Firing A Customer

Business By AmysCakesNCandies Updated 12 Jan 2011 , 11:13pm by FleurDeCake

AmysCakesNCandies Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 2:04pm
post #1 of 71

OK so I have this regular customer who constantly complains but continues to order. I have a wedding cake order from her for April and I'm not sure I want to keep the contract because I think she is setiing me up for a refund. Here is the scenario:
Her wedding cake (she is MOB) is pink lemonade and was booked first, afyer the tasting she started ordering smaller pink lemonade cakes from me.
First time: 4 jumbo pink lemonade cupcakes- she complained that the BC was not fresh and she knew this because "The icing was hard when she took them out of the refigerator"- I explained to her that I use a crusting BC recipe and BC is made with butter and will firm up when cold, the BC was made the sday before she picked up her order, did not offer a refund.

Second Time: 2 dz standard size pink lemonade cupcakes- it was a last minute order thar I accomodated so the cupcakes had been baked the morning of the order pick up- she complained that the cupcakes were stale. I just told her I was sorry she didn't enjoy her cupcakes and they had been baked that morning so I guarantee they were not state, did not offer a refund

Third Time: 12" Pink Lemonade cake for Thanksgiving. She said "her guests loved the cake, but it was not a pink lemonade cake it was almond and I must have given her the wrong cake" (I only made one 12" cake that week- her pink lemonade and all my other cakes were cinnamom cream- NO ALMOND was even made that week.) I just didn't respond. Two days ago she sends me an email- irate that I didn't respond. So I responded a simple "sorry you did not enjoy your cake" and I am sick of dealing with her so I added "If you would like to cancel your future order I completely understand and will ussue a refund of your deposit"- well I havwen't heard from her yet.

I really do not want to keep her contract because I truly believe sge is setting it upp to get a discounted or free wedding cake. If she does not cancel on her own I want to "fire her" as my customer. Have any of you done this? and how did you go about it?

70 replies
-K8memphis Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 2:26pm
post #2 of 71

I'd just point out to her that she doesn't like the icing or the flavor or the texture of the cake she ordered.

Somebody smart will come along with a good 'role play' type email to send.

But since you already broached the subject you could just follow up by sending her the refund and cancel it/her yourself.

cabecakes Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 2:28pm
post #3 of 71

I really don't understand why she keeps coming back for more if she is so displeased with your work, I think I would start by asking her that.

Mama_Mias_Cakes Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 2:32pm
post #4 of 71

Did she sign a contract when she paid you the deposit? If yes, are you legally obligated to keep it when she kept her end of the contract? Just asking, because I'm not sure the legality of canceling a contract that was upheld just because you might foresee a problem. ??

If no contract is involved, then send her the refund with a note saying that due to the past experience that you are not the right baker for her.

imartsy Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 2:35pm
post #5 of 71

I'm not a professional, but I think KHalstead is right - I would just mail her the deposit for the wedding cake with a letter saying "Thank you for your business. Based on your numerous complaints on previous orders, however, I feel you will not be satisfied with a wedding cake from my bakery and I wish to return your deposit so that you might seek another baker. I have cancelled your order and will be taking other orders for that date. Thank you again for your business and I wish you the best in planning the wedding"

That's what I can come up with - but someone more experienced might be able to come up with something better....and it may be trickier depending on if you have a contract with her for the wedding cake.

AmysCakesNCandies Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 2:39pm
post #6 of 71

Mama Mia- yes we have a contract, thats why i am hoping she cancels- i have a cancelation/ refund policy if she chooses to cancel, but nothing in the contract for me icon_sad.gif

cabecakes- me too! thats what makes me think she is trying to set me up to end up giving her a free/ discounted wedding cake. If i didn't like something I wouldn't keep going back.

brincess_b Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 2:39pm
post #7 of 71

id just suggest that given her previous experiences with your company have not been positive, you feel she would be better served by another bakery, such as XYZ. your deposit is in the post/ ready to be collected/ whatever.
i would phone as well rather than email - much easier for her to back peddle by email than voice to voice.
if the order goes ahead, just be sure to highlight instructions for storing cake, the flavours selected, and any other detail chosen by her!
xx

-K8memphis Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 3:11pm
post #8 of 71

Even though I'm not currently in business--this situation reinforces my idea behind my personal use of 'order blanks'. I don't call it a contract although it is essentially. It's very low key and it says I reserve the right to do the cake to the best of my ability.

So that alone would get me out of this situation. Clearly she's got problems with the product. My best is not good enough times three ergo I'm outa here. As I see it it would allow me to cancel 'the order' for cause.

Awkward though huh.

