if they pay then game on and all conditions I listed by email are binding--both ways, me to them, them to me.

Now paying late is it's own problem, but once they start pinging & ponging with me by email and have made one payment like I said, game on.

I say, payment is in lieu of signature. 'Cause they get three payments if they want.

just a thought for you

VaBelle Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 2:38pm
post #3 of

I think I'd call the bride and let her know the status. I know if my wedding cake was in jeopardy, I'd definitely want to know about it. If you receive a check and have to send it back with a sorry, no can do, it might be too late for the bride to get a cake somewhere else.

Kitagrl Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 2:41pm
post #4 of

I emailed the bride....so we'll see what happens. My phone signal is BAD today....(I only have cell phone) and I already got cut off this morning with the MOB so I'm doing email for now...if I don't get any responses by this afternoon will try calling (so far during the planning I've had good response via email with all parties).

LindaF144a Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 2:49pm
post #5 of

No signed contract and no deposit? I'm surprised you held the date for them. Where i work that is not an indication of a cake order, just someone who was interested, but must have gone elsewhere.

Could it be that they are so nice that they can't tell you they went somewhere else? Some people will go to great lengths to avoid conflict.

Kitagrl Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 3:04pm
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144

No signed contract and no deposit? I'm surprised you held the date for them. Where i work that is not an indication of a cake order, just someone who was interested, but must have gone elsewhere.

Could it be that they are so nice that they can't tell you they went somewhere else? Some people will go to great lengths to avoid conflict.




No, the reason the contract was never signed is because they were not sure about adding a small kitchen cake (for extra servings) or not...and they waffled for a very long time about it...they could have signed it but just did not get around to it I guess....they put a nice deposit down so I do have that...so they didn't go elsewhere.

I guess they're just kinda unorganized. I hope that's all it is. I've kept up on them all this time with reminders here and there but you cannot force a bride to be prompt....

cakesdivine Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 7:18pm
post #7 of

Kit, I have a clause in my contract that states payment of deposit solidifies the agreement and terms of contract in lieu of signature. So basically, if they make a payment towards the contract they are agreeing to the terms and are bound by the contractual terms. This does hold up in court, (lawyer friend informed me of that little tidbit). Basically the same as a verbal agreement where payment has been documented. It is a contractual agreement.

Kitagrl Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 7:25pm
post #8 of

Well what happened is she went ahead and put a check in the mail before she got my email about NO check..I called her and she told me she did it. Its a local bank so I should be able to cash at her bank but if its written to my business name, I may not be able to.

She assured me it would clear, and I told her that I know she's a nice lady and I'm sure it will clear....but since I don't personally know her, I have to take certain precautions because if it does NOT clear, then I'm the one out of luck.

Question....I was thinking I should put something in my contract that states if payment is not made on time....then payment MUST be in cash. But then, that opens the door for late payments being acceptable.

On the other hand, I can't see ruining a bride's wedding because her mom paid her cake bill late....ya know?

Right now the only thing in my contract is that if payment is not made on the date specified, cake service will not be guaranteed.

If she wrote the check to my business and her bank won't accept it to cash for me, I'm gonna be upset...but I should wait I guess and see. But tomorrow is Friday...if the check does not arrive until sometime Saturday, then I'm out of luck until MONDAY which is the week of the wedding.

So irritating that such a nice, friendly family is messing me up. Grr.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 7:45pm
post #9 of

If the check is made out to your business, your bank may be able to give you an affidavit stating that you are the owner of the business account, so the customer's bank will cash it for you.

If this doesn't work, I would just go ahead and cash the check as you normally would at your own bank. The percentage of bad checks written is very small, and of those bad checks written only a small percentage are passed maliciously.

Kitagrl Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 8:01pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

If the check is made out to your business, your bank may be able to give you an affidavit stating that you are the owner of the business account, so the customer's bank will cash it for you.

If this doesn't work, I would just go ahead and cash the check as you normally would at your own bank. The percentage of bad checks written is very small, and of those bad checks written only a small percentage are passed maliciously.




Cash, or deposit?

jason_kraft Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 8:05pm

If at the customer's bank, cash it obviously...at your bank just do whatever you normally do. I always deposit checks, since I usually have enough for petty cash from customers who pay in cash.

I tend to use the term "cash" generically, it shouldn't make a difference if you get cash from the check or deposit it into your account.

playingwithsugar Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 8:17pm

Come on, girlfriend, after all this time, I think you know the answer. You've seen this dreck happen too often to others here.

You need to call them and tell them that if they do not come with cash right now, they will have no cake. You will return the check, in the unopened envelope, when it arrives or when the cake is delivered.

And when it comes to your contract, you pros should all be at the point where there's no negotiating late payments. If the final payment is not made on time, cleared the bank or credit card company, and resting comfortably in your business account, they forfeit all deposits & payments, and they will also have no cake. If you are going to hold the date for them in good faith, and they do not comply with the terms of the contract, then you should be compensated for their neglect.

