loveyachelle Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 2:09pm
post #1 of

I made a cake for a budget bride. I'm no where near a professional but I do have pretty tasty cakes. Anything I do is through word of mouth. The night before the cake was due we had a huge thunderstorm and the humidity was really bad. The morning of the delivery it was still raining and very humid. The cake was suppose to have gumpaste roses, calla lilies, and hydrangeas on it. The roses and calla lilies wilted due to the humidity and I made an executive decision to not use the roses and calla lilies due to their appearance. I did however use gumpaste hydrangeas around the pillars of the cake like we agreed upon. I also got some flowers from the florist to add further decoration to the cake in place of the missing edible flowers. The bride calls me a few days later and says she was disappointed over the cake. I explained to her what happened and why I had to make a few changes, I apologized and told her I couldn't do anything about the weather effecting the decorations. She then tells me the cake was inedible. When leveling the cake I always taste the piece cut off to make sure the cake came out good. The cake tasted great, so I have no idea what she is talking about it being inedible. The bride then informs me she left my cake stand at the venue because she didn't want to deal with it. During our phone conversation we agreed I would make a different cake for her for an upcoming event for free. To make things right since she was so disappointed. Now a few days after our phone call she emails me asking for a refund. She says she feels she should get a full refund but will accept 2/3 of it to be "fair". What should I do. I don't feel she should get a refund. If I refund her anything I would refund her the $15 I charged for edible flowers. But then she should be charged to replace my cake stand as stated in the contract. Which would come out to more then the cost of the edible flowers. What should I do ??? PLEASE HELP !!!

20 replies
JamAndButtercream Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 5:49pm
post #2 of

It sounds to me like she's just creating problems which didn't exist just because of a small problem with the flowers!

First she said she was disappointed because of the edible flowers, then she says the cake was inedible, they tells you that she left your cake stand at the venue, agrees to a free cake and now she wants her money back!

What I would do is grit your teeth and give her the refund ok, you'll probably have to forget about your cake stand too icon_sad.gif
BUT DO NOT MAKE ANY MORE CAKES FOR HER!

Seriously, if you make her a free cake, she's the type who's going to think you are in debt to her because the wedding cake was "disappointing." If she wants a refund, give it to her and tell her she can forget about the free cake.

If she ever calls again for a cake tell her you're fully booked! thumbs_up.gif

Marianna46 Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 5:49pm
post #3 of

In the first place, please start charging a refundable deposit for your cake stand up front that is equal to the replacement price. Next - did they eat the cake or did she return it to you? If it was consumed, absolutely no refund is due. Given her attitude, I don't think I would have volunteered to make her another cake, either, but if you've already said you'll do it, you need to comply. Let her know how much the cake stand cost and that she owes you for it - less the $15 for flowers, if you want. (Not that you'll ever see the money, but you might make the free cake contingent on her paying you). Funny how this always happens with the budget cakes, isn't it? There's a thing called buyer's remorse and, for some reason, many brides with an overblown sense of entitlement seem to suffer from it. Best of luck in this!

CWR41 Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 6:33pm
post #4 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by loveyachelle

But then she should be charged to replace my cake stand as stated in the contract.




Stick to your contract.

jgifford Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 7:15pm
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by CWR41

Quote:
Originally Posted by loveyachelle

But then she should be charged to replace my cake stand as stated in the contract.



Stick to your contract.




^^^ I agree. Does your contract have an "Act of God" clause - i.e., weather? Does your contract have a refund policy - - length of time, "inedible" cake must be returned, etc.? If not, it should. I do disagree about the refund. I don't believe she is due any money from you, and I wouldn't give her a free cake either, but that's JMO. It sounds like she's just trying to get some of her wedding money back and too much time has passed for her to be suddenly bringing up criticisms and complaints about the cake.

If you feel you HAVE to refund something, offer to refund the $15 for the flowers when she returns your cake stand, and not before.

ChocolateLove Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 9:09pm
post #6 of

For future, make a contract. A GOOD ONE. have a non-refundable fee (which is not to be given back in any case...disasters or not!) The one I use says, I am not responsible for weather or natural disasters ruining the cake. That means, no matter how disappointed a client is, they cant just demand a refund, when we (bakers) do hard work. icon_smile.gif

For this one, give her half a refund AFTER she refunds your cake stand. thats all, dont do business with her again.

loveyachelle Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 9:27pm
post #7 of

Thank you everyone. I don't have the act of God in my contract but I will after this. No she didn't return any of the cake or the stand. I do have a clause that states if the equipment rented is not returned within 5 days of the event they will be charged to replace the cake stand. I've only been doing cakes for about 6 months. She knew this going into it. I'm truly devastated she "hated" my cake but I did the best I could under the circumstances. I think I will offer her a small refund minus the cake stand, and then never work with her of her family again. Her daughter wants me to do her sons bday cake this summer. Sorry I'm booked !!! Can anyone please send me some clauses I should have in my contract to prevent getting screwed in the future. Thanks Again

Michelle

TheSweetTreat Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 9:40pm
post #8 of

I'd say the keyword here is 'budget' bride. It's sad to stereotype people on a budget, but a big majority of the behave this way. Before having my second child I was a wedding photographer and couldn't tell you how many stories I heard of budget brides demanding refunds and creating issues and problems that never existed just to get some money back. I was a bride on a budget years ago, but I never would have done anything like that. I think I was in the minority.

