To Charge Or Not To Charge

Business By live2create Updated 13 Jul 2011 , 9:10pm by cakestyles

live2create Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 9:41pm
post #1 of 16

This is the first time this has happened to me and I don't really know how to handle it... Any Advice would be great..
So I get this call from a new customer, wants a baby shower cake BUT can not have any wording like Congratulation, Best Wishes ok I asked for more info how they wanted it decorated. No real suggestions were given she just said I have seen your work I know it will be great, GRRRR I asked her to give me some insight on the new mom. This is where I really went WOW.. Customer said she has a mouth of a sailer, road hard and put up wet bar made. So where am I to go with that one. Customer said light brown would be ok for a color Ok. So I tried my best with what I was given for infor and came up with a cut fondant cut out onesie and a baby hat done in light blue accented with brown, Wrote "Welcome our little boy"
Dropped the cake off to the customer and she loved it. No mention at that time she didn't like it. So I get back home and hour later I get a phone call tellilng me she is very dissatified with the cake, and wondering what I could do about it. I told her its way to late at night for me to change anything and she needed the cake for the next day. I was kinda taken back and frustrated. So I have to go back and pick up the cake she didn't bring it back which is more effort on my part, and know I am not sure if I should refund any $$ back.. Or Offer a % back HELP

15 replies
Callmesugar Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 10:03pm
post #2 of 16

Wow, completely frustrating. Did she say WHY she was dissatisfied with the cake?? I would start there before immediately offering her her money back unless you have a 100% satisfaction or money back guarantee. You did ask for details and she wouldn't supply any so if criteria was met...
That's a tough position. So sorry.

QTCakes1 Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 10:11pm
post #3 of 16

All I can say is contract with details. None of that wishy washy stuff of "Oh, whatever you come up with will be fine". With that said, just cause she gave no details, it doesn't mean your off the hook for not giving her what she wants. You should have gotten some concrete answers. I'm not saying she is right, but what I am saying is you did not cover yourself to be safe from a complaint. Personally, I would go get the cake and give her, her money back and apologize. Why? Cause I think she may be looking for a free cake and I'll be damn if I'm out the money and the cake if I can avoid it.

traci_doodle Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 10:48pm
post #4 of 16

This just sounds bizarre. I'm not "in business", so I can't really offer more than my opinion, but I don't see why you should give her her money back. She didn't give you anything to go on, and it sounds like a cute cake. Did she give a reason she was dissatisfied? Sounds like she knew what she wanted without knowing what she wanted. Or simply that she doesn't like the mom the cake is for and didn't think she was worth the money.

cakestyles Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 10:56pm
post #5 of 16

Sounds like she's having buyer's remorse.

Your cake photos are very nice, you do lovely work so I can't imagine you delivered her a cakewreck.

When a client gives you free reign on design, unless the cake is a total wreck or inedible they really don't have a leg to stand on.

Good luck!

Cakeuhlicious Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 10:58pm
post #6 of 16

Definitely charge them for the cake. They gave you guidelines to follow but ultimately allowed you creative freedom. They received a cake that followed their guidelines and the theme of the event. Absolutely you deserve to get paid. If she doesn't like the design, I would simply remind her of the guidelines she gave and how they were fullfilled in your design. *If* you're feeling superbly nice, offer her a 10% discount on her next cake and a thorough design consultation for the miscommunication.

If the dissatisfaction is about the quality of the cake itself (IE: it tastes bad, wrong consistency, etc) then I would ask her to return the cake in order to offer a refund of her money. Mostly because A) I wouldn't want to haggle with someone trashy over the cost of a cake. I would just want to be rid of them. B) I would intend on no longer servicing them as a customer, if the cake was completely normal and they simply wanted a free cake. I would want that peace of mind that I was doing the right thing.

southerngal Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 10:59pm
post #7 of 16

I am no professional baker but if it was me she would have to keep cake and i would keep the money. when the cake was delivered to her she could have stated she didnt like the design. not an hour later. no bakery would allow a customer to pick up a cake then bring it back after it has left the shop. u have no idea what she has done to the cake , who has touched it, breathed on it etc... she would just have to suck it up..

