cakelady2266 Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 12:33am
post #1 of

My contract is young and still learning, lol. The first line in my contract states "your deposit reserves your date and is non refundable." That seems pretty simple but now I find myself in a bit perplexed.

Two months ago I met with a bride, her mother and father for 3 hours, the wedding date was May 12th. They left without making a deposit. The bride contacting me a couple weeks later stating that she would like to book me. I emailed her the contract and the amount of the deposit. Her father dropped by with the signed contract and ask how much for the deposit. I told him the deposit was $100 but he wanted to write the check for $300, so I said ok. I deposited the check and went on about my business. This past Sunday night (4/15) the bride emailed me and said the wedding was cancelled. She ask if her father could get the additional $200 back.

My husband says I should give him back $200, it's good business. My thing is, in addition to the 3 hour meeting, sketching and emailing ideas to her, I turned down another wedding. Normally I will do more than one wedding but her cake was for 300 people and outside. The wedding I turned down was 50 miles away and outside as well.

So what do I do?

18 replies
CWR41 Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 12:53am
post #2 of

If he paid more than the required $100 non-refundable deposit, he'd get a refund for the additional paid towards the cake that won't be made.

BlakesCakes Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 12:53am
post #3 of

Personally, I never pay more than I'm asked for at the time, but that said, I would return the $200 voluntary overpayment.

Had you felt at the time that you needed a larger deposit, specifically because it was a large wedding and you would be planning to do only that cake, then you should have put that in the contract at signing.

The poor man shouldn't be penalized for being........thoughtful.

Rae

QTCakes1 Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 1:04am
post #4 of

For future purposes put in your contract that "All monies paid are non transferable and non refundable". I am not sure if it was a $200 cake or if you just have a standard $100 deposit, but I also require a 50% deposit of the order total.

traci_doodle Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 1:20am
post #5 of

I have to agree with the others. I'm not in business, but your contract only states that the deposit is non-refundable, and the deposit was $100. I'd give him the $200 back. It seems that a lot of people require 50% to hold the date. Maybe you could do that in the future. Bummer about the loss of their business, but you still have a month. Maybe a last minute bride will be grateful for the opening. icon_smile.gif

mom2twogrlz Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 1:33am
post #6 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlakesCakes

Personally, I never pay more than I'm asked for at the time, but that said, I would return the $200 voluntary overpayment.

Had you felt at the time that you needed a larger deposit, specifically because it was a large wedding and you would be planning to do only that cake, then you should have put that in the contract at signing.

The poor man shouldn't be penalized for being........thoughtful.

Rae




I agree. He gave extra in good faith, probably trying to cut down on the expenses closer to the wedding. I get that, I like to do the same for certain things. He should not be out the extra $200 just because he was trying to be proactive. Poor guy.

lorieleann Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 1:59am
post #7 of

This is a $200 lesson learned. Give him the money back as your contract states.

cakelady2266 Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 2:53am
post #8 of

The terms of my contract doesn't state $100 deposit, that is verbal. But I think I should change that immediately. Since it was going to be a $1000 worth of cake I should have ask for at least 1/3 upfront. Lesson learned. I have a feeling that this bride would have ask for money back even if the contract was worded differently and the required deposit was more.

It wasn't stated on the contract itself, I wasn't sure if the whole $300 should be considered as a deposit or a $100 deposit plus overage. I told the bride, mother and father the deposit amount verbally at the meeting, then 2 more times by email and finally in person to the father before he wrote the check.

It's not often that anyone pays more than the $100 deposit at the time of booking. So this was something new. But it is also not often that I've had a wedding called off.

Does everyone get 1/2 the money upfront?

KoryAK Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 3:09am
post #9 of

Ditto to the pp's and definitely get more $$ for the deposits in the future. It should be enough that you won't be too upset if they cancel and they week doesn't get rebooked.

CWR41 Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 3:26am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakelady2266

I told the bride, mother and father the deposit amount verbally at the meeting, then 2 more times by email and finally in person to the father before he wrote the check.




