How Do You Compensate Your Customers When You Deliver The Wr

Business By DragonFly2333 Updated 24 Aug 2011 , 5:02pm by jules5000

DragonFly2333 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 5:25am
post #1 of 60

My brother got married this past weekend and they had the wrong flavor cake. They were to have a chocolate cake with chocolate filling but got vanilla with raspberry filling.

In the scheme of the day Im sure many would say dont sweat it, BUT the response he got from the baker was quite surprising.

Little background..these bakers are a couple who bake out of their home. They have one assistant. I found them almost two years ago and have fallen in love with their cake, talent and professional products. Obviously my brother/SIL were thrilled to use them since they have seen and tasted their work. Since I found them two years ago they won a local baking contest held by a very well known/popular baker and were offered to join a reality cake show. They declined the offer b/c they did not want to deal with the growth, but their prices went up as a result of this accomplishment, understandably.

When I finally got to see the cake at the reception I was disappointed b/c it do not look nearly as refined as the cakes I have gotten from them. And then when they cut it, I was floored it was not chocolate. Clearly someone dropped the ball on this cake.

Yes, the cake was do you have your wedding guests watch you cut the cake and then not serve it???

My brother called the baker and the baker told him neither he nor his wife did the cake nor did they supervise the cake being made, their assistant did it all, down to the delivery.


I cant believe the baker admitted they had nothing to do with the cake. They were paid for THEIR work. I can see having an assistant do some work or even all of it with their supervision, but to admit they didnt even sign off on the end product (which explains the unrefined look) is rather baffling to me.

Out of curiosity, before I tell you what they offered as compensation, Id like to hear what you bakers offer in return for your mistakes.

59 replies
scp1127 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 5:28am
post #2 of 60

Full refund immediately with a sincere apology, hoping the guests enjoyed the cake anyway.

Annabakescakes Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 6:23am
post #3 of 60

Same as spc1127. And I would hope they insisted on less, lol! But i would offer.

Bettyviolet101 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 6:27am
post #4 of 60

Assuming there was a contract and all that jazz you have every right to a full refund. They did not keep up their end of the bargain. Thats nuts!!

LKing12 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 7:28am
post #5 of 60

Well you know that there is probably another wedding party with the incorrect flavors! My bakery, my assistant-my problem. Total refund.

cakestyles Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 11:27am
post #6 of 60

Yup full refund but I have a feeling that's not what they offered.

leah_s Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 11:30am
post #7 of 60

agree with everyone else. Full refund - for the tier that was wrong (or the whole cake if it was one flavor.)

myslady Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 1:55pm
post #8 of 60

Full refund. Also unless it was specifically stated in a contract they paid the shop to do the work not the owners. Thats the purpose of hiring an assistant to give some of the work to them.

jenmat Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 2:19pm
post #9 of 60

yeah, I agree that if it is my assistant, then it is MY problem. What are you supposed to do, go after the assistant? They may be growing too fast and aren't ready to handle the risks and realities of having a business with employees.

I wouldn't let it go if I were you- if you get cakes from them all the time, I would at least find out if you can get a refund or a certificate for cakes in the future.

What a bummer.

LKing12 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 4:06pm
post #10 of 60

So, what is the rest of the story?

knlcox Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 4:22pm
post #11 of 60

I believe an assistant is an extension of the person or people they are assisting. It's the baker's responsibility to ensure that their assistants work is as good as or near as good as the baker. I believe an assistant is there to assist and not bake and decorate an entire cake that is being paid for. FULL REFUND! You did not get what you paid for.

carmijok Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 4:22pm
post #12 of 60

Let me guess...they said since you ate the cake, it wasn't their responsibility to provide a refund. Also since no one said anything when they made the delivery, they assumed everything was OK.

And if this indeed is what happened, I urge you to not let this go. They gave you the wrong cake! And it was not up to their usual standards! I would ask them if something like this had happened at their weddings, how would they respond and what would they expect?

ranae5463 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 4:36pm
post #13 of 60

I agree with other posters - this is no different than working in the office enviornment. When a mistake is made, the employee is told about it, but ultimately it is still on the manager's shoulders to correct and make the situation right for the customer.

So, OP - what was the result? Don't keep us in suspense... icon_confused.gif

tcbalgord Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 4:44pm
post #14 of 60

At my real job, other people take the majority of the orders and then I make them. If a mistake is made that is not my error, but the order takers, it still rolls onto me and then rolls onto my boss. The assistant is the extension of the store. I would NEVER allow my assistant to make an entire cake, in fact if you watch any of the cake shows, the cakers are always checking the work of their people and if it isn't up to par, it's re-done.

God forbid this kinda mistake ever happens to me or any of you, I would offer a full refund, deepest apologies and I would be so mortified that I would probably even discount a future cake. (I tend to over compensate! lol)

tiptop57 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 5:06pm
post #15 of 60

Wow, well now then icon_surprised.gif

......that was a breach of contract and would let them know it.