cakesbycathy Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 11:10pm
post #8 of 16

I am not going back to pick up the cake. If she is unhappy she can bring it back to you at which point you can politely remind her that she did NOT give you any decorating guidelines and told you to use your best judgement. You did so and therefore she is not entitled to a refund.

shanter Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 11:13pm
post #9 of 16

According to the OP, the client said "a baby shower cake BUT cannot have any wording like Congratulation, Best Wishes ..." but caker put "Welcome our little boy" on the cake--Is that what the customer is complaining about? I don't know why she did not notice this when the cake was delivered and instead "loved it." Her meager instructions evidently weren't followed, but if she loved the cake on delivery and then changed her mind.......I don't know....

Cakeuhlicious Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 11:17pm
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanter

According to the OP, the client said "a baby shower cake BUT cannot have any wording like Congratulation, Best Wishes ..." but caker put "Welcome our little boy" on the cake--Is that what the customer is complaining about? I don't know why she did not notice this when the cake was delivered and instead "loved it." Her meager instructions evidently weren't followed, but if she loved the cake on delivery and then changed her mind.......I don't know....




The customer didn't want anything congratulatory. She didn't get anything congratulatory. I'd say she followed the guidelines she was given just fine.

QTCakes1 Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 11:22pm
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by southerngal

no bakery would allow a customer to pick up a cake then bring it back after it has left the shop.




This is not true. It happens all the time. The customer complains and the bakery gives a refund, then tosses the cake. Bakeries do it all the time. But for a home baker, to cover themselves, they get a contract signed with details.

jason_kraft Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 11:34pm
post #12 of 16

This is exactly why we spell out all the details for every cake (even simple party cakes) and include them in an invoice emailed to the customer, who signs said invoice when they take possession of the cake. When customers have no idea what they want, we get back to them with a design idea via email and they sign off on it before we accept the order.

IMO you should offer a partial refund since you were partially at fault. This is especially true if you are operating illegally (not sure if you are or not), since you don't want to make any enemies who could potentially report you and shut down your business.

Unlimited Posted 11 Jul 2011 , 11:35pm
post #13 of 16

You aren't telling all of the story...

Why all of the details about the writing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by live2create

BUT can not have any wording like Congratulation, Best Wishes
Wrote "Welcome our little boy"




Perhaps they meant NO writing at all or were having a girl. What did they say about the writing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by live2create

what I could do about it. I told her its way to late at night for me to change anything




What did they ask you to do about it? It's way too late at night to change what? (The writing?) It's obvious that the cake would have been acceptable, if you could have accommodated a change in something. We need more of the story.

scp1127 Posted 12 Jul 2011 , 8:50am
post #14 of 16

Most clients will not be confrontational face-to-face. They just aren't that aggressive. Calling you an hour later is what most people would do... or not call you at all and remain dissatisfied. This lady gave you an opportunity to fix it and you declined. This type of customer is the one that can give you glowing reviews when you work with her, or tell everyone how unhappy she was with the product and your willingness to make it right.

When a customer is not sure of the design, even after the money exchange, I still come up with an idea and get approval. I have even sent a phone picture while I was making the cake. I don't even do this with no direction on a free cake for a relative.

Yes, bakeries do give refunds. My policy is satisfaction guaranteed. And if I ever deliver a cake that is not up to standard, I would also return the delivery fee. And I would certainly pick up the cake so that we could discuss the problem. My taste guarantee is very clear so that the customer is not put in a bad spot.

If you drive out to pick up and keep the cake, you need to also bring the full refund check. Working with her will bring a much more satisfactory outcome for both of you.

howsweet Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 9:03pm
post #15 of 16

In the future when a customer gives you nothing to go on, once you've decided what to do, email them a description or sketch. Usually they will either love it start giving you some input.

cakestyles Posted 13 Jul 2011 , 9:10pm
post #16 of 16

Any update on how you handled this OP?

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