MikeRowesHunny Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 3:49pm
post #9 of 71

My contract states the following (and I have no-one question it, or have a problem with it yet):

7. POSTPONEMENT OR CANCELLATION:

If for any reason you need to postpone or cancel your event, please contact Queenies Cakes immediately. If you need to postpone or change your event date, your new date may or may not be available depending on our existing bookings. In all client cancellation circumstances, the initial 50% deposit is non-refundable. If cancellation or postponement occurs after full payment has been made, the following refund arrangements will be followed: no refund will be given on the initial 50% deposit made to secure your date. From the remaining balance, payments will be deducted for any work already done on your cake (for example the making of figures and flowers), and any items that have already been purchased to complete it. You will automatically receive refunds on delivery, set-up, cake cutting service and stand rental/deposit charges in all cancellation circumstances, or if we are unable to accommodate your new date in the event of postponement. These charges are clearly set out at the beginning of this service agreement. If, for any reason, and in the unlikely event that Queenies Cakes is forced to cancel their contract with you, you will be informed as soon as possible, and all monies paid to that point will be refunded to you in full.

AmysCakesNCandies Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 3:52pm
post #10 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeRowesHunny

If, for any reason, and in the unlikely event that Queenies Cakes is forced to cancel their contract with you, you will be informed as soon as possible, and all monies paid to that point will be refunded to you in full.




I may have to steal that line and add it to my cancelation policy.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 4:11pm
post #11 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmysCakesNCandies

Mama Mia- yes we have a contract, thats why i am hoping she cancels- i have a cancelation/ refund policy if she chooses to cancel, but nothing in the contract for me icon_sad.gif




Even if you don't have a clause in your contract that specifically allows you to cancel it, I would cancel it anyway. There is more than enough time for her to find another vendor, and I doubt she will go through the trouble of suing you if she gets her full deposit back -- but if she does sue you should be covered by your liability insurance.

Auryn Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 4:28pm
post #12 of 71

Cancel the order before the start of the year,
don't wait for her to hem and haw about it.
Send a certified letter with a company check refunding her deposit and a brief letter.
Make sure you get delivery confirmation of the certified letter, make a copy of the check before putting it in the envelope, and make a print out showing when she cashes it.
That way you are covered all the way around.

4 months should be enough time for her to find another baker willing to deal with her shenanigans.

In my regular day to day business we have point blank fired customers because they were jerks or trying to jerk us around and we weren't willing to deal with it.
I have canceled $30,000 orders, you can definitely cancel this one.

VaBelle Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 4:57pm
post #13 of 71

Actually, by not having anything in your contract doesn't mean you can't cancel. If it were me, I'd inform her via phone or email your intent to cancel, send her a certified letter explaining your reasons for cancelling with a full refund, and do it with plenty of time for her find someone else. If you can make a couple of suggestions, so much the better. You will not be breaking any clauses in your contract and you're not keeping her money so she wouldn't have a leg to stand on if she tried to sue.

neelycharmed Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 5:10pm
post #14 of 71

I would give her the deposit back and run!!! LOL
She sounds like a PITA, and not worth all the trouble and grief...
Good Luck in whatever you decide!
Jodi icon_smile.gif

costumeczar Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 8:44pm
post #15 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auryn

Cancel the order before the start of the year,
don't wait for her to hem and haw about it.
Send a certified letter with a company check refunding her deposit and a brief letter.
Make sure you get delivery confirmation of the certified letter, make a copy of the check before putting it in the envelope, and make a print out showing when she cashes it.
That way you are covered all the way around.

4 months should be enough time for her to find another baker willing to deal with her shenanigans.

In my regular day to day business we have point blank fired customers because they were jerks or trying to jerk us around and we weren't willing to deal with it.
I have canceled $30,000 orders, you can definitely cancel this one.




Totally agree with this. Keep records of everything, but if you send her a check and she cashes it then you should be fine, because that means that she has accepted the refund.

CreativeCakesbyMichelle Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 9:16pm
post #16 of 71

What exactly does your contract state regarding cancellations? I would do as others suggested and send a letter via certified mail explaining why you are cancelling her order and include a check for her deposit. Make sure to keep copies of all of the paperwork as well as copies of any emails that you have from her previous orders where she complained. She will have plenty of time to find another baker and you won't have to deal with her again. Realistically, she's probably not going to spend the time and money to sue you over the matter. And even if she did, you will have the documentation to show that you had cause for cancelling the contract, returned any money she had paid, and she had plenty of time to find another baker, so she hasn't suffered any damages and a judge is unlikely to find in her favor if the matter were to actually go to court.

pixiefuncakes Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 10:06pm
post #17 of 71

'Customer satisfaction is the forefront of our business and in light of your dissatisfaction with our product in the past, we feel that we cannot continue our business relationship with you.'
Or something like that - make it very clear that you are canceling because she has been unhappy.

loriemoms Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 10:35pm
post #18 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by AmysCakesNCandies

Mama Mia- yes we have a contract, thats why i am hoping she cancels- i have a cancelation/ refund policy if she chooses to cancel, but nothing in the contract for me icon_sad.gif

cabecakes- me too! thats what makes me think she is trying to set me up to end up giving her a free/ discounted wedding cake. If i didn't like something I wouldn't keep going back.




I dont know if anyone has suggested this, but why even mention her complaining? Call her on the phone and tell her that a family event has come up and I am sorry, I can no longer do your wedding cake for you. I will send you back your deposit and contract. Here is a name of some bakers that I am sure would help you...."

And in the future you are booked for all orders. Plain and simple.

Maluisa Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 10:57pm
post #19 of 71

Sorry, I don't know how to quote someone else. If someone could point that out I would appreciate it.


