Customer Issue

Business By YummyTipsyCakes Updated 28 Feb 2011 , 8:52am by scp1127

YummyTipsyCakes Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 12:51am
post #1 of 81

Up until today I've had pretty great reviews on my liquor cakes. I saw a recipe online a few months ago for a rum cake using a yellow cake mix and so I altered the recipe so use different cake mixes and different liquors.

Well a lady bought a cake from me yesterday and today she sent me the following message:

"I'm sorry but I was very disappointed with our business exchange. I thought it would be completely home made but it tastes like a doctored up box cake. Can we talk about a refund? At least a portion."

I've never proclaimed that my cakes were made from scratch only that they were made from liquor. I even asked her if the cake tasted good. She said yes but because it wasn't completely homemade she wants a refund.

Should I indicate in my marketing that my cakes are semi-homemade. I know that even bakeries use cake mixes sometimes because it saves time.

80 replies
AnnieCahill Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 1:04am
post #2 of 81

I don't know of anyone around here who advertises that they bake from a mix. The only bakery in town has cakes for 1.35 per serving. Sometimes I go there to buy supplies and I see her carrying bags of DH mixes into the bakery. But they don't advertise that they bake from scratch.

I went to a bridal show and asked a lady if she baked from scratch. She said no, that she uses doctored mixes. But she didn't advertise that she bakes from mixes.

I found out that a new cupcake shop opened in town. She told a good friend of mine who works for the health department that everything was "homemade." Upon inspection, he discovered that everything was from a box. I don't agree with that advertising.

I don't think a refund is in order. If you never advertised that you bake from scratch then I wouldn't worry about it. But then again, you don't want this lady going around town saying stuff about your business either. I think the decision is up to you.

Bottom line, I wouldn't tell anyone unless they asked.

jenmat Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 1:21am
post #3 of 81

well, in this case I think you would have grounds that since you never said it was from scratch, you don't owe her a dime.
But in all practicality, I would offer her a small refund as insurance. She's already going to say bad things, but at least she won't say bad things with the anger that you told her where to go.
I don't think you need to advertise the semi-homemade thing. I've never seen it at least and I think it would confuse people.

Bakingangel Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 1:24am
post #4 of 81

Just curious if she mentioned how much of it she would be returning?

If she has only eaten a slice or two, I'd ask her to bring it with her when she picks up her refund. Makes for good customer service. If she has eaten half or more, then I wouldn't give a refund and she shouldn't expect one!

kelleym Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 1:33am
post #5 of 81

Sorry, no refund. That's completely ridiculous. If you didn't advertise a "scratch cake" (and even this term is played with fast and loose in the bakery industry), then she does not have any grounds for a refund.

AmysCakesNCandies Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 1:39am
post #6 of 81

I do a mixture, some flavors are box (standard yellow & chocolate cake) but everything else is scratch. If people ask, I tell them, but there is nothing that requires you to advertise it. I once worked for a large scale bakery and we didn't bake a single cake on site, but the customers never really knew that. Just because she asumed it would be scratch, doesn't mean you are in the wrong and owe her a refund. Although depending on the nature of your business and if you think this woman could do you some damage then you may want to offer her a good faith refund or discount. Juat be sure to not apologize for using a box mix, just that you are sorry she wasn't satisfied and leave it at that.

YummyTipsyCakes Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 1:43am
post #7 of 81

Thank you all for the reply? That's how I felt too. She didn't indicate how much a refund she wanted but like Annie says, I don't want her going around saying bad stuff so I'm just going to bite this one and give her a refund.

It just caught me completely off guard because business has been booming for my liquor cakes and then bam I get that message today and it totally caught me off guard.

I feel much better reading the responses from you all. Thank you so much for your feedback!!

Rose_N_Crantz Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 1:44am
post #8 of 81

She herself admitted that the cake was good. You never said you would deliver a scratch cake. Just good cake. And by her own admission, you did.

Done and done, on to the next.

Mommy2ThreeBoys Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 2:03am
post #9 of 81

I don't sell cakes, but if I did I sure wouldn't give her a refund. You never said you only made scratch cakes, so why is she entitled to a refund? Giving her one isn't going to insure that she doesn't talk bad about your cakes or you. She herself said the cake was good, seems to me like other people I have seen post she just wants some money back. I wouldn't give her one.

cakesbycathy Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 11:51am
post #10 of 81

She can't go back to KFC and get a refund if she decides she doesn't like how spicy the chicken was.

I'd send an email:
Dear Customer,
I am very sorry to hear that you weren't completely satisfied with your cake. I was surprised to hear your complaint after the fact, since when we talked you did in fact tell me the cake tasted good. If you'd care to return the uneaten portion of your cake I can offer you a 5% refund.

AnotherCaker Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 12:13pm
post #11 of 81

Did you test the recipe first and see if tasted good? Maybe it really wasn't good.