The solution? Raise your prices and you'll attract only those clients who value what you produce.

JamAndButtercream Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 9:43pm
post #9 of

Don't feel bad about her "hating" your cake. Some people are never happy what ever you do, perhaps she is one of those people who just wanted to get her cake for free!
Forget about her and don't do business with her again icon_smile.gif

cfao Posted 26 Apr 2012 , 10:49pm

Here's what I have in mine:

Terms: Balance to be received no later than 30 days prior to the date of the event or this contract will be considered void and will be considered cancelled. If we agree to accept a late payment and honor such an invoice, a late fee of $_________ will be added to the balance due. Any monies paid on account are not refundable. A $25 charge will apply to any returned check. Customer is responsible for all costs and fees incurred to collect payment by legal avenues. If for any reason an unexpected condition beyond our control should arise and the ordered product(s) cannot be delivered, we shall only be liable for the balance which has been paid on the product(s) by the customer. This company and/or anyone acting as an agent may not be held liable for any other damages or losses. We are not responsible for any product not supplied by us. We reserve the right to substitute if necessary. Heat and humidity will cause product breakdown during outside receptions.

ChocolateLove Posted 27 Apr 2012 , 12:11am

google cake contracts online till you find one you like...just make sure its for general use. icon_smile.gif

ReneeFLL Posted 27 Apr 2012 , 2:52am

If you give her a full refund or a large amount she will continue to get away with telling you and others lies just to get some money back. She will do it again and she has probably done it in the past. Don't let her make you feel bad. I am sure you cake tasted wonderful. One thing you can do after you have leveled and tasted the cake is to save some in case there is a problem. Wrap it very well, label it and freeze it. Maybe after a month or so if you don't hear anything back then you can toss it.

gatorcake Posted 27 Apr 2012 , 12:57pm

Since you don't have an act of god clause in your contract on my view she has a legitimate grievance. Your contract does not stipulate there would be conditions (or at least does not stipulate this condition) under which you would not be able to produce the agreed upon design. Just as you expect her to abide by the rental return clause, she expects you to abide by the agreement--which makes not exception for weather.

Also keep in mind she contracted for a cake not just cake. Yes the wedding cake was served however a wedding cake has multiple functions at a wedding--only one of which is serving cake. It also functions as an artistic center piece, the value of which is greater than the individual cost of the flowers. She was not provide the cake she requested. Kudos to you for all the effort to make good on the design, in the end however it was not what she ordered.

As to assumptions about her character I do not think it is surprising that she claimed the cake was inedible. She has a legitimate grievance about the design and was basically told it was the fault of the weather. It is simply unreasonable for the client to expect that weather would impact the design she requested without it being stipulated in the contract. So sure she tried to claim the cake was inedible, understandable after having her legitimate claim dismissed.

costumeczar Posted 27 Apr 2012 , 6:49pm

Did you talk to anyone at the venue to ask whether people ate the cake or not? That could answer the "inedible" question. If it turns out that they say it was horrible and nobody ate it that's one thing. If they say that it was fine there's your answer. If you know anyone who went to the weding you could ask them, too, as long as they're going to be honest with you.

If you charged her for sugar flowers and didn't deliver then you should refund her for that cost even if you provided the real ones. But check with a thrid party to find otu about the edible-ness of the cake.

scp1127 Posted 30 Apr 2012 , 7:22am

I agree with gator. Her original grievance was not settled to her satisfaction.

I've shared this many times before, but a refund policy should be included in the contract. Mine is on my site and must be acknowledged by a check in the cart. It's simple and removes any question of the client making up a problem.

denetteb Posted 30 Apr 2012 , 2:41pm

I don't sell cakes so maybe my thoughts mean nothing, but using an "act of God" clause because of heat and humidity????? Seems to me there are cakes made in hot and humid locations all over the world and bakers manage to create a cake somehow. If I agreed to an 'act of God" clause I would assume it meant a tornado or hurricane or something really dramatic, not a storm which brings in humidity.

diane706 Posted 30 Apr 2012 , 7:09pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by gatorcake

Since you don't have an act of god clause in your contract on my view she has a legitimate grievance. Your contract does not stipulate there would be conditions (or at least does not stipulate this condition) under which you would not be able to produce the agreed upon design. Just as you expect her to abide by the rental return clause, she expects you to abide by the agreement--which makes not exception for weather.
Also keep in mind she contracted for a cake not just cake. Yes the wedding cake was served however a wedding cake has multiple functions at a wedding--only one of which is serving cake. It also functions as an artistic center piece, the value of which is greater than the individual cost of the flowers. She was not provide the cake she requested. Kudos to you for all the effort to make good on the design, in the end however it was not what she ordered.




