JPMitchell Posted 17 Nov 2012 , 9:18pm
post #1 of

Soooo!  I'll try and keep it short..  I had a lady contact me last week about doing a 3 tiered topsy turvy for today.  I made it yesterday evening and have been moving it around (in and out of the refrigerator from one table to another).  Well, today I drove with the cake 20 mintues to meet the customer who was coming from maybe 45-50 minutes away.  Meet her and we setup the cake in her car and off we go!  I get a text 2 hours later saying that the cake was too moist and it completely collapsed.  I'm not sure what to say at this point... I looked at the pictures and to me it appears that the top two layers have slid.  And it is doweled through the center and supports for each tier.  I've used this recipe for many cakes.  I'll post pictures in a bit, the ones she sent me.  What would you advise to do in this situation?  Stupid me, I have a contract but am very lax when it's down to the wire so she didn't sign it.  She is too far away to fix it.

 

 

 

 

21 replies
JPMitchell Posted 17 Nov 2012 , 9:25pm
post #2 of

 

 

 

Here we go:

JPMitchell Posted 17 Nov 2012 , 10:05pm
post #3 of

I just wonder if I should refund all her money back.  I made a point to show her the cake after I met her and told her to be extremely careful through turns and watch out for other cars.  I was able to make it 20 minutes with the cake and it had not fallen apart.  I'm thinking I may just refund her %50.....

VKakes11 Posted 17 Nov 2012 , 10:16pm
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I'm no expert, but it may have very well slid and there's no way of proving it, unfortunately. Although, are you even responsible for this because, afterall, she was in posession of the cake when this happened (rhetorical question). I think it's a good idea to just refund her 50%, definitely not all of it because it could have very well been her fault and she's just "covering" her own donkey ;) I'm sorry this happened though! Good luck.

AmandaVermont Posted 17 Nov 2012 , 10:24pm
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AShe has taken possession of the cake and it is now her responsibility, in the interest of customer service I would give her a gift certificate for so much off a future service. Also make sure customers sign a contract release when they pick up a cake. They are more careful when they no they have no recourse to complain when they are not careful.

BakingIrene Posted 17 Nov 2012 , 11:29pm
post #6 of

Well, if she had paid you to deliver the cake to her party, then it would have been there in good condition.

When the customer tries to save money by picking up the cake, any subsequent damage is THEIR responsibility.  The issue is the delivery more than the contract.

 

It looks like a door slammed into the cake board and the base tier.  I think any innocent "sliding" is very unlikely.

 

So maybe you need first of all to ask where the damage took place, who helped get the cake out of the car, how many steps did they climb, etc. No need to jump with any refund until you hear what really happened.

Nixs247 Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 12:11am
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene 

Well, if she had paid you to deliver the cake to her party, then it would have been there in good condition.

When the customer tries to save money by picking up the cake, any subsequent damage is THEIR responsibility.  The issue is the delivery more than the contract.

 

It looks like a door slammed into the cake board and the base tier.  I think any innocent "sliding" is very unlikely.

 

So maybe you need first of all to ask where the damage took place, who helped get the cake out of the car, how many steps did they climb, etc. No need to jump with any refund until you hear what really happened.

 

I agree with BakingIrene the issue is clearly a case of how the customer received their order from you?

 

If the customer was presented with their order and it was fine/perfect - no discrepancies to report nor find at the time of handing over. Then from that point the customer has non verbally agreed that their order was delivered /presented in one piece - thus satisfied.

 

After all which customer from any industry will keep quiet if their order was wrong in any way shape or form.

 

Its unfortunate that their order is damaged but that really is not your fault unless you knew otherwise?

 

By asking questions is a tricky one so tread carefully you don't want to be adding more salt to the wound - and you could propose a 50% goodwill gesture if your conscience is still probing you to do so...but not a full refund.

 

But you have to let your customer know that your goodwill is in no way admission to their defective cake.!!

 

After all you have invested your time, energy and passion not to speak of the costs you would have incurred.

 

No doubt next time you will get your future customers to sign the necessary paperwork.

 

Its not an easy scenario by any means especially when you're involved directly.

 

Prevention is better than Cure

JPMitchell Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 12:13am
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Thanks ladies!  I feel terrible it happened...  And waviers at time of pickup are now a must!  But I came to find out, after she posted on facebook, that she was coming from two hours away.  From what she had implied she was only 45-50 minutes away.  And I know because I've delivered to the town she mentioned.  But she said on facebook that she had not even made it there and the bottom layer collapsed causing the top two tiers to fall over.  I have to be honest, I would not have recommended that cake had I known she was driving from 2 hours away.  

DeliciousDesserts Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 12:13am
post #9 of

50%.  You don't have a contract.  You don't know what happened.

 

If you had signed contract, I would say to bad you knew the risk.

 

Also, I refuse pick up for topsy turvy cakes.  NO WAY.  You want it, you pay for delivery.  I feel the same way about any precarious cakes with fragile elements.

JPMitchell Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 12:18am

I know, I most certainly kicked myself in the butt when I did not get her to sign a contract.  I've used that recipe 

plenty of times and have made at least more that 2 dozen topsy turvy cakes.  Not one have I had a problem with.

I've been going back and forth on that too, to only accept deliveries of topsy turvy cakes.  