I have seen too many members on these forums get ripped off lately by the old check is in the mail routine, or by late checks that do not clear before delivery. Do not take the chance with these people.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

Kitagrl Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 8:44pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by playingwithsugar

Come on, girlfriend, after all this time, I think you know the answer. You've seen this dreck happen too often to others here.

You need to call them and tell them that if they do not come with cash right now, they will have no cake. You will return the check, in the unopened envelope, when it arrives or when the cake is delivered.

And when it comes to your contract, you pros should all be at the point where there's no negotiating late payments. If the final payment is not made on time, cleared the bank or credit card company, and resting comfortably in your business account, they forfeit all deposits & payments, and they will also have no cake. If you are going to hold the date for them in good faith, and they do not comply with the terms of the contract, then you should be compensated for their neglect.

I have seen too many members on these forums get ripped off lately by the old check is in the mail routine, or by late checks that do not clear before delivery. Do not take the chance with these people.

Theresa icon_smile.gif




I know. But I can't stomach leaving someone with no cake...especially when I really liked them. icon_sad.gif

But I know. I need to change my contract to have stronger wording about the payment, plus point it out to the customer when they sign. That way I won't feel bad if they do end up late.

Also I was left unsure as to who I was dealing with too. The bride had the main tasting. But the mother was involved too....the bride made the decisions...but then last week when I contacted her to remind her about the payment being due in a week...she told me her mom was doing it.

I sure wish they would figure out who is in charge of the cake and just keep it to one person!

tiggy2 Posted 28 Oct 2010 , 10:21pm

I would tell them at this late date it's cash only. Come pick up the check and bring me cash if you expect to have a cake at the wedding. Them misplacing the contract or being unorganized isn't your problem.

cakesbycathy Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 12:29am

At my bank I can only deposit checks made out to my business names. They will not let you cash it.

They may be the nicest people in the world but it's not your problem if they are disorganized and can't get it together to pay correctly (especially when you reminded them.)

You need to call both the bride and the mom and explain to them that you cannot accept a check at this late date. One of them needs to bring you cash and you will return the check to them. Explain to them that it is nothing personal just a business policy that you have.

Evoir Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 12:49am
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggy2

I would tell them at this late date it's cash only. Come pick up the check and bring me cash if you expect to have a cake at the wedding. Them misplacing the contract or being unorganized isn't your problem.




I have to agree with this 100%. If they have the money to write a cheque, they have the money to withdraw from an ATM and bring to you directly.

You can be as nice as pie when you call/email them to organise this, no need to be horrible, just calmly state "I am sorry about the mix-up in gettng emails on time, however, my last email still stand. I cannot accept cheque as paymrnt at this late stage. Please have someone bring me the balance due in CASH ONLY, otherwise I will not be able to supply your cake for your wedding."

Kitagrl Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 12:58am

*sigh*

You are right, my bank will not cash a business check...I forgot about that.

I already talked to her today and grudgingly let it stand at being sent a check. So I really can't go back on that...

I wonder if the bank would call me when it clears? Or if it does not? Because if it doesn't clear, I don't care if I baked the whole cake, she won't get it....

I'm upset because our cell phone signal is bad today so I am having a hard time communicating with anyone....as it was, when I was talking to the lady the first time we got cut off.

I dunno, I'll just say it...I'm a big, fat wimp!!!! I had her on the phone and I should have said "I'm sorry I cannot take your check." But I didn't. So now it will be my fault if this bites me in the butt.

Kitagrl Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 12:59am

And incidentally the bride never wrote me yet today to reply....she is either THAT busy...or she wants nothing to do with her mom's problem, I guess.... they were such nice people but they're weirding me out now.

(I actually dialed what I thought was her cell number today but it ended up being her mom's....)

Kitagrl Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 1:00am

AND I probably need to give myself more than 10 days from now on, on my contracts...

tiggy2 Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 1:05am

You can go to her bank when you get the check to make sure it will clear before you deposit it at yoru bank. If the funds aren't available I wouldn't deposit it. I would call and let them know it wont clear and I need cash.....and don't back down at that point.

Kitagrl Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 1:07am
Quote:
Originally Posted by tiggy2

You can go to her bank when you get the check to make sure it will clear before you deposit it at yoru bank. If the funds aren't available I wouldn't deposit it. I would call and let them know it wont clear and I need cash.....and don't back down at that point.




I thought of that, but would the bank tell me that? Isn't that personal information they would keep to themselves?

cakesbycathy Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 1:12am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

AND I probably need to give myself more than 10 days from now on, on my contracts...




Yep! thumbs_up.gif

jason_kraft Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 1:13am

It's been my experience that the customer's bank will tell you if the customer's check will clear based on today's available balance (but they won't give you the exact balance). Of course, the balance may change between the day you ask the bank and the day the check clears.

This seems like much ado about nothing IMHO. How many times have you had a check bounce AND were unable to easily resolve the situation, including reimbursement for the NSF fee? If you were providing bail bond services it would be a different story, but we're talking about wedding cakes here.

