My First Cake Complaint...help!

Decorating By ttehan4 Updated 2 Feb 2011 , 4:24pm by indydebi

ttehan4 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 3:28pm
post #1 of 30

HER EMAIL:

I'm sending you this email to let you know that your cake was beautiful in pictures but thats all it had going for it. The bottom layer I got one slice off it in a slice after that every piece I cut did not cut into slices but cut into crumbs. So I finally gave up on that cake. You didn't even put her name on that cake. The top layer in order to give people a slice I had to peel off the fondant. I threw away all those little balls that were layer around the cake. I had no cake box to bring the cake home in. So basically I threw the money that I paid you in the trash where the cake went. I am thinking about filing a report with the better business bureau against your business. Just wanted to let you know people like to hear good things about their business but I'm sure not the bad things. The party is over and done with and I just had to say my mind because it has taken me this long to get over being mad and upset by your cake.


MY RESPONSE (I HAVENT SENT YET, WHAT DO YOU THINK?)

I have never had a complaint about a cake. I don't know what you were using to cut the cake with that it allegedly crumbled and that would not cut through the fondant. I trimmed that cake after it was filled to make a straight box. I actually trim all my cakes and had about a one inch slice off of each side of both cakes and they cut perfectly as usual. The balls on the cake , while they are completely edible, are decoration, just like the bow on top of the cake was edible, but obviously it was not eaten.

If you would have called me to let me know of the issue at the time or saved the cake for me to view I could have taken more action. And if the cake was thrown away and so inedible, why would you want a box to bring it home in?

I apologize for her name not being on the name tag, I will refund you 5.00 for my mistake.

If you feel making a complaint is necessary you can. Like I said I have never had anyone complain and never had a problem with a cake crumbling. I use the same recipe, icings, and fillings on every cake and had perfect slices from your cake.

I wish you and Erica well,


Im thinking this lady has buyers remorse. She had a two tier gift box cake with a gumpaste bow on top and edible gems. It was 263.00 total for the cake. She made her 100.00 deposit and the balance of 163.00 was due on the 15th. She said she thought it was due at delivery and said she might be a couple days late. I told her that was fine and extended the time for her. Well, she was over a week late.

I think this is a case of buyers remorse and she just wants to recoup some funds after the party! What do you all think?

29 replies
Kristie925 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 3:53pm
post #2 of 30

I bet she tried to cut the cake with a butter knife.

KakeMistress Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 3:53pm
post #3 of 30

thats what im thinking, again if the cake was that bad and you knew you hated it why would you throw it away? I would call the bakery I got it from and tell them and let them see for themselves. Kinda like the people who want their meal for free because they didnt like it but yet their plate is empty? Your going to assume that they ate all the food and they still have to pay for it. With no cake to show for how "horrible" it was then no refund is due. JMO

ttehan4 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 3:55pm
post #4 of 30

My guess is a plastic knife! The party was at a hall and she probably didnt bring a real knife.

ttehan4 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 3:59pm
post #5 of 30

Do you think the email sounds okay?

TexasSugar Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:00pm
post #6 of 30

Please don't send that responce to her. I'll admit I'm a bit on the testy side this morning, so maybe I'd be reading it more like she would, but I can say there are several comments in there that if I was already upset would make it worse for me.

First is the use of "allegedly". That makes it sound like you totally don't believe her.

The issue with the cake cutting/crumbling can probably be narrowed down to the type of knife used to cut the cake. I've seen posts on here by cake people with the same issue (especially when fondant is being used) ask how to get clean cut slices, not crumbles of cakes.

I would research which knife works better and find out what kind of knife she used. At this point it won't fix her problems, but atleast you will know in the future what knife to suggest they use. Just saying well I could cut it, I don't know why you couldn't, isn't really the way to go to me.

As far as the edible decorations, did you specifically tell her they were all edible? Were the balls rock hard (been dried for a long time, just a little hard (made with in a few days) or soft? If I wasn't told something was all edible and there were really hard pieces on the cake I would have thrown them away too, especially if it was a cake for little kids.

