Should I Give Deposit Back?

Business By fl_cake_lover Updated 20 Oct 2011 , 2:48pm by cai0311

fl_cake_lover Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 4:57pm
post #1 of 13

An out-of-state bride paid a $25 rental fee and gave me $75 for the refundable deposit on some equipment (stands). I waited to get my equipment back, and of course she left town, and they are at the venue. I've had to now call the event planners to set up a meeting date, and I will have to go a few miles out of my way to get them when I drive to work. Should I keep the entire $75 or a portion?

My contract states that I will keep the money if they are not returned by x date, but they didn't sign it when they did their tasting in May. They were going to another baker, returned home, and then decided to use me. On my invoice it says on the bottom, $75 will be refunded when equipment is returned BUT I forgot to put the date. Since I have to get them, the stands weren't "returned". What would you do with the money?

12 replies
ConfectionsCC Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 5:04pm
post #2 of 13

EEhh thats a hairy one, but since they did not sign it, and you did not state it in the invoice that it would be due by x date, it seems you have no proof that they don't deserve it back! You could try to fight it saying that they left it, but maybe someone else can answer how to handle that! I would not want to refund them because it was never returned to you, its THEIR responsibility to return it, not the venue's, not the wedding planner.

ReneeFLL Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 5:07pm
post #3 of 13

I would keep $25.00 out of the $75.00 for your hassle. Since you don't have a signed contract it might be illegal, but does she want the hassle over the $25.00? Hopefully she will understand from where you are coming from and let it go at that.

indydebi Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 5:10pm
post #4 of 13

Agree that the hairy point is nothing is signed, but did you discuss this with them when they booked? A verbal contract is just as binding, just harder to prove. I've kept deposits for equipmdent that got returned "eventually". icon_confused.gif

KoryAK Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 6:01pm
post #5 of 13

I say keep a part, but you really shouldn't keep the whole thing if, in the end, you got the equipment back to use again.

indydebi Posted 17 Oct 2011 , 6:37pm
post #6 of 13
Originally Posted by KoryAK

I say keep a part, but you really shouldn't keep the whole thing if, in the end, you got the equipment back to use again.

Kory is one of the folks on my list of "people whose busienss sense I highly admire" but allow me to add a "for instance" in this thought.....

My "not returned on time" almost caused me to have to order another silver plateau for the wedding I needed the followiong weekend. I was seriously within just a few minutes of picking up the phone to place the order when the equipment came back in my front door. what if they had returned it yet another week later? I would have been out the cost of a new plateau that I didn't need. So the idea that I got it back "eventually" doesn't cover the cost of undue expenditure for a new one and the add'l costs in tracking it down.

Just adding my experience for others to consider as they formulate their own policies. icon_smile.gif

cakelady2266 Posted 19 Oct 2011 , 3:03am
post #7 of 13

I would call, write or email the client and explain (kindly) due to the equipment not being returned to you on time and you had to retrieve yourself there would be a only a partial return of the deposit.

This is the very reason I stopped renting out my cakes stands. No one could seem to get them back on time or unharmed. I simply tired of calling, meeting and running down my stuff. Most brides have a need for table linens, tents, chairs and other things, so they can just add the cake stand to the list and the rental company can pick it up when they collect the other rental items.

FabBrunette Posted 19 Oct 2011 , 4:59am
post #8 of 13

Has she asked for the deposit back?

TexasSugar Posted 19 Oct 2011 , 2:26pm
post #9 of 13

I had the same question as Fab.

My first thoughts is your invoice did say 'returned' not picked up, so even if you are getting it back, you aren't getting it backed in a timely fashion and you are having to make phone calls, set up meetings and go out of the way yourself to pick them up.

KoryAK Posted 19 Oct 2011 , 5:36pm
post #10 of 13

Not that this helps the OP, but here's how I do it: They pay a deposit of $150 to rent the stand. The weekly rental fee is $25. Did you see it was weekly? They have 7 days (day they get it is day 1) to return it for $125 back, then next week it's $100, then $75... etc.... this compensates me for the PIA of having to think about the missing stand and making some phone calls. It also helps pay for the stands. I have 40+ cake plateaus and cupcake stands in inventory and multiples of the popular ones. It rarely comes down to me having to rush purchase a new stand to replace one I thought would be back.

