mjsirhunter Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 9:50pm
post #1 of

I am in ohio and do have my home bakery license. I am very diligent in making sure that I follow all the guidelines for home bakeries as well. I advertise my Home Bakery on several sites one of which is Craigslist. Well I reposted an listing for my Custom made Birthday cakes this morning and then I just got on there and seen a RE: to my posting.. Here is what it said:

Is your home bakery a licensed home bakery?

Has your bakery been inspected?

Do you have house pets? To get a license from the Ohio Department of Agriculture, you cannot have house pets. Did you know that?

From the looks of your poorly decorated cakes, I'd say you woke up one day, decided you were going to bake cakes to sell, having not looked into any licensure or inspections or any orther legal requirements.

If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it.

These licenses are in place to protect the public from eating the dog or cat hair floating in the air in your trailer, attaching themselves to the icing on the cakes you are selling to the public.

It's nothing to me if you eat the cat and dog hair on your cakes but it's a lot to anyone who might actually buy a cake from you.

In addition, you violated CL TOU, in trying to sell unpackaged foods, and posting a link.


Im not sure how to react to this. I know that I a legal and have gone through all the appropriate steps. I also know that others post for thier homemade goods as well. Weather or not those others are licensed or not is not my concern- Ohio has Cottage foods laws anyways. However I am licensed so that I can sell more than just cakes. On one hand I feel that I dont have to prove anything because I KNOW im legal, However alot of my buissness does come from this craigslist ad and I do not want to loose buissness because someone who doesnt know what they are talking about decided to run thier mouth for all to see. What do I do???

41 replies
dldbrou Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 9:55pm
post #2 of

Can you just delete their comment? If not respond by saying that since they have no problem making false assumptions and unprofessional comments, you refuse to debate anything that has to do with your fully qualified business with them.

jason_kraft Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 9:55pm
post #3 of

I would say you don't have to react to it at all, if you are following the rules for your state you can just ignore it.

I didn't think that messages were publicly visible, but if they are just include in your posting that you are compliant with Ohio home baking license laws. CL is not a great place to advertise anyway, you tend to get mostly price-sensitive customers.

mjsirhunter Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:00pm
post #4 of

I can not remove thier comments. I can only flag them however it still doesnt remove the comments. Im mainly concerned that my buissness will be hurt from this persons posting. While I know that I am legal and my repeat customers know im legal -potential new customers may not want to contact me. My husband says I should respond but I want to do the professional thing.

IvyCakes Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:00pm
post #5 of

You need to find a way to get that comment removed if it's visible to the public. Regardless of it being lies or not, people will view your business as a beat up trailer home ridden with hairy cats and dogs. That's out right slander what they did to you. icon_sad.gif

mjsirhunter Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:04pm
post #6 of

Im not sure how to get the comments removed. I will have to see if there is a way to contact someone that does the posting and removal of posts at craigslist. I know that craigslist customers are price sensitive but I do still pull alot of well paying customers from there. I have been advetising there for a while and never had a problem.

IvyCakes Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:08pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjsirhunter

I can not remove thier comments. I can only flag them however it still doesnt remove the comments. Im mainly concerned that my buissness will be hurt from this persons posting. While I know that I am legal and my repeat customers know im legal -potential new customers may not want to contact me. My husband says I should respond but I want to do the professional thing.




That's horrible someone would be so low as to do that. I bet they don't care about the truth in anything the said, their only goal was to ruin your reputation. :\\ If removing the ad and re-posting it won't fix the problem, I really think you should respond. Just take your time, answer each of their accusations to the point and edit it for any heated emotion. It's really sick people like that will go around trying to kill people's business. icon_mad.gif

You should probably update your ad to contain all that information by default too..cover your bases... Just take a deep breath, and don't let them get the better of you. icon_biggrin.gif

K1976 Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:16pm
post #8 of

Some people are such haters and jealous. Obviously they have too much time on their hands.

mjsirhunter Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:16pm
post #9 of

I have sent an email to the Craigslist people asking for the post to be removed. I will wait to see if I get a response and go from there. My ad does state that I am licensed however I do not have my license number listed. I have my certificate for any one questioning to see when they pay thier deposits, however that has never been an issue. Esp considering Ohio is a Cottoge Foods state anyways. Right now Id like to give the poster of this rediculous post a piece of my mind however I will refrain!

labelle24 Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:18pm

I think that is just awful. People are so brazen and hurtful when there's only a computer in front of them. I completely understand your concern. I would just politely respond with the facts about your your business. As long as you keep your cool and remain professional, potential clients will see that the slanderer is clearly just threatened by your competition and that you are a viable business.

