Delectability Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 12:46am
post #1 of

Hey all,

I'm thinking I need to refund the cake (which I haven't figured out if I put it in the contract.)

I'd like to offer her a free cake on the next event because of business finances so it makes me wonder how long you should hold onto the payment before using it. The cake settled on the way there, I gave her the invoice and she noticed the settling, took the cake and said her daughter hadn't arrived yet.

She wasn't thrilled but didn't tell me to take it back, but she was in front of people and probably didn't want to make a scene.

I cried the whole way home.

I really apparently suck and want to quit and I just got my license this year.

So now I don't have the money to refund her and it was a disaster.. why didn't they just tell us to take it back when we were there?

Here is an edited copy of the email:

Hello this is xxxxxx my daughter was not happy with the cake I am not sure how much experience you have in doing cakes but that cake looked nothing like the pictures you showed me and everyone in this place that looked at the cake agreed with me. We were truly disappointed because this cake wasnt worth 97.00.

So what to do???

She wanted it in pink and we did in purple per their requests.
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21 replies
kelleym Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 1:09am
post #2 of

Oh sweetheart, this sounds like a rough one. I once had a wedding cake partially collapse on the way to the venue (the last time I ever used wooden dowels in a tiered cake) so I know the feeling. The picture didn't show up, so I'm not sure how bad it was. If you know it was unacceptable, and the customer wasn't happy, then a refund of some amount is in order.

Without seeing it, I can't say now what percent I would personally offer. Yes, it puts customers in a very bad situation to be handed a cake that isn't up to snuff, but it's the only cake they have.

msthang1224 Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 1:16am
post #3 of

I'm so sorry that this happened to you icon_sad.gif I could only imagine the feeling BUT, Kelleym is right, Its hard to put a figure on what you should refund, if there is no picture. Will you be able or up to adding a picture for us to see and try to assist you?

Again, I'm soooo sorry. i hope that you don't give up on what you love to do. We all have had days where something hasn't gone to our liking and we had to just keep moving. There have been times when I have wanted to give up but, I always talk myself out of it by saying, THIS IS WHAT I LOVE TO DO AND IT MAKES ME HAPPY< SO I WONT GIVE UP!!!

Don't give up!!!

BizCoCos Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 1:26am
post #4 of

Apologize and refund her as much money as you are able to at this time, so sorry this happened, then make her a smaller cake when you take her the money. These things happen, take care.

costumeczar Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 1:31am
post #5 of

I just finished writing a series on money management for cake businesses and this is the kind of thing that happens a lot...I advise not to spend any of the money that you collect until the cake is delivered and fine. I know it's hard to do if you're just starting out, but in a situation like this you'd be able to refund the entire amount if you needed to, without dipping into your personal money. http://www.acaketorememberva.blogspot.com/2012/01/keeping-money-in-bank.html

Personally, I'd refund the entire amount if I had delivered something that I knew wasn't right, and they then complained about it. It's one thing if you had delivered everything and it was exactly what they had ordered and in perfect condition, but if you knew it wasn't up to par I'm afraid that you're on the hook for it. If I was the customer I wouldn't be happy with a free cake for an upcoming event (I just finished writing about that too for an upcoming post.) If I wasn't happy with the product I wouldn't want more of it, sorry to say. I'd just give the refund and let it be a learning experience, unfortunately. icon_sad.gif

Delectability Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 1:55am
post #6 of

http://cakecentral.com/gallery/2261738/16th-bday-before-the-drive

This was at the house... The top just sort of sank down.. I wonder if I"m cutting the dowel rods too short.

I'll talk to my husband (biz partner) and the customer and see what they want to do...

Sigh.... I have a car cake and a consult tomorrow and another cake on Tuesday. I'm totally quitting after this. I've found it quite apparent that I'm a better baker than decorator and this is the first person to complain.

kelleym Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:12am
post #7 of

I am going to say this in the spirit of truly offering you help, not to be mean. You should offer a full refund, and if you can't do it all now, talk with the customer and work out a payment plan.

All is not lost. You do have talent. All you need is more practice. Make cakes for friends and family for cost for a while, and build up your portfolio and your skill level. You CAN be a success. You said you're a better baker than a decorator - what about homestyle dessert cakes? You might explore the demand for those in your area.

AZCouture Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:17am
post #8 of

I would say you could benefit from some time off, some good instructional DVD's and perhaps some hands on instruction. Then you can go back at it and kick some butt.

msthang1224 Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:21am
post #9 of

It's a pretty cake. Could it have been the temp in the area where you were keeping the cake?

did the cake sank around the sides or from the top?

Yes, talk with your hubby and yr customer and see what you all can agree upon icon_smile.gif

I know that giving up is the easiest thing to do when you come to a problem BUT like you said, this is yr very 1st complaint. Why would you want/let yr 1st complaint STOP you from going on. Along the way, you will have mishaps etc etc but you learn hope to push forward from them and strive to be even better or do better the next time. Redeem yrself to yrself with the upcoming cakes that yr going to be doing. DONT LET ONE CAKE STOP YOU FROM DOING WHAT YLOU LOVE TO DO!!!

Its hard to stay positive but thats whatyr family, friends and cake friends are here for!!!!

