reginaherrin Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 9:38pm
post #1 of

I just had a woman call me about a cake she ordered that her daughter picked up yesterday and was unhappy about.  First she said the color on the top tier was off and darker then she wanted and then she said the top tier had started to fall and she could not serve it and had to find another cake.  I apologized for the color being wrong, I was going by a picture she sent and had it right but it darkened a bit overnight. It was not that far off and I did not think it was a big deal since it was so close.  I told her on the failing part I would need to see a picture to see what happened but thought it was due to how it was transported.  She does not think it had anything to do with the transporting that I had to do something wrong and it was totally my fault.  She said she was going to call her credit card company and dispute the charge if I did not give her half her money back.  I told her I would need to see the picture before I made a decision in order to see what could have gone wrong and see if it was my fault, which I don't think it was my fault. I told her I could give her a free product but she wanted nothing to do with it and did not want anything more from my bakery. I explained about the construction of the cake and how the dowels might have shifted if her daughter stopped suddenly or turned sharply or did not have it on a flat surface during transporting it and then just continued to shift until it started falling and when I told her about the dowels she had no idea what I was talking about and asked if she would be able to see them which I told her they are under the top tier and would be visible once you took the top tier off.   She was so hard to talk to the whole time because she was arguing the whole time and interrupting me and I stayed professional which I am proud of but she was not wanting to give in at all about how it may not be my fault that it may be her daughters.  I really think she was just upset about spending the amount she did on the cake and had buyers remorse.  After we hung up I did send her an email being as nice as I could but going over the possibilities of what could of happened and apologizing for all the problems and again offering her a free product.  I am sure I will not hear anything back from her but am afraid she will dispute it with her credit card company.  I know that I can still fight it if she does dispute it which I am planning of doing since I don't believe I had anything to do with the cake falling.  She actually used paypal which I just sent an email to asking what could happen if she did dispute it.  I am just so upset about this.  I have never really had a complaint before besides a few small things that weren't a big deal. 

66 replies
remnant3333 Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 10:10pm
post #2 of

So many people who pick up cakes do not drive carefully and do not realize that the cakes will be weakened when slamming on brakes or turning a sharp corner without driving slowly. I am sure you told them to drive carefully but many people ignore good advice.  If your contract states that once you hand over the cake and it is intact that it should no longer be your fault if something happens to the cake. The only way people can avoid this is if they have the person making the cake deliver the cake and set it up for them. Did you take a picture of the cake before you gave it to her? Can you post a picture of it? 

 

There are some customers that are very hard to deal with. I am so sorry that you are having to go through this especially if you have been doing cakes for a long time and are sure that the cake was stable before you handed cake over to customer.  Chances are that it is not your fault but the person who did the driving!! Also it appeared that the customer did not like the color of cake which would seem as if she was trying anything to get some kind of refund even before telling you that cake fell. Everyone has dealt with customers such as these.  I would never do any cakes for her or her family again.  You offered her a free cake so what more could she want? I think that was more than fair considering that it was probably not your fault that cake fell.  I am curious to see what the others here have to say on this issue.  Hang in there and try not to worry about this!! Keep your faith!!
 

Heathsgirl Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 10:34pm
post #3 of

AI would just call her and send half back like she wants and forget about her. Some people are never satisfied no matter what you do...

FlorHelena Posted 17 Feb 2013 , 10:50pm
post #4 of
Hello reginaherrin,  I really don´t know how your contracts are stipulated, but generally if not yourself  delivering the cake, you should make them sign some kind of " contract" I don´t know exactly the name, but  basically says that they agree with the product and that you are giving them is exactly what they asked for and is in good condition.before leaving the store to avoid this such misunderstandings. 
 
 I went scam with the same story that you're telling .
It's very hard because you put money and effort into doing what you love and someone unscrupulous makes you feel sad and angry, you try to be professional but make you feel stupid, at least I felt that way when I knew I was scammed.icon_sad.gif.
CakeRN Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 12:37am
post #5 of

Awesome!!!

jason_kraft Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 1:05am
post #6 of

APaypal almost always sides with the buyer, so if you don't give her the 50% refund she's requesting you will probably lose the entire amount and you may even have your Paypal account frozen until the dispute is resolved.

cakesbycathy Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 2:17am
post #7 of

It doesn't matter what you tried to tell her on the phone or what your email said.  This woman is never going to admit someone else might be at fault.  She is going to blame you.  And free bakery isn't going to help either. 