That's exactly why she asked if her father could get the additional $200 back... it wasn't part of the "deposit".

traci_doodle Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 3:30am

I still think you should give back the $200. To say one thing, even if it is a verbal agreement, and then change your mind later comes off as pretty unethical. I understand this is a big blow. Lesson learned. Change your contract!

cakelady2266 Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 3:44am

I emailed the bride earlier and told her I would be happy to return the additional $200 her father had paid.

I'll be rewording the contract like QTCakes suggested. Plus including an actual non refundable dollar amount.

FromScratchSF Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 3:48am

A few things for next time:

Never call your deposit a "deposit". It could be argued in court since you never made the cake the "deposit" should be returned. A "retainer" means someone is retaining your services to make them a cake. It makes it really hard for a court to force a refund (if it ever comes to that).

Your contract should state exactly what the deposit amount is, and it should act as a receipt for it. Never do anything verbally, especially not money related! Have your terms spelled out, so if you require a 50% deposit, it needs to say 50% and then the $ amount.

Whatever contract you are using, you need to have it reviewed by an attorney in your state! They will point out all these little things to you.

Agreed with everyone else, you need to refund the $200. It doesn't sound like you have any legal grounds to keep it.

Live and lean, baby!

debidehm Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 4:16am

I think it's good you returned it. Who knows. they may decide to rebook in the future, and if they do, I'm sure they'll come back to you. Had you decided not to give it back, and they do call the wedding back on...you probably would have lost them as customer. icon_smile.gif

cakelady2266 Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 4:19am

Crap I may have to go back to the drawing board on this whole contract wording thing. I used an example of a contract I found on CC.

If the client pays 1/2 or whatever amount is collected for the deposit or retainer, then the balance is paid 30 days before event, AND the wedding is called off after the balance is paid, do you refund any or all the money? Just curious how that would be handled.

The check for the $200 is already written, just waiting for an address or someone to pick it up.

I wasn't trying to penalize the people or keep something I shouldn't. I just didn't know if the "real" deposit was the amount I ask for or the amount I got.

jason_kraft Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 4:26am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakelady2266

If the client pays 1/2 or whatever amount is collected for the deposit or retainer, then the balance is paid 30 days before event, AND the wedding is called off after the balance is paid, do you refund any or all the money? Just curious how that would be handled.



Depends on what it says in your contract. Usually both the deposit and the balance are nonrefundable if the reason for the cancellation is on the customer's side (and whether or not the customer can apply the balance towards a different cake is up to the discretion of the baker).

There's nothing wrong with calling it a deposit as long as you make it clear in your contract when the deposit will and will not be refunded.

KoryAK Posted 18 Apr 2012 , 5:59am
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakelady2266


If the client pays 1/2 or whatever amount is collected for the deposit or retainer, then the balance is paid 30 days before event, AND the wedding is called off after the balance is paid, do you refund any or all the money? Just curious how that would be handled.

.




Yes, in that scenario (providing no work has been started on the cake) I would (and have) refund the excess balance. Supplies that are easily reused like flour and eggs I would not penalize for. Specialized supplies like rhinestone ribbon would be deducted.

cakesbycathy Posted 19 Apr 2012 , 4:02am

For weddings I require a 50% deposit to book the date and the entire amount is non-refundable. The other 50% is due 30 days before the reception.

I would save yourself a future headache and require more than just $100 to book the date. It's too easy for people to walk away from such a small amount, and you lost the opportunity to make money since you turned down other orders for the date.

cfao Posted 20 Apr 2012 , 12:41pm

I have in my terms "Any monies paid on account are non-refundable" so it covers any deposit/retainer made & any payments made. I require all weddings to be paid in full 30 prior to the date, if some one should cancel after final payment the chances of you getting a last minute wedding to take their place is slim. Function halls only return a payment made on a cancelled wedding IF they can rebook the hall.

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