Best of luck to you, and I'm sorry you are being bullied thumbs_up.gif

mjsirhunter Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:29pm

Thanks everyone. The email I got in response to my complaint was a generated automatic email- go figure. It told me to flag it a certain way so thats what Im going to do and see if that works. If not a polite direct response may be what I have to do. The question there then is so I post it for all to see like this poster did or do I respond directly and only to them through email?

labelle24 Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:31pm

For all to see, they don't deserve a response, so it's not for them. It is for your potential clients so that they have the full story, not the fictitious one they posted.

BlueRose8302 Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:32pm

If the comment cannot be removed, I would absolutely respond to this guy! What awful things to say! If this person was standing in front of you I bet he/she would never have the nerve to say such things! I can only imagine that maybe this person feels they have a stake in the bakery business and maybe broke some rules and got in trouble for it and therefore wants to take everyone down. Respond politely and completely. Maybe even offer a (small) discount if they want to order a cake from you! Just make sure you come out on top!

And good for you for being legal to begin with and for not jumping all over the post as soon as you saw it! Always good to have some time to think it over!

Good luck to you! Let us know how it turns out!

jason_kraft Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:33pm

Usually it takes multiple people flagging a post to get rid of it, so it may not disappear for a while (if at all).

If you do respond I would do so publicly. Include your license number and a link to state regs so people can read more about it, and briefly mention how you follow food safety protocols, are insured, etc. If you do have house pets mention the steps you take to ensure they do not contaminate the kitchen.

No matter what you do you will probably lose some business because of this, but again this is par for the course with Craigslist and other free advertising sites. If you want to build your business I recommend abandoning CL and focusing on targeted ads (like Google AdWords, Yelp, etc) and networking with venues and wedding planners.

jgifford Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:33pm

Don't answer the post at all. If you try to argue with this person, it will look like there's something to what they say. And I don't believe bakers are required to post their actual license number, which may not be a good thing to do in this day and age.

It sounds to me like they may be in competition with you (or think they are) and are trying to sabotage you. This is a case of libel; however, proving it will be something else since you have to prove intent to cause harm to you or your reputation.

I would update your ad to include that you are compliant with all applicable laws and regulations. That's about all you can do and maintain a professional attitude about the whole thing. But I would follow up with CL and be persistent.

jason_kraft Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:34pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

And I don't believe bakers are required to post their actual license number, which may not be a good thing to do in this day and age.



Why not?

Spuddysmom Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:38pm

How unfair - I feel awful for you. even if this libelous post is removed, what prevents the person from posting it again? It certainly has the feel of a personal attack, but since all of the comments are so off-base; it seems like a type of form letter this sad/angry person may be sending to home bakers on CL. Good for you for being legal, etc. btw.

MsGF Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:38pm

Maybe it was written by another person who is also a licensed Home Baker. Trying to make you look bad to take your potential customers.

I would respond in a polite but professional manner. Answer all the questions directly and to the point. Try to keep emotion out of it, as much as you'd love to say terrible things. Take the high road, and make it clear in your ad that you are legal and licensed.

Take Care & Good Luck

I'm sorry that has happened to you, it sure isn't very kind or appropriate. But you are a better person then they are.

jgifford Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:41pm

Call me paranoid, but I don't believe anyone other than my actual customers has a need to see my license number. It's prominently posted in my kitchen where my customers can see it. Since the Texas Cottage Food Law doesn't require a license anyway it's a moot point, but I'm very careful about releasing unnecessary information.

jason_kraft Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:52pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

Call me paranoid, but I don't believe anyone other than my actual customers has a need to see my license number. It's prominently posted in my kitchen where my customers can see it. Since the Texas Cottage Food Law doesn't require a license anyway it's a moot point, but I'm very careful about releasing unnecessary information.



The question to ask yourself when releasing information is how much damage that information can do in the wrong hands compared to what information has already been released. Presumably OP already posted contact information as part of the ad, it would be trivial for someone to find out their address through a social engineering attack on either the OP or the state based on the name of the business. The license number provides no new compromising information, but failing to provide a license number could potentially validate the malicious CL poster.

Heck, just from the CC screen name of the OP I was able to find out the name of her business and her phone number, with a trivial investment I would be able to find her address without even bothering with social engineering.