I dont know if anyone has suggested this, but why even mention her complaining? Call her on the phone and tell her that a family event has come up and I am sorry, I can no longer do your wedding cake for you. I will send you back your deposit and contract. Here is a name of some bakers that I am sure would help you...."

And in the future you are booked for all orders. Plain and simple.[/quote]

I think that her complaining and dissatisfaction IS the problem and it needs to be pointed out should the contract be cancelled. It bugs me that people want the truth, but don't think they have to give it. In business, more than anything, it should be that way. There is no need to come up with "other" reasons to cancel the order. Simply state that you are aware of her misgivings with your product, so in order to avoid a problem of any sort on her special day you are cancelling the order in time for her to find a more suitable baker for her tastes. With this response, there probably will not be future orders to worry about.

bakencake Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 11:27pm
post #20 of 71

I agree with malusia. let her know why you are canceling. that way you wont have to hear from her again. also, do document everything and keep tabs on letters and checks

cownsj Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 11:46pm
post #21 of 71

And be sure to print out those emails, have a hard copy, just in case of computer problems.

FayMakesCakes Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 11:58pm
post #22 of 71

I don't think you should lie about the reason for cancelling the order. Firstly, she should know the truth and secondly, if you cancel for a made up reason it makes you and your business look bad. Instead of cancelling for the simple reason that she is obviously not satisfied with your work (which sounds bad enough no matter what the story behind it is), you are cancelling because of a personal event? I think this sounds much worse and if she repeats it can cost you business.

christeena Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 12:05am
post #23 of 71

Maybe this woman will think twice about complaining once again if she is told the truth why her order is cancelled. Some people gripe no matter what - it's their personality but I sure don't have to deal with it if I don't want to and neither should the OP! Run, Forrest, Run is my motto at the first sign of a potential PITA client!

Melvira Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 12:24am
post #24 of 71

Get out now, get out fast, get out clean!

DO NOT wait around for her to decide she wants to cancel. Don't lie about the *why* of the situation. I would even consider an in-person (you go to her) cancellation where you hand her a money order and tell her that you simply cannot do the cake because of her dissatisfaction with your work. Do not accept any, "Oh, no... I was just being too picky... we still want you to do the cake." This is not an 'if ya want to' situation. This is a 'thanks but no thanks' on YOUR part. You simply do not need or want her business. But, refrain from using a check or cash to pay her back. Either a money order, or something else trackable that does not have the option of not being cashed and remaining in your account. ("Well, when she gave me the refund check, I told her I absolutely still wanted her to do the cake, and I didn't cash the check, so she should've known we were counting on her!") A money order is trackable, but it gets the funds out of your possession immediately. (Cash is easy to say, "Oh, she didn't give me the whole amount" or worse.)

Also, if you do have a contract, which I think you said you did, with the refund deliver a copy of the contract with "CANCELLED" written in large red letters across the page. Have one in your hand for you when you hand her one and say something about putting this in her customer file so she knows you will not be chumped or forced into anything.

Best of luck to you, and don't put it off. Take care of this THIS week if at all humanly possible. She has plenty of time to find someone else to meet her needs. There is nothing wrong with washing your hands of a problem customer. You don't deserve to be treated like that.

Auryn Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 12:31am
post #25 of 71

To add to what Melvira said,
have her sign your copy of the cancelled order- can't argue that one

Melvira Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 12:36am
post #26 of 71
Quote:
Originally Posted by Auryn

To add to what Melvira said,
have her sign your copy of the cancelled order- can't argue that one




Absolutely agreed! Excellent idea!

indydebi Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 12:54am
post #27 of 71

You mentioned you hoped she would cancel. Why would she? She will be getting a wedding cake AND she'll complain so that she gets her money back. There is no advantage to her canceling on you.

I like amartsy's response. Direct, short, to the point, crystal clear. done.

when you see a fire coming, you don't hope it rains. you get out the hose and wet down the house, then run like hell.

Evoir Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 12:57am
post #28 of 71

Yes. I agree with Melvira on this one.

And, please, NO lies. Be professional.

Sparklekat6 Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 1:02am
post #29 of 71

Ahaha, it's so funny you brought this up. So a friend of mine was at a party recently and he was talking to an executive at Nordstroms, and you know how Nordstrom's has a crazy return policy where they will practically take anything back? Well apparently if they feel that you take advantage of their return policy too many times with too many obscure returns they will "fire" you. They will send you a letter telling you that they are no longer in need of your business. Maybe you just need to send her a letter to that effect.

cownsj Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 1:33am
post #30 of 71

Earlier, I had thought about giving her a money order, but after some consideration, I'd definitely NOT give her a money order. The money is out of your hands, but that still doesn't mean she'll cash it, and you're still out the money. She can hold onto it until after she sues you then cash it. (You'd have recourse, but you'd still have to be following up to be sure it was cashed and then go through the cost and hassle of filing against her.) Stay professional, give her a check, keep a photocopy in case she doesn't cash it, and you'll have your checks that you wrote before and after to further confirm the date of your concellation of the order. Plus it shows you are doing business in a professional way.

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