Nixs247 Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 12:20am
Quote:
Originally Posted by JPMitchell 

Thanks ladies!  I feel terrible it happened...  And waviers at time of pickup are now a must!  But I came to find out, after she posted on facebook, that she was coming from two hours away.  From what she had implied she was only 45-50 minutes away.  And I know because I've delivered to the town she mentioned.  But she said on facebook that she had not even made it there and the bottom layer collapsed causing the top two tiers to fall over.  I have to be honest, I would not have recommended that cake had I known she was driving from 2 hours away.  


Well I hope your customer is not bad mouthing you or your company because that would be really unfair considering that you handed over a perfect cake order that they were satisfied with.

 

I would probably feel the same way i.e. bad - but when something is out of your control it really is....so try not to beat yourself up about it.

 

Have you decided about the good will gesture as yet?

BakingIrene Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 12:37am

If she was coming from that far away, and she didn't say that, then there is real doubt about all the other statements this specific customer has made.

 

You see, she would normally have to give you her  billing address with a credit card payment, or a mailed-in deposit payment would have her return address.   Contract or no contract. And you would normally ask the name-address-phone number right off the top.  Right?

 

So did she order through a facebook page?  that would be a place for you to be more careful in future.

 

But please take a good look at HER picture.  The base tier is still in place on the cake board with the letters.  It does NOT look like a collapse based on your baking or assembly.  It looks like the whole cake box slid and the box bashed into the side of the cake.  The tell-tale grease mark from the top tier is there in the upper right corner of HER picture. Sorry but that makes it HER responsibility.

AZCouture Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 2:33am
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeliciousDesserts 

 

Also, I refuse pick up for topsy turvy cakes.  NO WAY.  You want it, you pay for delivery.  I feel the same way about any precarious cakes with fragile elements.

Absolutely. Wow. No way. 

denetteb Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 4:28am

When you gave her the cake, where in the car did she put it?  You said she posted that it happened on the drive, so did she have the cake in a place where she could see it?  Like on the front seat?  Which could have been a big part of the problem. 

CWR41 Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 5:04am

What's the point in using a flimsy box with flaps for 3-tier tt?
 

Godot Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 9:36am

I agree. if you spend that much time on a cake (not to mention that the client spent a lot of money) it should be properly boxed.

remnant3333 Posted 18 Nov 2012 , 5:24pm

So how would you box a topsy turby cake? I am just trying to learn more.  I can definitely see why no one would allow any customers to pick up a cake like that. If the customer wants it in one piece they should pay extra to have it delivered rather than have it fall apart on them.  Sounds like the woman probably had it sitting on the seat which seems like an accident waiting to happen.
 

I am so sorry that this has happened to you and I know you feel very badly about this but you got to remember the cake was in perfect condition when you gave it to her. Don't beat yourself up too much about this. When I used to watch Cake Boss anytime they delivered a cake someone was always in the back to watch the cake and protect it from any mishaps. The woman should have brought someone with her to guard the cake while she was driving.

pinky73 Posted 20 Nov 2012 , 7:53pm

I think BakingIrene might be on to something and the entire thing slid, not a collapse as the customer suggested. In my experience in driving a cake, which admittedly is sparse, I have been really surprised at how slow I have to drive and how the laws of physics affect a cake. I am aware of it now..but I'm pretty certain that a regular customer, while she may have known to be careful with turns and such, had no real understanding of how slow and careful you must be. I'm betting that she was watchful of traffic, but maybe took the turns a little too fast for the cake to survive. Even coming to a stop is difficult and while we might not even notice the forces at work, that cake will.  That being said, it's not your fault that the cake failed after it was in her possession. If I have groceries in my car and had a problem where the milk jug tipped over or the eggs got smushed in the car ride home from the store, I can not hold the store responsible and expect any sort of refund. People have a tendacy to purposedly diminish their own responsibility if they think they can get someone else to take it for them. If she exaggerated about how far she was driving to meet you, she most likely has gone with the narrative that your cake collapased, not that she may have been careless and assume that the cake was not as delicate as they are.

Im sorry about this for you, the cake is beautiful. 

costumeczar Posted 22 Nov 2012 , 3:18am

AI can't tell from the photo what angle the box is sitting at, it's all crooked. The cake could be totally upright or it could be tilted to the side, you just can't tell for sure. (By the way, the type of box is really pretty irrelevant here, if it was going to fall over it was going to fall over whether it was in a box or not.)

I'd tend to agree that the grease mark on the box hints at a car slamming on the brakes and tilting the top tier forward to touch the box, but since I can't really tell from the perspective if that's the side of the box or a flap I don't know. I suspect that she has her hand there to hide another big mark of icing that would show that the middle tier also hit the box, but I'm suspicious like that

Tails Posted 22 Nov 2012 , 9:07am

Is it just me or does it look like its been placed on the front seat (or a car seat) which slopes?

costumeczar Posted 22 Nov 2012 , 11:19am

A

Original message sent by Tails

Is it just me or does it look like its been placed on the front seat (or a car seat) which slopes?

I can't tell...i don't think there's enough stuff in the photo to get a good idea of that.

remnant3333 Posted 22 Nov 2012 , 2:25pm

To me it looks like the cake is sitting at an angle also!!!
 

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