In one of my previous jobs I used to be responsible for IT security...people (and corporations) tend to greatly overestimate the difficulty of finding personal/secret information online.

mjsirhunter Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:54pm

jgifford- I completly agree with you about my licensed number. I recently had a guy get pissy with me because I wouldnt send him my number in an email. I told him that if he would like to order a cake I would gladly show him my License when he paid the deposit but that I was uncomfortable with sending it in an email because it is the basis on which I can provide my services - I almost wonder if It not the same person that posted this horrible post today because he kept emailing me and I finally just stopped responding to him

Texas_Rose Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:54pm

The only way to get a post taken down on CL is for it to get enough flags from different IP addresses. If you post the link here, probably there will be plenty of people willing to flag it for you.

It sounds like another baker going after you, to be honest.

jgifford Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 10:59pm

Jason - - my whole point is that I don't want to find out how much damage could be done. I would rather live in ignorance, I promise. icon_rolleyes.gif

mjsirhunter - - it sounds like you may have hit on the answer. Maybe you ticked off the wrong crazy person?

jason_kraft Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 11:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjsirhunter

jgifford- I completly agree with you about my licensed number. I recently had a guy get pissy with me because I wouldnt send him my number in an email. I told him that if he would like to order a cake I would gladly show him my License when he paid the deposit but that I was uncomfortable with sending it in an email because it is the basis on which I can provide my services - I almost wonder if It not the same person that posted this horrible post today because he kept emailing me and I finally just stopped responding to him



You're probably right, and to be honest I would be a little suspicious about a business that wouldn't tell me their license number until I paid them.

What do you think someone else would be able to do with your license number?

nancyg Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 11:04pm

I would put a flag....and if you can do this in your state do this: We can guide them to our Health Dept rating. Which in turn would tell everyone you do have a legitimate business with a great rating, would also tell them you do not have pet hair etc etc

I too would be happy to flag it if this will help.

So, sorry for you...can't imagine how this made you feel. It obviously is someone who wants to damage your business.

But, let your rating speak for itself. And why don't you have others give you a testimonial family friends etc. or CC friends!!!!

mjsirhunter Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 11:14pm

I advertise a lot of places and yes can be found easily- I dont try to hide. As far what ppl can do with my license number- im not sure that they could do anything. I just think that it a little strange to email a person asking for thier info with no intention of buying from that person. Either way I am happy to report that the post has been removed and hopefully little damage was done because of it. Thanks to all of you for being my "support group" as I contemplated loosing my cool! I do not claim to be the best cake maker in the world but the customers I do have are happy with what I give them and they come back time and time again. Maybe putting a copy of my certificate on my web site would help.

petiterouge42 Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 11:17pm

I am sorry you have to deal with this guy. I had something similar happen a couple of days after Christmas.

Someone tried to post a comment directly on my business website, I'm not sure if they were aware or not but all comments need my review and approval before they post live onto the website. He left his name as John, and his email was something like johndoughscrew@gmail.com.

He didn't get quite as nasty as the person that commented on your craigslist, but he did rapid fire questions about being legal, and owning pets etc, and implying that I was not legal and should not be in business (which I am fully licensed and inspected). This was only a few months after I went into business so I nicely, but firmly responded to the email saying if they wished to ask questions a better format would be to email me directly and please not try to post directly to my website. Then I said I am fully licensed and inspected and am completely compliant with all the rules and regulations of my state and county, and if they wished to place an order or had any further questions feel free to email me. (and if they ever did want to place an order, I would magically be booked for all the dates they needed lol). I never heard from that person again, and haven't had anything like that happen again thankfully.

It gets scary when people try to mess with your business. It definitely feels pretty personal, but in your case it does sound like it could be local competition, or just someone trying to be mean just because they found the opportunity. Or like those scammers that there have been threads about, trying to get money out of you (I have now had two of those so far). Just keep your chin up, and try not to let it get to you, you know you are following all the rules, and as long as your real customers do too, then you are all set.

Is there any way to delete your ad, and repost it? That might clear out the message he left. Hope it all works out!

HootersAlicia Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 11:18pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjsirhunter

From the looks of your poorly decorated cakes, I'd say you woke up one day, decided you were going to bake cakes to sell, having not looked into any licensure or inspections or any orther legal requirements.




May I just take a moment to say that your cakes aren't poorly decorated? This is one of the lines of the letter that aggravates me the most. We all put so much time and effort into our cakes and we see WAY more flaws in our own work than anyone else does that it's hard enough to put them out there for the world to see. I appreciate constructive feedback, but this malicious slander is deplorable.

petiterouge42 Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 11:18pm

Sorry, didn't see that the comment came down before I posted. Congrats on getting it taken down!
thumbs_up.gif

mjsirhunter Posted 21 Feb 2012 , 11:24pm

Thank you HootersAlicia - That line did sting however I told myself that not everyone has to like my cakes. It good to hear a little validation there- so thanks!

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