FavorChoc Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:25am

Really? I think a 16 year old would like this cake. I know how you feel, you've put so much work into it and it's not appreciated. I think I would try to talk to them and learn from the experience. Tell them you'd like to know what they are dissatisfied with and chalk it down as a learning experience. I find that when there is money involved the expectations are perfectionism. I usually tell them in advance that things can happen and that I will supply them with the best product I can. I think I would refund the money.

Annabakescakes Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:26am
Quote:
Originally Posted by kelleym

I am going to say this in the spirit of truly offering you help, not to be mean. You should offer a full refund, and if you can't do it all now, talk with the customer and work out a payment plan.

All is not lost. You do have talent. All you need is more practice. Make cakes for friends and family for cost for a while, and build up your portfolio and your skill level. You CAN be a success. You said you're a better baker than a decorator - what about homestyle dessert cakes? You might explore the demand for those in your area.




I agree. With your licence, you are allowed to get compensated for supplies. You will get to the point where your skills are up to the point where you can charge, but for now the customer needs a refund.

BizCoCos Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:30am

By the way, if the cake ha not buckled, it would have been worth way over 97 bucks, what size tiers?

step0nmi Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:35am

i am actually thinking you needed some dowels or support under the really heavy bow. so sorry this has happened to you icon_sad.gif i do think a PARTIAL refund is in order. ask to see pictures...if they served they cake then they at least need to pay for cost of supplies

AZCouture Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:37am
Quote:
Originally Posted by BizCoCos

By the way, if the cake ha not buckled, it would have been worth way over 97 bucks, what size tiers?


I'm willing to bet the cake shown to the customer was uniform in tier height, it wasn't sitting on an unfinished cardboard, and wasn't misshapen around the tops.

Those are a huge things. I would have been upset too. Like was previously mentioned, OP needs some work. A few things cleaned up, and it would have been great. But this cake, in the state we see it now before the disaster even happened is just not something I would be happy with, nor would I expect a customer to be either.

It's not a bad thing to need work. I need work in areas, and so I practice. I wouldn't try to sell a Lambeth design, nor pass myself off as a sugar flower artist without being well versed in either.

ReneeFLL Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:41am

What did the picture look like that you showed her when she first ordered the cake? Was it much different from the cake you gave her?

kelleym Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:45am
Quote:
Originally Posted by step0nmi

i am actually thinking you needed some dowels or support under the really heavy bow. so sorry this has happened to you icon_sad.gif i do think a PARTIAL refund is in order. ask to see pictures...if they served they cake then they at least need to pay for cost of supplies



This is an oft-repeated sentiment, but I've come to the point where I don't agree. The OP showed up with a cake that was clearly damaged and sub-par. There was no time for the customer to go buy another cake. The OP said there were people around when she arrived, and the customer was not happy and probably uncomfortable. The customer was in a no-win situation. Telling her she has to pay for the ingredients because she served it is just a big "GOTCHA". icon_sad.gif

BizCoCos Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 2:49am

Sorry full refund is due, what else are you suppossed to do but accept a cake if the event is right now, not tomorrow or next week. OP does not have to give up caking, just practice, practice, practice.

Annabakescakes Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 3:03am

Big ditto to the last two posts. It was cake, so it was eaten. Guests were already there! Where is she going to get another cake?

bellacakecreations Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 3:23am

I'm so sorry that this happened. I do agree that they deserve a full refund but DO NOT let this end your business. Take some time, practice, and learn from those mistakes. I have only been doing cakes for a few years but things happen. In the future just make sure to give yourself enough time to start over if you need to. Research every aspect and if something begins to go wrong figure it out and fix it asap. For me personally the biggest thing has been learning how to plan out my time well so that you can fix things before the cake is delivered. Honestly CC'ers have helped me so much. I guarantee if you ask for help with enough time to fix it someone in here can help you. Cry it out, take a deep breath, and focus on making the next one as perfect as it can be. thumbs_up.gif

Cakery2012 Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 3:40am

(((HUGS))) The picture looks great . chalk it up to experience .Im baking cupcakes and cakepops for my nephews girlfriends baby shower then driving them 180 miles . Im sort of nervous something will get screwed up .

Annabakescakes Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 7:03am
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakery2012

(((HUGS))) The picture looks great . chalk it up to experience .Im baking cupcakes and cakepops for my nephews girlfriends baby shower then driving them 180 miles . Im sort of nervous something will get screwed up .




Rather than saying it looks great, I would say it is a great start.

scp1127 Posted 5 Feb 2012 , 7:34am

Not to OP, but in general, don't insult the customer with a partial refund because they ate it. They had no choice. Guests were there and dessert had to be served. If you charge a premium price, you should deliver no lees than a premium product, as expected. But for those who do offer partials because they ate a sub-par cake, all of you new cakers need to thank these bakers for sending their dissatisfied customers your way.

Besides that above advice posted earlier, I agree with what has already been said. Don't spend the money until all is well. And they may not get to you for a few days. Cake is not a top priority. I use Paypal for the very reason that a customer can freeze their purchase price if dissatisfied. Bad word of mouth will hurt you much longer and cause you to lose much more money than the cost of any cake.

Make sure your experience in both decorating and structure are at a level where they are ready for sale. Instead of quitting, why not just take the simpler cakes and refer the rest until yo feel confident. I happily refer more than I make, giving the web address. phone number, and the name of the bakery that can execute the desired cake perfectly.

WE all have to learn and learning costs time and money. It can take years before someone is ready to sell their products. But just remember, they expect a premium product, because that is how you portray it and how you charge for it.

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