As far as calling you when the issue arose. Do we really expect someone to stop in the middle of a party, and call the cake place to make a complaint? Honestly?

As far as the box, I agree that the cake should have been delieved in a box of some sort. If it wasn't delieved to their home, then I do agree that even leaving a box to put it in, if it was too big would have been a nice, especially when they will have to carry a cake, and presents and hyped up kids home with them.

At the end of the party, she was probably frustrated and annoyed and I can see just wanting to throw the cake away and not have to deal with it. I can also see how it wouldn't cross her mind to save it, because you wouldn't believe her complaints and would need to see it. Unless you have a contract and people intial beside that clause I honestly wouldn't expect people to save cake unless there was something totally majorily wrong with it.

It sounds to me like she has a legitimate complaint. She liked the look of it, but had a major issue cutting it, which probably can be blamed on the knife. She either didn't understand the decorations were edible, or didn't know what to do with them, while cutting the cake.

I'm not sure how best to resolve this, but the email you wrote, in my opinion will only trigger futher unhappy comments from her and will surely result in a call to the BBB.

I would write a new email with the following...

1. Ask about the knife she used, but leave out the whole part about you being able to trim with no issues. If she used the wrong kind of knife it's moot, and will only fuel her more because you didn't inform her what kind of knife should be used.

2. If in previous conversations you had told her all decorations were edible I would remind her about that. If not I would apologize for not telling her.

3. The name error, you admit to, but really is she just going to want $5 off for that mistake on a cake she felt she couldn't serve?

I wouldn't offer her a full refund. And I'm not really a big fan on offering discounts off future cakes (I mean if you had a bad experince, then that is really a wasted offer), so I can't say for sure what I would do here. But I don't think I would just cross out her complaint because you assume she has buyers remorse now.

KakeMistress Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:01pm
post #7 of 30

I think that if she was really going to report you she would of done it already, She was probably just trying to scare you into a full refund to keep her "happy". I hate people who try to use blackmail

adonisthegreek1 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:21pm
post #8 of 30

I think your response is direct and professional. I feel that you do need to mention that you trimmed the cake with no problems. I am glad that you did not offer a refund or appease her threats about filing a complaint. When I took a cake carving class, we all used our professional knives. In a few seconds, we could tell who had sharp knives and whose culinary knives hadn't been sharpened in years. Dull knives don't slice cakes, but give you a crumbly mess.

cownsj Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:27pm
post #9 of 30

I would have to imagine it was a knife problem too, and it sounds as though she stumbled into correcting that problem because she says, "The top layer in order to give people a slice I had to peel off the fondant." So I am guessing that when she was cutting with the fondant still on, the knife didn't slice through and was mushing down and breaking the cake apart. But clearly, she did serve the cake if she was able to give slices after peeling off the fondant.

Frankly, if I was at a party, I would have a camera with me, others would have cameras with them and if I "had" to throw a cake in the trash, I'd KNOW I was going to be calling the bakery to complain, so I would be sure to take a photo of the cake in the trash can to PROVE I had to throw it away.

So I do think she had a problem, partly her fault for not just trying to figure out how to cut the cake, and partly yours for not telling her. But most people seem to figure this out on their own, and clearly she did. AND she served the cake. I'm sure she was frustrated, and if the cake was supposed to have the name on it, then yes that was an error that should be compensated. But she sounds to me like she is overreacting to this situation. She could have been having all kinds of problems that day, and this was the "icing on the cake" (yes, pun intended because it just really fits).

TexasSugar Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:27pm
post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by adonisthegreek1

Dull knives don't slice cakes, but give you a crumbly mess.




But how is a "cake muggle" suppose to be able to know this?? Does it just become so sorry about your luck, because they didn't use the 'right' knife, when they have no clue there is a right or wrong knife to use for cutting cakes?

ttehan4 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:31pm
post #11 of 30

I thought she was trying to throw the BBB in there to like it was going to scare me into a refund...NOT!!!

