kelleyinco Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 6:46pm
post #1 of

My October 29th clients wrote me a very lengthy email about how a specific detail on their cake was all wrong. They ordered a cake with spiderwebs on it made out of sugarveil. When I met with the bride she said she wanted her cake to look "old and dusty" with white icing and sugarveil webs. So I did that. Their email states that they webs were to be black and that they had "talked up the cake to everyone and his new wife is so upset she can hardly speak about it".

Not once, not ever did either of them say they wanted them to be black. I would have made them black! I made a custom topper for this cake and spent a ton of time on it. We did the spider webs on site and blew petal dust onto the cake for the dusty look ( had to drive two hours away up into the mountains so was assembled on site). He goes on to say that I know full well that "other brides would demand a full refund" but that they are reasonable and I should decide what refund I think is fair and that I have his credit card info still and can put it right back on there.

I don't think I should have to give them anything! I'm sorry they aren't happy, but I'm also not a mind reader. If they specifically wanted black webs, then someone should have said the words out loud. I fear this couple is going to go online and trash me, just by how abrupt he was in his email. I'm sitting here now having wasted three hours moping about this. I hate this b.s. and that something I have no control over is making me feel like crap.

What would you do?

44 replies
TJCanadian Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 6:57pm
post #2 of

Did she sign off on the design, do you have any communication she wrote or approved about the design? I'd love to see pictures of it.

Paige_Pittman86 Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 6:57pm
post #3 of

Show them the Email and point out there was nothing in it that asked you to do it black.

Auryn Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 6:58pm
post #4 of

I would send him back a very lovely email
reminding him that in all of the written communication- including the contract they signed- there is no written detail that states that they want the spider webs to be black.
Remind him that they asked for and 'old and dusty' look and last time you checked dust was gray/white not black.

cs_confections Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 7:11pm
post #5 of

I'm not in business, so I really don't know what would be right - but I'd be tempted to say, sorry - no refund. Spiderwebs aren't black, unless depicted in a cartoon form.

Spiderwebs in nature:http://www.darkroastedblend.com/2008/08/spider-webs-glamour-architecture.html

There's actually some beautiful spiderweb photos in there - but all are white/clear/light - none are black.

Some may say that you should have clarified in the beginning and a small refund is due. I'm not so sure that a small refund would actually please them though.

During the design process, did you explain how you would create the spiderwebs that may have let them know that they wouldn't be colored black?

Sorry you're having to deal with this!

cathyscakes Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 7:20pm
post #6 of

I think she looked at cakes, where spider webs are usually piped in black. So she just asumed that they would be black, didn't figure she had to state the obvious, to her anyway. I definitely think that its not your fault, spider webs aren't black, and you were doing what you thought she wanted. Like you said, you are not a mind reader, and if it isn't listed in the emails, she is out of luck, no refund.

Kaytecake Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 7:46pm
post #7 of

Sorry that they're treating you this way. I'm not in business but have been doing cakes as a hobby for several years. Some people have a specific idea of what they want others don't. If the bride was so set on a specific look, then she should have been very clear with you about it. She needed to tell you the colors that she wanted and the type of design. Better yet, she could have supplied you with a picture or sketch to get her point across. Art is subjective. A client can give a general theme to 10 decorators and get 10 very different cakes.

Did they sign a contract? I used to have a small business and a written agreement is a must. People either have poor memories or like to change their story.

If they gave you a vague description with no particular color scheme- that's their fault. If the only complaint they have is the color of the cobwebs- they were not harmed. If the cake was served and enjoyed- what's the problem? If everyone started to make up a small complaint to get all or part of their money back, no one could stay in business.

Could you post a picture of the cake? If it's anything like the amazing one in your photos- I'm sure it was a hit.

tiawanna02 Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 8:21pm
post #8 of

some them the contact, if they signed it without black spider webs then no refund. point blank, naturally spider webs arent black

Kitagrl Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 8:35pm
post #9 of

Yeah for a wedding cake I would have NOT pictured the webs in black...I'd have pictured some nice stringy spider webs in a sort of white/clear color and then the dust like you mentioned....the sparkles would highlight the webs...I would have thought it would look more realistic than black webs all over a wedding cake.

If she did not specifically say "black webs" then it is not your fault...especially if you made the cake the way you felt would be most aesthetically pleasing.

costumeczar Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 8:57pm

I agree with the consensus...If there's no written mention of the webs being black, then they can't expect you to have made themin black. No refund if they signed a contract that has no mention of black webs on it.

Unlimited Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 10:52pm

It could be that a more detailed Order Form is necessary, or at least an additional field for "Color Choice(s)" on each line item.

-K8memphis Posted 9 Nov 2010 , 11:18pm

Sugarveil was specified and it is white. Spiderwebs were specified and they got those.

It's good that the new wife can't talk about it huh. Mums the word!