 

If you can prove that you weren't responsible - for example:  you had the driver sign a contract saying you are no longer responsible once the cake leaves your possession or something along those lines - then you could go ahead and dispute it when she files a dispute with the cc company.  Truthfully, it might be hard to do and not worth it.  Think about refunding her 50% with a statement that says you do not believe you were liable for the damage sustained to the cake but feel badly that she was disappointed in the cake or something like that.
 

reginaherrin Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 2:50am
post #8 of

 

 

I will definitely not refund any money until I see a picture of the cake.  Who knows, she may not even have a picture, it may have been made up.  I have heard back from paypal and they did not give me much information except to say that the transaction does qualify for seller protection and I emailed them back to see how much it will protect me.  I don't feel it is right to give back half the amount just because she is kicking up a fuss and yelling.  She doesn't plan to order from me again and even is she was I would not accept an order from her.  I worked in retail for many years and found that most people that want something that is not right or against the stores policy they just start to yell and get mad more then likely will get what they want.  I find that behavior deplorable and unacceptable.  I know I have to think of my business and do what is in its best interest but to give in to someone threatening me when I know I did nothing wrong feels wrong to me.  Once I see the picture it may be a different story but I really doubt it.  I am attaching a picture of the cake to show you what it looks like.  When she first contacted me she really wanted a 3-D cake but could not afford that type of cake, which makes me think that she is just unhappy that she did not get the 3-D cake. Remnant3333, I really appreciate your post, it really made me feel much better.  I do tell all my customers that pick the cake up what they need to do while transporting it and telling them once it leaves my location it is out of my hands (worded much better though) as well as that being on my website and on all my invoices.  The thing is she doesn't believe that anything happened to it to make it fall other then that I did something wrong.  I did ask her what she thought I could have done to make it fall and she did not know.

 

jason_kraft Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 2:58am
post #9 of

AHow much money are we talking about here?

FYI, if a customer picks up the item themselves you are not eligible for PayPal Seller Protection, you are only covered if you ship the item. https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/security/seller-protection-learn-more

Ducky316 Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 9:51am

I guess I'm an @ss hole....I would have told her to if she disputes the charge, I will take her to small claims court. The cake was fine when it was picked up...REGARDLESS of contract or lack there of. I'm curious too how much was this cake and what were the sixes of the tiers?

remnant3333 Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 1:31pm

This was a very pretty cake and to me it looks very sturdy looking.  It appears when you gave her the cake that it was fine!!! These type of customers would complain at their own funeral!!! Don't let this woman upset you!! These type of people come a dime a dozen, unfortunately!!!  I am thinking paypal will tell her to try and resolve it through you, so this woman will probably be contacting you again. It could be that the woman was displeased with the color and is just making waves trying to get 50 percent off! Good luck and I will be praying for you to have peace!! Hopefully, she will just give up. My husband said that this type of woman would probably complain either way whether she got back 50 percent or not. Do what you feel is the right thing to do!!!
 

reginaherrin Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 5:14pm

We aren't talking about much money here, the cake was just $80.  The daughter who picked the cake up, which has ordered from me before, liked the cake a lot and actually thought it was fondant because she thought it was so smooth but of course it is buttercream.  I haven't heard back from her and she hasn't disputed it yet but I am still waiting.

crustdust Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 5:22pm

AIt's just like guests who eat 3/4 of their steak and then complain it was overcooked

jason_kraft Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 5:39pm

AAll this is about $40? If I were in your situation I would give them the $40 refund and immediately increase my prices, $80 is way too low for that cake.

The hassle of a paypal dispute (not to mention small claims court) will cost you more in time than you would potentially save by avoiding a refund.

lolarx8 Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 6:16pm

I guess my response might have been to ask her to return the cake. That would tell you for sure.....if she is making up a story or not. My guess is the daughter drove wrecklessly with the cake and is afraid to admit to her mistake. Although I just hate someone out there bad mouthing my cakes, sometimes you just can't win with irrational people. Keeping your good name and reputation in the cake business could be more important than the money at this point.

costumeczar Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 6:29pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft 

All this is about $40? If I were in your situation I would give them the $40 refund and immediately increase my prices, $80 is way too low for that cake.

The hassle of a paypal dispute (not to mention small claims court) will cost you more in time than you would potentially save by avoiding a refund.

I would say the same thing, but I don't like giving in to jerks. I'd wait to see if she disputes the claim, send paypal all the information that you have and wait and see. They're not going to freeze your entire account, they just pull back the amount that's in dispute and hold it until the complaint is resolved.

 

I have a friend who had the same thing happen, and she eventually got her money back form Paypal because she showed them that everything was delivered as ordered. The problem that they run into is that they can't quantify the kind of complaints that we get, like fallen cakes, dry cakes, etc. One guy from paypal told my friend that the best way to protect ourselves would be to not take credit cards at all because with this kind of business there's too much grey area of who's responsible for problems.

 

This lady seems to be late to the party, anyway. Complaining about the cake to get a refund is so last year...This year's trend is for clients to ask for a discount before they even book with you.

Annabakescakes Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 6:51pm

If she gives the $40 back, that will mean all her labor, and pay, as we all well know!

 

It looks like you worked hard on it, and I see no reason to give back your pay, since the remaining $40 went to ingredients and over head, if it even covered it all.

 

And raise your prices, that is MUCH too low for that, mine that size are $130, and I am cheap!