She was told that everything was edible, but that I didnt recommend eating them. Her daughter also wanted ebible gems on the ribbon on the cake. I told her I didnt recommend serving them because someone could get choked. Yet, her daughter insisted on having them and Mom agreed even after she told her mom to shut up through the whole tasting and ordering process. So much for SWEET 16..lol.

Mom also told daughter to not tell her dad how much it cost. This comment also lead me to believe that Dad now knows and Mom needs to get some money back stat!

I also have a form that goes through how to cut and slice the cake that she got a copy of with her order. If she used the wrong knife I feel that it is her fault. I know that cake sliced and didnt not crumble.

I was ticked when I wrote the email to her. I did read it again and knew that it would probably fuel her flame. I did some editing and will be sending it. I knew when I read the email and from the tasting that that was exactly what she was up to.

I know if I paid almost 300.00 for a cake and I had a legitamate complaint that I would not just throw it away. I would not wait 3 days to send an email because I was sooo madd that I couldnt do it. I would be on the phone immediately!

TexasSugar Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:41pm
post #12 of 30

I think that is why it is good to take a step back and not send things directly after they are written.

If you have a cutting guide with the specifc type of knife she should use, I would refer to that.

As far as the edible decorations, if you told her you don't recommend eatting them, then I don't blame her for throwing them away. As far as feeling like she was throwing money away, well that was her choice because she still wanted them.

I would keep the next email short and simple. Apologize that she had problems cutting, refer to the information she was given and more or less leave it at that. She may come back and ask for a refund at which time you can address other issues, or she may decide that she really doesn't have a leg to stand on when it comes to a refund.

As was said above there could have been alot of other issues involved, but really we would all be assuming that. And maybe yes she spent more than she should have, but again we are really just assuming there as well.

mareg Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:42pm
post #13 of 30

I agree your response will only make things worse. I would email her back and Ask questions aobout WHY yhe cake crumbled. Ask fir a picture do you can see his bad it was. Hopefully then you will see how she cut the cake and I'd in fact it was the knife used. I had a lemon cake do that to somebody once. I too thought it might be the knife or the way they cut it, but the actually had 2 cakes from me and the chocolate did not crumble. It was the lemon flavoring I used. It was mcCormicks and I noticed it fizzed when I added it to the liquid of the cake mix! I use WASC receipies too so I know they are dense. Will never use it again!

cownsj Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:42pm
post #14 of 30

Ok, now with the additional information, yeah, it sounds to me like daddy found out how much was spent on his daughters sweet 16 cake and he is furious so momma promised to get some money back.

kjskid Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:44pm
post #15 of 30

As a former "cake muggle" and hobby cake decorator, I am amazed at how many professionals think that their clients would think to save a bad cake. Never in a million years would I think to save a cake to show how bad it was. Something I got from Walmart, sure, but cake is perishable, and if I make a dinner that I decide I don't like, I throw it away. If I had a bad experience with a cake, it would go straight in the trash. When I get sour milk from the store, I don't keep it to prove my point, it goes down the drain (and I have gotten refunds from the store before from sour milk that I had thrown out). Bad food goes in the trash. All I'm saying is that don't assume that people know that they should save the cake to prove their point. I never would think of doing that.

mayo2222 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:49pm
post #16 of 30

I will agree with TexasSugar that using the word "allegedly" will make your customer defensive right from the beginning so I would suggest rewording. Other than that I don't think you owe her anything else other than the slight refund for the name.

ttehan4 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 4:57pm
post #17 of 30

I did omit "allegedly" from the email. I thought that word was gasoline too...lol!

I see what you are saying about throwing food out, but If I buy 300.00 worth of meat and its spoiled, you can bet your butt that its not going in the trash. A photo to support her complaint would have even helped her case, but she did neither.

I feel I am just in the email I sent and a small amount to compensate for the name is due. I did a gift tag that just said "Happy 16th Birthday" so I to think she is just over reacting to try and justify a refund.

If she sends another email it will be short, sweet, and to the point. I am not going to waste the day worrying about it.

nikkiann Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 5:09pm
post #18 of 30

i think you did a great job on answerng the email.

