Cake Scam Or Just Weirdos?

Decorating By kookycutter Updated 18 Mar 2014 , 2:10pm by izzybee

kookycutter Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 6:00pm
post #1 of 30

Since 2009, I have been getting emails and sometimes (more rarely) phone calls from a supposed mother-daughter team from Middletown NY, who inquire about wedding cakes, a birthday cake or in one case a Thanksgiving cake. The inquiries always start normal sounding, giving the amount of servings, the date, etc. Everything is fine until they start talking flavors and then it's a crazy list of the most exotic flavors. They start out the list by saying, "This is the cake I am interested in" and then proceed to a list of 6-8 flavor combinations or random listing of things like "American buttercream". They also include sometimes photos or links of cakes they are interested in and they are all very different.

In June of 2010, they ask me about a wedding cake for sept 19th. Then earlier this February, a wedding cake for Sept 18th, now it's December 18th. Once the daughter called me and she sounded VERY strange like someone on valium, and asked me about a date for which I was already booked. And she said that it was ok, they could do it for a week after. A wedding? How can you change the date on the fly!?

Basically the correspondences have gone nowhere bc every time I give quotes or ask a question, they respond with a completely different inquiry! I tried to call one of them out on it, but she just told me I was unprofessional and that they were legitimate inquiries. And they keep on asking if I deliver to MIddletown NY 10941.

What do you make of this? Scam or weirdos? I've gotten the deaf shipping scam before but this one seems different.

29 replies
itsmylife Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 6:08pm
post #2 of 30

Sounds strange. I wonder why they keep going back to you when you haven't made them anything in two years. I think most would take that as a hint. Maybe just stop responding to them.

AnotherCaker Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 6:16pm
post #3 of 30

They probably make cakes themselves and are being lazy. They're hitting you up to see how you answer questions, quotes, general info, all for their own use for their business. I'd start replying with the worst possible answer you could come up with, quoting 1/3 of what you normally would. I'm sure the contact from them would stop immediately.

CiNoRi Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 6:17pm
post #4 of 30

Scam, or a stupid joke? I'd just stop responding especially if can tell its them everytime. And if by some crazy chance they are legitimate Losing them as a customer won't hurt you.

leah_s Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 6:18pm
post #5 of 30

I think its a bakery shopping prices rather than trying to compute their own pricing.

sullymel13 Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 6:19pm
post #6 of 30

That does sound strange! It might be some competition trying to determine your prices, but it doesn't sound like they are trying to scam you out of money.

pounds6 Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 6:21pm
post #7 of 30

They definately sound like a couple of weirdo's to me. I've had something similar happen to me. I got an e-mail from a lady trying to order a wedding cake about 3 weeks before this supposed wedding date. She gave me all the specifics and expected delivery of the cake without meeting, paying a deposit or paying anything at all. I had been out of town for 2 weeks and when I read the e-mail for the first time I realized that their date was within 1 week of the wedding. So I thought surely they wouldnt wait on a baker who hadnt responded and would have found a baker by a week before. I e-mailed her an she said she still didnt have anyone to bake her cake and still wanted me to make the cake and again, no mention of meeting, payment etc. I just didnt respond at all. I never heard from them again.

CiNoRi Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 6:22pm
post #8 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by leah_s

I think its a bakery shopping prices rather than trying to compute their own pricing.




oooh ya that's true. Could be. Good call.

kookycutter Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 6:37pm
post #9 of 30

Thanks to all who replied. I did more investigative work you guys may have cracked the code.

So they left a telephone which I traced back to Poughkeepsie NY, and not Middletown. When I looked up one of their names a "Liz's Bake Shop" came up with her as the contact. So is mostly likely someone who was at the very least trying to fish for prices.

MadMillie Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 6:40pm
post #10 of 30

Can you do a reverse phone number or email look up? Even if it doesn't give you the name of who the number or email address belongs to, it should show you exactly where on the map it is coming from. That way you will know for sure if it is the same people calling.

CiNoRi Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 6:45pm
post #11 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by kookycutter

Thanks to all who replied. I did more investigative work you guys may have cracked the code.

So they left a telephone which I traced back to Poughkeepsie NY, and not Middletown. When I looked up one of their names a "Liz's Bake Shop" came up with her as the contact. So is mostly likely someone who was at the very least trying to fish for prices.





Ooooh i send them a letter calling them out on it...I'd say call but with a letter they have to read it and can't just cut you off...I feel that's disrespectful and unprofessional. I know bakers need to research but there are better ways

jason_kraft Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 7:00pm
post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie-

They probably make cakes themselves and are being lazy. They're hitting you up to see how you answer questions, quotes, general info, all for their own use for their business. I'd start replying with the worst possible answer you could come up with, quoting 1/3 of what you normally would. I'm sure the contact from them would stop immediately.