Scarlets-Cakes Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 1:23am

It's simple, really. No cash....no cake.

yvonne123 Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 1:34am

Try taking the check to her bank and ask to have it certified. There will be a small fee for you to pay, in Canada it is 15.00, then it is guaranteed funds and you can deposit it to your business account with no worries.

Kitagrl Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 1:37am
Quote:
Originally Posted by yvonne123

Try taking the check to her bank and ask to have it certified. There will be a small fee for you to pay, in Canada it is 15.00, then it is guaranteed funds and you can deposit it to your business account with no worries.




Hmm I'll have to ask about that.

-K8memphis Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 9:24am
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonkraft

...This seems like much ado about nothing IMHO. How many times have you had a check bounce AND were unable to easily resolve the situation, including reimbursement for the NSF fee? If you were providing bail bond services it would be a different story, but we're talking about wedding cakes here.




Jason, to me it's not so much about how many times it happens it's about being smart and playing it safe in the first place. About not setting yourself up for getting screwed. Because once it does happen it is roaringly frustrating.

I mean brides are fixing to change names and potentially merge checking accounts if the bank account gets closed you're in for an even harder fight.

It's not much ado if you've been through it once or twice.

Yvonne, I've never heard of the certification to guarantee funds thing after the check has been written but that'd be pretty cool!

cakesdivine Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 1:32pm

Jason I don't think you have been burned yet or enough times yet to be as cynical as us old timers icon_wink.gif Like I said before. We are usually dealing with large sums of money not $30 or $40 dollars here, there, or yonder. We are talking at least a few hundred dollars or much more. I know that I don't have alot of "float" money. If someone writes a last minute hot check to the tune of $500 and it takes usually 30 days or more to recoup that and the small fee you can charge to offset the returned check fee, what generally happens is a business person, especially custom cakers like Kitagirl who do this from their homes, they don't do volume enough to have money sitting in their accounts to accommodate a $500 bounced check. Then items they have drawn off the $500 (and it could be quite a few) come through and BAM snowballing of NSF fees and overdraft fees that can easily run into the hundreds. Where are you going to get that back from? You just lost the amount of the price of the cake (cost + your profit) and possibly then some. so what if you do recoup the $500+ from the person...they caused major financial havoc for you and you have no recourse to recoup the additional NSF fees that happened as a direct result of their carelessness or maliciousness. All it takes is ONE time to really do some major damage to your business and your family's wellbeing.

Oh and in my cake business I have never had a returned check back when I was still accepting them. My major burn happened from years of experience in the dance world and dealing with dedicated funds accounts for my dance team. Had a mom accidentally write me a check off a closed account. The funds had already been appropriated. What comes in goes out, no profit on dedicated funds...I was left with a bevey of NSF charges to the tune of over $1800! on a $650 check (granted $650 was part of the $1800) but I had to let that account go because it was a dedicated funds, absolutely NO cushion. I had to pay the items that had returned with something so I had to keep the cash and run it through my operating account to pay the companies I owed money to. Majority of the checks had gone through twice but because it took me nearly 4 weeks to get the funds from this person, who just happened to be a very wealthy person (go figure) I was in a world of financial dismay and embarrassed that my checks to vendors who had known me forever had been returned NSF due to uncollected funds. After that fiasco, I stopped writing checks myself except for my rent payments, everything else I paid with cash or my debit card. And I adopted the NO CHECKS policy for all my businesses!

Kitagrl Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 2:01pm

I've had one bounced check in the past but I was very lucky that the payment was made early AND that the customer didn't mean it...and she paid my fee and my payment. The good thing was, she wanted her cake and didn't have it yet, so she was more than willing to pay everything.

If a check bounces AFTER someone gets a cake...in our day, most people don't have enough honor about them to still take the responsibility for the bill, and the baker gets stuck. I never accept checks sooner than 10 days before the date but I felt bad telling the lady I wouldn't take the check she just sent (of course I'll never know if she really DID get my email and just pretended she did not see it.) Usually when I have pickup orders I allow the balance to be paid at that time, but ALWAYS in straight cash. But deliveries always have to be paid ahead.

Well hopefully it comes in the mail today.

-K8memphis Posted 29 Oct 2010 , 2:38pm

And I mean besides all that how many families are overflowing with extra funds or even enough funds the week of a wedding? They are usually all hunkered down & finished spending--they are in 'let's get it over' mode. It's scarey to a vendor.

I hope you get your money without a hassle!!!
I know you sure as shooting deserve and have earned it.

My last encounter was with this most unscrupulous person. I countered months of her deviousness & at the end she had only signed her first name to the check grr so she says well write in my last name. Aghh no. If I had done that she could have bounced it back on me. I finally took it to her bank when she was at work so her bank could call her on the spot about the signature eff up. Ask her whether it was a legit check from her. I got my money--sweetest twenty bucks EVAH!!!

She worked real hard to screw me which totally motivated me to work that little bit harder to get my money! Stuff like that you start building hedges.

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