PistachioCranberry Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 5:12pm
post #19 of 30

In this "sue happy" country we live in, everyone should know that to make your case stick you need proof. If a judge was involved she would have more leverage with a photo than just words. There is a difference between a jug of sour milk and a $300 cake. As much technology as we have, you can't tell me that even if no one had a regular camera, someone didn't have a camera phone to photograph said "crumbly" cake.

You are right, I wouldn't give a refund either. If I want to complain about something, especially $300, you will here from me ASAP, not 3 days later.

BCo Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 5:14pm
post #20 of 30

Anything that I have gotten bad from the grocery store - which is rare - I save it and take it back....I bring my proof! I got bad meat one time from the grocery store and you better believe I kept it and the label/date that was on it and took it back.... I recently received something that I ordered through the mail (protein powder mix) and when I opened the box it was spilled all inside, obviously there was a hole in the package somewhere. I immediately called the company and told them the problem and asked them if they would like me to ship it back so they could see the problem. They told me no they would send me out a new one but I spent $125 on it and I let the company make that decision for me as to whether or not they wanted the damaged product back. You never know if they will or not so I always keep whatever it is that I have a problem with and let the person who I'm complaining to make the decision as to whether or not they want the item back.....why wouldn't you? In my first example about the meat - would I really throw away a huge expensive piece of meat and call the grocery store and tell them it was bad, give me my money back and oh, no I don't have the meat still, I threw it out? NO - I would take it to them, what if there was someone else who had the same problem? Then they could look at my label and figure out if it was something that happened on that day/ in processing/etc.

Another example... My brother recently got married. The cake they delivered to the reception was the WRONG cake - completely!!! (luckily the colors matched) No one knew until the reception started. Also the design they had put on it was running all along the back of the cake - it looked like it was condensation from the cake (I assume) being kept in the refrigerator before the reception. There was no time to call the bakery right then in the middle of the wedding and the guests were none the wiser so they served the cake. My SIL told me it was the wrong cake so I immediately starting taking pictures so she could call the bakery the next day. She went home the next day and found her contract that stated what she ordered and then called the bakery and sent them the pictures. They refunded her money (which she wasn't expecting a full refund in the least since she did serve it to her guests) She just wanted to let them know that the cake was completely the wrong design and even the wrong shape - she ordered round and this cake was all square. But point being she documented it so she could have proof.....

I guess people just think differently. I even teach my kids this. If they have a ligit concern/issue/problem then you keep the proof and then complain to whoever it is that you need to complain to. Make sure you have your backup- then there will be no question about what is wrong.

I am in the school of thinking to if it makes you that upset then you bet your butt I'm going to keep the "evidence" to prove what my issue was.

JMO!

PistachioCranberry Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 5:30pm
post #21 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bturpin

Anything that I have gotten bad from the grocery store - which is rare - I save it and take it back....I bring my proof! I got bad meat one time from the grocery store and you better believe I kept it and the label/date that was on it and took it back.... I recently received something that I ordered through the mail (protein powder mix) and when I opened the box it was spilled all inside, obviously there was a hole in the package somewhere. I immediately called the company and told them the problem and asked them if they would like me to ship it back so they could see the problem. They told me no they would send me out a new one but I spent $125 on it and I let the company make that decision for me as to whether or not they wanted the damaged product back. You never know if they will or not so I always keep whatever it is that I have a problem with and let the person who I'm complaining to make the decision as to whether or not they want the item back.....why wouldn't you? In my first example about the meat - would I really throw away a huge expensive piece of meat and call the grocery store and tell them it was bad, give me my money back and oh, no I don't have the meat still, I threw it out? NO - I would take it to them, what if there was someone else who had the same problem? Then they could look at my label and figure out if it was something that happened on that day/ in processing/etc.