But I would not refund. Methinks they will trash talk you either way--refund or not. Because he really set the bar high--dude's clearly been watching too many episodes of Bridezilla--full refund my big toe.

Did you upcharge specifically for the Sugarveil and the spider webs? If you did you could refund that. Otherwise tell them there was no upcharge for that and there were Sugarveil spiderwebs as was ordered--just considered as general decor so there's no basis to refund.

kelleyinco Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 3:12pm

Attached is a pic of the cake--

So they live in NY, and he emailed me again last night stating that they are having their original contract scanned in and should have it soon. I don't have a clue why that paperwork isn't with them, but I'm anxiously awaiting it to see if they were able to match my handwritingicon_smile.gif I met the bride when she made a trip out here and I make two very detailed sheets during a meeting labeled "cake info for you" "cake info for kelley kakes" I fill them out side by side and they had the same info on them. She goes home with hers, I keep mine. I'm positive without a doubt that "black" was never mentioned. I would have questioned whether sugar veil could be tinted as I told her I was new to the product and had only played with it for fun. Not a demand at all here for lacey looking cakesicon_smile.gif I also told her I had no idea how pre-piped webs would travel and I was bringing extra product in case they shattered on the drive and I had to re-pipe them... which they did and which I did.
In his second email he now complains that the webs didn't stretch from layer to layer. Some of them did, some I draped over the tops of the layers and the cake topper because it looked cool. When I met her she said several times, "Do what you think looks good, you're the artist."
So perhaps they spent more than they should have, perhaps she is embarrassed because she told everyone black and they weren't and she wants to pass the buck... who knows. I don't care, but I worry about comments made online. He's that type, of this I am sure!

christeena Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 3:30pm

Picture please!!! Did not attach!!

-K8memphis Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 3:54pm

Take a deep breath and just hold on. You're in a conflict for a while--it happens. They are so calculated about it.

First it's "You decide on the big fat refund for our heartbreaking spidey web fiasco. Ohhh the agony." Now it's "I'm going over the contract with a fine tooth comb. Just you wait, my pretty!!" So wicked witch of the west. Bullying. Ugly.

And now it seems intriguing that the bride 'can't speak about it'. I'd totally call her and get her sob story on it. I betcha she ain't got one.

I'd call from someone else's pnone so your number won't show on her caller id and I would not leave a message until she answers so you don't tip your hand.

And console yourself with this fact--they say there's no such thing as bad publicity. The color of a spider web will get folks talking if he trashes you online and you have 10,000 brides who love you. Your cakes are brilliant/exquisite. One crackpot will not really hurt you.

Trash talkin's unfortunately bound to happen sooner or later. This tiny color choice detail is a good one to break that ice and who in their right mind would expect a huge percentage refund for a slight detail.

I hope you can respond with your side of the story sans emotion onto wherever he posts if he does. It's absurd.


Toss him a 5% coupon for a half dozen one inch cookies with a bite out of each one. grrrrr

kelleyinco Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 4:09pm

I can't figure out how to resize, but here's a link to my facebook pageicon_smile.gif

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=449014161823&set=a.331623486823.152722.39420961823

daltonam Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 4:43pm

I'm betting they watch Amazing Wedding Cakes & watched the episode where Lauri from Cake Alchemy New York, NY made the skull cake with black webs & blood red roses. Now you as a designer was suppose to know this info & read their minds!!! I'm sorry you are stressed about this. I do wonder, did you ever get an email or talk to the husband about the cake BEFORE the wedding? I wonder if he knew what HE WANTED & she (the bride) forgot to clarify it when talking to you. Could be she's passing the blame to you. Anywho, I hope it all gets better.


BTW--lovely lovely cake!!

kelleyinco Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 4:47pm

Never got any email from him aside from payment info. I only talked to her that one day she was here visiting Denver, and emails after that were pictures of their dog for the cake topper and stuff regarding the groom's cake and delivery time. I save all emails from clients for a year.

christeena Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 4:47pm

Okay, after looking at your FB photo, I can see how the black webs would really make that cake pop but if nothing was clarified in writing, he is nuts to think that he can get a refund!! It is a great cake but me being me would have done the black webbing just to make them more noticeable! After reading this thread, I made darn sure I went over every detail with my bride yesterday!!!

kelleyinco Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 4:50pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis

Sugarveil was specified and it is white. Spiderwebs were specified and they got those.

It's good that the new wife can't talk about it huh. Mums the word!

But I would not refund. Methinks they will trash talk you either way--refund or not. Because he really set the bar high--dude's clearly been watching too many episodes of Bridezilla--full refund my big toe.

Did you upcharge specifically for the Sugarveil and the spider webs? If you did you could refund that. Otherwise tell them there was no upcharge for that and there were Sugarveil spiderwebs as was ordered--just considered as general decor so there's no basis to refund.