Well said, gatorcake. IMO, it's not just the lack of gum paste flowers that you "made an executive decision to not use... due to their appearance" and replace with real flowers. She asked for a specific cake design and you agreed to it. Whether or not she's a "budget bride" you had an agreement to provide x amount of gum paste flowers and a specific design. When did you notice the gum paste flowers "wilting" and how far in advance did you make them? Could you have re-done them? Keep in mind that a lot of brides like to save their gum paste flowers/bouquets as a keepsake of their wedding. This obviously can't be done with live flowers and could be part of the disappointment on the bride's part... Maybe not in this case, but something to think about in the future.
May I ask you what gum paste recipe/brand you use? I'm wondering how your gum paste flowers could have "wilted"? I could be totally wrong (and, if so, I stand corrected), but I've truly never heard of this nor experienced gum paste flowers "wilting" if done correctly even in high humidity. I've done lots down here in FL on very humid, rainy days with no problem...
Recently, I moved from Colorado (virtually NO humidity) to Florida (stinkin' humidity almost ALL the time!). So, believe me, I know the troubles involved with cake decorating in extreme humidity with the fondant recipe that I LOVED in CO! I've re-done several tiers (without even thinking twice) because of the detrimental effects of the humidity. But never any issues with gum paste flowers/decorations though...
Do you have a picture of the cake?
Also, as far as the bride's comment on your cake being "inedible", did you do a cake tasting with her? If so, did she love (and agree on) the taste of your cake at the consultation/tasting? If you didn't, you should probably make sure to offer tastings in the future on your website or wherever you advertise even if you got that client by "word of mouth" advertising. When you have your initial phone consult with them, you may want to advise him/her to make a tasting appointment (for a charge, of course) so there are NO excuses when the bride tastes the cake and says it's "inedible" or not what she asked for. Your statement "When leveling the cake I always taste the piece cut off to make sure the cake came out good. The cake tasted great, so I have no idea what she is talking about it being inedible" doesn't necessarily mean the bride likes your "taste". Know what I mean? Maybe she has a totally different taste. You'd be surprised at the different tastes people have. Some people really dislike "sweet" and would prefer it to be more on the "bland" side (or un-sweet for lack of better words) or some really don't like the "moistness" of a cake texture and say it was not baked enough or a light and airy cake is "too dry"...
On the other hand, good for you that you have a clause that states "if the equipment rented is not returned within 5 days of the event they will be charged to replace the cake stand". That's just plain mean on your customer's part for not returning the stand and sounds like vengeance on her part for not receiving what she paid for. thumbsdown.gif Also, it's good that you're asking for advice on contracts! I know, speaking for myself, there are plenty of trial and error moments in this biz. PLENTY! I'm really not trying to be mean... just trying to help (because you asked for it icon_wink.gif)
I suppose the bottom line is, the customer may actually have valid reasons for their disappointments and desires to get compensated for a product that wasn't duly provided according to the agreement. We need to keep our eyes wide open and look at both sides of the coin in order to make appropriate business decisions and to simply make people happy (return business is a nice little "perk" as well!! Good luck! icon_biggrin.gif

diane706 Posted 30 Apr 2012 , 7:45pm

hahahaha! I just looked back at my reply. Wow! I can't believe how long it ended up being! Sorry. I'm SO embarrassed!! icon_redface.gif

idjitmom Posted 30 Apr 2012 , 10:05pm

If you are inclined to refund her, email her and tell her you will either - def not both! - make the free cake for her per your phone conversation, or refund 2/3 of her money per her email request, and that either way she owes you for the cake stand per your contract, payment for which should be received one week (or whatever you decide) before the delivery of the free cake, or the value of which will be deducted from the refund. And make sure to get full retail value for the stand!

unctoothlady Posted 13 May 2012 , 1:24am

I bet you anything she is holding on to the stand until she gets her refund. SMH

SoFloGuy Posted 2 Jun 2012 , 6:45am

I probably would give a refund because I might feel bad, but I would be angry about her not returning the cake stand and telling you the cake was inedible. I would in that case not give a refund. Sounds like this 'budget" bride was a cheap bridzilla. If you point out that you lowered your price for this budget bride it may help, but a lot of people who should act like adults and just childish and ignorant.

Quote by @%username% on %date%

%body%