YummyTipsyCakes Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 12:32pm
post #12 of 81
Originally Posted by Jamie-

Did you test the recipe first and see if tasted good? Maybe it really wasn't good.

Yes! I always test my recipes before giving them out. Her issue wasn't that it didn't taste good just that it didn't taste homemade??? Sounds dumb to me. I've been making this same cake for nearly 3 months and she's the first person that told me she didn't like it. I felt so bummed I still do a little bit.

ChilliPepper Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 1:29pm
post #13 of 81

To be honest I think everyone who uses boxed cake mixes should be upfront about it and tell people beforehand. If I did that here in England I would get my head in my hands!

CP xxx

YummyTipsyCakes Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 1:43pm
post #14 of 81
Originally Posted by ChilliPepper

To be honest I think everyone who uses boxed cake mixes should be upfront about it and tell people beforehand. If I did that here in England I would get my head in my hands!

CP xxx

If that's the case then we mind as well give them our recipe and let them go and make the cake themselves. I'm just saying. Its not different to me then a person saying. Hey this bread tastes like it was made in a bread machine and not an oven.

I realize now more than ever that I'm not going to be able to please every customer, so all I can do is make certain that I continue offering the best service and cakes to the ones I do please. She's just one customer out of more than 30 than I've serviced since I started making cakes.

Valkstar Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 2:01pm
post #15 of 81
Originally Posted by ChilliPepper

To be honest I think everyone who uses boxed cake mixes should be upfront about it and tell people beforehand. If I did that here in England I would get my head in my hands!

CP xxx

It's different though in England and Ireland. Baking from scratch is considered normal here and you don't get many people using box seems to be the opposite in the States.

Kiddiekakes Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 2:12pm
post #16 of 81 is opposite here in Canada and the US also..Scratch baking is very expensive so it makes more economical sense to bake with mixes.All the big restaraunt supply companies like Gordon and Sysco,Bridgebrand Dawn foods etc all sell their cake mixes in 50lb bags and none are scratch...Our baking products like flour,sugar,baking powder etc have gone up 58% in the last 6 years here in Canada so I can't afford to bake entirely scratch.I do state on my website in the FAQ section that I do use mixes but I don't come out and tell every customer..If they ask..I will tell them.

mayo2222 Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 2:15pm
post #17 of 81
Originally Posted by ChilliPepper

To be honest I think everyone who uses boxed cake mixes should be upfront about it and tell people beforehand. If I did that here in England I would get my head in my hands!

CP xxx

Why should people who use mixes tell people beforehand exactly?

If a customer is concerned about getting scratch vs box then they should be proactive and make sure they are getting a scratch cake

adonisthegreek1 Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 2:39pm
post #18 of 81

She said the cake was good, so I don't think she's entitled to a refund. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think any baker needs to tell whether they use a mix or not. Most bakeries in my area do use a mix, except for the European style bakeries. I think you only need to advertise if you are organic, gluten free, etc.

Davwattie Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 2:43pm
post #19 of 81

I can see where chillipepper is coming from, in the UK people who do cakes over here all bake from scratch (except of course the big supermarkets but we know how awful there stuff is lol)

When I look at recipes on here that sound delicious I never make them cause they use box mixes and puddings that we dont have over here.

We only get the betty crocker ones and they are so expensive!

I will agree that the lady shouldnt get a refund, you never said/told or wrote anywhere that your cakes were made from scratch so really she hasnt got a leg to stand on.

And in all fairness in a way it was 'homemade' cause you made it in your home and not a giant industrial factory icon_lol.gif

Anne1017 Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 3:08pm
post #20 of 81

I think she was just guessing, what on earth makes it taste homemade over a doctored mix? Plus she can go to the store, buy the exact same mix you used and go home to bake it. Will it even come close to what you produced for her? I think no chance at all.
What we do is more than the ingrediants we use it is about skill and creativity. You did the work and she enjoyed it end of story.

costumeczar Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 4:22pm
post #21 of 81

I can tell if something came from a box, it's a texture thing and I'm so used to scrach cakes I can tell. However, if you're not advertising no-mix baking, then you really don't need to refund anything. If she didn't ask, then how were you supposed to know that it was an issue for her?

The only problem would be if you were advertising "home made" or "from scratch" or anything that implied you didn't use a mix. That would fall under the "deceptive advertising" category, but if you didn't do that then she's assuming a lot.

ChilliPepper Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 4:23pm
post #22 of 81

I think Davwattie hit the nail on the head there!

People come to people like me because the larger bakeries, etc. make cakes that taste like - well it wouldn't be polite to put it on a gentile forum like this.

The reason I started decorating cakes is because the last celebration cake I ordered from a fairly well known bakery in my county didn't even get eaten by the children - it was that bad - and it cost a fortune! That was the day my niece turned round and said "You should learn to decorate cakes Aunty Nin - your cakes taste fab". And the rest is history.