I didn't charge them extra for Sugarveil because I've never used it on a wedding cake, let alone travel with it. I explained this to her when I met her and she was cool with it. Now they are telling me they have a baker friend in NY who works with the stuff frequently and she says I didn't do the spiderwebs correctly... well, okay. I'm sure they could have been better, but they knew I was new to this product and that stuff dries out so fast here it's ridiculous. The same bags of it have been sitting on the shelf in the cake supply shop for a year because no one wants to mess with it! Looks neat.. impractical.

kelleyinco Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 4:51pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by christeena

Okay, after looking at your FB photo, I can see how the black webs would really make that cake pop but if nothing was clarified in writing, he is nuts to think that he can get a refund!! It is a great cake but me being me would have done the black webbing just to make them more noticeable! After reading this thread, I made darn sure I went over every detail with my bride yesterday!!!



Oh I totally see what you mean, but she was all about old and dusty.. .which it looked without the flashicon_smile.gif If any color had been suggested for the webs I would have pushed for a gray tone over black. Black to me screams birthday sheet cake from the grocery store. It's too stark of a difference

-K8memphis Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 4:57pm

Wow they are quoting other cakers who have critiqued your work? They are really reaching here.

You were in an unannounced, retroactive "Cake Challenge".

pfhhht

daltonam Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 5:02pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleyinco

that stuff dries out so fast here it's ridiculous.




I'm going off topic here.........that's stuff isn't the only thing that "dries out", on my vacation out there, I've never expence such dry weather. I mean I didn't realize it was possible to have rain & snow & still be DRY!!! (HA HA!!)

-K8memphis Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 5:04pm

Not to mention the real Mr & Mrs Frankenstein surely wish that these imposter monsters never took their identity. Clearly they 'd be rolling in their graves-- icon_lol.gif

christeena Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 5:08pm

Please don't cave to their high pressure tactics!!! What a psycho!!

Kiddiekakes Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 5:17pm

I too wouldn't offer any refund rather a return email with the copy of the information etc you took and clarify that you were NEVER asked to make the spider webs black. and that the bride told you to do whatever looks good as you are the artist....They are just grasping and they are going to trash talk about you any way because you supposedly didn't do what they asked...

costumeczar Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 5:53pm

Kiddiekakes is right, no matter what you do they're going to say nasty things about you. As long as you have the contract or the emails that don't specify black, then they really have nothing to complain about, but they sound like they will anyway. Just keep emphasizing that they didn't specify black, and that you did deliver what they did specify. If he keeps harassing you then tell him that based on your contract you delivered what he ordered, and stop answering any emails (but save them for evidence of harassment!)

As far as bad reviews go, keep an eye on any review sites, and if a bad one goes up from them just post a calm and concise rebuttal. If it's a site that doesn't let you answer the complaint, you can probably email the webmaster with your side of the story and ask that the review be taken down.

kelleyinco Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 5:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by daltonam

Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleyinco

that stuff dries out so fast here it's ridiculous.



I'm going off topic here.........that's stuff isn't the only thing that "dries out", on my vacation out there, I've never expence such dry weather. I mean I didn't realize it was possible to have rain & snow & still be DRY!!! (HA HA!!)




I'm a Florida girl.. and after nearly 3 decades here I'm still not used to how dry it is! I just slathered myself in Eucerin from head to toe and put olive oil in my hairicon_smile.gif

Ladiesofthehouse Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 6:32pm

Not that it helps now....but do you ever sketch for people and color the cake with colored pencils/markers? By doing that it helps to clarify what they are thinking. If you had sketched the cake and then colored everything ivory/white wouldn't she then have said Wait--aren't the webs going to black?? And she also would have noticed they didn't stretch over the tiers like she had envisioned. Why they think we are mind readers, I don't know, but I run into that a lot with people.

Your cake is lovely and the figures were so cool. How sad this bit of miscommunication has ruined the whole client relationship for you. I also don't like the way the groom seems so "calculated" about the whole thing.

Kaytecake Posted 10 Nov 2010 , 6:53pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleyinco

I can't figure out how to resize, but here's a link to my facebook pageicon_smile.gif

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=449014161823&set=a.331623486823.152722.39420961823




This is a beautiful cake! The figures are perfect. They are really reaching to find fault with an obviously great cake. If they didn't specify black, I wouldn't budge on your price. You gave them a bonus of an expensive item like Sugarvail.

It sounds like they just want to get some money back on their cake. I'm of an older generation and it was uncommon (at least in my experience) to ask for money back after the goods were used or eaten. There was always one in a crowd. We were embarrassed by the few people that did this sort of thing on purpose.

I don't know anything about the online review system but, as others have said, just reply professionally or see if the comments can be removed. It's too bad that this is part of doing business now a days. Don't let them bring you down- you are an artist! icon_biggrin.gif

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