If they are fishing for prices, I would err on the side of giving them a quote that's too high, say 3 times your regular quote instead of 1/3. That way, if they are a competing business, you can be pretty sure they won't encroach on your customer base with prices that high.

If you have some free time and you know their phone number I recommend giving them a call every once in a while and asking for long, drawn-out quotes. You get bonus points for handing the phone to a kid who just learned to talk.

jason_kraft Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 7:05pm
post #13 of 30

I just checked the address for Liz's Bake Shop on Google Maps and it looks like a residence. Since NY does not have a cottage food law, an anonymous tip to the Dutchess County health department might be in order.

CiNoRi Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 7:07pm
post #14 of 30

Awesome!

LindaF144a Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 7:55pm
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

I just checked the address for Liz's Bake Shop on Google Maps and it looks like a residence. Since NY does not have a cottage food law, an anonymous tip to the Dutchess County health department might be in order.




Not so fast! NY varies from county to county in what you can do from your home. And while it may be a home address, they can have a legal kitchen in their home that is inspected and approved by the health department and completely legal. Also there is such a thing as a home processing permit in NY for wholesale and farmer's market.

Just because it is in a home means nothing. I wouldn't assume they are not legal just because of the address.

jason_kraft Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 8:05pm
post #16 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144a

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

I just checked the address for Liz's Bake Shop on Google Maps and it looks like a residence. Since NY does not have a cottage food law, an anonymous tip to the Dutchess County health department might be in order.



Not so fast! NY varies from county to county in what you can do from your home. And while it may be a home address, they can have a legal kitchen in their home that is inspected and approved by the health department and completely legal. Also there is such a thing as a home processing permit in NY for wholesale and farmer's market.

Just because it is in a home means nothing. I wouldn't assume they are not legal just because of the address.



I realize it's not a sure thing that they are illegal, but given the behavior of this bakery I think it's a proportionate response.

LindaF144a Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 8:55pm
post #17 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144a

Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

I just checked the address for Liz's Bake Shop on Google Maps and it looks like a residence. Since NY does not have a cottage food law, an anonymous tip to the Dutchess County health department might be in order.



Not so fast! NY varies from county to county in what you can do from your home. And while it may be a home address, they can have a legal kitchen in their home that is inspected and approved by the health department and completely legal. Also there is such a thing as a home processing permit in NY for wholesale and farmer's market.

Just because it is in a home means nothing. I wouldn't assume they are not legal just because of the address.


I realize it's not a sure thing that they are illegal, but given the behavior of this bakery I think it's a proportionate response.




Not really. When I worked at the bakery here in town, we would "trollers" all the time. I am in the process of building my own cake shop and I am putting up a five foot wall where I can see out over it, but people cannot see in. And it is for the very reason that we check each other out, in one way or another some how.

jason_kraft Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 9:37pm
post #18 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144a

Not really. When I worked at the bakery here in town, we would "trollers" all the time. I am in the process of building my own cake shop and I am putting up a five foot wall where I can see out over it, but people cannot see in. And it is for the very reason that we check each other out, in one way or another some how.



There's nothing wrong with checking out the prices of your competition every once in a while, but based on the OP's description of this business's behavior sounds like they went over the line.

If this other business is legal, then nothing will happen as a result of contacting the health dept (except for wasting some of the business owner's time, seems only fitting). If they are illegal, they will be shut down. Sounds like a win-win to me.

LindaF144a Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 9:41pm
post #19 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144a

Not really. When I worked at the bakery here in town, we would "trollers" all the time. I am in the process of building my own cake shop and I am putting up a five foot wall where I can see out over it, but people cannot see in. And it is for the very reason that we check each other out, in one way or another some how.


There's nothing wrong with checking out the prices of your competition every once in a while, but based on the OP's description of this business's behavior sounds like they went over the line.

If this other business is legal, then nothing will happen as a result of contacting the health dept (except for wasting some of the business owner's time, seems only fitting). If they are illegal, they will be shut down. Sounds like a win-win to me.




You never give up your point, I should learn by now.

When someone is doing something sly like this, there is no "normal" behavior. I find nothing wrong with their behavior other than they are just being slimy and persistent. Some people's line is just higher than others.

And now I am done talking about this topic. Agree or disagree. I don't care.

jason_kraft Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 10:06pm
post #20 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by LindaF144a

When someone is doing something sly like this, there is no "normal" behavior. I find nothing wrong with their behavior other than they are just being slimy and persistent. Some people's line is just higher than others.