Another example... My brother recently got married. The cake they delivered to the reception was the WRONG cake - completely!!! (luckily the colors matched) No one knew until the reception started. Also the design they had put on it was running all along the back of the cake - it looked like it was condensation from the cake (I assume) being kept in the refrigerator before the reception. There was no time to call the bakery right then in the middle of the wedding and the guests were none the wiser so they served the cake. My SIL told me it was the wrong cake so I immediately starting taking pictures so she could call the bakery the next day. She went home the next day and found her contract that stated what she ordered and then called the bakery and sent them the pictures. They refunded her money (which she wasn't expecting a full refund in the least since she did serve it to her guests) She just wanted to let them know that the cake was completely the wrong design and even the wrong shape - she ordered round and this cake was all square. But point being she documented it so she could have proof.....

I guess people just think differently. I even teach my kids this. If they have a ligit concern/issue/problem then you keep the proof and then complain to whoever it is that you need to complain to. Make sure you have your backup- then there will be no question about what is wrong.

I am in the school of thinking to if it makes you that upset then you bet your butt I'm going to keep the "evidence" to prove what my issue was.

JMO!




thumbs_up.gif It seems in the cake world we don't think the customers have common sense and the customers play that to their advantage. Even if it is my first time buying a cake from a bakery it should be known that if you want a sharp cut, use a sharp knife. Do these people not eat at home?

ttehan4 Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 5:31pm
post #22 of 30

I read my 12 year old son the email and he even said "Mom that lady is just trying to get her money back"...lol! He's could even read into her attempted at a refund.

No return email. I will keep you all posted.

BCo Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 5:45pm
post #23 of 30

[/quote]

thumbs_up.gif It seems in the cake world we don't think the customers have common sense and the customers play that to their advantage. Even if it is my first time buying a cake from a bakery it should be known that if you want a sharp cut, use a sharp knife. Do these people not eat at home?[/quote]

I guess I did assume it was common sense especially b/c I thought this way long before I joined the cake world....it's common sense to me in cake world, grocery world, online shopping world... Makes you wonder how some people get so far in life....I'm not saying that I expect everyone to know everything about cakes but come on....have some sort of common sense, read your contract, read the return policy, etc. before you start jumping all over someone with your complaints! Maybe they should have just hired the baker to come to the party to cut the cake if it was THAT HARD to understand! For Pete's sake, she even went as far as to give them a cutting guide!

My first thought if I was cutting a cake and it wasn't cutting properly would be the knife I'm using really sucks, not, man this cake isn't cutting properly it must be the way it was made!!!

I have no patience for people that don't try to use their brain and think first before blaming someone else!

bakencake Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 6:02pm
post #24 of 30

WOW! Im a hobby baker and after reading this im likely to stay that way. I dont know if i have the patience to cover everything from the type of knife that's needed (im just finding this out and have been baking for about a year so i assume cake muggles won't know either) to what parts of the cake are and are not edible. Sometimes people have commons sense sometimes they dont, im in the don't pile so i would never think of taking pics. I would just assume that the bakery would take my word, but then again i would never think that people would complain in order to get free or discounted stuff since im not like that. If i ever do decide to make this my business i would make sure i have an air tight contract covering a to z.Im sure im still going to have people try to get around it icon_cry.gif

pummy Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 6:04pm
post #25 of 30

Just throwing it out there...I'm not in the cake business...Would it make sense when a customer picks up a cake to show them the scrapes or even have them taste it to make sure its satisfactory to them and have them sign off on it? Make a separate cupcake from the batter so they can confirm the texture, moistness, etc? Should bakers save there scraps just in case theres an issue? I would even tell customers that I do save scraps just in case an issue arises a week or two from now to deter or at least make them think twice about claiming a bad cake later on to get a refund. I know people take photos of cakes upon delivery but how can one cover themselves so a customer cannot try refund tactics?

TexasSugar Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 6:35pm
post #26 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by PistachioCranberry


thumbs_up.gif It seems in the cake world we don't think the customers have common sense and the customers play that to their advantage. Even if it is my first time buying a cake from a bakery it should be known that if you want a sharp cut, use a sharp knife. Do these people not eat at home?




There are cakers here that have asked what type of knife to cleanly cut fondant covered cakes. Check out this post from IndyDebi, and she's been doing cakes for years. There are several other posts about what types of knifes to use.

http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopict-615269-knife.html+cutting

Also where was the cake served at? If I was going somewhere like a party place to have a party, I'm not sure I'd want to carry in a super sharp knife myself. Or with all the other party details going on, that I'd remember to grab one.