I bet no money was returned..........

xoxoemilyrae Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 7:37pm
post #16 of 60

Definitely full refund atleast. What would have happened if there had been an allergy problem? I'm allergic to raspberries so if I ordered a chocolate cake and got white w/ raspberry I wouldn't have even been able to eat my cake. Same with my sister-in-law. She's actually allergic to chocolate. So if she orders a white/raspberry and gets chocolate shes screwed.

This is definitely not a small mistake. I'd give a full refund plus % off on a future order.

(edited for spelling mistake)

CakeMom5001 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 8:00pm
post #17 of 60

What did the bakery offer? Did they offer a full refund? or at least part?

kakeladi Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 8:18pm
post #18 of 60

Oh yes, do tell us what is the outcome of this screw-up?
I agree w/everyone else - TOTAL refund is expected.

jules5000 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 8:23pm
post #19 of 60

well, I certainly would give a full refund(counting the deposit.) What is a bride and groom to do when they finally get around to cutting the cake at a reception, most of the guests have been waiting a while. if you cut into a cake and it is not what you ordered, what the heck are you supposed to do? Call the bakery? they probably wouldn't answer even if they were there. if it was a weekday afternoon, there might be a chance, but do they give out a private # to get ahold of them in case of a problem? most likely not. So even if you wanted to get ahold of them to tell them the problem before the cake was served you couldn't do it. So, yes, unless they had a # that they could get ahold of the person responsible(the one who took the money) and tell them of the problem than serve the cake and call the bakery first thing Monday morning. When a cake is delivered to a venue the bride and groom and most likely even the parents of the couple are not going to be around to know that it is not the right cake. So that would be a lousy excuse. the parents of the couple are usually kept very busy with other task in the last hours before the wedding. I hope you let us know the results soon and I also hope that no one lets them get by with less then a full refund. Just because they are "big" now does not men that they owe their customers less then a wonderful cake. Done by either them or the assistant.

DragonFly2333 Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 10:05pm
post #20 of 60

Sorry, didnt mean to keep you in suspense. Had to work today.

The cake was (and was meant to be) all one flavor.

It was 4 tiers, square.

We didn't know it was the wrong flavor until they cut the cake.

There was a contract.they just have the multi carbon copy sheets that you sign at the bottom. Drawing and info is all on this sheet. If you make changes you get the next layer. Nothing with fine print, let alone lawyer approved.

The cake cost $1100 and the baker originally offered a $200 refund. My brother was not taking that offer. They went back and forth, my brother was pushing for $600, but my SIL was happy when they finally offered $500. So a $500 refund was issued.

Not sure what exactly was said, this is a guy after all relaying the info to me icon_biggrin.gif

Never thought about the food allegories.

Thanks for responding. Ive read a lot of things on here about contracts and wither or not the cake was consumed, but never recalled reading how a baker handled providing the wrong flavor cake.

Still shocked the baker admitted they didnt do the work!

BlakesCakes Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 10:34pm
post #21 of 60

I'm glad to hear that they got the $500, but I honestly think they should have gotten a full refund.

To have an entire, 4 tier cake, be the wrong flavor is unbelievable--maybe one tier would merit a partial refund, but not for the whole cake!

Sounds like the pair is a bit full of themselves. If it's their business and their assistant, then it's THEIR problem.

I hope it's worth it to their business for the bad internet & verbal reviews that the couple is sure to provide to others. I know I'd be telling anyone who would listen--and I'd be inclined to either not tell them about the refund or to make sure that they knew I'd had to pry it from their cold, incompetent hands icon_mad.gif


carmijok Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 10:34pm
post #22 of 60

Oh my God, I'd refuse that $500 and take them to small claims court if necessary. If they've taken the money they've screwed themselves out of an additional refund.

And if that is the case I would write the most scathing letter to the owners of that bakery and let them know that as a previous good customer that has referred their business to many friends that have indeed used their services, that you will not only no longer be able to refer them in good conscience, but that you will write a review of this situation whenever and wherever the opportunity presents itself.

Their growing pains should not be taken out on customers. If they are no longer able to provide the same quality service and cake, then they should consider scaling back their operation or be prepared to lose the business they have built.

Shame on them for treating this situation and the bride so shabbily! Yes, they'd lose money...but the cost of that cake could cost them dearly down the road! And the lawsuits that could have occurred had there indeed been an allergy issue!
They are very lucky on that one for sure.

I would not only send an email, but would send a hard copy, signed letter directly to all persons involved in this.

Actually, I think I'd hand it to the owner directly face to face. Phone calls and emails are a nice buffer for those on the receiving end of bad news. Sometimes a little face time can net a whole lot more satisfaction!

xoxoemilyrae Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 11:05pm
post #23 of 60

Definately wouldn't have taken the $500. Either they gave me a full refund or I would have taken them to small claims. They delivered the wrong product. Its unacceptable to the bride and groom and it should have been unacceptable to the bakery. If they pais $1100 they didn't even get a 50% refund!

And I can't stop thinking of the allergy complications! Had I been the bride and my husband cut the cake and shoved it in my face assuming its chocolate, I would have been in a heap of trouble. And imagine the lawsuits if a bride dies because you gave her raspberry instead of chocolate! They're out way more than $1100. I just can't even grasp how this bakery thought this wasn't a big deal.

xoxoemilyrae Posted 18 Aug 2011 , 11:10pm
post #24 of 60
Originally Posted by DragonFly2333

Still shocked the baker admitted they didnt do the work!