Absolutely true...if the line for OP is above slimy then she probably won't bother doing anything, but if it is somewhere between sly and slimy she has gotten quite a few ideas on how to respond in this thread. icon_smile.gif

SugarFiend Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 10:10pm
post #21 of 30

Oh, dear. Creepy. This has gotten my attention because it's near me. I've never heard of them, and I've been scoping out competition for awhile now. More the other side of the river, though - not so much Poughkeepsie. Middletown would be an area I would serve once I become legal. icon_sad.gif

This all bothers me for 3 reasons: 1.) I wonder if they're truly legit, 2.) If they are, then how many other bakers have slid under my radar?, and 3.) Do I get to look forward to dealing with them and others like them when I get up and running? icon_sad.gif

They just sound weird to me, and I don't like dealing with weird...

carmijok Posted 12 Apr 2011 , 10:12pm
post #22 of 30

[quote="jason_kraft"]

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie-


If you have some free time and you know their phone number I recommend giving them a call every once in a while and asking for long, drawn-out quotes. You get bonus points for handing the phone to a kid who just learned to talk.




HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

jairone Posted 13 Apr 2011 , 12:13pm
post #23 of 30

I think I have been contacted by the same people! At the beginning of this year I got a similar email as described, started out normal, then they listed every flavor combination they could think of. I tried calling them and left a message I also replied giving as detailed of a quote as I could, but they never responded to either.

They left their delivery zipcode on my price quote form and sure enough it was Middletown, NY. I thought nothing of it but then yesterday I got another email from them. Same kind of format, all kinds of flavor requests, they also attached a picture and left their phone number. Getting two very similar emails made me suspicious so I started google searching. I found the same Liz's Bake shop and then I found this post on Cake Central. I'm glad to know I'm not the only person being contacted by these people. It also makes me think they are just fishing for pricing ideas.

JulieM Posted 30 Jul 2011 , 11:18am
post #24 of 30

I was contacted by this lady twice and she has done it to several others (google Elizabeth Kerr cakes to see other threads on cake forums).

My issue is this - while we as bakery owners might be curious about pricing from our competiton, this lady has several times tried to place an ACTUAL ORDER. She isn't just getting information, she is asking to secure the wedding date. She is going about this the wrong way and it's unethical to boot.

I have never called another bakery and lied saying I was a bride. I have had brides who were friends who shared what quotes they received from other bakeries, but that is the end of it. I have great relationships with all the bakers in my local area and if I was curious about what products they offer or had questions about their business, I would just ask.

If you aren't going to be ethical and operate with integrity, then you shouldn't be in business at all.

Also, I agree, it is worth checking into to see Duchess County NY is aware that this business exists. Yes, she may have her license to operate and be inspected by her state's health department, but if not, then she needs to be shut down so that those bakeries that are working hard to make an HONEST living can continue to build their American dream.

Marla84 Posted 31 Jul 2011 , 2:48pm
post #25 of 30

Or it could be a scammer using Elizabeth's Kerr's name. If I was a sneaky baker just calling around for price quotes, I wouldn't be using my own name.

kookycutter Posted 8 Aug 2011 , 12:44am
post #26 of 30

Update: I forgot to mention that when I wrote to Elizabeth Kerr saying how I didn't want to do any business with her because she didn't seem legit, she got really angry and wrote me an indignant reply, calling me "unprofessional" and acted like she was dumping m. I did find the other post on Cake Central about Elizabeth Kerr and she does also go by Angela Jordan as the other posters mentioned. But she is the one running a scam or being sketchy and she has the nerve to get angry at those who call her out on it.

izzybee Posted 18 Mar 2014 , 1:13am
post #27 of 30

Here we are 3 years later and I just got the exact same phone call and cake order, but she wants me to drive 3 1/2 hours to deliver it.  When asked why me?  She said because no one around there offers those flavors.

SweetShop5 Posted 18 Mar 2014 , 11:04am
post #28 of 30

Quote:

Originally Posted by izzybee 
 

Here we are 3 years later and I just got the exact same phone call and cake order, but she wants me to drive 3 1/2 hours to deliver it.  When asked why me?  She said because no one around there offers those flavors.

Wow this whole thing is just sooo strange.

izzybee Posted 18 Mar 2014 , 2:03pm
post #29 of 30

I wrote her back and said I could no accept her order.  She asked why?  I sent her the copy of the original thread from 2011, and this was her reply:

 

I don`t own a bakery! I was just looking for a cake for my niece. So know you got my address and figured you can`t do it and this is just an excuse to get out of it just like Ann cozze and her other friends.  I was going to send the money out to complete the order thanks for wasting my ink and my printer paper.

 

I wish I didn't send her an invoice with my address because I would seriously turn her in to the local DA's office.

izzybee Posted 18 Mar 2014 , 2:10pm
post #30 of 30

I need to ask if there is an end to this story.  I got the same deal this past week, and unlike the other scams with the delivery and fake credit cards, did you ever follow through with an order or receive a bounced check?  Just wondering if they ever follow through.  She mentioned someone named Anne Cozze?

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