If using boxed mixes is the norm in the States and Canada then I would have thought that people would already know that and only complain if they had specifically asked for a scratch cake.

We don't get many boxed cakes over the other side of the pond so I have never understood this method of baking and to be fair, some of the flavours some of you chaps produce sound fantastic and we miss out on that!

Now I understand more about it I think you should not give a refund as I think she is being very unfair!

Apologies if my post caused offence - it was never meant to!

CP xxxx

Marianna46 Posted 14 Feb 2011 , 5:20pm
post #23 of 81

We get most brands of cake mix here in Mexico, but I never use them because they have too much leavening. They taste good, but they're too light and airy to hold up under fondant, and I figure if I have to doctor them, I might as well bake from scratch. On the other hand I make many of my cakes from mixes that are sold to commercial bakeries, and I get rave reviews. I don't advertise this fact, but I'm quite upfront if the subject comes up. No one has ever thought to question this, much less complain, because they really taste good. To the OP, if you'd like to maintain good business relations with this person, offer a 10% discount (or whatever seems right to you) on her NEXT cake.

sugardugar Posted 16 Feb 2011 , 3:23pm
post #24 of 81

do NOT let her criticism bring you down!!!!!!! some people do assume we all scratch bake and that's there own fault - not ours. you didn't advertise homemade.

just bite your tongue, and pride, and treat her like a virus: her viciousness will multiply if you feed her. tell her you're sorry for the confusion, you do doctor cake mixes like most modern cake decorators and that is why you don't advertise saying everything is from scratch. offer a small refund and a discount on her next cake.

peachspider Posted 16 Feb 2011 , 3:51pm
post #25 of 81

I don't think you need to disclose upfront that you use boxed cake, and I don't think she should get a refund. The fact is, she didn't ask and you didn't lie.

If we now need to disclose whether our cakes are made from boxed mix, do we need to also tell our customers whether I buy fondant instead of making my own, or whether I buy sugar flowers instead of hand-made them? This is getting too much....

However, of course, if we are asked, we should always tell the truth.

carmijok Posted 16 Feb 2011 , 4:26pm
post #26 of 81

Honestly, who cares if you measured the ingredients or Duncan Hines did? Why do people think a 'scratch' cake deserves more adulation? I've had scratch cakes that suck...and I know how to make a boxed cake taste delicious! I worked for a bakery that used mostly boxed cake mixes (that were doctored) and EVERYONE who came in raved about our recipes! If you ask me, that 'lady' who bought and ate your cake was fishing for a refund. She probably couldn't tell the difference, she was just throwing it out there to see if you'd bite. She also very well could have been a competitor that will use that information against you. If I were you I would have said nothing but, 'I'm sorry I don't give refunds unless you return the cake.' You basically admitted your product was not as valuable as a 'scratch' cake and you paid her to boot! Now, instead of just bad-mouthing you for not refunding her because of a suspicion she had, she will be bad-mouthing you for passing off cake mixes as scratch cakes--which you obviously agree are not worth the cost since you gave her a refund. You would never make her 'happy' so why screw yourself?

ChRiStY_71 Posted 16 Feb 2011 , 4:36pm
post #27 of 81

Maybe you should have put a little more liquor in the mix and she wouldn't have noticed it was a mix! Lol! thumbs_up.gif

kathys90 Posted 16 Feb 2011 , 4:54pm
post #28 of 81

Did the woman ask if you'd fermented the liquor as well? picky do you have to be?! I agree with the other posters. She told you the cake was good, but because you didn't "disclose" that it was a doctored cake mix she wants a refund....phooey!

If she returns the cake, I'd say more than 3/4 of it, then I'd give her a partial refund. She sounds like a kook! icon_twisted.gif

gladysrdz24 Posted 16 Feb 2011 , 5:36pm
post #29 of 81

Ive had to refund money for cakes for different situations but not because the cake was not made "homemade" At our bakery we use 50 lbs bags of mixes that are different from ones you can buy at your local grocery store. We use these because our clientele that we are reaching is not particular about how its made, they are more interested in how it tastes and how moist it is. So if she liked the cake and she ate all of the cake why do you have to refund her money? If she is soooo concerned about eating a homemade cake then she should make her own so she knows all of the work and labor that goes into a cake. That is my own perspective.

EmmyNoah Posted 16 Feb 2011 , 5:40pm
post #30 of 81

YummyTipsyCakes - this is my concern for you. . . I understand that you don't want her badmouthing you, BUT what are you going to do when she tells everyone around her that you don't bake from scratch - which she is going to do whether you give her a refund or not - and then passes on to folks to order from you and then go back to you with the same excuse so they can get their money back.

I would think long and hard about this one because whether you realize it or not, you are setting yourself up for more issues in the future.

Your cake was delicious - unless, she was specific that she wanted a cake from scratch, you technically gave her a great cake.

Don't let her bully you because she presumed something that was not.

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