Dayti Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 7:03pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar 

This lady seems to be late to the party, anyway. Complaining about the cake to get a refund is so last year...This year's trend is for clients to ask for a discount before they even book with you.

icon_biggrin.gif

 

I much prefer this years trend then. It gives you the chance to send them packing without any hard work on your part, and saves you having to deal with cheapskates post-event. 

reginaherrin Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 7:35pm

I am not just going to refund half the amount just because its not a lot of money. That doesn't even make sense. Yes my prices are low compared to your prices in a different state but they are about the going rate here. I am planning on and have been gradually increasing my prices but that has no bearing on giving her a refund or not. I am still not planning on doing anything until I hear back from her and get the picture she says she has so that I can make my judgment. I will post the picture if she happens to send it. I do appreciate all your inputs though.

costumeczar Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 7:45pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dayti 

icon_biggrin.gif

 

I much prefer this years trend then. It gives you the chance to send them packing without any hard work on your part, and saves you having to deal with cheapskates post-event. 

I've had to "fire" three people in the last month before they even hired me becasue they were unreasonable/demanding/etc. From what I hear from other vendors in my area it's happening to everyone.

 

And to the OP, just hold tight and see what happens. Like I said, if she does contest it you should have all your paperwork ready to go and that's about all you can do. No reason to hand over money for no good reason.

scrumdiddlycakes Posted 18 Feb 2013 , 10:41pm

Hard as it is, try not to fret about it until she replies, if she does. Paypal isn't actually as easy to get a charge reversed from as people think.

I have a hard time believing the top tier simply fell off a cake like that, reckless driving or a cheap woman with a weird sense of entitlement would be my guesses.

 

I have a strict policy, if someone picks up a cake from me, they sign a contract, and the moment the cake leaves my front door I am not liable for anything. I would suggest something like that, I had a nasty run in with a bride a few years ago, so like to cover my bases now.

My contract also covers complaints as well, thankfully I haven't had to implement it, but it states clearly that if a cake I delivered falls apart, or has something else go wrong, I am to be contacted and I will go look at the cake. At the very least pictures must be provided.

I know that doesn't help you in this situation, but something to think about doing.

 

Also, offering a free product can give the idea that you are accepting blame, or can give a manipulative person the idea that they can push you around. Another lesson I learned the hard way, lol.

 

If she does call again, I would try to be as firm, but professional, as possible. If they can provide a picture you will go from there, if they can't then there is nothing you can do.

 

(love the cake, btw!)

debidehm Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 1:35pm

What is the cake on? Is it wood? I only ask because it looks thin. If I use anything else but wood for the base for a stacked cake (foam core, cardboard, etc.) I usually have it at least 1/4" thick or more. If it's just cardboard or foam core that you used (single thickness), is it possible that that caused a structural issue? If the base isn't sound, that could be the cause for the problem.

Jess155 Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 2:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by debidehm 

What is the cake on? Is it wood? I only ask because it looks thin. If I use anything else but wood for the base for a stacked cake (foam core, cardboard, etc.) I usually have it at least 1/4" thick or more. If it's just cardboard or foam core that you used (single thickness), is it possible that that caused a structural issue? If the base isn't sound, that could be the cause for the problem.

Wow, good catch.  It looks like a cardboard circle covered in silver foil?  That could definitely be the culprit there.  However OP, I do think you should still get pictures from the lady first to even make sure any damage occured.  But, yeah don't use a cake circle as your base.

Ducky316 Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 3:29pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by debidehm 

What is the cake on? Is it wood? I only ask because it looks thin. If I use anything else but wood for the base for a stacked cake (foam core, cardboard, etc.) I usually have it at least 1/4" thick or more. If it's just cardboard or foam core that you used (single thickness), is it possible that that caused a structural issue? If the base isn't sound, that could be the cause for the problem.

 

Good call!!!! I betchya that's the culprit! I have to change my vote now...I hate to say it OP,  but if this is on a weak board, you're responsible....

reginaherrin Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 5:15pm

It is actually on a metal base, a very sturdy metal base.  My dad has a metal cutting machine that can cut any shape and size out for you and I get him to cut my cake bases.  The metal is very sturdy and totally unbendable and of course each cake is on a thick cake board as well which insures it even more.  I know that can not be the reason she says the top tier slide.

ddaigle Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 5:21pm

How was the top tier connected to the bottom tier....did you use the SPS system or a center dowel?

reginaherrin Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 5:27pm

I used a center dowel.

AZCouture Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 5:30pm

What is supporting the top tier?

jgifford Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 5:32pm

Wow - a metal base and a center dowel and she claims it fell?  Really??? I'm thinking she hasn't produced a picture because there was nothing wrong with the cake.  Stand your ground until she can provide evidence to back up her statements. 

reginaherrin Posted 19 Feb 2013 , 5:38pm

The top tier was supported by dowels and the cake board.  I still haven't heard anything from her so I so think the cake never fell.  She said she had to run out and get another cake and unless she got a cheap grocery store cake I am not sure where she would get one so fast.

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