Smaller stands like the wire cupcake ones have the same policy, just lower deposit and rental amounts.

If I had a situation like the OP, I would not charge extra to pick it up IF the stand was somewhere I needed to go (or very close) anyway. If it was out of my way, I would inform the bride that someone (maybe even staff at that place?) could bring it back or I could go get it for $X (our in-town delivery charge is $20 so I would would probably charge that).

MCurry Posted 19 Oct 2011 , 6:12pm
post #11 of 13

I would not keep the full $75 based on what you stated - they didn't sign anything and you forgot to put the date on the invoice. It really becomes your word against their on whether you discussed it with them and they could always deny even getting a copy of the invoice (sounds crazy but if they want their money back so I am never surprised anymore what people do or say).

Consider calculating your round trip mileage to go pick up the item and deduct that from the deposit since you mentioned the venue is out of your way. The IRS mileage rate is $.55 cent per mile right now but check online to confirm.

Look on the positive side, use the pick up as a networking opportunity with venue to get more business! Let us know what you decide to do.

fl_cake_lover Posted 20 Oct 2011 , 5:51am
post #12 of 13

I called the venue a few times, went there once, and came home empty-handed. Emailed the bride, and she said "That's weird," and told me to call the event planner. She also mentioned wanting to post some positive feedback about the cakes AND gave me the address where I could send the money.

Went back the next day, talked to two different people, got a lecture that it's not the venue's responsibility (duh), and came home with everything. Afterwards I sent an email to the bride telling her all is well and that I will be sending her some emails from Wedding Wire and The Knot. Afterwards I mentioned that I would only be returning $50. No word from her yet...and no reviews. Think she will give me 5 stars now? LOL!

Thanks for all of your helpful hints for next time! I will be adding a penalty payment after due date for all equipment like someone suggested and deduct $10 from their deposit for each day an item is not returned.

What a nightmare...I mean learning experience. icon_biggrin.gif

cai0311 Posted 20 Oct 2011 , 2:48pm
post #13 of 13

Glad everything worked out.

I had a similar situation last month. Bride ordered her wedding cupcakes from me and rented my 5 tier wood custom made stand that spins. She paid a $175 deposit and is returned when I get the stand back. Stand must be returned within 3 days of the event to get your money back. I know 3 days is not that long of a time but until this bride, everyone has returned the stand in time. $175 is a good chunk of money to walk away from. Plus, I use this stand all the time and if there is any damage I have to have time to get it fixed before the next time I need it.

So, of course this couple leaves the stand in their car and heads to Mexico for their honeymoon. I needed the stand the next weekend for an order so when they didn't return my voicemails/emails I started to get nervous. I called the bride's and groom's moms to see if they even knew where the stand was. That is how I learned it was in the car...I don't know how she got it out of the car but Friday night (5 days after the wedding and 1 day before I needed the stand) the groom's mom shows up at my door with the stand. I didn't bring up the deposit because the bride paid it and that was something I knew I had to discuss with the bride.

That Sunday (2 days after I got the stand back) I got a call from the bride asking when a good time would be to drop the stand off. I told her the groom's mom already brought it to me Friday (I don't know how they didn't see it wasn't in the car - the stand takes up the entire back seat). She said "so you just gave her the deposit." I said "no, according to the contract you signed you had 3 days to get the stand back to me inorder to get the deposit back." I was going to then say "I know weddings are stressful and details can be overlooked so I will offer you 50% back" but before I could say anything she starts yelling at me and says "whatever, you now have your sh!t back" and hung up. I did not call her back to off the partial refund.

She left me a nasty review on the knot but I emailed the knot stating (in a calm, professional way) what in the review was not correct and attached a copy of the contract the bride signed. The knot removed the review the next day.

Now, to be honest, in your situation I would have just refunded all the deposit because the bride didn't sign the paperwork and, most importantly, there was no date to say when the stand needed to be back. I would have considered that hard lesson learned and from now on make sure everything is filled out and signed.

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