I totally agree that a customer should have proof, even if it is just pictures for a cake gone wrong. But I also dont think that you should totally discount their claim just because they dont.

In the moment people may not be thinking super clearly. If I am really pissed and annoyed about a cake just falling apart while I am trying to cut it with a bunch of people around that are shoving plates at me cause they want a piece, then the thought of hey lets take a picture may not cross my mind at the moment. And calling the cake person right then wouldnt be the first on my mind either. If I have a ton of other items to carry home, then I may be more inclined to throw out a cake, that is in pieces, when I dont have a box to put it in, and I probably dont want cake and icing all over the back of my car.

There are a lot of things that could factor in. It seems that we, in general, totally head towards the negative direction for all of them.

Maybe she really has reason to be unhappy. And maybe she just want to hear a Im sorry that happened to you, what can I do, with in reason, to make it better. Sometimes we just need out have our complaints acknowledged.

indydebi Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 6:41pm
post #27 of 30

I learned about cutting a fondant cake when I cut my own 50th birthday cake for my fraternity guys. I learned a serated knife will tear a cake apart and make it cut like crumbs .... and learned a straight edge knife will cut a fondant cake so pretty it should be in a magazine!

So yes, on the few fondant cakes I did, I DID make sure to tell them to use a straight edge knife.

This is a great example of why I constantly preach that bakers should cut 2-3 of their own wedding cakes a year. If I hadn't cut my own birthday cake, I would have no clue that the knife made a difference! But since I was experienced (and most cake customers are not!), then it becomes my responsibility to inform them of everything they need to know about cutting a cake.

We'd never place an assembled cake in the back of a customer's car and assume they know how to drive, how to disassemble, and how to cut cut one. They type of knife to use is just as important as telling them how to turn a corner with a cake in the back of the car.

We are the experts. We are the professionals. We need to give them ALL the info they need to have a great event with our cake.

Tclanton Posted 1 Feb 2011 , 7:35pm
post #28 of 30

Thanks for all the shared info within this post. I normally tell people to have a good sharp knife, but I may have failed on occassion. I normally make a note for the client when I have dowels, plates, etc., so now I will cover the knife requirement.

As sad as it is what happens to us on occassion, I appreciate you all sharing your stories. I learn so much daily!! Thanks!!

geri4292adams Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 3:38pm
post #29 of 30

I'm making mine as we speak and have been trying to cover all the bases. Here is the cake cutting clasuse that I've come up with.... Any help would be nice.

CAKE CUTTINGCake cutting utensils and serving is the responsibility of the couple unless otherwise specified and is not the responsibility of our bakery. Please keep in mind that when cutting a cake it is very important to use a sharp straight edged utensil. This is important when cutting a cake that has a fondant covering! If something else is used to cut the cake it may result in damaged/crumbled slices. Make sure that the person that will be serving/cutting the cake is aware of this. If the cake is damaged or begins to crumble due to improper cutting utensil Bakery is not liable and will not offer a refund due to improper cutting/serving of said cake! Also please keep all children away from the serving utensil as to avoid any accidents and injuries! ______Initial

indydebi Posted 2 Feb 2011 , 4:24pm
post #30 of 30

Below is the wording in my contract that covers any activity on the cake done/caused by persons not employed by me. I like the above addition about the cutting utensils and if I still had the shop, I would incorporate the knife clause into the paragraph below! thumbs_up.gif

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10.     Once a cake is delivered and set-up, Cater It Simple is no longer responsible for damage to the cake or shortage of cake caused by a guest, caterer, or any other person not employed by Cater It Simple. Examples that can damage a cake include (but not limited to) the cake being moved, table being bumped, cake being touched, temperature control, DJ speakers being too close. The client is responsible for providing an appropriate and secure table, and environment for the cake(s).  CIS will return to repair any damage to the cake caused by non-CIS personnel at a rate of $100 per hour, 2 hour minimum. A credit card number must be given over the phone before we leave the shop.

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