Wait. Just saw this. Your brother and SIL paid for THEM to make the cake. Not their assistant. Unless it was explicitly spelled out in the contract that the assistant would be making the entire cake, I would have demanded a refund for that fact alone! $1100 is a lot to pay for an assistant doing an inferior job.

Jenniferkay Posted 19 Aug 2011 , 12:18am
post #25 of 60

I think that those of us that have assistants, me included, are still the lead on the decorating process on a wedding. They are one of the most important cakes we do. An assistant may be doing pieces of the cake (baking, torting, applique or pearls etc). Now I can see letting an assistant take the lead and do start to finish a birthday cake, say. In no way would I want to just sit back and sign off on a wedding cake though. Eek!

I think a full refund is in order. They dropped the ball from start to finish. .

QTCakes1 Posted 19 Aug 2011 , 12:48am
post #26 of 60
Originally Posted by xoxoemilyrae

Originally Posted by DragonFly2333

Still shocked the baker admitted they didnt do the work!

Wait. Just saw this. Your brother and SIL paid for THEM to make the cake. Not their assistant. Unless it was explicitly spelled out in the contract that the assistant would be making the entire cake, I would have demanded a refund for that fact alone! $1100 is a lot to pay for an assistant doing an inferior job.

This would never wash. LOTS of bakers/decorators have assistants that do the whole cake alone. You hired my BUSINESS to do the cake, not the person. And though I would have gave a full refund, I seriously doubt if they went to court, they would have got more then they recieved.Why? Cause the design was right AND they ate the cake, which does have value.

KoryAK Posted 19 Aug 2011 , 1:59am
post #27 of 60

I'm with QTCakes. I have a business and it is staffed my several people who do all different parts. Sometimes my assistant does the whole cake and sometimes (albeit rarely) a cake goes out that I did not see. But this is because I know my assistant and trust her to put out a good product. If something came back bad that was her fault you had better believe I'm gonna suck it up and make it right with the customer.

costumeczar Posted 19 Aug 2011 , 2:12am
post #28 of 60

I would have given a full refund and spent the rest of the weekend huddled in bed feeling like a total idiot.

But it's not unusual for businesses to have different people doing different things. One of the selling points that I use with clients is that they know that I'm the one who will be making their cake, not an assistant. If they don't tell you for sure that one specific person will be making it that's not necessarily going to be the case.

jules5000 Posted 19 Aug 2011 , 2:22am
post #29 of 60

I am with the ones that believe a full refund was due. Like I said before, how do you get ahold of the bakers of the cake and tell them at the reception, after cutting the cake and finding out it was the wrong one and say Hold everything, everyone, we were given the wrong cake? You don't. As someone else mentioned, what if there were allergies involved? unless that man and woman who had the business were available for your brother and sister-in-law to call when they discovered the mistake and unless they provided the phone # to get ahold of them in case of a problem then they are still at fault even if the cake is eaten. I believe that even in a small claims court that they would have gotten more than $500.00. Because if there was not a number provided to get ahold of them in case of a problem at any time, how do you let them know at the reception that the wrong cake was delivered. You ordered white with Raspberry not cho. with cho. Do you think that a small claims court would actually expect someone to not eat the cake or their guests in order that they would get a full refund? I think that even small claims courts would use more common sense than that. If your brother and SIL took their contract and their story to small claims court instead of accepting the $500. I believe that they would have been given the full refund. But as you mentioned before that you could let them know that because of their stinginess and being full of themselves that they have lost not only previous clients that referred other people to them, but they have also lost a lot of other possible income because you are going to let everyone know that you can, what happened and that will for sure be negative publicity that most companies can't afford. If they don't pay attention to that and give your brother and SIL the rest of the refund then I guess that they are going to learn the hard way.

gatorcake Posted 19 Aug 2011 , 2:24am
post #30 of 60
Originally Posted by QTCakes1

This would never wash. LOTS of bakers/decorators have assistants that do the whole cake alone. You hired my BUSINESS to do the cake, not the person. And though I would have gave a full refund, I seriously doubt if they went to court, they would have got more then they recieved.Why? Cause the design was right AND they ate the cake, which does have value.

Yes but your business is representing the ability to produce particular quality of craftsmanship just as this business would have been. And the OP noted that not only was the flavor of the entire cake wrong, the quality of the decorating was not consistent with what s/he had come to expect (which served as the basis for the referral. I do not care if the assistant does it but the decorator better have an assistant that can produce the quality of work s/he would have represented in their portfolio.

Quality of the design matters as much as the design. (If not then why do folks spend time improving their skills?) They represented that their business could produce a particular level of craftsmanship that at least to the OP was absent from this cake (no matter who made it). So if they put something in an assistant's hand and they could not execute the quality of work as represented by the business, it may not matter that they did not make it, it would matter that their business did not execute the quality of the work they advertised they could do.

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